Sunday, August 15, 2010

Carnac the Magnificent

I was watching the news a few nights ago and learned that all the late night episodes from the Johnny Carson show have now been collected on to one site so that a whole new generation will be able to view his humor.

It seems strange now to think that one person so captivated our imagination just before dropping off the sleep each night. Carnac the Magnificent was always one of my favorite characters and I have featured a clip that highlights why the show was so popular.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Orlando without the Mouse: Boating at Wekiva Springs

And now for the final installment of the trip to Orlando and Wekiva Springs State Park. As usual click each photo for a better view.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the park provided canoes for you to paddle out and view the wilder sections of the park, and of course we could not resist trying our hand at canoeing.

We returned the next day full of excitement. We were ready to go on the water and see what adventures lay ahead for us.

Evidently paddling out into the park is a popular attraction,because we met people from several different countries who yelled to us what they had seen on their trip.

It really is an adventure because you get to see a portion of the park that you probably would not see taking the trails. I saw a huge turtle sitting on the bank but was unable to get a shot because we created so much noise moving the boat around he dived into the water and floated away.

There is swampy growth throughout the little river but certain sections are very clear and you can see the fish and turtles floating around below you.

Alex and I went out together and then took turns going out alone just to test ourselves in terms of using the boat and taking pictures. His eye is very different from mine and going alone allowed us individually to focus on what caught our interest. Here is Alex taking his turn.

And what would the adventure be without a video clip of a lighthearted event: Alex in a race with other boaters!

We have watched that clip a million times since the trip and laughed while we re-experienced the fun of the adventure. Nothing against the mouse but we had a great time and felt we really tested ourselves. I strongly encourage you if you are in the Orlando area and tired of the crowds, visit Wekiva Springs and go a little bit into the wild!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Orlando without the Mouse: Wekiva Springs

Prior to arriving in Orlando I did an online search of places to go and as you probably know, we are fans of State Parks. That was how I found Wekiva State Park. It is a undiscovered gem near I-4 which the locals know is well worth the trip. As always, click each photo for a better view.

The Springs bubbles up from the Florida aquifer and stays a constant 72 degrees F which can be cool in the Summer and warm in the Winter. For a mere $6 per car you are allowed entrance into paradise. But, be warned, plan to go during the week because over the weekend it is crowed with locals and once the park has reached capacity the rangers will turn you away (a real nightmare because you have to go through a long line up to the ranger station only to have them divert you right back out).

There are trails, either packed earth or boardwalks, throughout the park that will give you a glimpse of the real Florida.

You get a chance to see how the area changes with the birth and death cycle of trees and fauna.

And of course there is wild life. The website mentioned turkeys and bears, but when we went I guess they where hiding out from the heat. What we did encounter was this gray Squirrel we called "Peggy."

And when they say don't feed the wildlife, they mean it! Alex started feeding little Peggy bits from a cracker he had in his backpack. At one point he bent down, still holding the cracker, to continue feeding Peggy and I guess she decided that she didn't want the little bits he was providing. She grabbed the whole cracker scratching his finger in the process and clucked at us after she had it. We decided not to put up a fight and resumed walking.

In addition to the trails and swimming in the spring there is a river that runs from the location. You can rent a boat to travel out into the wilder, unseen portions of the park, which is an adventure in itself.

It was a great experience, despite the heat, that of course we could not resist... but that will be covered in another post.

The website said you could scuba dive down into the spring which we were not prepared or trained to do. The next best thing was a picture and a video clip where you can get as close as possible to doing that.

You can hear the ranger say on the video that I needed a special filter to get a view down into the spring. I love proving people wrong... while not perfect, it does give a clear view both down into the spring and a sense of how the water is continually bubbling up.

And so, if you are ever in the Orlando area and tired of the crowds and overpriced events. Give Wekiva Springs a try. Nature has by far outdone the mouse!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Orlando without the Mouse

Orlando for me is a nice place to visit if you stay away from the mouse. It may be great entertainment for some but the crowds and over priced events are a real turn off for me. Recently Alex and I decided to take some well deserved time off by visiting Orlando and took some great pictures. So many in fact, that I will show them in three parts. The first part is a visit to the Sanford (Orlando metro) Zoo. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

One of the most interesting snakes on exhibit is this Red Spitting Cobra. Their chief form of defense is to spit venom in the eyes of an attacker. The venom is so powerful it can blind a man!

Notice that he came right over to the edge of his cage and began to focus on something to the left. As I was filming I moved my left hand out from my body and he was following that movement. It gives you an idea of just how focused they are in terms of mounting a defense.

Next, is a fairly famous snake. Famous because the Aruba Island Rattlesnake is featured on their currency and postage stamps.

Talk about blending into its surroundings, notice how this Southern Copperhead does just that.

And, just so you don't think it was only about snakes, I ran into these two Hyacinth Macaws who seemed to know the steps to take to get handouts from tourists.

They used their claws and beaks to climb the fence, and once at eye level, opened their mouths for any tasty treat you might be willing to provide.

This Zoo had something for everyone. They have a roped off section set up to let you practice your climbing and agility skills rope walking. Here I come!

Despite the fact they were not actual animals, I really liked this guy. I call him Poke-U-pine.

And just so you know, the entire day was not spent at the zoo. This particular area is loaded with lakes and I spent the remainder of the afternoon sitting out on this marina. The lake is so large you almost think you are near the sea. A nice end for the day...