Always summer in the sunshine state…Florida 2.2008

february 4th---day one

I flew out of KC around 11:30 arriving in Orlando about 3:00...

wow! it was 85 degrees, bright and warm sunshine...a perfect winter day!


(well, almost perfect:  my flight was smooth, my luggage all arrived, but.....a full can of hairspray exploded in one of my bags....eek! what a mess!)


Sara got off work about the same time I arrived at her apartment.  She moved into this apartment, in downtown Orlando, last August, and I was excited to see it.  The apartment is so cool.  It's in walking distance to Starbucks, so we took off on a tour of downtown...and to get a quick caffeine fix

"the Grande"....Sara's big-city home


downtown Orlando at dusk


Orlando has opened a new "IKEA" store since I was here last...and we do love IKEA (however, I felt very "safe" shopping there knowing I couldn't buy anything I couldn't carry on the plane!)  Can you girls guess what I bought?  the black thermos I passed up the last time we were in Dallas shopping at IKEA.  We finished off the evening with a late dinner at the "Bonefish Grill" was fantastic food!  We shared an appetizer of "Bang Bang Shrimp", each had a fish taco and some really good beer (Sara introduced me to Yuengling beer...ummm good).  The best part of the day was seeing and visiting with Sara...she's very happy in both her career and personal life...and nothing makes me smile more!


february 5th---day 2

 Sara had to be at the hospital this morning at 5am...and won't get off work until Wednesday around noon (that's like 30 hours). She is on-call all night tonight, so we said good bye early this morning.  I threw my bags back in the car, borrowed a cooler and headed EAST...I was going to visit the Atlantic and a place called "Sebastian Inlet State Park".  I made it to Cocoa Beach just in time to get coffee and drive to the beach to watch the sunrise


The fishermen already had their lines cast....and this little creature was just crawling around...then he buried himself in the sand



I just walked around listening to and staring at the waves and picked up a few shells. I am always amazed at what washes up on the beach that lives in the ocean


I got back in the car and kept driving south...stopping at about 3 other beaches before I got to Sebastian Inlet State Park.  There were Pelicans everywhere



 I had just parked the car, and was walking around this beach/pier area, when I spotted this! I watched him dive and swim in the same area for about 30 minutes


 Sebastian Inlet is known for it's surfing....the sun was out, the waves were up and there was lot's of fun going on

(boy would I love to learn to surf, but I settled for just watching...for now)



 I had originally intended to camp at the Park for the night, but they only had a couple over-priced and not-too-neat campsites left.  So I moved on.

I was hungry by then, so I stopped at the store and bought some hummus, pita chips, a bag of ice and some bottled water...and found another beach to "picnic" at.  I saw this bird on the beach....I really wondered what he had in HIS cooler?


 After lunch, I took a really long walk/run on the beach...the weather today has just been perfect!


I did end up getting a little wet (misjudged a wave), but it didn't matter.  I had decided I would take the scenic route and head back to Orlando.

As I was driving down the road, I noticed this ooey-gooey-what-the-heck-is-that-thing-stuck-to-my-finger?  (I guess I'm more fond of these things when I see them on the beach and not attached to ME!)


Sara was working through dinner, so I walked downtown for a bite around 7:30.  I ate a restaurant "Urban Flats" featuring flatbread-pizzas, salads and soups.  I had a very thick tomato-basil soup with a large dollop of fresh mozzerella and goat cheese; the soup was very hot, so the cheese just melted into the soup and made it even creamier.  I stopped by Starbucks, then walked back to the apartment.  I'm just going to hang out at the apartment tonight and start a new book.

don't know what tomorrow brings....but I can guess it will be fun!

february 6th---day 3

Today I had very quiet day, no excitement, just relaxing (I CAN handle those once in a while) 

I slept in this morning and then decided to head out for a walk.  This time I went the opposite way of downtown to an area called "Thornton Park"

It's filled with old homes, big trees, Lake Eola, and some great little shops and restaurants.  I ordered some coffee and sat outside and did some people-watching. 

(I knew Kansas was getting hit with a big, cold snowstorm.  I had spoken with Danny earlier in the morning and I also received a text from the college that they were closed today.  I returned a call to a friend back in Kansas....I almost hated to tell her I was in a sun dress and flip flops and the temperature was supposed to be 85 here today.... but I told her anyway)

I toured around until around noon, enjoying the sunshine, the flowers, the birds and the Lake.  (Have you ever seen poinsettias growing outside in February?)



I got back to the apartment, grabbed a new book, and headed to sit by the pool and read.

Sara was on the backside of her 30 hour shift (which actually turned out to be 33 hours; she didn't get off until 2:30)

When she had finished her shift, we walked downtown for a quick bite to eat and a short visit.

After we ate, it was snooze-ville for her and back to the pool with my book for me. 

She intended to get up in about 3-4 hours thinking we'd go out to dinner.  But she had only slept about an hour while at work, so I didn't try too hard to wake her up when her alarm went off...and off again...and off again...and off again.  The life of a medical resident!

I finished my book and started another.  About 9:30pm, I took a walk downtown; it's a beautiful night to be outside

Tomorrow, Sara has the day off; it will be our biggest chunk of time to hang out together while I'm here......and I'm going to cherish every minute!

february 7th---day 4

Sara and I were up early this morning and ready to go.  We did some shopping around Orlando including a much-needed coffee stop

Today was the launching of the space shuttle Atlantis near Titusville, FL.  The weather predicted today gave the launch a 30% chance of happening.

About noon, we buzzed back to the apartment, picked up the convertible, and headed towards Titusville, checking the "space blog" all the way for updates and information.

The traffic wasn't bad and we made good time.  We ended up south of Titusville and north of Cocoa in a small park with a great view of the launch site.  Sara has been this route before, but the day she went, the shuttle launch ended up being cancelled.  She's also seen one from Orlando...but not one this close.  We were both excited!  The NASA building is the center of the water; Sara waiting for the launch; and a future astronaut?


Here are some still shots I took


These shots are taken after the shuttle disappeared from view, just leaving a beautiful puff of white trail 


I felt tears sting my eyes as I remember the day I was at home watching the Challenger launch.  I was filled with sadness with that memory, but then amazement at science, technology and the people willing to keep trying, gratefulness for today's successful launch, and thrilled that I got to witness this once in my lifetime


We'd read about the "Chocolate Cafe" in Titusville, so we stopped and treated ourselves to chocolate shakes


After sitting in some major traffic, we made it back to Orlando.

Sara's apartment includes an 8-story parking garage.  This is the view from the top; the brick building in the center is ORMC (her hospital)


We hadn't done enough shopping this morning, so we went to the mall.  It was so much fun!  It's been a long time since we had been shopping together.  We both found jeans we really loved (as and most women know, finding great jeans is difficult at best).  We had yet to eat much today, so we got an outdoor table at P F Changs, one of our favorite chains.  The weather was perfect today, 85 degrees, so by 9pm tonight, it was great for alfresco dining


 Tomorrow Sara is back to the hospital by 5:30 or 6.  On Saturday, she does another 30 hour shift, hopefully getting off work Sunday afternoon.  

I'll be leaving early in the morning too, heading south for another road trip.

Today was great!

february 8th---day 5

Since Sara had to work early this morning, I got up, packed up all my stuff, threw it in the convertible and left about 4am.

I took the highway south in a downpour of rain....then fog....then rain again.  By the time the sky cleared it was light out and I jumped off the highway south of Boca Raton and onto 1 and sometimes A1A...just so I could see the little towns up close and personal.  I didn't mind missing out on West Palm Beach (been there before) and Boca...when the rich build ocean side mansions, they do it so it blocks the view for everyone else.  So, unless you're impressed by huge, extravagant houses, it's not worth slowing down for.  But, I really liked Fort Lauderdale with it's 50's style hotels, big beaches and lots of people out on a beautiful morning jogging, walking, rollerblading, skateboarding, etc.  I also went through Hollywood, and just slowly made my way to Miami Beach.  It was crazy busy, tons of people, bright colored buildings and lots of warm 9 am it was 85 degrees.  I've always wanted to see the Art Deco District, so I parked the car and went for a long walk. 

Here's some of the buildings







The other side of the street had lots of street vendors, artists, and the beaches


        After my tour, I decided to take the "slow and scenic" way to the Keys...I went all the way down highway 1, which took me through downtown was pretty cool, but the traffic was super slow and lots of it!


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