urbpan: (dandelion)
I forgot to add that Alexis has decreed that as long as the weather is better in LA than it is in Boston, we will not be spending any unnecessary time indoors. I absolutely loved the Getty and Page museums, but they may be off the table (of course, they both have large outdoor components so...)

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urbpan: (dandelion)
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I go to the Cape once a year--a coworker opens his family's house up to the zoo staff for a week. This time my 36 hour visit coincided with the Summer Solstice. Here's the bay side beach showing an awful lot of low tide.

lots more )
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Busch Gardens selfie with Dad and Andy.

the last few BG photos )
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Our last stop on the vacation was the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. I was keen to see the botanical laboratories and such, not so much the big houses of two rich men I don't particularly admire. Edison was a ruthless capitalist and elephant electrocutor and Ford was a noted anti-Semite. We saw some cool stuff there though--check out the tree behind this statue of Edison.

I made sure to show my dad the Oatmeal strip about Tesla, after we got back, just so you know.
Read more... )
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On the second to last day of the vacation we decided to return to Fort Myers Beach. We had enjoyed it before, and it was close enough to the last place we wanted to visit (the Edison/Ford) house, and we were not disappointed by going back.

Read more... )
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Arr! or something. I told my dad he needs a bandana and a hoop earring and we could make a lot of friends in Florida.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Then we went and found Six Mile Cypress Slough, not far away. It's all boardwalks through cypress swamp. This great egret was right by the gate, sort of a wildlife emissary for the place.

Read more... )
urbpan: (dandelion)
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We spent some time trying to "find" Fort Myers. Gertrude Stein may have lamented that "there's no there there" about her home town of Oakland, but I've heard it more accurately applied to other places. We tried in vain to find a town center, walkable village, or cohesive sense of Fort Myers that we could understand as New Englanders. One time I set the GPS for Centennial Park, in "downtown" Fort Myers. There were tall buildings and a park, but we didn't stay long. This laughing gull gave us a funny look as we looked across to the hotels of North Fort Myers where spent the night.

Read more... )
urbpan: (dandelion)
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My dad and I were keen to see manatees. We failed in Big Cypress, and I barely caught a glimpse on Captiva. Fortunately we were blathering about it somewhere and some nice lady suggested we go to Manatee Park. Sounds like just the thing!
Read more... )
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The beaches at Sanibel and nearby Fort Myers Beach, I noticed, are composed mostly of the surf-ground skeletons of bivalve mollusks. It ranges from unbelievably fine, to entire shells.

Read more... )
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The JN "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a protected estuary on the barrier island of Sanibel on the gulf coast of south Florida. It's something of a birder's mecca, with wide mud flats allowing for amazing visibility, and a resource-rich habitat attracting a variety of birds, including tropical migrants. It is named for the man who did much of the work to get the land protected.

Ding Darling was an editorial cartoonist and conservationist. He was often very critical of the policies of then president Franklin D Roosevelt in his cartoons. FDR was aware of him, and eventually asked him to be the first head of the agency that became the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Often on this visit to Southwest Florida I was struck by how hard the conservation fight seemed to be here. And yet the beauty and biodiversity are so omnipresent you would expect people would be clamoring to protect it. It's a shame the state wasn't discovered by westerners 500 years later than it was.

Read more... )
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A quick snapshot before lunch, then off to Sanibel and Captiva!
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urbpan: (dandelion)
On one morning of our trip, we went to Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens. And while I loved their animal and plant collections, their visible and well-organized animal training program, and the fact they use bicycles instead of golf carts for many purposes, I really liked their signage.

Most zoos can't afford to have staff in all locations, and so the signs have to do a lot of work keeping the guests safe and informed.

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This is the fist time I've seen a zoo sign that is about reading the signs. I don't know if this increases the amount of attention that the zoo guests pay to the other signs, but I like it.
Read more... )
urbpan: (dandelion)
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After some lunch we went looking for more hiking trails. We were traveling on the Tamiami Trail between Ochopee and Naples, but damned if I can find this boardwalk on google maps. There was a small Native American gift shop, "closed due to death in the family," by the trailhead. We encountered several birders on our way.

Read more... )
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Second day in Florida, reddening up nicely. We left our friend and started heading back up toward Sanibel (our only planned destination).

Read more... )
urbpan: (dandelion)
Well, I've let a week go by and I have hundreds of vacation photos. Fortunately there's Facebook so you don't have to see tons of pics of me and my dad drinking and whatnot. Unless you want to in which case you should Friend me. (message me so I know who you are please).

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At the end of our first day we wandered Fort Myer's Beach. We went to a bar on the water and watched the sunset at this bridge--under which an osprey was building or fortifying a nest. It was perched at the top of the mast of the boat at the far right of the photo.

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Here's a close up of a sign on the nearby dock. Can this be real? Is there a place where you can sit and drink beer as huge fish eagles build nests over your head and sea monsters stir lazily below?

As I said earlier, I have redacted what occurred in the pub-crawl/tiki bar hours, and will finish our remembrance of FMB this way:
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With a black vulture perched over the only road out of town.
urbpan: (dandelion)
My dad is here in my house, and as we watch the snow pile up outside we are planning to board a plane first thing in the morning for Florida. We aim to see Sanibel Island, and maybe the Everglades, and perhaps see some zoos and whatnot. A friend is spending the week in Miami and may meet up with us somewhere in a vast reptile-laden swamp. It sounds awesome, assuming we can get a ride to the airport and a plane out of this snowy place.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Here we are at Inn Magnolia! We got this opportunity because I'll be leading a mushroom walk the Inn is sponsoring, next week.

Read more... )
urbpan: (dandelion)
My Father, my brother and my brother's kids are in Vancouver (the big city in Canada, not the island nor the city in Washington). I looked at my old posts from me and my dad's trip there, (to recommend stuff to my non-vacation-planning family) and discovered that I had friends-locked most of them. I think I was shy about posting vacation pics at that time, possibly because I'd just been put in the LJ Spotlight. Whatever; My vacation pics from the most urban naturey of urban places are totally relevant to anyone who is reading this now.

If you'd like to relive my vacation from 7 years ago, Please do: Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver.

In other news, the Canadian border authorities allowed my dad into Canada with an expired passport, the fun will come when they try to pass back into the United States!

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