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 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.
My husband and I visited several U.S. National Parks in the last year and a half, and we didn’t see one large mammal — even in Yellowstone National Park, where you can always see bison. I’d seen plenty of elk, moose and bison a few years earlier, but I had entered an animal drought. I was determined to see some elk on our trip to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) in early November 2018. We stayed just outside of the park in the town of Estes Park. I was very eager to shoot a few elk with my new camera.
We’d visited RMNP in August, and I only saw a large ground squirrel in the park. During that visit, we’d hoped to see bighorn sheep at Sheep Lakes, where we’d seen a herd in a visit a few years ago, but the ranger report this year indicated that the sheep hadn’t visited in a week. We waited for two hours, anyway, before giving up.
We were returning from our second no-elk trip from RMNP, when friends texted me that there were seven bull elk lounging right outside our condominium building! My friends seen one or two elk before, but the elk had always eluded me. On our way to the condo, we saw a large herd of elk — females led by a big bull elk. They were so magnificent. There were elk all over the town of Estes Park! We went from visual famine, to visual feast.
The elk or wapiti (Cervus canadensis) is one of the largest species within the deer family, Cervidae, in the world, and one of the largest terrestrial mammals in North America and Northeast Asia.
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”.
Traveling on Highway 41 in southern Florida, if you don’t blink, you’ll see the smallest post office in the United States. The 7- by 8-foot building, formerly a storage shed for irrigation equipment to water tomato plants, now houses a fully functioning post office.
The shed was pressed into service after a fire in 1952 destroyed the Ochopee general store, which previously had housed the post office. The post office is in Big Cypress National Preserve.
The building is small, but the Ochopee mail route is large, covering three counties and is about 132 miles long, according to Roadside America.
Key Lime Pie is on almost every menu in Florida. The original version with meringue is more difficult to find. The more available version uses whipped cream, which is easier to serve. My husband and I found the meringue key lime pie at the Key Lime Pie Factory on Tavernier Island just west of Key Largo. It was delicious! You can buy slices and whole pies, as well as a wide range of key lime flavored treats, including frozen key lime pie dipped in chocolate on a stick
Key Lime Pie is thought to have been invented in Key West by “Aunt Sally,” the talented cook of William Curry, a prominent Key West resident and Bahamian-born immigrant who became Florida’s first millionaire. In the late 1800s, Aunt Sally used ingredients available on the island, which is at the end of the Florida Keys archipelago — easy to store sweetened condensed milk in a can (no cows anywhere near the island), local eggs (there are chickens everywhere on Key West) and the locally grown key limes. Key limes are yellowish when ripe and are smaller and have more seeds than the bright green limes you commonly find in the grocery store throughout the United States. In the original recipe, egg yolks go into the filling, and the egg whites are whipped into a meringue topping. More commonly now, restaurants and bakeries skip the meringue and use whipped cream, but the Key Lime Pie Factory in Tavernier Island in the Florida Keys still creates its pies with meringue.