A Travellerspoint blog

Cuba

Here I Come

Your bibliography for this section includes The Handsomest Man in Cuba by Lynette Chiang. Oh, how I wish I were this kind of traveler, On her own and pedaling a bike, she spent three months touring Cuba.
I, on the other hand, will be on a bus with 23 other old people on a Road Scholar tour. Keep your fingers crossed that I can cope with the group dynamics - and they with mine!
Getting the Tour Rules

Getting the Tour Rules


Because I do not have any pictures to post yet, I am providing you with this link to another's photo gallery. I will not have internet access while in Cuba, so I will update my blog after I return on February 15.

You might also be interested in these current political blogs , this thumbnail history of Cuba, and links on Huffington Post.

In preparation for my trip, I have read only the following books:
Telex from Cuba
Havana Nocturne

I am going to download a few more digital and audio books to take with me. You might want to consider the following:
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
Cuba: A Traveler's Literary Companion
Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina Garcia
This is Cuba by Ben Corbett
Trading with the Enemy, Tom Miller
Havana Real, by Yoani Sanchez

Hasta luego por dos semanas.

Posted by pscotterly 17:47 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Cavorting with Cousins

Palmetto and Punta Gorda, Florida

This was the time to see family I have not seen in years - in some cases years, and years, and years. I even met the wife of a cousin I have never met and they have been married forty years.
I don't know if we actually cavorted, but a good time was had by all.

I stayed with my cousin Bobbie and her husband Hank at their RV park.
Ol Chevy Hangs Out with the Big Boys

Ol Chevy Hangs Out with the Big Boys


After a hurricane wiped out their business a few years ago, they have toured the country and lived in their RV. Bobbie is a self-published author who also has compiled a great RV cookbook.
Lunch on the Patio

Lunch on the Patio


Bobbie and I took a very nice kayak ride down Frog Creek. Guess who forgot to take her camera. I hope to return and take another trip later in February so I can show how remote you feel even though the highway is just around the corner.

Bobbie's father and mother live just an hour down the Tamiami. May we all be as sharp and active when we are pushing 90 as these two are.
Cousin Gary, visiting from Angola, Indiana, helped me face the wet innards of my Roof Bag. We had had a downpour two of the last four days. Everything was wet, yet there was no water!
Cousin Gary Clears the Roof

Cousin Gary Clears the Roof


I decided nothing was worth the hassle of the Roof Bag. There was even some question why I had been carrying some of the items found.
I Needed a RoofBag for This

I Needed a RoofBag for This


I can explain the rolling pin, honest!

After a hearty meal
Good Cooks in the Kitchen

Good Cooks in the Kitchen


Let's Eat

Let's Eat


we played some rounds of 65 and 31. You need a thick skin and lots of stamina to play cards in this house. But you will definitely laugh hard and long.
Losers Pout Winners Fight

Losers Pout Winners Fight

Posted by pscotterly 19:51 Archived in USA Tagged florida Comments (1)

Cavorting with Classmates

Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida

What a treat to be hosted by the Morsches in their pond-side condominimum
Still at His Desk

Still at His Desk

Still in the Kitchen

Still in the Kitchen


It's for sale - contact them if you want a beautiful place in Lakewood Ranchnear Bradenton, Florida!
Jan and I fulfilled one of my long-time desires to tour the Ringling Circus Museum.
They have an amazing miniature circus on display that encompasses the same floor space as a three-ring circus tent. It does not lend itself to photography, so you will just need to visit yourself. I think the fact that Howard Tibbel has spent 55 years making this miniature circus as the actual model itself!
Ringling Museum Grounds

Ringling Museum Grounds

The Long and Short of It

The Long and Short of It

Slim Pickings in the Rose Garden

Slim Pickings in the Rose Garden

Off to Join the Circus

Off to Join the Circus

In the Ringling Secret Garden

In the Ringling Secret Garden

For a Puzzle

For a Puzzle

Clowning Around

Clowning Around


On the Grounds of the Ringling Museum

On the Grounds of the Ringling Museum


I would tell you to eat at Lucky Pelican, but it has become so popular that it is too crowded. The food is excellent, but it was so noisy and crowded inside that I threw a hissy fit and made us sit outdoors on the patio.
A real experience was to attend a match at the Sarasota Polo Club. A number of years ago, I had attended a match in Lexington, Kentucky. However, I was never quite able to break into the polo clique. This time, I had Jan and Bob to help me understand what was going on.
Presentation of Colors

Presentation of Colors

Presentation of Players

Presentation of Players

Polo Players

Polo Players

On the Field

On the Field


Tailgating at the Polo Match

Tailgating at the Polo Match


We also headed down to the Sarasota Bay for cocktails and oysters on the half shell (where I was forced to give the restaurant a bad review.)
Be sure and stop and see the Unconditional Surrender statue.
Unconditional Surrender

Unconditional Surrender

At the Foot

At the Foot

Posted by pscotterly 15:47 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Cedar Key, Florida

Sunset, Sunrise Gently Flow the Days

I saw a museum state park identified on the map. I had passed a few others the day before after closing when I could not find a place to stay.
As the day was fairly new and the sun was shining, I wasn't going to let this one fade from view without checking it out.
And that's when I discovered Cedar Key, Florida.
I ate my lunch in the city park on the beach.
Relax on the White Sugar Sand

Relax on the White Sugar Sand


I visited the town's museum.
I visited thestate park museum.
Cedar Key State Park Museum

Cedar Key State Park Museum

Pathway into the Park

Pathway into the Park


I drove by the Beachfront Motel. Turned around and rented a room.
It's nothing super fancy, but it is on the corner with beatiful sunset views.
What a Sunset View

What a Sunset View


Good Night

Good Night


That was Sunday night.
Monday morning, I got up and decided to stay another day.
Good Morning

Good Morning


What a Sunrise View

What a Sunrise View


By Monday afternoon, I went back to the office and told them I wanted to "re-up."
Canoers Beat the Approaching Dark

Canoers Beat the Approaching Dark


Back at the State Park, a lady pointed out an eagle's nest.
Eagle's Nest

Eagle's Nest


I returned frequently to keep vigil.
Once, I saw the parent feeding and the little one's head sticking up out of the nest.
Another time, I felt a vibration above my head and realized a parent was soaring overhead and then dive-bombed down into the canal. I think it was also trying to scare away some other birds that were floating around the around the area. I watched this spectacle for at least 20 minutes.

The gulf around here is so tranquil.
Dozens of Knolls and Keys

Dozens of Knolls and Keys


There is no surf. It is quite a surprise to notice the difference in the tide when you don't even realize it is going in or out.
Tide's Out

Tide's Out

Tide's Up

Tide's Up


I have heard people exclaim, "We were just kayaking there yesterday evening!"
Many people come to fish, canoe, kayak, and bike. There are enough good cafes, restaurants, and bars to keep you full and smiling.
I, of course, came to enjoy the flow of time.
Sunset at High Tide

Sunset at High Tide


Sunrise Over the Keys

Sunrise Over the Keys

You Can't Have Too Many Sunsets

You Can't Have Too Many Sunsets


Time to move on - friends and family are wondering where I am.

Posted by pscotterly 05:42 Archived in USA Tagged florida Comments (1)

This is Not Responsible Hunting

What Do You See?

This is deer and wild hoghunting country. So I learned from a camouflage-clothed man in the Hampton Inn.
I had seen many pickup trucks parked along the road with hunters in the bed, their rifles aimed towards the woods.
Somewhere in Dixie County, Florida, I drove off the road to get a look at what lay behind the rows of trees that line each side of highway 98/19.
This doesn't look like a hunter's vehicle, but no one was in it. With all the trash lying around, this was not the first car that had been in this spot.
Please Carry It In Carry It Out

Please Carry It In Carry It Out


I drove down the road about a half mile and discovered a couple hunting camps - and a row of dumpsters with a big surprise!
Lane to a Hunting Camp

Lane to a Hunting Camp


I couldn't believe that here was the carcass of a butchered bear cub. It seems unlikely it was pulled out of the dumpster. There are no predators here big enough to pull something this heavy out an empty dumpster. It seemed like humans did the butchering and threw the remains here.
Carcass View 1

Carcass View 1

Carcass View 2

Carcass View 2


Further North, I had seen bear crossing signs along the highway. I had not seen any for at least 50 miles.
I wanted to go into one of the camps and complain to someone. I am not afraid of bear hunters in Ontario and Windy Lake, but all of this seemed too creepy to explore further on my own.
I took these pictures and headed back to the highway.
About a mile down the road was a National Forest building. I made a U turn.
The ranger did not believe me.
"Are you sure it wasn't wild hog or a deer?"
Old and urban as I am, I know a bear cub carcass when I see one. He also believed me when he saw the pictures.

He said bear had not been spotted here for years and that it is illegal to kill bear anywhere in Florida. He said perhaps someone hunting further north for wild hogs with dogs got into an altercation with the cub and took it upon themselves to do away with the bear. Then, they probably drove down here and discarded the carcass.
He said he was going to investigate.
It wasn't until I was about an hour down the road that it dawned on me I should have asked to go along for the ride.
Now when I enlarge the pictures on my computer the foot looks like a cloven hoof instead of a paw and the nose looks like a snout.
But when I stood 6 feet from it, I was SURE it was a bear cub.
Regardless, wild hog or bear, the carcass should not have been left like this next to the dumpster.

Posted by pscotterly 05:23 Archived in USA Tagged florida Comments (1)

Into Florida

More Sights I Have Never Seen

I drove highway 98 out of Gulf Shores and into Florida. I was so amazed at the first bridge I crossed , I made a U turn and tried to find a place to capture a photo.
Out of Alabama Into Florida

Out of Alabama Into Florida


Little did I know at the time that I would cross many, many more as I made my way south along the Gulf.
One of Dozens

One of Dozens


I stopped in Pensacola, Florida to visit Pensacola Historical Museum. Most of you will find little of interest here, but be sure to go two blocks down the street to visit the historical section of town.
Pennsacola Museum

Pennsacola Museum

Museums, Commercial, Homes Abound

Museums, Commercial, Homes Abound

Pensacola Historic District

Pensacola Historic District

Take a Tour

Take a Tour


Just at sunset I found the Inn on Destin Harbor and enjoyed the view then and also at sunrise.
Sunset on Chocktawhatchee Bay

Sunset on Chocktawhatchee Bay

Sunrise  on Chocktawhatchee Bay

Sunrise on Chocktawhatchee Bay


There are at least one million places to vacation or winter along this route.
Anywhere, NW Florida Gulf

Anywhere, NW Florida Gulf


Waiting and Watching

Waiting and Watching

Cats, Birds, and Men Go Fishing

Cats, Birds, and Men Go Fishing


And then you cross the bridge somewhere past Panama City and the world changes.
This Is One Desolate Road

This Is One Desolate Road


Beach Beats Prairie

Beach Beats Prairie


All the state parks were full , but I assumed I would run into another charming little motel.
Surprise!
The area is now so desolate, I might as well have been in North Dakota after dark. Except here in Florida, 20 feet either side of the road and you will fall into the sea, a swamp, a river, or a critter-infested forest!
I stopped at a crossroads gas mart for a sandwich and a beverage (it was an odd day) as nourishment and figured I would just pull off the road and sleep in the van. Unfortunately, this is coastal Florida and the church parking lots are not as plentiful as in the heartland of the deep South. Neither are there any scenic overlooks because this strip of 98 cuts through interior forestland.
Finally about 9 PM, I entered the town of Perry, Florida and found a Hampton Inn - at least I earned a handful of Hilton points! Even Trip Advisor can identify only three attractions in this area.
Hampton Not As Charming as Harbor Inn

Hampton Not As Charming as Harbor Inn


At breakfast the next day, I learned that many snowbirds like to travel through this area and it is great deer and hog hunting country.
I traveled some county roads to get a view of life in this part of the state.
A lot of timber...a lot of agriculture... a lot of shabby double wides....some gently used vacation homes....a few stately homes.
Florida Beaten Path

Florida Beaten Path

Cattle and Crops

Cattle and Crops


I finally stopped at a home that looked like the residents could tell me about the area. A man a bit older than I seemed glad to have someone ask for information. He was born in the area and lived here his entire life. His father before him had farmed the area his entire life.
Friendly Farmer's Home

Friendly Farmer's Home


Up until the 1960s the area had been crop farming as far as the eye could see - flat and sandy, the wind would blow the sand in drifts. Most farms were 120 acres. Then the government initiated programs for the farmers to turn their land into timber and reduce the soil erosion. Most did. Many sold their land to company's like Foley paper. Today, the farmers have beef cattle and dairy farms. The crops are winter rye on which the cattle can graze. Also, some peanuts and corn.
When you go on the shore, there are no ritzy, high-rise condos. Instead, along the canals and salt marsh are single family cottages where folks retire or come to fish and relax. No museums or fine dining; just a "qwik mart" and steamer house with beer and burgers.
I never knew this part of Florida existed. It has it's charm and I can understand why some folks are drawn to it - just like others are drawn to the remote areas of the Rocky Mountains or the desert.
Anywhere NE Florida Gulf

Anywhere NE Florida Gulf

Posted by pscotterly 02:21 Archived in USA Tagged florida Comments (1)

Some Disappointment, Some Relaxation

In Alabama

If you have followed my blog, you might remember I passed through Selma, Alabama a few months ago . The historic St. James Hotel was booked full and there didn't seem to be much else to do after I had viewed the historic bridge.
For the last two weeks, I have been trying to return to Selma, Albama to watch the movie Selma..
While still in Vicksburg, Mississippi, I learned there is no actual movie theater in Selma. The closest one is in a mall about 30 miles away.
The mayor thought the town should see the movie, so he worked with the studio to show the movie in the Walton Theater and special events center. Everyone in the town could see it for free.
I called and asked if I could attend. Even though I was not a resident, the theater managers told me if I could get there in time I could get in line for a ticket. Unfortunately, all the tickets were distributed before I could get there. The theater only seats 288. I was informed they might be having future showings. I should keep contacting them.
So, I went on to Gulf Shores to spend some relaxing days with my daughter-in-law's mother and her husband.
I thought I would do a bit of "van cleanup" and discovered that at some point my roof bag had started leaking! There was about four inches of water in it. I dried out a few items, had Charles help me cut a few slits in the bottom for drainage, and zipped it back up.
I couldn't face the mess and had no place to dry out the interior of the bag because, unfortunately, it rained much of the time I was there.

While in Gulf Shores, I took a short bike ride, saw a movie, strolled on the beach, saw some fishermen make catches on a day with spectacular surf, and saw a movie,
Sea Oats on a Sunny Day

Sea Oats on a Sunny Day


Gulf Shores Has a Movie Theater

Gulf Shores Has a Movie Theater

but I wanted to wait to see Selma in Selma and wasted an afternoon watching The Gambler.
We ate some very good meals at restaurants and at home.
Eating

Eating


There was also plenty of time in front of the TV while I knitted or read and my hosts relaxed.
Relaxing

Relaxing


A good time was had by all!
I kept calling the theater in Selma. I was told to keep in touch because they thought an announcement was going to be made on further showings. Finally, I learned there would be a public showing at 9:45 on Saturday January 17.
Everything else was going to be special showings because Oprah and all the other important people were coming to town for MLK birthday events.
You probably saw it all on the news. I was so disappointed; I wanted to be there; I wanted to walk on that bridge.
I knew there would be no place for me to stay; I would have had to line up to wait for tickets to be distributed at 8 PM; I knew I didn't want to watch the movie at 10 PM.
What a disappointment. But I am happy the people of Selma had this experience and will remember how brave their grandparents and neighbors were.
So, it is time for me to leave Alabama. Nothing else I can think of that I want to do around here. I will head on down the road sloshing my roof bag.

Posted by pscotterly 04:57 Archived in USA Tagged alabama Comments (1)

Mobile, Alabama

Surprised Again

I drove through Mobile, Alabama about 30 years ago - notice the emphasis on through.
At that time there was at least one paper mill. Maybe there still is, but at least it does not stink any more - notice the emphasis on stink.
In the interim, Mobile has cleaned up - probably at insistence from the EPA.
A historical district, small enough to pedal or walk, has a few nice restaurants, beautiful churches, and a handful of museums.
Bike Rack or Sculpture

Bike Rack or Sculpture

Old and New

Old and New


Have breakfast at The Spot of Tea.
I also liked my dinner at The Royal Scam,
City Offices

City Offices


Another thing I had not done for 30 years was stay at a Holiday Inn. Surprise, the Downtown Holiday Inn, had a very good weekend rate and tastefully decorated. I had a room on the 16th floor and could watch the start of the Mobile Marathon.
Lining Up for Mobile Marathon

Lining Up for Mobile Marathon

Lining Up for the PortaPotty

Lining Up for the PortaPotty

Southern Belles

Southern Belles


The Skyview circular lounge (no, it doesn't rotate) provides a great evening view.
I went up to listen to the music, but was required to have my ID on me - regardless of being 70. I also noticed that everyone was dressed up for town and I was in the same pair of jeans I had been driving in for three days, so perhaps they weren't really worried about my ID but my attire.
Skyview Lounge

Skyview Lounge


Did you know that Mobile had the first Mardi Gras in the US in 1703!
I skipped the Carnival Museum, but rather sorry I did.
Christmas to Mardi Gras

Christmas to Mardi Gras


I did enjoy the History Museum of Mobile and the Richards House decorated by the local DAR. The volunteers actually thought I rode my bike all the way from Colorado!

Posted by pscotterly 13:37 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Because Tina Asked for It

Star City, Arkansas

I had a special request to visit Star City, Arkansas.
Because it was on a two-lane state highway in the general direction I was traveling, I was delighted to seek it out.
Star City Town Square

Star City Town Square


Upon arrival, I discovered it could be any 100+ year-old town anywhere in Arkansas - or perhaps anywhere in the south.
The downtown district had little to offer. This is what you could see around the clock tower square, where the court house formerly stood.
Information

Information


Commercial Area

Commercial Area


Industrial Area

Industrial Area


Keeping the Town Safe

Keeping the Town Safe


Downtown Business Area

Downtown Business Area


One of the buildings had a historical designation.
Why

Why


Saved from Demolition

Saved from Demolition


But this was what it had saved. I think this storefront was used for martial arts training.
In the car looking for a restaurant, I could only find a Mexican restaurant and one or two fast food spots - down here, Krystal hamburger is popular.
Housing varied:
Anybody's House

Anybody's House

Somebody's House

Somebody's House

Around Town

Around Town


Going Out of Town

Going Out of Town


There were also some fine looking horse and feeder cattle farms and an occasional McMansion along the roadway,
Many folk around here believe in proclaiming their faith, but this guy was extreme even for the area.
Because Only Christians Believe in Hell

Because Only Christians Believe in Hell


I'm Not Driving Up That Hill

I'm Not Driving Up That Hill


I felt safer walking in South Chicago than driving up this hill.
But rural and small town Arkansas is a delight to see and fun to travel through, so don't delete if off your list of places to see or be from.

Posted by pscotterly 07:30 Archived in USA Comments (0)

In Hot Springs

It's Kinda Cool

Windy at the Top of the Tower

Windy at the Top of the Tower


The wind is fierce and the temperature keeps dropping in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Of course, I came for the thermal bath treatment.
Buckstaff Baths on Bathhouse Row

Buckstaff Baths on Bathhouse Row


I went to the only open bathhouse that still uses the same techniques and equipment used at the beginning of the 20th century - the Buckstaff.
No Luxury Here

No Luxury Here


It was obvious the decor and equipment were original.
However, it was still fun to sit in the same sitz bath that perhaps Mae West sat in years ago. I can only hope it had been cleaned since then.
They would not allow me to take more pictures.
Perhaps it is because the entire staff wears old faded, flare or boot cut jeans and logo T-shirts with sneakers or imitation UGG boots. Not exactly spa attendant attire either today or in the past.
The water could have been hotter and colder. The needle shower sharper and the steam cabinet treatment longer.
The massage was pretty good - EXCEPT the masseuse never shut up for a second. She related in full every episode of HGTV Tiny House. Never pausing long enough for me to interrupt, I closed my ears for fear I would scream out "Sut the F up!"
If you come, try the Quapaw bathhouse. They were closed for their annual cleaning. A local hinted it might have a "more gracious level of service."
If Mae West didn't grace the porcelain at the Buckstaff, perhaps she sat on the bar stool where I lunched at the historic Ohio Club.
Historic Ohio Club

Historic Ohio Club


Beginning in the late '20s, organized crime ran the scene here for almost 40 years. As usual, in cahoots with the local police department.
The hot spring water does not have sulfur. Supposedly just healthy minerals.
One of the Hot Springs

One of the Hot Springs


Many near and far residents arrive at the various taps around town and fill a trunkload of jugs to use as drinking water at home.
Fill Your Home Jugs Here

Fill Your Home Jugs Here


The water is now sterilized when it was determined the natural 150 degree temperature did not keep it safe enough.
Bill Clinton Boyhood Home

Bill Clinton Boyhood Home


And, of course, this is the boyhood home of Bill Clinton.
Leave Us Alone

Leave Us Alone


Understandably, the current owners have posted signs to keep looky-lous at bay.

Unlike Little Rock, I was the only one with an "I Miss Bill" bumper sticker.

Posted by pscotterly 08:18 Archived in USA Tagged arkansas Comments (0)

(Entries 41 - 50 of 172) « Page 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9 10 .. »