Sunday, September 12, 2010

Florida Photo Finale: Flagler Beach Visit (Part 2)

This entry contains more of my Florida trip pictures ...

... including this one of the Atlantic seashore as seen along A1A in Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area, Flagler Beach, Fla., 4:43PM, Sept. 7, 2010.

My dad and I were driving back from Daytona Beach to Flagler Beach. It's about 18 miles from the Daytona Beach Main Street pier to his house.

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My apologies for the delay in updating this blog. The timing of my return from Florida right ahead of the weekend made it difficult to find the necessary stretch of time.

As it is, it is Sunday early to almost mid afternoon and I'm only now getting up (at nearly 2PM) and I don't want to lose my day entirely by staying inside and posting a lengthy entry. It is always easier for me to update during the work week.

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First, though, a weather update ...

Today is an overcast, cool, damp day with lingering drizzle following what actually turned out to be a -- very needed -- rainy night.

Rainfall totals were National Airport (DCA): 0.67"; BWI Airport" 0.81", and Dulles Airport (IAD): 0.46" through 2PM. This was the first measurable rainfall since Aug. 22nd at DCA and Aug. 23rd at BWI and IAD.

And we're running big deficits for the year: through yesterday (Sept. 11th) and before the current rainfall, we were down 6.28" year-to-date at 21.36" at DCA and 3.07" year-to-date at 26.59" at IAD. BWI was down 1.55" year-to-date at 28.26".

The rainfall is over and the system is moving away. The next chance for rain isn't until at least Friday.

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Speaking of DCA, and returning to my Florida trip, here are several pictures approaching and at the airport taken on Sept. 4th as I was going to catch my flight.

On the Metrorail Yellow Line as it crosses the Potomac River, 1:03PM, Sept. 4, 2010.

The adjoining old bridge carries the Amtrak, CSX freight, and Virginia Rail Express (VRE) lines. I fortuitously caught a Yellow Line at U Street/Carodozo station just as I arrived there with my old green duffel bag that was my only carry-on-able luggage.

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Alighting from the Metrorail Yellow train at the National Airport stop, conveniently located right at the airport itself, 1:12PM, Sept. 4, 2010.

It only took me 18 minutes to go from U Street / Cardozo.

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National Airport and part of its tarmac between terminals B and C, 1:14PM, Sept. 4, 2010.

I really can't stand that automated female voice on the airport PA system that is on non-stop loop giving assorted messages, including "the current Threat Advisory level as established by the Orwellian Ministry of Love Department of Homeland Security" which has been at orange ever since Bush's approval rating first dropped below 50 percent.

The Voice -- which may or may not be based on an actual human being -- has a slightly Southern / Midwestern cadence and sounds like a middle aged woman, presumably to engender trust rather than fear.

She practically drowns on the word "orange", managing to pronounce every conceivable English language vowel sound: "oueehrraaaiiiyyynnjjje".

It's the same voice you hear in some other airports -- although, interestingly, Charlotte-Douglas ("CLT") has its own male voice with an outright Southern cadence. And I understand that other airports use other voices, including actors, singers, and other celebrities (story here).

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Oh, and then there was the full-body image scanner that one must go through. Given that I look like a jiggling Dugong these days, all I can do is pray the image of me -- which signs promise earnestly are not used for any other purpose and are promptly deleted (Translation: "We keep them for big laughs back in the TSA lounge!") -- does not end up on some blog somewhere (!).

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On the tarmac at DCA, US Airways flight 2212, 1:41PM, Sept. 4, 2010.

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I kept thinking of that Sanford & Son line where Fred is on a jet and he has the following exchange with a lady:

Lady: "I fly all the time."
Fred: "I can see that by the EXCESS BAGGAGE in yo' tail section!"

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We had a beautiful upriver take-off, and I was seated on the right side of the US Airways jet, so I had a spectacular view of downtown Washington, D.C. (including my building, which I can always pick out) and suburban Maryland, ascending in the clean, clear, bumpy air through a thin but turbulent layer of broken stratocumulus clouds. It was quite beautiful.

While I did NOT take this picture -- I found it online on Flickr.com -- it shows nicely the view of the inner core of the District of Columbia stretching outward all the way to suburban Maryland at 3 to 5 minutes out of DCA ascending through about 10,000 feet. The Washington Monumnet is visible poking up just behind the plane's wing. The Kennedy Center and just to its left the Watergate Complex are visible along the Potomac near the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge (lower right corner).

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In the case of my flight, the flight attendant "G." looked like an ex-WWE wrestler and when he wasn't admonishing people over and over, he was in the back galley punching a bag of chipped ice over and over, so I decided it wise not to attempt to take any stealth cellphone pictures.

My transfer through Charlotte was quick. And I already posted in my previous entry the view as the jet was crossing the Florida coastline over Daytona Beach on final descent into Daytona Beach International Airport ("DAB"). I also can't do justice to the two rather remarkable good conversations I had with the passengers seated next to me -- one from DCA to CLT and another from CLT to DAB, so I won't even try. DAB airport is exceptionally small and almost always practically empty, and I found my dad almost immediately.

Having flown back "over" the cold front that cleared the mid-Atlantic, and into the pure tropical airmass, it was hot as hell and just as humid outside when we arrived at DAB, but you sorta get used to it in a Florida way.

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Ah, the American South, Early 21st Century ...

... this is the Super Target in Palm Coast, Fla., 7:08PM, Sept. 4, 2010.

That's my dad with the shopping cart on the right side in the blue jean shorts, facing away from the camera. He is quickly approaching 70, but does not look or act it. As for me, I was having a panic attack, except the low, low prices started to distract me and made it end.

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This Target -- a bit less than one half MILLION square feet of it -- is a classic "big box" retail store with clothing, electronic appliances, toiletries, groceries, liquor, and whatever else you might need.

Box of white wine, anyone?

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Posies for my posy.

Actually, these roses were fragrant and lovely. And conveniently located right there next to the Jif peanut butter selection. If there's a joke in there somewhere, I'd prefer not to know.

We spent about $130 in the store on groceries, toiletries (since I didn't want to bring many as I had a carry-on bag and I didn't feel like dealing with the 3-oz limit on liquids). Plus by buying multiple and redundant items, America wins.

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My dad in his house in Flagler Beach, Fla., seated and sort of silhouetted by the kitchen light, 10:40PM, Sept. 4, 2010.

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Yours truly in the little back room where I slept, Flagler Beach, Fla., 11:18PM, Sept. 4, 2010. My typical first night panic attack was ebbing by this point.

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Home interior, Flagler Beach, Fla., 10:02AM, Sept. 5, 2010. It is always much more pleasant that first morning than the arrival night.

My dad's little house -- where he lived previously for 14 months in 2007 and 2008, but I never actually saw it and where he has lived now for 11 months -- was a lot more pleasant than I thought it would be, even with all the non-stinging ants that are called Sugar ants by the locals, except I don't think that's what they actually are. More likely these are Ghost ants.

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The view from under the carport onto S. Central Avenue near S. 15th Street, Flagler Beach, Fla., 10:53AM, Sept. 5, 2010.

My dad has lived in Flagler Beach for about 5 years, but is planning to move to the Delaware seashore by next spring.

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The backyard view with a small cluster of Florida's signature palm tree, the Sabal palm under a tropical blue-like sky, Flagler Beach, Fla., 10:55AM, Sept. 5, 2010.

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Trailer at the corner of S. Flagler Avenue and S. 5th Street, Flagler Beach, Fla., 11:10AM, Sept. 5, 2010.

We were starting on our way to DeLand, Fla., to visit my great Aunt Rose and great uncle Haywood that I discussed in my previous entry.

Does the white roof of this trailer count as a "cool roof"??

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This image is a little difficult to explain, but basically, we were driving along (Flagler) County Road 305 in an rural stretch of unincorporated Bunnell, Fla., 11:37AM, Sept. 5, 2010, on a circuitous and what turned out to be a failed detour to DeLand.

These two yahoos had created the second of two giant bonfires of trees, shrubs, and roots -- ostensibly, I guess, to clear the land. The older fire was still smoldering and the new one was roaring in a scary way (as if these idiots with their blue cooler just visible in this image had everything "under control"), flames reaching 30 feet high. My dad's unlikely Rosary Crucifix that dangles from the rear view mirror is juxtaposed between the two bonfires.

As we returned (the road ahead was actually closed and so we couldn't get to SR 11 but had to detour back to Bunnell), a Flagler County Sheriff's Office police cruiser rushed by going the other way -- and didn't even bother to check it out.

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A field along the oddly named Mercers Fernery Road, DeLand, Fla., 12:24PM, Sept. 5, 2010.

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The view ahead of Mercers Fernery Rd., DeLand, Fla., 12:25PM, Sept. 5, 2010.

Rose and Haywood live in a large, ranch-style, one-story house on a sizable piece of property just off this road on a small side road called Tanglewood Lane. They moved there several years ago after having lived on Euclid Avenue in DeLand proper for decades.

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The screened in porch of Rose and Haywood's house in a tropical-like downpour, DeLand, Fla., 2:17PM, Sept. 5, 2010. See my previous entry for a picture of Uncle Haywood.

Again, this was only the second time in my entire life I had met him. He's 92 and has been married to Rose, 90, for as long as my dad has been alive -- almost 70 years! A 70th wedding anniversary is worth a news article (not an announcement) in the local paper or local TV station human interest story, IMHO.

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My dad and my great Aunt Rose as he slices a watermelon he brought over from his watermelon patch, 1:00PM, Sept. 5, 2010, DeLand, Fla. Unfortunately, it wasn't ripe enough. I realize this picture is a bit blurry.

My Aunt Rose served us an outstanding lunch she had already prepared. She's quite the chef.

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This picture was taken several hours later on the beach near high tide. It is of my dad and a couple walking their dog along the narrow beach, Flagler Beach, Fla., 6:46PM, Sept. 5, 2010.

The beaches in Daytona Beach about 18 miles south of vastly bigger and the sand is less clumpy and orange. It was a still, thickly humid evening after a heavy rainstorm that we encountered on the way back from DeLand.

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Nearing the Flagler Beach pier on a cloudy, warm, humid dusk, Flagler Beach, Fla., 7:04PM, Sept. 5, 2010.

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I went by myself to get dinner and have a few drinks. I went to Finn's at first, which was dreadful what with the blaring, assaulting hard rock music and highly offensive ads for male enlargement that went on and on ... and on ... on some shitty Orlando area-based radio station, WJRR, FM 101.1.

I couldn't eat the sandwich I ordered, and the upper wooden outdoor deck was still wet from the rain and there were dragon flies everywhere. They don't ever actually bother you but they are a bit off-putting to look at, esp. a swarm of them.

The view from under the small Flagler Beach pier, Flagler Beach, Fla., 7:06PM, Sept. 5, 2010.

Compare this to the image I took on Jan. 8, 2009 on my last visit to Flagler Beach and posted in this entry that was one of two other entries here and especially here that I posted.

I actually went back to Finn's briefly on Monday night on the outdoor upper deck and then for Tuesday night karaoke and it was much better, even if you can still smoke in Florida bars where food is not the "principal" (main) service offered.

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My little Sunday night was nearly ruined until ...

... I wandered into the Fisherman's Net restaurant in Flagler Beach, Fla., where I had never gone before, and sat at the bar, where this very nice young man, S. (I won't post his name) served me. This was at 8:11PM, Sept. 5, 2010.

I had a few drinks and then walked the mile back to my dad's place. I returned to Fisherman's Net on Tuesday night for what was a nice dinner, and S. was my waiter.

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Two couples seated at the bar, Fisherman's Net restaurant, Flagler Beach, Fla., 8:43PM, Sept. 5, 2010.

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OK, I'm going to wrap up this entry now. I still have upwards of 35 pictures to post, but it will probably be closer to 20 to 25 in a subsequent entry, which I may post tomorrow since Monday tends to be a good day for evening / nighttime blogging.

My next entry, however, will also include my very nice Saturday (despite not feeling well) in which I got to meet Mr. Hippo Potamus of the Hippograms blog. I have a few nice pictures to post of that.

--Regulus

3 comments:

fifi said...

It does look like a good holiday.
I admit to actually laughing at loud at the thought of you looking askance at the dragonflies. LOL.
(And the ants)

Regulus said...

Thank you, Fifi, for the comment. Yes, overall it was a good visit -- far better than some previous ones in years gone by.

Re. the dragonflies, usually I find them intriguing, but in this case, yes, it was a bit off-putting and chagrin-inducing.

fifi said...

I do like dragonflies, they're very pretty.

Your dad looks amazingly young, doesnt he? My dad looks about a thousand years older than him and he is 74...