Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mothering Sunday (UK) & A Road Trip

Unlike the US, the UK celebrates Mother’s Day in March. And, as Mother Nature seems to be at the forefront of conversation these days, its appropriate that she is battering the UK with northeasternly gales and a bit of the white stuff rather than the loving warmth the crocuses and daffodils crave on this ‘her’ day. Aberdeen and parts of northern Scotland awoke to a chilly white blanket this morning; Edinburgh is just holding on for dear life as the gales bear down.

In what will only be a futile attempt to embrace a sunny, springtime outlook, I thought I’d curl up with the computer (under a duvet wearing two pairs of socks) and finish the last of the Florida road trip posts from November. Its warm in Florida, maybe those pics will warm me up???

Apparently us gnomes get around, especially if you believe Amelie. We found this minstrel with three of his friends and a turkey in Pebble Hill, Georgia.

While visiting high school buddy K, she said, “I’ve found this great beach. Its only 5 hours away.” Of course, for the ‘vehicularly-deprived’ the prospects of a hitting the pavement were rapidly endorsed. This shouldn’t be to hard – drive east to Jacksonville (and the water) then south to Melbourne Beach along highway A1A and the coast. What the Florida highway map neglects to indicate is that you can’t actually drive the entire 180 miles on highway A1A; you’ve got to drive inland then occasionally pop east to get a glimpse of the water. But who cares – life is an adventure!

Along the way, we saw the oldest lighthouse in the US (St. Augustine, Florida).

Finally reaching the ‘Space Coast,’ named for its association with Cape Canaveral and the 1960s & 1970s playground for the astronauts in training, I thought I was in heaven. Not only could we see the launch pad (and vehicular assembly monolith) but, miles of quiet, undisturbed beach like this gem at Indian Harbor (below). The beachfront property only comes to life for those few weeks a year when a launch is eminent. This is my kind of beach – although at 70oF wasn’t quite the balmy I was hoping for but I still managed to get a wee tan.

Since we were so close to Orlando, I couldn’t resist suggesting that K and I pay Mickey a visit on our way home. K said she had been to Disneyland once as a child so this ‘Disney-baby’ insisted we make a day of it! Apparently Nessie (from Loch Ness/Drumnadrochit) was also on vacation as tourist season had properly ended back home.

Packed to the gills with pre-Turkey day families, there were long lines everywhere. YUCK! But as we stood behind the castle watching the fireworks lighting up almost asleep munchkin’s faces, I can honestly say, “It’s the happiest place on Earth.”

As the park closed, we embarked on a driving marathon – 5.5 hours to Tallahassee, 3 hours sleep, then 5 hours to Atlanta to get me on a plane to Western Washington. Thank you K for your hospitality and digital photos. I had a brilliant time!

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