July 1-6, 2014: Guy Moves to San Antonio
March 15-31, 2014: Our Spring Trip to Florida
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May 15-30, 2014
Our Summer Trip to Florida


 

Fred and I have come down to Florida again here in May. It has become our habit to come down once around Christmas, Once in late March, once at the beginning of the summer (like now) before it gets so hot and dry that Fred needs to stay home to keep things watered, and once in October, when the summer heat and drought has broken. We call this trip our Summer Trip. Guy was with us in March, but now it will be just us and Zack the Snowshoe Cat.

We did not take so many pictures that I need to break this trip down by day; doing it by subject/event will be fine.

 

Getting to Florida

We left Dallas on Thursday, May 15th- the day after our book club meeting.


Once again, we brought Zack with us to Florida- his seventh trip, I believe. We followed exactly the same route and adhered to almost exactly the same schedule as we have done so many times before. We took I-20 east to Shreveport, I-49 south to Layfayette and our first stop for gas, I-10 east to Baton Rouge, I-12 east to Slidell, LA, I-10 east to Pensacola, FL for dinner and our second gas stop and then I-10 east to Madison, FL and our stay for the night.

On Sunday, we took I-10 towards Jacksonville, stopping just a few miles west of the city for gas again. For our final run to Fort Lauderdale, we took I-295 around the southwest side of Jacksonville to hook up with I-95 south towards Miami. Three hundred miles later, we got off on Broward Blvd. and took that east to get to the condo, pulling in to the condo parking area about four.

We unloaded everything, got Zack situated, set up both laptops and then made our traditional arrival frozen drink and sat down by the dock. Dinner at The Floridian completed our by now routine trip down here.

 

Boat Traffic on the New River

As we do on each and every trip down here, we photographed boats passing the condo. Big boats. Small boats. Private boats. Commercial boats. The variety is endless.

For sailboats and catamarans, we always have to take the pictures vertically:

Sometimes, Fred spots an interesting boat from his vantage point at the living room table, but by the time we get out with the camera it has gone some ways upriver or downriver. This is why some of the pictures don't show the boats side-on. Of course, sometimes the river traffic is not a boat at all.


Most of the boats abide by the rules (particularly as to speed), but if they don't, there is the occasional police patrol. There really isn't much to say about each individual picture, but there is always a collection of them on these Florida trip pages. If you want to see a selection of this trip's boats, just click on the thumbnail images below:


 

The Great American Beach Party

On May 24th, Fort Lauderdale residents and tourists were invited to kick off the summer with the 5th Annual Great American Beach Party. The festival was held on a blocked-off section of Fort Lauderdale Beach from Las Olas Boulevard all the way up to the bonnet House- about a mile and a half of beachfront. Highlights of the free family event included live bands and a classic car show. Of course, we had to go over and see what it was like, and so we rode our bikes to the beach where we could walk them through the festival.


We had a lot of fun walking the bikes along the beach; the crowd was fairly sizeable, although I imagine there would have been more people earlier for the sand sculpting contest and that there would be more later for the live music.

Actually, I didn't originally bring my camera, but when I saw all the classic cars (see the next section), I thought I should go back and get it. I left Fred sitting on the beach wall while I took about 30 minutes to bike home, grab my camera, and return.

You can click on the thumbnails below to see a few of the pictures we snapped here at the Beach Party:


I also took a couple of movies while we were here at the Beach Party, and you can use the players below to watch them:

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The Classic Car Show at The Great American Beach Party

It was the classic cars that prompted me to go back and get my camera. There were so many of them that I thought friends like Lou and Brad, who are "into" classic cars, would enjoy seeing them. Not all of you will; I understand that. So this time, the thumbnail images below are larger- large enough that those of you not car buffs might just look at the thumbnails. But, as usual, if you click on one of the thumbnail images, you will be presented with the full-size picture. Have fun looking!

 

Zack in the Condo

As I said earlier, we have brought Zack with us for his seventh trip down to Fort Lauderdale, and many of the pictures we took in and around the condo included him. Here are two of the most common poses:


Nap Solidarity

I Read Wired, Don't You?

It is always fun to have one of our animals with us, and Zack is the perfect traveling companion- no fuss, no muss.


Oftentimes, Zack is in the third chair at the table; I guess this particular time the light was a bit too bright for a good nap. Anyway, we took a number of other candid shots of Zack around the condo, and you can click on the thumbnail images below to have a look at some of them:


But Zack just doesn't hang out inside the condo; we take him outside as well.

 

Zack Goes For a Walk

For some time now, we have been taking Zack out for walks around Riverview Gardens. He seems always to like going to the inner courtyard- for a couple of reasons, I think. First, there is lots of vegetation there and thus lots of smells for him to experience. He can also run through, around and into said vegetation. The second reason is that the courtyard is secluded; he is shielded from the noise of the boats on the river, and not many folks walk through the courtyard when we are there. He seems to dislike both loud noise and people he doesn't know.


For that reason, I have begun taking Zack not to the courtyard, but across the parking lot to the sandy pathway that leads from SE 4th Street to the dock where the Water Taxi stops. There is not nearly as much vegetation here, but there is grass and shrubbery plus a couple of large trees that have sloping trunks up which Zack can climb. The other virtues of this location are that it familiarizes Zack with the noise of the boats on the river, he gets to hang out with his friends, the blue jays and cardinals, and, most importantly, there are people walking along the path frequently, and Zack can get used to them.

I think there is another reason why I bring him here, too. That is that every time the water taxi stops and a group of people get off, I can count on at least one of the folks walking by to take notice of Zack on his leash and either admire the cat or ask me questions about what it's like to "walk a cat." (Of course, I explain that unlike dogs, which you can get to walk where you want them to, the only thing you can do with cats is walk with them where they want to go.) Zack is certainly photogenic; click on the thumbnail images below for a few shots of Zack on his leash:


So for all of these reasons, I like to bring Zack over here to the Water Taxi stop, although I do have to carry him across our parking lot, since he would have to head towards the street (which has those noisy cars on it). He can really squirm in my arms if a car comes by while I am carrying him over to the area where he can walk.


Zack Climbing a Tree (he has his claws)

Since he has his claws, Zack can climb trees easily, and he likes to do that when I bring him here. You can see a good picture of him ten or so feet up the tree trunk at right, and can click on the thumbnail images below for some additional views:

(I noticed on one picture of Zack that Fred's camera was set on taking three shots quickly and merging them together, and I reset it right away. But when I looked at the pictures later, I found one where I had apparently moved the camera. But if you are "into" mysticism, you might find the picture interesting.)

Of course, I took more pictures of Zack on the outings we made to the Water Taxi stop- too many to include here. But if you click on the thumbnail images below, you can see some of the best of them:

One of the most entertaining things about coming out here for our walks is that there must currently be a couple of bird's nests close by in the trees and bushes, because there are pairs of both blue jays and cardinals that always seem to be around. And the blue jays are very territorial and protective, and are always coming down very close to Zack and I, chirping and screeching to run us off. Zack seems not to be overly interested in them, though he will watch them intently. I made three movies and one still picture of the blue jays, and have put them in a matrix below. The still picture is in the upper left; you can watch the movies using the players in the upper right and the lower left and right:

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Zack and I made a number of outings here to the Water Taxi stop, and I have merged the pictures into the material above. But on one of our visits, Zack saw something that he hadn't seen before, and I wasn't sure what he made of it.

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On this particular outing, we were treated to the appearance of one of the large iguanas that inhabit the area around Riverview Gardens. This one came across the seawall going west to east, and Zack and I happened to be near the west edge of that wall when the iguana made his appearance.

I made a movie of Zack watching the iguana and of the iguana making his way across the seawall, and you can use the player at left to watch it.

I also took some still pictures of the iguana, and you can click on the thumbnail images below to look at them:


Well, that's about it for my walks with Zack, and that's also about it for this trip to Florida. We left Fort Lauderdale on the 29th, and by the afternoon of the 30th were back home again in Dallas.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.


July 1-6, 2014: Guy Moves to San Antonio
March 15-31, 2014: Our Spring Trip to Florida
Return to the Index for 2014