Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Monday, March 10, 2014

GeoTour Part Two

Our second day of working on the Taking Flight GeoTour was bright and sunny; now that's what Florida weather is supposed to be! It was absolutely wonderful to wake up to sunlight streaming through the shades. Speaking of shades, one of the upgrades we have done to the new coach was to order MCD shades for the bedroom. There are four windows in the bedroom, and when we're working the night shift at Amazon, we really need the bedroom nice and dark during the day. We only had one installed at the time we took this trip, as the factory had forgotten to send the mounting clips for three of the shades. So only one was installed, but we could tell just from that one that it will make a world of difference in how dark the bedroom will be. We had taken the Gold series day/night shades, and we really noticed how much heat is blocked by the day shades, while still being able to see ouside, and how well the night shades blocked the light. I think it will be a very good upgrade in the days to come :-). They look very nice, too :-). All four are now installed, and we are leaving Wednesday for a quick trip to Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound, to visit our friends from New York, Mark and Kiera Poitras (featured in our blog back in 2012 in Colorado where they came to visit us!). So we will see how good they work soon.

Our second day here was also a test; we wanted to see how Casey and Honey would do in the coach by themselves. Casey has always been together with Chelsea all his life, and he has had a difficult time adjusting to life as a single dog. He did ok while we were working in Amazon, but we were still in the Cougar at that time. Our two week reunion trip at Fort Wilderness in the new coach, however, did not work well at all for him. If we left him in the coach alone, he cried, barked and carried on quite loudly. This is not acceptable behavior for campground life, and we ended up boarding him at the Best Friends kennel at Disney whenever we left for the day. He finally seemed to be getting used to the new coach by the end of the trip. So this trip, after we finished breakfast, we acted like we were leaving for awhile, and drove off in the truck. We dropped the truck at the day use area, and walked back to the campground. We wanted to hear if there was any barking going on, so we crept up to the campsite and listened. We didn't hear anything, so we kept walking, going around to the other sections of the campground, and then came back past again. Still no noise, so we walked back to get the truck and drove back to the campsite. Of course, we told them what good puppies they were, and then we headed off to finish our GeoTour. We were very pleased with this, as it could have easily gone the other way, and then we'd have TWO barking dogs when we left :-). That would be bad!

Our first stop of the day was close to the campground, Rye Preserve. This preserve is noted for the presence of three of Florida's five species of owls: eastern screech, great horned and barred owls. We did not see any, and chose not to walk any of the trails here at this time in order to conserve time and make sure we find the six caches we needed to find today. It was a really nice preserve, with several miles of trails, and a canoe/kayak launch on the Rye River.

Our second stop was at a very interesting and beautiful spot, Jiggs Landing. Jiggs Landing is located on the Braden River Evers Reservoir, the source of Bradenton's water supply. It was originally private property owned by Al (Jiggs) and Agnes Metcalf. In the 1940's they cleared the property along the lake and built cabins for a fishing camp. Manatee County now owns the property, has restored the grounds and the cabins, and it remains a very popular spot for fishermen to this day.
A boardwalk goes along the riverside of the property, and there were hundreds of songbirds, mostly yellow-rumped warblers; I believe it was flycatchers of some kind that I saw zooming around the water, and it was probably the presence of millions of insects that attracted the birds to the area. Another interesting bird sighting we had here was a pair of osprey chasing off a bald eagle down the river; they had a nest close by the area and I assume they didn't want the eagle anywhere near it!

These are the fishing cabins that have been restored by the county.

The view from the porch of the cabins...isn't it awesome?

Another stop was at a different boat launch area, where we spotted this beautiful hawk; I guess the boat trailer was as good a perch as any!

We had two caches now in one preserve, but we had to cross a bridge over to Palmetto Florida (across the river from Bradenton) to get to Emerson Point Preserve. This is another popular area, with many hikers, joggers and bikers enjoying the 365 acre preserve at the tip of Snead Island. It was just beautiful, and we did take the time here to enjoy walking some trails.

Supposedly this pond is the site of frequent roseate spoonbill sightings; not this day!

Some good sniffin' spots along the nicely paved trails.

Pretty flowers along the way also...morning glories I think?

Calm kayaking trails in the preserve

Mangroves lined the trails along the waterfront.

Enjoying waterfront life!

After our hike, we continued down the road to the very tip, and had lunch on the beach. 

The sunflowers echoed my thoughts...bright and sunny!

A nice trail along the beachfront

and a cache among the seagrapes.

Emerson Point Preserve is a really nice spot, and we highly recommend a visit there if you're in the area. And be sure to bring beach chairs and a picnic :-). So, we now had five of the six caches we needed to complete our GeoTour, and we headed back to find the last one. Upon completion, we received our reward:

A trackable geo tag. Awesome!

We had a great time, and celebrated with some frozen custard from Sweetberries. It was really good, and their menu of sandwiches and wraps looked mighty tasty as well. We did have dinner set back at Lake Manatee, however, so we held our willpower in place and just had the custard :-). We saw some really pretty places, and several recreational areas that we had never known about. Except for the traffic, Bradenton and Anna Maria Island were really neat places to spend a few days, and we will be returning in the future.


  1. Thanks for sharing the geotour with us . . . it looked like fun! Glad things are working out well for the doggies!

  2. We have put that GeoTour on our "TO DO" list. Really lovely photos...can't wait to see these places in person.

    So glad the puppies are getting along and things are working out.

    Another hint with the MCD Shades. During the day, pull both shades down. Pull the day shade just a bit farther down than the night shade. It blocks the light that creeps in around the bottom:o))

  3. Great that the pups are getting along so well and have no need to worry when you are gone. Honey looks like a real sweetheart. So glad you were able to give her a good home. Love your hawk picture!

  4. You will love those MCD shades even more as time goes on :) I agree with Nancy, lowering both seems to do double duty. When we first had ours installed, we constantly overslept! I finally had to leave one of them slightly raised to get daylight in and wake us up :)
    Great job on the geotour!

  5. You will love the shades- glad the dogs are enjoying life in the coach.