PLEASE STOP TAKING
PICTURES OF THIS
SIGN WHILE DRIVING
A sign warns drivers on the highway heading into St. Louis, Missouri, from Illinois.
It’s Okay. I was a passenger.
I was standing at the edge of the surf on the beach at Cape Canaveral, Florida, looking for dolphins to photograph, when I heard thrashing sounds in the surf on the beach about ten feet away. It was a shark, about five-feet-long, attacking a fish. It was a ferocious struggle. Too close for comfort. Another reason why I never swim in the ocean!
I don’t know what kind of shark it was. I’m guessing that it was a tiger shark, because of the shape of the head and because it was so aggressive. But I’m not a shark expert.
Here’s a list of sharks you might find off the coast of Cape Canaveral and nearby Cocoa Beach, Florida. Seven Florida Shark Species.
A fishing site describes the seven shark species: Descriptions of Seven Florida Shark Species.
Click on this photo to see more details:
I love turtles, so I was glad to see The Turtle Hospital exists to help sea turtles in distress. My husband and I visited The Turtle Hospital while visiting Marathon in the Florida Keys.
The Turtle Hospital, 2396 Overseas Highway, was the first state-certified veterinary hospital in the world for sea turtles. Among the threats to sea turtles are monofiliment entanglement, rope and net entanglement, boat hits, oils spills and tar, intestinal impaction from eating debris, such as cigarette filters (which look similar to shrimp) and plastic bags, coastal development that can damge nests and disorients adults and hatchlings from artificial light, and fibropapilloma tumors that result from a virus. Also, turtles also can suffer from extreme cold when they don’t migrate to warmer waters soon enough.
The Turtle Hospital, which is housed in the former Hidden Harbor Motel complex, is funded entirely by donations and tickets sales to visitors, who take a tour. The motel owner Richie Moretti founded The Turtle Hospital. After a hurricane ruined the motel, Moretti decided to dedicate the motel entirely to turtle rescue.
Five species of sea turtles are found in the waters of the Florida Keys: Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Green (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii).
In 2014, a friend and I drove to Santa Fe, New Mexico from Kansas City, traveling on two-lane highways in April. We took a different two-lane highway route on our return, including Route 66 and the Santa Fe Trail.
I’ve lived in the eastern half of Kansas most of my life, have traveled throughout the world, but there were many areas within a day’s drive or two of my house that I’d never seen. It was a very enjoyable and fascinating trip. Although our primary destination was Santa Fe, I found the stark beauty of the High Plains on our route to be an unexpected pleasure.
In book club we recently read Timothy Egan’s “The Worst Hard Time” about the Dust Bowl in the 1930s in southwestern Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, northeastern New Mexico and southeastern Colorado. which prompted me to revisit my photographs from that trip, which was a journey through that region. Although the area experienced a very harsh time, there is plenty to see of beauty and history to see there now. We didn’t stay long, unfortunately, so I’d like to return and see more of the area, including the museum in Clayton, New Mexico. Perhaps, I could book a room in the historic Eklund Hotel, where my friend and I ate a delicious lunch in the beautifully decorated 19th century dining room. Another museum to visit would be the XIT Ranch Museum in Dalhart, Texas.
You’ll probably wait a long time for a haircut at this Oklahoma Panhandle Barber Shop, which seems to be permanently closed. In the background is a grain elevator. The stand alone building looks desolate, but next door is a thriving full service gasoline station next door that serves a busy highway.
I’m reblogging an earlier blog post in honor of World Elephant Day. The post includes my husband’s video of about two dozen elephants moving quickly and silently through the forests in MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa on their way into Kruger National Park in January 2013.
On a misty morning in January 2013, our group climbed into a Land Rover for a game drive through MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa. January is one of the rainiest months in this area of South Africa. That morning, we were lucky that it was only sporadically sprinkling. Birds were calling, but it was otherwise very quiet except for the rumble of the Land Rover’s engine. We never knew what we’d see. There was a surprise around every bend in the road. That morning we’d already seen a pride of lions lounging by a creek bed after a night of feasting (We’d seen some of the feasting, too). (
Read the rest of the post by clicking on the link below “Elephants in the Mist”.
The last time I visited Santa Fe, New Mexico, I saw a sign at the end of Santa Fe Trail. Not unusual, since it was Santa Fe, after all. But I realized then that I’ve lived near the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail in the Kansas City area for decades, but I didn’t think much about it despite signs mentioning it everywhere. Sometimes you have to leave a place to really see it.
I recently visited the Old Red Bridge in Kansas City, Missouri, for the first time. I’ve driven by it many times and didn’t see it tucked below the newest bridge on Red Bridge Road. I’ve been to Red Bridge Shopping Center scores of times, too. Did I ever wonder why the name? Not really.
The Old Red Bridge in Kansas City, Missouri, is now a spot for lovers to pledge their eternal love, but the original structure once served a more prosaic, but essential service — providing a bridge over the Blue River for travelers and freighters heading west on one of three historic trails, including the Santa Fe Trail.
Old Red Bridge is the third of four bridges to span the Blue River near the first river crossing of the trails that led west. Old Red Bridge is in the 3-Trails Corridor park, Red Bridge Segment, dedicated to three National Historic Trails: Santa Fe, Oregon and California.
Beginning with William Becknell in 1821, the Santa Fe Trail was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Independence, Missouri with Santa Fe. Thousands of people traveled the Santa Fe Trail to trade in places like Bent’s Old Fort, the Kozlowski’s Stage Station, and in the plaza in Santa Fe.
Emigrants heading west from Independence, Missouri, encountered their first river crossing at this site. On May 8, 1846, Virgil Pringle, “went 12 miles to the Blue and encamped, it being too high to cross. Another wagon capsized at the encampment. . . . No injury to persons or property.” The next day his party, “crossed the Blue soon in the morning.”
In 1859, the first red bridge was built by Colonel George N. Todd, a 50-year old Scottish stonemason. The 100-foot span was a covered wooden bridge on stone piers, located just downstream from today’s two bridges at the actual trail crossing, which is the first river crossing on the trail. The first bridge was painted red, creating the “Red Bridge” neighborhood name.
After the original bridge was torn down in 1892, a steel bridge, called a “tin” bridge, also painted red, replaced it. The 1859 bridge was dismantled; local farmers recycled the lumber into barns.
A third Red Bridge replaced the 1892 “tin” bridge and was dedicated by the 33rd U.S. president Harry S. Truman (when he was a judge) in 1932 during the Great Depression. This bridge, now called Old Red Bridge, is made of concrete, red painted steel and red granite. It was built by Jackson County; Richard Wakefield was the architect.
When the newest Red Bridge was opened, the Old Red Bridge became the Love Locks Bridge. It has been festooned with more than 3,500 locks since opening in February 2013. It stands next to the new bridge and is now a foot bridge in the park.
More information about the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail is in the links below:
I would have loved to have seen a Florida panther in the wild while in Florida this past winter, although it’s best that they remain away from people.
Florida Panther crossing signs show the perilous route that Florida panthers must take to traverse their territory. They must cross busy streets flanked by walls and navigate through the ever growing construction of homes in South Florida. There are wildlife refuges for panthers to live in, but their actual territory is much larger, and even in refuges they can be hit by cars. The panther currently occupies only 5 percent of its former range.
Florida panthers are the larger of Florida’s two native cat species (panthers and bobcats). The Florida panther is an endangered population of the cougar (Puma concolor) that lives in pinelands, hardwood hammocks, and mixed swamp forests of South Florida in the United States, according to Wikipedia.
Panthers are listed as an Endangered Species under the Endangered Species Act. There are approximately 120-230 adult panthers in the population, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). There has been some progress in increasing the panther population since the 1970s and 1980s, when it was estimated only 20 to 30 panthers remained in Florida.
As the human population of Florida continues to grow, panthers will find it harder to find a place to live. Twenty-one million people currently live in Florida; 16 million lived in Florida in 2000. It is one of the fastest growing states and is the third most populous. People are attracted to Florida because of its climate and long coastline, and I can’t blame them. I enjoyed a month there this year. Along with Hawaii, Florida is one of only two states that has a tropical climate, and is the only continental U.S. state with a tropical climate. It is also the only continental U.S. state with a coral reef named the Florida Reef. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 kilometers).
In 1982, the Florida panther was chosen as the Florida state animal.