Pretending We are Traveling

A Random Tuesday

So here we are for a whole month at home with chores to do and no Lucy.  We stuffed her away at the storage place as soon as we could so we could focus on the house.  Yuck.  Good news though, no more boats or trailers or spare cars.  Just Lucy & Bitsy!  We’re also down one queen bed and Ethan’s room is now completely empty.  It is sooo much easier to clean those baseboards with nothing in the way.

But alas, this is drudgery and we long to be going somewhere, anywhere.  We decide to take a “vacation day” and go see some local sites.  We’ve made a list of the Florida spots we want to visit or re-visit before we leave the state for an extended time – most of 2017.  As is often the case, there are places very close to home that you just never get around to seeing.  Ponce Inlet and the lighthouse is one such place, so off we go on a random Tuesday.

Chocolate Factory Tour

Those who know me well, know that I am a “salty” person and not so much “sweet” – that’s in the eating category, or at least I hope that is what you are thinking.  I always say I could gladly give up chocolate for life if I could just keep my popcorn and chips, oh and the the Cheetos that we call cheese crack.  Well the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory in Daytona Beach challenged that way of thinking a bit.  Pat wanted to catch a free tour WITH samples, so we drove to Daytona.  This is a whopping 25-30 minutes from our house so shameful that we’d never done this before.

The tour was probably 20 minutes or so and really just involved walking to each window where the steps in the chocolate making happen.  They make everything by hand and even have some of the original equipment from their inception in 1925.  A gentleman bought his wife a chocolate factory for Valentine’s Day and the rest is history.  (Ok guys, you better be stepping up your game this February!)

They were stretching out the newly cooked peanut brittle on a marble table when we were there.  They were also making chocolate covered caramels – Pat’s personal favorite.  One of their best sellers is the chocolate covered bacon and the chocolate covered potato chips.  Now you’re talking!  I sampled one of those chips and a turtle and found both to be divine. We bought some caramels for the road and headed to the inlet.

Ponce De Leon Inlet Light Station

Another stamp in my lighthouse book!  This earthy brick lighthouse is really a site and one I wanted to visit for years.

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Pat indulges me with a lighthouse pose

As you can tell it was a stunning, though still hot, day.  Plenty of sunshine for some great views atop the lighthouse.  I even coaxed Pat out onto the outside deck for the panoramic view of the area.

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The Atlantic from atop the lighthouse

The grumpy sky looms to the West.  We are here at just the right time and leave when these clouds catch up with the inlet.

The tour of the grounds is pretty cool and we take a look at actual rafts that have washed up on the Volusia County shores.  They were carrying Cuban refugees hoping to make the 100 mile trip between Cuba and the Florida Keys.  Gives you an idea of how truly desperate the people must have been for a better life when you look at these fragile vessels made from whatever could be scrounged.

Of course the very best part of the grounds tour (next to the lighthouse climb), was the lens exhibit building.  This building houses a collection of lighthouse lenses including two fully restored first order Fresnel lenses.  These lenses are truly works of art.  It is a prismatic art deco display and I couldn’t stop taking pictures at varying angles trying to capture the light and color spectrum.  Impossible to do, or at least for me to do them justice.  Here are a few so you get an idea of the beauty of the glass.

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Dioptric Lens

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Bull’s Eye lens

We learned quite a bit about the lens developer, Augustin-Jean Fresnel, a young Frenchman, who came up with this design around 1821.  He apparently didn’t speak until he was eight years old and was thought to be a “slow learner”.  He went on to challenge Isaac Newton’s particle theory of light and in his experiments, came up with the design that changed to this day how lighthouses are illuminated.  Turns out he was a scholar in physics, engineering and optics.  There are a lot more technical details about the Fresnel lenses, but I’ll leave you with a few more pictures that showcase the elegance of the design.

The grounds were lovely as well and I couldn’t help but take a few pictures of some good ole’ Florida summer flowers.  They are loving every minute of the bold, bring sunshine.

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So very Florida – Hibiscus

Scouting Out Winter Camping

We rounded out our pretend vacation day with a drive further down the coast to Mims and Titusville.  Scouting out a camping spot for January when I am set for a 3-day crafting weekend.  Woo! Hoo!

This leads me to our future plans just so you know whats going on.  We’re actually on our last pre full-timing camping adventure.  We arrived yesterday in Bradenton and will spend the month of October at Horseshoe Bend RV Resort.  I’ll tell you more about that as the month unfolds.

We realized as we pulled out yesterday that the next time we roll, will be for good, or at least until we’re tired of traveling all the time.  Could take years!  The newly refined plan calls for us to return home and complete the “fixes” and painting at the house in November and December.  We’ll also get our small pile of things we can’t part with into storage (scrapbooks, Grandmother clock, some of my mom’s handiwork and keepsakes for Ethan)

It seems to make the most sense to stay in the house through the holidays and give Ethan the chance to come “home” one more time before we sell the place.  Our departure target is January 17th – another random Tuesday.  From there we’ll stay in Florida until the weather is warm enough to head further North, most likely early March.  We’ve booked places from January 17th through March 5th so far, since the snowbirds seem to hog up all the spots in the Winter down here.  This means no Keys for us in 2017.  Sad to let that dream go since Pat wanted a picture at mile marker zero in Key West and one at least as far North as the Arctic Circle for the 2017 Christmas card pic.  I’m sure we’ll have plenty of good shots to substitute.

For now, I’ll leave you with this traveling shot of Big Lucy, looking not so big!

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Miss Lucy holding her own with the Big Boys

This is what we are itching for and it’s coming soon!  See you on the way!

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