We venturing a bit farther out from home base today. Drove down A1A through Ormond Beach and into Daytona Beach. Full of high rise condos and cheesy attractions. No reason to stop here. Stopped at Ponce Preserve and lighthouse for a hike near the inlet for the intercoastal
Came across some guys who landed a Bull shark. Did not want to watch what happened next as I am sure it was destined to be killed and made into a wall mount
The beach sure is different from Flagler Beach. Here it is like sugar, while in our neck of the woods it is mostly crushed shells that stick to your body and almost need to be scrubbed off. People say this is a change in the last couple years. A storm came through and turned the beach over and now it is half the size and all shells. You can see this as many of the steps leading down to the beach in Flagler are in the water at high tide. There is talk of placing a barge off the coast that pumps sand out, slowly replenishing the beach, but the jury is still out.
We drove around the inlet and headed into New Smyrna Beach (NSB). This place is kinda inbetween the quietness of Flagler and the ridiculousness of Daytona. Lots of dining/drinking options with a bona fide main street, but with that comes more people. We hiked the dune walk just North of town, on the other side of the inlet. You can see the lighthouse in the distance
We saw multiple tortoises and walked on the hard packed beach
We continued south of NSB and stopped for lunch at JBs Fish Camp. Able to sit outside and look out over the intercoastal. We had crab cakes and fish sandwich. Both were a bit mushy for our take. But then again we recently came from Maryland where we ate the blue crabs straight outta the traps.
This morning got up early and tried to exercise on the beach with stretch bands. Still so windy here!
When I got back, Max was eager to go to the beach.
The waves were crazy. They were breaking 6 ft tall right on the shore. Max had no fear, but the undertow was incredible. I was standing on the beach and literally got knocked over by a wave, lost the sunglasses and everything. Yard Sale!
Another shark caught by the pier
We rode the Lehigh trail in the afternoon and caught sunset at the preserve behind our place
The next day we went for an epic bike ride. With me switching over my MTB tires to slick cruiser tires I was itching to see how much smother the ride on pavement would be. I convinced Amy she could keep up with her single gear $50 Craigslist Special and we rode along A1A all the way to Ormond Beach and back. A total of 30 miles and into the wind the way back!. She is a good sport. Did not complain at all. When in Ormond we stopped at Ormond Museum and Garden. The indoor was closed but we were able to walk the garden paths. Now that we were farther south a whole new lineup of vegetation was showing up. Amy recognized a lot of them as having similar varieties back home in Thailand.
Ormond beach is not as famous as Daytona but apparently they also have a history of racing cars on the hard packed beach sand.
We went to the $6.99 Fish Fry at The Anchor Restaurant when we pulled back into Flagler. The fish was so good (not overly fried) that we repeated it every Tuesday and even a couple days in between.
Amy had a hair appointment today at an interesting “Salon” around the corner. After stretching on the beach I decided to take the TW200 out for a spin. The wind had died down and I followed A1A south to Ormond, then crossed the bridge inland and worked my way back north.
The next morning I watched this guy paddle-surfing the waves. I was amazed he was able to stay up, especially after paddle boarding myself and knowing that the slightest ripple in the water throws me completely off and puts me on all fours.
Thanksgiving Day. We were kindly invited to participate in the condo pot luck after a Zoom call with the parents. Everyone served buffet style and spread out across the pool deck. I never thought I would be spending Thanksgiving in such circumstances but was thankful for health and sense of community
The next day we walked the boardwalk at Ormond Beach and I rode the bike over the intercoastal bridge in Flagler.
I stopped and bought a $15 body board at the Dollar Store and headed to the beach to show the surfers a thing or two about “catchin’ waves”
I was terrible. I don’t think I caught one wave. I just got pummeled for 30 minutes as small children on their own boards surfed right by me. At one point the beach rescue pulled up and dove into the water. It turned out there was an actual person in distress near me. They were fine, but I took that as a cue to complete my session. I went back one more time a week later but the results were the same. My dream to be in an old van and just surf the shores of Baja for a season had been squashed.
Amy had been itching to see an Alligator in the wild. Allen, caretaker at our condo, mentioned there might be one in Wadsworth Park over the bridge. We would check it out. As it turned out that afternoon we saw one climbing out of the water next to the Burger King along the freeway. A prehistoric creature in it’s natural environment
We also saw one at the park a couple days later.
Against our better nature, we splurged on tickets to the Kennedy Space Center. I think when all said and done it was $150. They dinged us for parking as well. I guess it is a private company that actually runs the park. Anyways, with the recent shuttle launch we saw, Amy had become a fan of the Space Race and I always marveled at the accomplishments the US achieved in the 1960s.
I had actually been here before, just before the Challenger explosion in 1986.
Here is a shot of 35 years later, still looking like a 9 year old boy
Due to COVID, many of the experiences were closed. No discount on prices, but it meant there were less than a hundred people in the whole park. We masked up, refilled our alcohol bottles and took our chances. A lot had changed since I had last been here. The “Rocket Park” was still here:
But they had added a whole building focusing on the Atlantis and the other Space Shuttles of the last 40 years
I had seen one of the other shuttles (Discovery) while visiting DC. I now had 2 down. They built 6, 5 went into space (one test ship was Enterprise). The other ones were Challenger, Columbia, Endeavour. Unfortunately, Challenger and Columbia exploded. That left Endeavor. It is in the California Science Center in Los Angeles. We are headed there in a couple months, but I doubt I want to drive into Los Angeles during COVID, even if it would allow me to complete a list!
As I mentioned, 2 of the shuttles exploded. They have a tribute area to those astronauts and even have parts of each recovered craft, which was very eerie.
Outside of the Atlantis exhibit they had areas that celebrated the Apollo, Gemini and Mercury programs as well as the future missions to explore Mars and beyond.
We would have liked to do the bus tour to the launch areas, but we felt the cost was worth the experience. I am not sure you could see everything in one day with regular crowds as we missed a couple spots even though 1/3 of attractions were closed and no people.
We closed the day out as usual…walk the preserve