No Foolin’

Interstate 10 bridge at the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Welcome Center near Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

I’m a little late to the April Fool’s party so I don’t have anything funny.  But wanted to post that we are safely at home now and enjoying the spoils of our own house – quiet music, comfortable chairs and our own place!  We loved the travel but are happy to be back to home base.  It won’t last long, but we’ll enjoy it while we can!

A Thing For Cyprus Trees

Cyprus trees at the Tupelo-Bald Cyprus Swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway

I have a thing for Cyprus trees.  The shapes are interesting, and I love how they live against all odds of nature.  We found these in a swamp along the Natchez Trace Parkway today.  I know there’s a rule about taking landscape photos in harsh sunlight, but I keep forgetting…. 🙂

Cyprus trees at the Tupelo-Bald Cyprus Swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway
Cyprus trees at the Tupelo-Bald Cyprus Swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway
Cyprus trees at the Tupelo-Bald Cyprus Swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway

Postcard from Natchez, Mississippi

Historic Rosalie Mansion in Natchez, Mississippi

Kathy & I spent a couple of nights in Natchez, Mississippi before starting off on the Natchez Trace Parkway.  Natchez sits on a 200 foot bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.  We spent a lot of time walking and watching the barge traffic on the river.  The river is high and a few roads are closed, but we didn’t see anything serious.

Postcard from Avery Island, Louisiana

Live Oak at Jungle Gardens, Avery Island, Louisiana

In addition to being the home of Tabasco, Avery Island is home to Jungle Gardens, a 170-acre semitropical garden that stretches along Bayou Petite Anse.  Jungle Gardens was created by Edward Avery “Ned” McIlhenny. Born on Avery Island in 1872, Ned was an arctic explorer, naturalist and conservationist.

Postcard from Huntsville, Alabama

Control Room at the Payload Operations Integration Center at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama

This past Friday, Kathy & I visited the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.  While there we toured various NASA facilities including the Control Room at the Payload Operations Integration Center at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.  This is where all of the communication with the International Space Station regarding the payload and experiments takes place.  It was very interesting to see.

Picture of the TV screen showing live video from the International Space Station of astronauts returning to the ISS from a space walk

While we were there, the astronauts aboard the space station were returning from a space walk.  We were able to see live video of them returning to the ISS through the airlock and beginning the process of removing their suits.  Quite an unexpected treat!

Ready, Set, Go!

Costa Maya, Mexico

One of the things Kathy & I are really loving about this retirement thing is the ability to pretty much come and go as we please. No, we didn’t win the lottery jackpot so we are kind of limited to what we do and how long we go, but it is no longer dictated by an arbitrary vacation allowance.

Arrival in Cozumel, Mexico aboard Symphony of the Seas

We were driving near the airport shortly after we returned from our cruise, when I asked Kathy if she wanted to just go get on a plane to “somewhere.” We didn’t have our passports with us, otherwise we might have done it, but that didn’t stop her from saying “why not?”

Departing Miami for our second week aboard Symphony of the Seas
Departing Miami for our second week aboard Symphony of the Seas

I suppose we’ll eventually get tired of the coming and going, but so far all we seem to have is itchy feet! And for us the cure for that is to pack up a suitcase and go somewhere.

Marigot, St Martin
Arrival in Costa Maya, Mexico aboard Symphony of the Seas

I’ve had in my mind for a while that I wanted to check out the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi and Tennessee. So in a few days we’re going to head out on a little road trip. We’ll be hitting a few highlights only – this won’t be an in-depth trip of any kind – through Alabama to Louisiana before heading back up to Natchez and up the Parkway to Nashville. No ‘Nawlins’ or ‘Opryland’ for us this time – that will need to wait for a more focused trip. In the mean time I think we’ll have plenty to see and we are looking forward to seeing it!

Costa Maya, Mexico
Breakfast at Johnny Rocket’s aboard Symphony of the Seas

Mangrove Reflections

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

I’ve been finishing up some of the photos from our first trip this year, the one to Captiva and Sanibel Islands, Florida.  These are a few more from the mangrove swamp at Ding Darling NWR.  Not all of these are of mangroves per se, but you get the idea.

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

I felt like these needed to be in black & white.  Partly because of the weird color of the water due to the brackishness (is that a word?) of the marshland water but also because of the patterns themselves.

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

Photographs and stuff!