Apalachicola, Florida; A Small Gulf Coast Town

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Apalachicola, Florida Sunrise on the Apalachicola Rider

When I think of small Gulf Coast towns my mind conjures up all the visions of the many small towns along the Gulf Coast I have had the privilege of visiting. While driving back from a family Disney World vacation last April we stopped for the night in Apalachicola, Florida. Apalachicola is a quaint, small southern historic town with a maritime culture, shops, galleries, restaurants , B & B’s, motels and museums. It is as near to perfect stereotype  a Gulf Coast small town as one could hope to get.

Apalachicola, Florida  Sunrise on the Apalachicola River

Apalachicola, Florida Sunrise on the Apalachicola River

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Apalachicola, Florida Pirate of …

We arrived on a Thursday and found a local motel for the night. Driving into Apalachicola on U.S 98, we drove through the historic downtown. After checking into our motel we drove back to the downtown area to find a place to eat. The restaurant we saw while driving in was closed, so we walked down to the Sea Food Grill & Steaks and had some great southern cookin’. Loved the white beans…

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Apalachicola, Florida The Grady Market

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Apalachicola, Florida Historic Downtown

After diner we walked down to the Apalachicola River. The sun was setting and there were a lot of photo opportunities… Old buildings with interesting architecture, an old wrecked boat and spectacular  views of the river and docked boats. Unfortunately, we left our cameras back at the motel. What a bummer… We decided we needed to return at sunrise and get some of the pictures we missed…

The Three Soldiers Monument, Apalachicola, Florida , travel

The Three Soldiers Monument

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Orman House

The next morning we get up before sunrise and headed down to the river.  At every turn there was a great photo op…  We got some great shots along the river as the sun rose over the river. There were several boats active on the river giving us some sunrise activity. We then strolled through town taking pictures of buildings and interesting sights while we waited for the Apalachicola Riverwalk Café to open. We had a great breakfast and enjoyed visiting with the owner. She filled us in on some of the history of Apalachicola and some of the must see sights.

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Chapman Botanical Gardens

There are several museums in Apalachicola that we hope to visit. It seems that most of them are closed on Wednesday. So we will  save them for our return to Apalachicola at a later date…

The Orman House was our first stop. The grounds were open to touring but the house was closed. We would love to have done the home tour but we will save that for our return trip. On entering the property we saw the Three Soldiers Monument, the focal point of the park. The Three Soldiers Monument pays honor to the Southern soldiers who served in Vietnam. Sculptor Frederick Hart said once that he believed that art must “touch our lives, our fears and cares – evoke our dreams and give hope to the darkness.” The Monument does just that.

Adjoining the Orman House is the Chapman Botanical Gardens. The Chapman Botanical Garden honors the memory of Dr. Alvan Wentworth Chapman, a noted botanist who in 1860 published “Flora of the United States”.  We took a leisurely walk through the garden enjoying the early morning and the tortoise strolling across our path.

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The Chestnut Cemetery Apalachicola, Florida

Driving in the previous evening, we saw an old cemetery that we wanted to explore. The Chestnut Cemetery, like any old cemetery, is like taking a remarkable walk back through time. If you stop, be sure to pickup a map which gives information about many of the people and history of Apalachicola buried there.  The Chestnut Cemetery is open during daylight hours. The cemetery is on U.S. 98. There isn’t any parking at the cemetery so we parked nearby and walked to the entrance. The Chestnut Cemetery is very interesting and worth a look.

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Chestnut Cemetery

We would liked to have stay longer but we needed to get on down the road. We will be coming back (hopefully soon) to explore more and to see the museums that were closed… Apalachicola, Florida; A Small Gulf Coast Town you need to visit… You will be glad you did…

I Regret Traveling

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I regret travel… NOT!

I regret traveling… Says nobody riding a motorcycle… If you feel the same you are free to share…

While here you may want to have a look at some of our travels below.

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Ride safe… See you down the road,,,

Goldwing Handlebar GOPRO Camera Tripod

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GoPro Photo from handlebar tripod

Goldwing handlebar GoPro camera tripod is my solution to using a GoPro on a motorcycle. My daughter gave me a Gopro Hero 3 for my birthday. The GoPro has been gathering dust on the shelf while I have been figuring out the best way to use it while riding the wing.

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The finisher handlebar tripod

I have seen several mounts stuck in many places on other motorcycles. None of the mounts seemed to fit my needs logistically. When riding, I really don’t want to stop to change or move the camera from one mount to another to get shots while riding. Mounting the camera on my helmet didn’t seem like a good idea either. I wanted something I could safely access while riding. Something that could capture forward, side and rear shots while riding…  Like a tripod, mounted on my handlebars.

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GoPro handlebar tripod

After searching the net, I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I designed and built one myself. It was a pretty simple design made from a 4 ¾” by 1” inch by 1/8” aluminum flat bar and using the head of an old mini tripod I had.

The other issue is operating the camera safely while riding. A remote was an obvious the answer. I decided to attach it to my wrist using a lanyard. The lanyard made it easily accessible and I could release it in an emergency.

The other day I took it out for a test ride… It all worked amazingly well… I do need to do more riding to get familiar with using the GoPro, the remote and developing techniques to get the best pictures and video.

Below are pictures and video of my first attempts…

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GoPro photo from handelbar tripod

So… do any of you have suggestions or tips for using the GoPro? If so let’s hear them…

Ride safe and I hope to see you down the road somewhere…

The Loneliest Highway In America

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The Loneliest Highway in America

This past summer we drove out to San Diego to visit our daughter and her family. On our return from San Diego to Texas we took a different route back to see a different part of the country. We have done this many times over the years of traveling to see our daughter. It has allowed us to see much of the western United States… but we still have more to see.

On this trip we drove a portion of US Highway 50. We picked up Highway 50 at the tip of Lake Tahoe in California and drove east through Nevada and Utah.

It all started when Janet picked up a brochure titled “The Loneliest Highway In America”. In July of 1986, Life Magazine ran a negative article about the Nevada State Highway 50 titled “The Loneliest Road.” AAA  described Nevada State Highway 50 route through Nevada this way: “It’s totally empty” and advised traveling a different route unless you are confident of your survival skills. Nevada officials, wisely, seized on the phrase “The Loneliest Road” as a marketing slogan. US 50 covers large desolate areas, with signs of civilization few and far between. This sounded like something Janet and I would like… so we drove it.

US 50 crosses several large scenic desert valleys separated by several mountain ranges. It has many little-known and unique places of interest, and most of these places are free to see. Also US 50 roughly follows the path of the Pony Express riders. The route included Baker, Ely, Eureka, Austin, Fallon, Silver Springs and on to Sacramento.

Virginia City, Nevada

Our first stop was Virginia City. Virginia City is just 7 miles off of US 50.

Virginia City sprang up as a mining town sitting atop the Comstock Lode. The Comstock Lode was the first major silver deposit, discovered in the United States in 1859. At its peak, Virginia City had over 15,000 residents. Today, the population of Virginia City is about 855. There is some mining activity in the area still but today Virginia City’s main industry seems to be tourism.

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Man with his pet owl in Virginia City, NV

Virginia City has several buildings from the time it was a boom town. The most notable artifact is the Suicide Table. It’s an old Faro Bank Table dating from the 1860s, claimed to be responsible for the deaths of three of its owners. Loses at the table caused the losers to depart this world at their own hands. The Bucket of Blood Saloon, the Old Globe, the Silver Queen and The Red Dog Saloon are some of the more colorful buildings.

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Virginia City

Virginia City has been a Historical District since being declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

Janet and I spent the afternoon leisurely walking the main street visiting all the shops, taking lots of pictures, learning bits of history here and there and visiting with the many friendly local folks about town.

There are many other things in town and in the area. Our time was limited so we will need to return at a later date to see more.

Grimes Point Petroglyphs

Grimes Point Petroglyphs are about 10 miles east of Fallon, Nevada, just off US 50 to the left. Look close or you might miss the turn.

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Grimes Point Petroglyphs

Janet and I enjoy learning about Native American history. This was a good site and a nice little hike in the early morning. I found myself as always imagining what life was like back then. If rocks could talk… or better yet… If we could only read what the rocks were telling us. Archaeologists believe the petroglyphs here are not a form of writing. They may depict constellations, hunting areas, or markers of some kind.

Grimes Point was first visited by Native Americans about 8,000 years ago. You can view petroglyphs along a short, self-guided interpretive trail. We picked up a brochure at the parking area. Some of the petroglyphs are very faint and hard to see in the early morning sun light. Look closely or you will miss some of them.

This is a must stop if you have the time…

 

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The Shoe Tree

The Shoe Tree

The story goes something like this… There are several versions…  A newlywed couple driving to California pulled over to rest under this large Cottonwood tree. They soon got into an argument. The bride threw a pair of the groom’s shoes into the large Cottonwood tree. In revenge, he grabbed a pair of her shoes and tossed them into the tree… Who knows what really happened except, now everyone stops to see the shoes in the tree and some add to the shoes already in the tree. If you head that way, it is a good place to rid yourself of some old shoes and add to the stories and speculation…

Stokes Castle

Stokes Castle, located just outside Austin, Nevada , is a three-story stone tower built by Anson Phelps Stokes. Stokes was a miner, banker and railroad magnate. Stokes began building the Castle as a summer home in 1896 and completed it in 1897.

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Stokes Castle outside of Austin, Nevada

The castle was patterned after a tower in the Roman Campagna in Italy.    The kitchen and dining room were located on the first floor, the second floor contained the living room with a balcony and on the third floor were two bedrooms with balconies.

The Stokes family lived in the Stokes Castle only for a short time. In the summer of 1898, they sold their mine, the milling equipment, and the castle.

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Mining equipment at Stokes Castle

This is a must see when traveling through Austin. The Castle sits atop a hill overlooking the town and countryside. Quite a view and I could see why Mr. Stokes picked this spot for his home. It is in near ruin now and fenced off and can only be seen through the fence. We could only imagine what it was like in its hey-day. There are remains of some of the mining equipment near the home and what appears to be mining tailings just down the hill.

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Grocery store in Eureka, Nevada

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Eureka Opera House

Small Towns

There are several small towns along the route (Baker, Ely, Eureka, Austin, Fallon, Silver Springs). We love small towns and stop every  chance we get. We enjoy learning the history and visiting with real ‘down to earth’ people who live there. We stopped in Eureka, Nevada  at the Owl Club Bar & Steakhouse for lunch. The good food and friendly staff made it a great choice. After lunch we took a stroll to checkout more of Eureka. The small grocery took me back to my childhood. The grocery reminded me of the small grocery we shopped at growing up in rural Texas. The store was small physically but they managed to get a lot into the small space. The shelves were wooden made just for the store. Every inch of space was use to display a variety of goods just like the store from my childhood. Old memories are always good no matter how they are triggered.

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Double Rainbow on the Loneliest Highway in America

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Loneliest Highway in America

The Great Basin

The highway passes through several large desert valleys between many mountain ranges that tower over the valleys, in what is known as the Basin and Range province of the Great Basin. It’s hard to describe the beauty we experienced traveling this highway. We saw beautiful valleys, majestic vistas and native animals along the way. I saw some the most beautiful rainbows I have ever seen. One rainbow was a complete double rainbow.  Just an incredible sight to behold…

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Loneliest Highway in America

We are glad we chose this route. My only regret is we were traveling by car instead of motorcycle. Needless to say I have added “The Loneliest Highway in America” to my “Ride Bucket List”. Stay tuned for that ride.

While you are here, you may like these post, too…

Come follow along as we explore more scenic vista’s in Texas…

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Day 6 & 7 – Trail of Tears and Palo Duro Canyon Motorcycle Ride September 2006

September 21 Canyon to Abilene (270 miles)

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Day 6 Ride Map

Thursday we rode to Abilene. It would have been a good ride except for the wind. The wind was blowing 25-30 MPH and on a bike that is no fun. For a goodly part of the ride (when ridding north to south) we had gusting cross winds that were the worst.. When heading west to east we had the wind at our back (tail wind) and that was easy riding. It was also really cold that morning (48 degrees). We hadn’t packed for riding in that cold of weather and that was a bit unpleasant even though we put on everything we had that was warm. It eventually warmed up and even got hot (92) before we got to Abilene. We passed by Cap Rock Canyon State park on the way. We wanted to stop and spent some time there but because of the wind we decided to leave that to another ride. We got to Abilene around 3:00 and went to our rooms and crashed until supper. The wind, cold and heat made for a very long and exhausting day. The only thing we wanted to do was eat and rest… sleep… So we did.

September 22 Abilene to Georgetown (204 miles)

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Day 7 Ride Map

Friday we rode to Buffalo Gap to see the Buffalo Gap Village Museum. It did not open until 10:00 so we headed back home since the wind was to start back up that afternoon. We got back to Georgetown about 2:00 and took it easy for the rest of the day.

We had a great time on our ride. The weather could have been better but if you ride weather is just part of the ride. You may want to check out the other days of our ride by clicking on the links below.

While you are here, you may like these post, too…

Come follow along as we explore more scenic vista’s in Texas…

Please click here to check out our Facebook Page and give us a “LIKE”.

Ride safe and I hope we see you down the road somewhere…

Palo Duro Canyon Motorcycle Ride September 2006

September 20 Palo Duro Canyon(90 miles)

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Day 5 Ride Map of Palo Duro

Today is the 5th day of our Trail of Tears and Palo Duro Canyon Motorcycle Ride.

Today we ride to the Palo Duro Canyon a state park of Texas. Palo Duro is the nation’s second largest canyon. The weather was great. The ride to the canyon was not far. Larry and Gary were starting to wonder if there was a canyon because the landscape was flat as a table until we got to the canyon… and bam!!! There was the canyon, an impressive sight to see. Words don’t really do it justice.

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Palo Duro Canyon Welcome Center

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Palo Duro Canyon

We stopped by the visitor center and talked to one the staff about the canyon. At one time the canyon was part of Col. Goodnight’s ranch. That really perked Janet’s interest because her mom’s dad worked for Col. Goodnight and Janet’s mom was born on the ranch!!! For those of you who may not know that name, the TV series “Lonesome Dove” is a fictionalized account of Goodnight and Loving’s third cattle drive. Woodrow F. Call represents Goodnight, Augustus McCrae is Oliver Loving.

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At amphitheater in Palo Duro Canyon

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Janet and Me

After spending some time at the visitor center we rode through the canyon, stopping here and there to explore a bit. Gary ( a guy from Ontario Canada) was really crazy about the canyon and the animals we saw there. Gary has ridden with us after the “Trail of Tears” for several years now.  From the visitors center you take State Park Road 5 about 5 miles riding into the park. The speed limit is 30 MPH. There are many places to stop and take pictures of the canyon and any wildlife you may stumble across. A must stop is the Pioneer Amphitheater.  The Pioneer Amphitheater was carved out of the basin of the  Canyon. During the year majestic plays are preformed there. When we were there, there wasn’t  any plays scheduled.

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Larry, Gary and Me

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Lighthouse Formation in the Palo Duro Canyon

We ate lunch at the restaurant in the Canyon. The food was good but the restaurant was really busy. Larry, Shirley (Larry’s Wife) and Gary headed back to Georgia after lunch. Larry had a high school reunion he wanted to get back for. Janet and I stayed to explore the canyon a bit more. We hiked the Lighthouse trail but not to the end because it looked like rain was coming. People have got stranded in the canyon when it rains so we decided we should head back. We only got a few sprinkles but we had rather be safe than be sorry. That evening we went back to and watched the sun set in the canyon. The colors of the rocks were brilliant, the views went on forever, and overall, it was just a spectacular view.  The changing light on the canyon walls during sunset is prettier than any work of art. Pictures don’t really capture all there is. The sounds and smell are all part of the experience and can’t be captured. We hope to do that again and spend more time off the bike exploring all that is available.

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Sunset over Palo Duro Canyon

After sunset we headed back to our motel in Canyon (the town) and rested up for the ride home… Come follow along as we head home tomorrow.

You may want to check out the other days of our ride by clicking on the links below.

While you are here, you may like these post, too…

Come follow along as we explore more scenic vista’s in Texas…

Please click here to check out our Facebook Page and give us a “LIKE”.

Ride safe and I hope we see you down the road somewhere…

Day 4 Trail of Tears and Palo Duro Canyon Motorcycle Ride September 2006

September 19 Henryetta to Canyon(363 miles)

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Day 4 Palo Duro Ride Route

Today is day 4 of our Trail of Tears and Palo Duro Canyon Motorcycle Ride. With the “Trail of Tears” motorcycle ride behind us we headed to the “Palo Duro Canyon”. Larry and Shirley and Gary are riding with us. Larry and Shirley are longtime friends we have been riding with for years. Gary is a friend we have hooked up with many times at the “Trail of Tears” ride.

Gary is from Windsor, Canada just across the Detroit River from Detroit, Michigan. Gary has always been great fun to ride with and he has a goofy sense of humor that is a good fit to our group. Gary retired from Chrysler some years ago. He didn’t have any hobbies to occupy his retirement time. Some friends suggested he buy a motorcycle and ride with them. Well, to make a long story short, Gary bought a Honda Goldwing and has been running the wheels off it. We are glad he did because we would have never met.

Today we ride 363 miles to Canyon, Texas. Most of the ride was down I-40 which was part of the old Route 66 highway. We stopped at Elk City, OK to eat and we spent a couple of hours at the National Route 66 museum there.  Route 66 the “Mother Road” stretches from Illinois all the way to California. The museum tries to give a feel for the experience of traveling down Route 66 with displays of roadside attractions that lured travelers to stop and spend their money.

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Route 66 National Museum Elk City OK Sept. ’06

The museum is part of the Old Town Museum Complex that gives you a look into the lives of early settlers in Oklahoma, as well as Oklahoma’s agricultural heritage. They were great museums and we look forward to coming back again.

It was a long ride today. We got to Canyon around 6:00 pm. After checking into the motel we ate at Big Earl’s BBQ. It was good but it was not owned by a guy named Earl and he was my size!! (i.e. NOT BIG…) The BBQ was good and a good way to end the day.

Tomorrow we ride the “Palo Duro Canyon”, the Grand Canyon of Texas. Larry heard about the canyon from someone suggesting it for a ride… so tomorrow we check that one off Larry’s bucket list…

You may want to check out the other days of our ride by clicking on the links below.

While you are here, you may like these post, too…

Come follow along as we explore more scenic vista’s in Texas…

Please click here to check out our Facebook Page and give us a “LIKE”.

Ride safe and I hope we see you down the road somewhere…