Silver Springs

Silver Springs State Park

If you’ve never visited Silver Springs State Park, you may not be aware of all it has to offer. Click here. Most are familiar with the glass bottom boat ride and that’s it. But there is much more to it than that. I  remember visiting the park when I was about 10. The glass bottom boat sticks out most in my mind– that and the monkeys. Yes, I said monkeys;) I apologize for all the photos.

 

Silver Springs is a park with multiple fresh water springs. The water is crystal clear to bright, clear blue. The blue areas seem to

be deeper. In some areas it is 85 feet deep, it only looks about 25 ft deep. Remember that if you decide to go kayaking. Swimming isn’t allowed where we were. And really, it’s covered with gators! This little guy was sleeping on the bank. A much larger gator decided to swim around us later on on the kayak trip. My youngest daughter was scared he would knock her off the boat. He didn’t. He was more concerned with swimming to the other side of the river.  

We also had a chance to spot the elusive Rhesus monkeys that live in forests surrounding the river.  Ages ago, Tarzan was filmed at Silver Springs. The old black and white shows. After filming they just turned them loose. They also filmed parts of the old Creature from the Black Lagoon and the James Bond film Moonraker.

There are a few hiking/walking trails surrounding the park. They give you the opportunity to see the natural surroundings. We came across turtles, birds, bunnies, and snakes. Watch where you step.

The big draw to the park is the glass bottom boat. Out pilot has been leading boat tours since 1955! He was awesome. He showed us where some of the springs bubbled through cracks in the river and pointed out wildlife that might have slipped by us. One of the most interesting things, only visible by glass bottom boat, is a sunken Spanish ship/boat. Most of the boat has rotted away but enough is left to make out it was a boat.

So how clear is the water? I’m glad you asked. This photo was taken from an overlook on the walkway next to one of the deepest sections of the river. Near where you board the boats. I think it is 85 feet deep here. It was gorgeous. I will leave you with one more photo. My oldest fell in love with all the Spanish moss. We have dozens of photos of just moss 😉

 

Happy Travels,

-CK

Ponce de Leon Springs, Florida

Ponce de Leon Springs

If you don’t know, Florida is resting on a giant aquifer. That is the reason the state has fresh water springs and sink holes.    Basically, Florida is one giant marshland;)

The first stop on our road trip was Ponce de Leon Springs. Click here for the real stats. The spring is fresh water and crystal clear. Let’s not forget COLD! The water stays at 72* year round. Surrounding the spring is woodlands

with trails. Those are fun. You get to see where the high water line is.

The water depth is also misleading. The water behind that tree is clear like tap water, giving the impression that it’s only knee deep. It was quite a shock when I climbed in to discover it was waist deep.

We visited the spring twice, once on the beginning of the trip and once at the end. The first time only my daughter the mermaid was willing to get in. She even admitted the water was cold. Of course, we knew that from her blue fingers and toes.

It’s actually close enough for us to visit on weekends during summer, but the park is small and fills up quick. We don’t have that kind of clear water where I live. It’s a bit mesmerizing to swim and see the fish, turtles, etc swim around you. Take goggles, it makes exploration easier.

-CK

 

Back on the #row80 Boat

Now that Row80 has a link, I’m back. I can’t explain why the link even matters, but it does. I was lost without it. Don’t you hate it when you put your Ipod on shuffle and you have to keep skipping Christmas music ;(  On with the goals.

www-ckrich-com 2017 Goals for Row80

  • Write 200,000 words. I did write a tiny bit yesterday. maybe 200 words or so. I stopped because it’s been so long since I worked on my WIP. I decided I should read what I already have. This morning I printed the pages out, intending to read them later today. Looking at the printed sheets, I need to adjust the settings for page setup. No clue how to do that in scrivener. 2,401 words written this year.
  • Edit 600 pages. I settled on a short fantasy story. I’ll pass this on to critique group in a few weeks. Since I just worked on a cozy, my next work for editing is one that might be called magic realism. Maybe. Not real sure of the genre. It has a cool twist at the end. That brings the yearly total to 227/600 pages.
  • Walk 2,600,000 steps.
    I’m making slow progress. I walked 6.3 miles this week. I also added 15 minutes of calisthenics. Not every day. I’m not crazy. I hate calisthenics. 159,702 /2.6 millionMy goal is 50,000 steps a week. I fell just shy of the mark with 45,422 steps.
  • Read 80 books. I finished Corroded by Carrie Dalby.  A wonderful YA read. I also finished reading Plot &Structure by James Scott Bell.  Another book I highly recommend. I wish I had read it years ago. I started A Monster Calls last night. Amazing so far. I stayed up way past my bedtime reading. Finished over half of the book already. Completed 8/80 books this year.
  • Find the shipwreck at Ft. Morgan. This is a goal for summer so, check back later.
  • Complete devotional.  I restarted this for February and I am on track. So far. Dropping. Don’t ask.

There you go. Not bad. Even though I didn’t meet two goals, I still made progress. Let’s face it. Any time I spend moving is a good thing. I think I need to memorize the opening dance sequence of Guardians of the Galaxy. No, I will not post it on Youtube when I’m done. I’m not breaking the internet.

How did your week go?

-CK

 

 

 

February 2017 TBR List

How did I forget to make a TBR list for January? It’s just as well. I read weird stuff, and spent most of my time on one book 😉

Before I jump to the TBR, this is what I read in January:

  • In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, and DurnaDuran by John Taylor
  • Fortune Hunter (Miss Fortune Mystery #8) by Jana Deleon
  • Paris by Edward Rutherford (over 800 pages!)
  • The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman
  • Emotion Amplifiers by Angela Ackerman
  • The Negative Trait Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman

That’s 6/80 books for the year. All of them were really good, just in different ways.

the-2017mother-daughterreading-challengeThere’s plenty of time to join the fun with the Mother-Daughter Reading Challenge. I’ve marked 3 off that list.

February TBR

I’ve started reading 3 books, those top the pile.

  • Corroded by Carrie Dalby- Dalby is a local author. This marks the second book of hers I’ve read. It’s a YA book featuring a boy with Asperger’s. So far, so good. The teens communicate through emails on a daily basis so I might use this for my epistolary novel.
  • Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that GripsReaders from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell. That title is entirely too long. I’m taking my time as I read, only a chapter a day. I’m working through exercises as I go. So far– Excellent
  • Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Denis- I love this movie. It’s one of my all time favorites. As a kid, I wanted to live with Auntie Mame, forget the circus. This is on my Kindle and I hope to finish it. So far it follows the movie fairly well. This will take care of the novel set during the 20s!

Other books I might read:

  • A Monster Calls by Parick Ness- As soon as I brought this book home, my youngest stole it. She devoured it within 48 hours. She gives her seal of approval.
  • Fantastic Creatures by A Fellowship of Fantasy Authors– including me 🙂

Reading 4 books this month may be pushing it, but I will try.

What’s on your TBR pile?

-CK

 

 

 

Vacation Planning

I’ve been busy planning summer vacation. We haven’t traveled in a while, so I am really looking forward to this. No, I will not tell you when I’m leaving. Let’s be real. It is this summer, before August. Where am I going?

San Antonio, Texas

Actually, I’ve been planning this trip for years on Pinterest. This is a special trip. My mother (Hi Mom!) grew up in San Antonio and she would take us there every few years. My children have never been. This trip is like reliving my childhood and sharing family history with the wee ones all at the same time. So I am really excited.

Things I will not do in Texas:

  • Camping– I did look into a dude ranch that takes tourist on a camping trip. It was expensive and they stop camping in February. I imagine because it’s too hot after that and the tourist might burst into flames. My hubby really wants to go camping. Dude, they have tarantulas! He should know me better by now.
  • Theme parks– I’m not driving 9 hours to go to a theme park. I live next to Florida. You can’t walk a block without running into a theme park.
  • Eat fast food– I may have to break this one, but I’ll try hard not to. San Antonio is like New Orleans, you plan your day around where you want to eat.
  • Buy souvenirs– Unless you include the ice chest I plan on stuffing with food before I leave as souvenirs. Truly, it’s all about the food.

Things I will do in Texas:

  • Walk everywhere– Once I reach San Antonio, my sedentary lifestyle will come to an abrupt halt. I plan on walking all over the city. The Alamo, El Mercado, The River Walk, Breckenridge Park- all of these places will be thoroughly enjoyed and explored.
  • Explore a cave– Believe it or not, San Antonio has 3 or 4 caves within a short driving distance. I don’t know which one we will visit. I love caves. Let me know if you have been to one.
  • Meet Zebras– That’s right, zebras. My youngest loves Zebras and amazingly enough there is a wildlife park that has free range zebras. You can drive your car around and they walk up to the window. I hope we don’t get drooled on.
  • Tubing– Texas is a dry state, not alcohol wise. They do have a few rivers that are known for tubing. My oldest wants to try this. Again, no decision on where.
  • Walk through the St. Anthony Hotel– My great grandparents meet at this swanky hotel. One was a cook the other a maid. My great grandmother was an immigrant from Sweden and didn’t speak English or Spanish. I know there’s a story there.
  • Visit Mission Espada– Family history says we have peeps buried here. I don’t know if it’s true, but a visit should be fun.

That’s all so far. I’m still planning and need to make reservations. If you have been to San Antonio let me know where I should visit and eat. I have plans to eat at Mi Tierra’s twice, maybe more 🙂 We love mexican and BBQ. Actually we love it all.

Where do you want to go this summer?

-CK

 

Mobile is Weird, part 2

I’m continuing with the weirdness that is Mobile. The city has been around since 1702 (I think), it’s had plenty of time to become eccentric.

13. Azalea Trail Maids- These “maids” are high school seniors. A handful are chosen from each school. The girls act as ambassadors to the city. They can be found at most events in and around the city. They even travel out of town. My oldest thought they were princesses when she was little. Every dress is different and there is only one pink. She’s the Queen.

14.  Don’t touch the fishing pole if it’s not yours. This should go without saying, but ask permission first. If it belongs to a southerner they won’t tell you to leave it alone. That would be rude. But they will question your upbringing.

15.  Sushi is pretty bait.  Okay, I made that one up. Sushi is becoming more popular here, but most people are a bit shy of it. I have tried it and don’t care for it. I can appreciate it from a far.

16. There are 2 classic ingredients for most desserts. Pecans and coconut. Almost everything sweet has either pecans or coconut in it. Most have both. I don’t care for either. Any church luncheon or social group buffet will have an assortment of cakes, cookies, and bars all made with pecans and coconuts.

17. Don’t swim at dusk or dawn. If you venture south to the Gulf of Mexico. We have the most beautiful sugar white beaches.  The seafood is to die for. That’s just an expression. If you swim at dusk or dawn you run the risk of feeding the apex predator that swims down there. Those are the prime feeding times of the local shark population. Just for the record, just because you don’t see a fin doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

18.  Don’t wade near the reeds.  The Mobile Delta is a great place to go camping and swimming. There are plenty of spots to canoe. A word of warning, the shark is not the only apex predator we have. Alligators love to hide in the reeds and tall grass near the shore. Especially during the day.

19. Don’t feed the gators. If you get caught there is a $500 fine. YouTube is full of videos of people throwing marshmallows at the gators. It may be fun and the gators might enjoy it, but it’s illegal.

20.  Mobilians monogram everything, even underwear.  No explanation needed.

21.  If you kill it, you clean it, and eat it.  Lower Alabama is a sportsman’s paradise. We have hunting and fishing of every kind. I learned  at my daddy’s knee as a tiny girl the golden rule of fishing: you catch it you clean it. By the time I was 8 I could use his knife and gut/clean a fish. By the age of 10 I could fry it.  And yes, that includes baiting your own hook. The same goes for hunting, but I don’t hunt.

22. We drop a moon pie!  Chattanooga may be the birthplace of the legendary moon pie, but on New Year’s Eve we drop a monster sized one off the top of a hotel at midnight. How weird is that?

That’s it for this installment of how weird Mobile is. I know there’s more.

-CK

 

 

Spring Fever

I’m having a hard time concentrating. The weather is beautiful. Forget housework and writing, I want to go to the beach. It’s still too cold to swim, but it would be nice just sitting on the sand and watch the dolphins swim. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on Pinterst “pinning” fun things to do this summer.

Here’s a nice picture to get you ready for summer:

 

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Our first trip to the beach is usually Mother’s Day. I may have to move that up. I’m thinking a nice day trip before the crazy Spring Break crowd hits. My youngest tells me her gills are dry. She was voted most likely to be a mermaid by her swim team. She’s swimming with a winter swim group, but apparently 3 times a week isn’t enough. Can’t say I blame her. I love the water.

Yesterday was Super Tuesday. I hope all who had primaries voted. I’m thinking of building a time machine so I can just skip the next four years. No matter who wins, it’s going to be scary! No more politics, I promise.

On a happy note. Fellow ROW80 participant Gloria Weber has a new release out today. She was kind enough to do a guest post. Click on her name to zip on over and read all about it. My copy arrived this morning! I love pre-orders it’s like Christmas.

Row80

Participate in the weekly Health/Fitness Challenge at church.  Goal this week attend two workout classes and one day on treadmill.  Total failure.

–Read 4 books a month, roughly 1 book a week.  I just started reading Charming by Elliot James. I love it so far. It’s funny and snarky.
-Edit book 2 in my mystery seriesNada! I’m tossing this goal for now.
-Work on self-publishing Book 1. This is my critique project. I have submitted the first 5 chapters.
-Institute Meatless Monday. We had mostly meatless Tuesday, so I’m counting that. It was stir-fry with very little meat.
-Keep up with the local Critique Group.  I have four pieces to read this round. I’m waiting a little closer to the meeting to read them.
-At some point I need to write a story I’ve plotted.  Goal this week is: 6,000 words. Not feeling it this week. I think it’s Spring Fever. I have 2,327 words so far this week. I’m down by 673. I am writing every day, but it’s hard. I keep watching the Bluejays torture my dog. They steal his food. I’m making progress, it’s just slow. I did some research this morning on European explorers in the coastal south. I also googled water quality and drowning. 🙂 Makes you wonder what I’m writing…

Edit/publish Mystic Brew.   Done!

What’s the strangest thing you have researched for a WIP?

-CK