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Thursday, June 30, 2011


We are within 40 miles of TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA, a rather large city. The ranches are looking more prosperous and more business are popping up along US 90.

Not as sheik as some parts of the US, Florida Panhandle - at least along US 90 - has it's share of good looking properties. Most "for sale" signs are for forested property. Still, too, the majority of homes are "manufactured" homes.

At daybreak, drove SPIA from the RV Park up the hill to the town of CHATTAHOOCHEE, FLORIDA. I tried the local restaurant, which did leave something to be desired all around.

Drove a mile out of CHATTAHOOCHEE looking for a place to park SPIA. Finally selected this back-in sloping farm road leading into an open field. Walked East on US 90 WITHOUT SAM and back for 12 miles total. Much of the roadway had NO berm, so no SAM today.

Spotted two or three lonely wee churches along the way. This one looks pretty good...another had vines growing over the roof and was unkempt.

Then again, was this sign in front of a large tract of land with a VERY large new building a bit set back behind some trees. Appears not everyone has been effected by the Nation-Wide Recession in a negative way.

Had an in-length conversation yesterday with a local fellow regarding the Church and the South. Not appropriate for this venue.

Another of the many Water Towers along US 90. With the water shortage, these structures gain new priority.

This is the first at-work tractor I have seen since entering the Florida Panhandle. Those tanks hold chemicals - probably pesticides - which are sprayed from the long arms extending from the sides of the tractor. Click click for the larger view.

Without going into the gruesome details, this photograph was obtained standing on the macadam of US 90. It reminded me of scenes from Gone With The Wind.

A few weeks ago in Texas, a woman chased me down with her BMW demanding I "delete" my photograph of her home. I did so. A "gentleman with a SUV full of kids and a "wife"?, stopped me as I put my camera into my pocket. Why are you photographing my property? No one is allowed to photograph my property! I deleted my "first" pic. On my way back an hour later, I obtained this pic from the US 90 Right Of Way (place where the vehicles drive).

Try as I may, I sometimes get upset with folks who exclude the world from their world. My Credo: A thing not shared, remains just a thing.

GRETNA, FLORIDA is a whistle stop little village with large schools. A woman in CHATTAHOOCHEE told me this morning, that many local schools have been integrated with other villages...schools she attended no longer exist.

Walking out from SPIA, this woman was mowing a VERY large lawn - nearly a block in size - with her very expensive mower (I priced the Kubota version: $11,000.00 plus !

Walking back an hour later, she was still at it.

For the non-farmers among us, this barn caught my attention. It is a classic, known as a "Hip Roof" barn. The top center has a large door which swings UP. Hay (feed) for wintering over the animals is stored on the top floor. The animals are normally housed in the low "wings", and the main floor center area is for storing machinery and room for a hundred and one mixing feed, cleaning out stalls (places where the animals live).

If a Country Fair happens near by, they can be quite interesting and educational.

A number of "Woofs", as I call them, have taken runs at me in the past couple weeks. I have stood my ground, staring into saliva dripping mouths, and talked slow - low - firmly that they have nothing to fear from me and should STOP. So far, they have all stopped and just stared at me. Guess I'm not their normal passerby. Perhaps I should show a little fear and retreat a bit just to let them have the psychological upper hand. Now I have Mace clipped to my "pencil" pocket pointing directly at them - with a range of 10 feet or so -, gotta be careful not to become so friggin confident that one of these nice doggies calls my bluff.

DAILY REPORT: Walked 2 legs totaling 20 miles.

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 20 miles @ $0.02 = $0.40 for the day.

Ahead of schedule, the Florida Panhandle sky started flashing and booming well before noontime. About 1:00 pm local, the first rain fell. Every 30 minutes or so, a cloud would burst and inundate all under it. Some ditches filled with water incredibly quickly. So, I stayed close to SPIA all day.

We have entered the town of QUINCY, FLORIDA, taken a detour South to the local Wal*Mart, where we have permission to stay the night.

In the morning, will drive back to US 90 - about 2 miles North -, find a spot to park SPIA, and continue walking East on US 90.

Tomorrow evening, we will be in the environs of TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Click click. This LARGE Vulture has just lifted off the ground. There was a pair of them eating on a recently (road) killed Armadillo. Never got so close before to such a bird.

A magnificent Oak Tree. Have read many stories of the 1700s British Sailing Ships built out such a tree. To form the "knee", the transition from the bottom to the side of the ship, natural shaped limbs were used...could not imagine how that could be possible...until, that is, I have seen hundreds of such Oaks with perfect "knees" growing in profusion.

SAM got on the road again today. As usual, she was in excellent shape after riding on her platform on the back of SPIA ever since CARLSBAD, NEW MEXICO, many weeks ago. SAM performed all day, up some steep hills climbing out out of the river valley. Used GREEN Power Pack. RED is all charged up ready to go.

Will try to use SAM the rest of the way to KEY WEST, FLORIDA.

SAM garnered lots of interest today, including a local Newspaper Editor & her camera.

Please say HELLO to Jake and Tyler, two young men hawking watermelon from the back of their pickup truck. Since I had SAM to carry the melon, I bought a $1.00 yellow-meat one from them.

And, here Gator # 3 of our walk. The water is about two feet deep as he stands on the bottom with only his eyes showing. He was staring at me as I took the photograph. My Panasonic view screen does not show through the water, so again, I cut off the tail...sorry.

Interesting - and scary - thing happened next. He ducked his head under the water and walked on the bottom until he was directly below me standing on the bridge 20 feet above. He then raised his head - still underwater - and stared at me through the water and through the 20 feet of air, looking directly into my eyes with his eyes. His eyes were EMERALD GREEN vertical slits a full 2 inches high...he stared unblinking...just waiting for me to fall into his jaws.

The Gator's pond was a previous stream, now nearly dried up. He must be VERY hungry and about to be evicted from his like many of the humans I have encountered on this walk.

The Gator's Pond. This is a puddle really. The water stops just under the bridge. He is standing on the bottom - about 3 feet deep directly below me.

1/4 miles away is a large river. He will have to make his way to that river in a few days if rain does not come.

Please say HELLO to Mark, a resident of the town of CHATTAHOOCHEE, FLORIDA. At 46 years old, Mark is a "tile setter" getting by doing odd jobs. Mark asked me NOT to write about our discussion. I will paraphrase to the extent that not many have lost as much as Mark, who is about to lose more.

In this Blog, I have attempted to avoid comments regarding some events. Sometimes that is not an easy task.

SAM has reached main street of CHATTAHOOCHEE, FLORIDA, where she raised more than a few eyebrows and garnered a free Chef Salad w/Iced Tea for Me.

SAM also got her picture taken by the Editor of the local Newspaper, who will post the article on this Blog when it is published.

APALACHICOLA...the name of the local large river, which also happens to be the border between Florida and Georgia. Just for fun, I may walk to Georgia with SAM in the morning.

SAM standing on Victory Bridge over the APALACHICOLA River, looking at the WOODRUFF Dam, behind which is a large lake.

The State of Georgia begins at the Dam and continues North and East. Upriver is North.


SAM on Victory Bridge looking down river - South - at a Bridge to Nowhere (now where have we encountered such a bridge before ?? Sarah, perhaps).

In the background is a magnificent City Park. An extraordinarily well appointed and LARGE RV Resort and River Front playground. CHATTAHOOCHEE, FLORIDA is a rather smallish town. It is good to see such a Park for her residents.

The park is OPEN years round and open to EVERYONE. RV overnight is $16.00, with 1/2 off for Good SAM and a few other recognized club members.

By far, the most desirable RV Park I have visited in the entirety of the USA.

SPIA, SAM & ME have Spot # 17 for the night...already enjoyed my HOT water shower.

From Victory Bridge, the APALACHICOLA River, looking South. The City Park is on the left bank.

The City Park as a backdrop to the Bridge To Nowhere...actually, the old US 90 Bridge. A nice touch leaving it in this posture.

Note the end pier. Water level is normally at the height of the Concrete Ring. As with all of the Florida Panhandle, water is drying up. This is the river the Gator must reach if he is to survive.

Roadway leading through the City Park in the RV Resort Area. Looking closely, SPIA is visible at the upper left through the trees.


City Part entrance road.

Rather dramatic photograph of the Old US 90 Bridge, New US 90 Bridge and WOODRUFF DAM. Pic taken from the fishing dock at CHATTAHOOCHEE Park.

The Fishing Dock. Boat Launch Ramps are at both ends of the dock.

Notice that the water is nearly at the dock edge. This dock is normally 40 feet out into the water. The Pylons holding the dock in place, will have the dock sitting in the mud if the water goes down another few inches.

Gentleman of Leisure - actually a "floor Polisher" by Vocation, who tells me he would - if he could - spend 24 hours a day sitting here fishing for Cat Fish in the APALACHICOLA.

Another dramatic photograph.

DAILY REPORT: Walked with SAM 26 miles today.

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 24 miles @ $0.02 = $0.44 for the day.

Said I was NOT going to use GOOGLE to create my Blog. Tonight, I was forced to do so. FIREFOX loaded down Version 5 (I was not asked), and it has troubles with compatibility with GOOGLE. Hope they get the bugs out quickly. GOOGLE is VERY difficult to work with.

In the morning, will drive SPIA back up the steep hill from the river RV Resort to the town of CHATTAHOOCHEE, Florida; will park SPIA, take SAM down from her perch, and together, we will walk east on US 90.

It is now 2:37 in the morning. We entered Eastern Time Zone today. VERIZON service was VERY slow earlier in the evening...probably from all the "Daddies" coming home from work to play with their computers.

Yes, I am tired. It takes a bit extra effort to handle SAM...must steer her at all times.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Nearing today's walk completion, came across a GUN and PAWN Shop. Decided it was time to look into getting a small Pistol for protection...not that I would know how to fire one.

Please say HELLO to Will. Will chatted a bit with me...No, I cannot sell you a Pistol because you are a resident of Washington State and can purchase Pistols ONLY in Washington State.

But I would suggest a Mace or Pepper Spray. It will stop nearly any smaller animal up to 10 feet distance...if you are closer than that to a large snake, you are TOO close anyhow !...

For $6.95, I bought Will's Pocket clip-on 25-shot I feel better - maybe not safer...just better.

SPIA's first parking spot after driving out of CHIPLEY, FLORIDA. Recall that there was a NO PARKING sign at Wal*Mart???; well, I went back to Wal*Mart to take care of morning necessaries (always try to do so instead of filling up SPIA's limited tank space). Stopped at Customer Service...Oh, that no attention to it; it is from the City to chase away Vagrants. RVs always park over night. So much for trying to follow the rules !


Awesome stand of Florida Pine Trees.

A Cyprus Swamp with no water. Water in the Florida Panhandle is down severely I am told by the locals...Everyone wants rain. Clouds form, Thunder Claps, and a few drops wet the ground for 15 minutes and moves on.

It is WATERMELON time in the Florida Panhandle. Today alone, I saw no less than six (6) pickup trucks parked hawking watermelon and cantaloupe. This one caught my eye because of the lone woman and little menfolk to be seen...a bit unusual.

I walked over when a big guy got out of the front of the Cab. We had a pleasant chat for 15 minutes or so. The little girl asks...why don't you buy one or our watermelons, Mister. I bought one this morning from Wal-Mart. She cut me off a big chunk of taste ours...have to admit it was better than Wal*Mart watermelon.

Please say Hello to LIZ and 8 year old Daughter LORRI - a.k.a. SHAY. Liz said they made $6.00 so far today...sitting all day, but hope for $4.00 more before going home. Good thing we love watermelon...Shay agreed she loves the things.

An hour later, walking back to SPIA, I passed Liz and Lorri on the other side of US 90...I received a shout and eager waves...should have bought one of their watermelons anyway...hindsight !

As with ALL towns in the Deep South, Churches abound on every side.

yes, and on this side, too.

Even up there with a built-in Dog Rest Place out front.

Money changers run a close second to the religious group.

Manufactured Homes...still seen nearly everywhere. Here is an entire preplanned community of Manufactured Homes.

KUBOTA has definitely taken over the small tractor market in ALL the USA. Some of their machines are unbelievable and all are easy on the eyes. Have not checked the pocketbook.

This little fellow stands about 4 - feet high.

A lake upon leaving the town of MARIANNA. Had not seen such a large lake around here before.

Try not to peek on the opposite side of the highway I am walking. On my walk BACK to SPIA, this is the "other side of the road" from the Lake. Under the Highway is built a Dam and spillways. A wheelchair accessible Park runs through the forest and along the river. Tubes, Rafts, and small Boats are for rent. A real surprise to see all this development. A number of young folks were at the park. Two older geezers sat at picnic tables set along the park pathways.

Down stream 300 feet from the Dam Spillway are these exposed Tree Roots. I would imagine that in normal water conditions ; i.e., more water available, these roots would be covered.

DAILY UPDATE: Walked three legs of 12, 8 and 4 miles = 24 miles.

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 24 miles @ $0.02 = $0.48 for the day.

SPIA is parked for the night about 1 mile East of MARIANNA, FLORIDA in an open spot along side US 90. In the morning, will leave SPIA and walk East...then see how the day goes.

The clouds are so thick and dense that at 5:00 pm local time, it is nearly dark. All vehicles have their head lights on. Sun down is about 8:00 pm.

Have once again CHANGED MY ROUTE:

I Will NOT walk South of TALAHASSEE on US 27. It is 4-lane ALL THE WAY, built up commercial, and heavily traveled. Instead, I will continue on US 90 beyond TALAHASSEE until it reaches US 100 at the town of LAKE CITY, FLORIDA. Will follow US 100 to FLAGLER BEACH on the Atlantic Ocean - yes, Ocean to Ocean finally -. Then will walk Highway A1A and/or US 1 South to the town of TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, where my Niece, Karen is waiting to welcome us into her home for a bit of a rest before continuing down A1A and / US 1 to MIAMI, FLORIDA.

Monday, June 27, 2011


CARYVILLE, FLORIDA Town Hall. The small towns along this part of US 90 usually do have a Town Hall and Post Office.

After parking overnight at Gary's place, drove to CARYVILLE and parked again in this shaded glen. Walked back toward Gary's and then Forward (East) past SPIA and return for 14 miles. Strangely, it was heavily clouded all day. Thunder began early - about 10:00 am local and banged away all day.

Convenience Store near SPIA's parking glen.

On down US 90 (East) a mile or two is this new - 1995 - bridge spanning the CHATAWACHEE River Bridge. Waters were "black".

but made nice reflection for the camera.

Especially of this Rail Road Bridge about 200 feet from the auto bridge.

A bit further on, came upon a large field full of Bank Repossessed Manufactured Homes for sale.

Just had to find out what this was all about. The owner, a bit of better-than-thou attitude, explained that ALL these units are Repossessed. He buys them from the bank, refurbishes them and sells them for something less than 50% of "new" cost.

This is a refurbished 28 wide x 80 foot long 4 bedroom, 2 bath unit. I checked it out pretty close. It did not shake or wiggle, and appeared to be generally of good quality.

This is the view from the front door...Kitchen thru the door.

Three small bedrooms & one bath at one end, looked through the Dining Area into the Kitchen.

At the other end was this LARGE Master Bedroom, with sitting room and double bath; i.e., tub and separate shower.

The "small" bedroom bathroom.

The glib owner proudly announced the 24 x 80 unit sells new at $89.500.00 (or so). He bought it from the bank, pulled it to his "field", refurbished it, will set it up on YOUR lot, with all utilities hooked up and skirting, and and and (he does NOT do Septic Tanks).

For the TOTAL price of $35,000.00. Makes me wonder what the bank got out of this deal.

Local CARYVILLE, FLORIDA Watering Hole.

Trucks: Lots of trucks on this road ... mostly hauling logs to the Pulp Mill.

I notice most trucks in the Deep South are MACK. Out West, and across Mid-Continent, most are VOLVO. Out West most are KW (Kenworth), Peterbuilt, and Freightliner.

Met up once again with my companions from beyond the Western Egret-type bird.

First Tree Farm I have seen East of the Sierra Nevada / Cascade Mountains in the Far West.

US 90, I am told, goes all the way across the USA. Here is a relic from the Old US 99. One can still see the old roadway above the twin culverts.

Walked past two more clear-water streams today.

And, across Alligator Creek, which had NO running water...just rather smallish big puddles.

One Puddle was large / deep enough for this little guy (about 6 feet long - sorry, I chopped off his tail in the photograph) only one quick shot at him. Alligator #2 for the walk. Do not fret...we have hundreds more alligators coming up in the next three weeks as we turn South to Key West...perhaps even a Salt Water Crocodile ... or perhaps a Burmese Python.

DAILY REPORT: Made 2 walks today, totaling 24 miles.

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 24 miles @ $0.02 = $0.48 for the day.

It rained HARD as I reached CHIPLEY, FLORIDA. Turned back to get SPIA...the rain stayed in CHIPLEY. Drove to Wal*Mart about 5 miles South next to I-10 (which is still with us), with the intention of parking overnight...No Way ! A 3 x 5 foot sign in RED:


Wonder what the City gains by legislating against Wal*Mart Customers parking overnight...I for one ALWAYS spend $$ when I stop at Wal*Mart.

Anyway, bought some food items and drove BACK to US 90 West of CHIPLEY where SPIA last parked under another big Oak Tree. Here, were have spent most of the night. We arrived at 4:00 pm local...I was VERY weak and tired, so took a short nap. Woke two hours is now 1:30 am - in the morning. Did not realize I was T H A T tired.

In the Morning, will drive to CHIPLEY, park SPIA, and continue walking East on US 90.