A couple of days ago, Rob and I bid farewell to Florida. It's a little hard to believe our stay there has come to a close. After a few months of spending time with my family in the Sunshine State, we're trekking back north to Wintry Wisconsin to visit with Rob's before heading out overseas.
We finished our stay with a visit to Daytona Beach. I think this is the first time (since going to the Indiana Dunes as a kid) that I've been to a beach with a real or official name.
Before Daytona, we went camping out in the prairie. It was a long hike to where we were camping. We had no bikes, no 4-wheelers, no method of transportation other than our feet. Rob, James (my brother), and I all hiked along a winding, nearly forgotten path that took us through ever increasing depths of water. At the end of it, we ended up taking off our shoes and hiking the last quarter of a mile barefoot.
More pictures would have been taken, but it was a struggle to keep the gear from falling into the water let alone try to shoot photography.
When things settled down, we enjoyed a lovely fire, some s'mores, and each other's company.
That is before James lit a cigar and went off to look at the stars through the telescope we carried in down that muddy, watery path.
Taking photos of stars is a thing I always attempt, but never succeed at. The dark out here was intense, and it let us see some amazing things: the milky way, craters on the moon, the passing of Mars and Venus behind the moon, and one of Jupiter's moons.
It was probably the coldest night I've spent outside, and in the morning it was difficult to get up and go, but we managed.
On the way back, we discovered a lovely, straight, neatly compacted dirt road that took us straight back to our vehicle. Why the ranger never told us to take that road to our campsite I'll never know. Maybe it was all just part of the "experience".
I feel like experiences are all typically good, even if they don't seem like it at the time you still get something out of it in the end. Florida was a wonderful experience. I love spending time with family, and I loved being a bit warmer during the winter months than I'm typically accustomed. On our way out, I snapped this picture of the sunset. It was a nice parting gift.
Forty-two more days until our ship leaves the dock. We still have a long ways to go with our biking, but we're still enjoying the trip.
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