Monday, April 16, 2018

Boston Marathon activities

We hopped on the subway and went out to marathon mile marker 24 to wait for Kerri. Even though it was horrible weather conditions, we dressed for it and stood out and cheered for the runners.  I held my left hand out for those runners who wanted to 'high five' someone and you would be amazed of the number of runners who came over to 'high five' me.

There were people of all nationalities and all sizes.  If you look right in the center of the picture, you will see a "little" person.

In just to the left of center of this picture is Kerri. I thought she looked GREAT considering this is at mile marker 24.

Before we left the house to cheer on the runners, we donned the shirts Kristin made.  The shirts read "Team Kerri   #18831"  on the front, and "Behind every great Boston Marathoner is a family who cheers them on LOUDLY!!" on the back.

I had some ask me to post Kerri's results.  She completed the 26.2 mile course in 3 hours, 34 minutes, and 34 seconds.  I thought this was phenomenal due to the weather conditions and considering the elite runners were about 20-30 minutes behind their times from last year.  Kerri's normal time is around 3 hours and 21minutes.  She has qualified for the 2019 Boston Marathon.

If you ever wondered what the Boston Marathon medal looks like, here it is

Boston Marathon

We are in Boston for the weekend because my younger daughter, Kerri, qualified for the Boston Marathon.  While sometimes the weather can be very nice, historically, for the marathon, that is not the case this weekend. But, when dealing with outdoor sporting events, you have to play the hand you're dealt.

Since we got here on Saturday, we picked Kerri's family up at the airport and went to the runner's expo for Kerri to get her bib number and other goodies.  Bib number 18831.

Our older daughter, Kristin, wanted to come up and see her sister run the marathon, so after picking her up at the airport, we went to the 4 bedroom house Kerri rented in Louisburg Square on Beacon Hill because it is close to the finish line. We are on the second floor in this corner of the building straight ahead.

This view is looking up the street from our bay window.

Then here is a view of one of the many small streets.

We looked around the area, then went to the science museum after riding the Duck.

The science museum which was fantastic. Someone took our group picture for us.  For those of you who do not know,  from left to right is me, Bonnie, Jack, Kerri, Maggie, Kristin, and Patrick. 
By the way, the wording on the front of the shirts reads, "Kerri runs like a girl . . ." and on the back it reads ". . .  better keep up! Boston 2018.  #18831"

After the science museum, we took in some of the local flavors, this delicious lobster roll.

and of course Boston cream pie.

This morning, Monday, April 16th, Patrick and I took Kerri to catch a charter bus out to the finish line.  For those of you who may not know, the Boston Marathon is a point to point race that starts 26.2 miles out from downtown Boston and runs into the city.

After we dropped Kerri off at the charter bus, Patrick and I proceeded to look for a parking garage.  The first 3 we found were private garages.  Then we found one that was $45/day.  So, we kept on looking and thought we hit the jackpot when we found one that was just $30, but that was for 3 hours.  So, the $45/day place looked good enough to park for the day.

Kerri was expecting to finish with a respectable time, but the 35mph Nor’easters with gusts to 54mph and the torrential downpour is likely to crush her time.  She is not expecting to beat the Kenyans.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Our last stop, Gulf State Park

Located in Gulf Shores, Alabama, this state park is the best of all of the places we stayed.  Each site has water, electric, and sewer and the paved sites include a grill and picnic table.  However, it is also the most expensive place we stayed, too, because there is an 11% lodging tax and a 15% resort tax.  But, there are miles, and miles of paved biking paths.

Notice the gator on the post has been decorated with Mardi Gras beads

 We took some of the trails on Saturday morning to get some beignets, which were a good treat, but not as good as the ones from Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans.

Another trail we took ended at the beach, and you can see in the picture below, there were very few people on the beach.

We are going to cut our trip short by a couple of days because the weather forecast is for severe weather Monday including thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes.

For your entertainment, I am passing along a video that a friend of mine sent me since we have seen so many alligators.

Thanks for traveling with us!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Fort Pickens

We left Saint Joseph Peninsula State Park to continue on to Fort Pickens which is part of the National Park system because it has been preserved as a national seashore.  Fort Pickens was a Union fort during the civil war and never saw any defensive action after that.

The cannon you see in the picture below fired 15" cannon balls.

Notice all of the arches built in the fort that were laid with brick.  All of the brick in the fort, exterior and interior, was built with slave labor brought here from New Orleans, because the slaves in New Orleans were much more experienced at masonry work.  So, the local slaves were used for other tasks. 

Even though it is quite cool here, 41 degrees in the morning, we rode our bikes every day about 8-10 miles.  We rode past this fishing pier where many people were fishing for sheepshead because the fish were 'running'.  It looked like a great opportunity for many people to get their lines tangled.

On the bike path we took, we crossed over a small bridge and were able to see two large turtles.

Then we walked on the beach that was deserted.

We saw several ospreys and their nests.

We are leaving for Gulf State Park tomorrow.

Friday, March 9, 2018

On towards St. Joseph Peninsula SP

Thursday, March 8

When we left Manatee Springs SP, we thought we would look for another Rails-to-Trails biking trail since we have had such good luck and a wonderful time biking these trails.  Well, we found one about two thirds of the way to our next stop of St. Joseph Peninsula SP.  This trail was called the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad Trail.  Back in the day, the train hauled freight from Tallahassee, but primarily cotton, from the markets in Tallahassee down to the bay town of St. Marks to be shipped to the appropriate mills.  This was also the first paved Rails-to-Trails trail in Florida.  We started at the Wakulla Station trail head that was about seven miles from St. Marks.  The change in elevation was probably less than two feet in that seven mile stretch.  As you can see by how Bonnie is dressed, it was quite chilly.

We arrived in St. Marks conveniently at lunch time, so we went to a small seaside grill for lunch which included an oyster Po Boy and fries.

Not a bad view for lunch!

After lunch, we rode back to the Wakulla Station, loaded our bikes and continued on to St. Joseph Peninsula SP, checked in, found our campsite, and enjoyed a few peanut M&M's!  We will be here a few more nights, biking, walking on the beach and exploring.  We have the Gulf of Mexico on one side and St. Joseph Bay on the other.  Gulf view

St. Joseph Bay view (taken through a UV filter)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Continuing further north

After leaving Lake Manatee SP, we looked to see if there were any Rails-to-Trails biking trails on our way to our next stop, Manatee Springs SP.  As it turned out, we were driving right past one called Withlacooche Bay Trail.  The round trip was 12.5 miles so we stopped at the trail head parking lot, unloaded our bikes, and took off on this beautiful, ten foot wide paved trail that ran right beside the Cross Florida Barge Canal.  This seldom used trail was delightful to ride because we saw less than six people in the whole distance.


Along the way, there were very nice covered picnic pavilion overlooking the canal.

The trail ended at Withlacooche Bay in the Gulf of Mexico.

We continued on to Manatee Springs SP the morning of Tuesday, March 6, and took our bikes to another Rails-to-Trails bike trail, the Nature Coast State Trail.  The section we rode today was just a little over 12 miles, but the most scenic part of it was crossing the Suwanee River over an old trestle.  Yes, we were way down upon the Suwanee River.  (hmm, we could make a song out of that).

We went back to the campground and took a short walk to see the actual spring fed pond of Manatee springs.  The light part in the water you see in the pictures below is incredibly clear and about 25 feet deep.

The spring water then flows out into the Suwanee River which empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

We saw a few snakes, harmless brown water snakes, as well as a couple of manatees that came upstream in the Suwanee River.  We then returned to our campsite to fix dinner and as I was getting the grill ready, the local deer came up very close to check out what I was doing.

The Rails-to-Trails biking trails that we have discovered in Florida are in such good shape.  They are clean, paved, somewhat isolated, and we even saw a guy on a four wheeler pulling a high powered blower to keep the trail free of leaves, branches, etc.