A Little Scooter Tag

Despite the forecast calling for rain all week it was sunny this morning. With the Vespa in the shop I thought what the heck and pulled the Buddy out of the garage. It has been some time since I did more than a very short hop on the Buddy. I was quickly reminded how much fun a very light weight little torque machine can be. Putting it off/on the center stand is like moving a feather compared to even the GTS. So after coffee I thought I’d see what the current scooter tag target was on ADVRider. IMG_3420

IMG_3421Turned out the current photo location was a storage facility. Since there’s one just down the street I hopped on down and picked up the photo on the left.

Then I had to figure out what hasn’t been done for the next target. Decided on going over and grabbing a photo at the dog park.

Wonder how long it will take for someone to replace the dog park with another location as an excuse to scoot?

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Wildflower Weekend

While I was off in Florida and after my return Steve had been working weekends so when he suggested we take off on the scoots to see just what sort of wildflower season we were having this year I couldn’t wait to pack up and head out. After browsing Texas Wildflower sightings on the web it looked like the area south of San Antonio was reporting the most blooms. So yesterday morning we headed out aiming towards Poteet, TX.

forum-8680We saw the occasional batch of very small bluebonnets as we got out of the Houston metro area .  Most of which were just between the road and fences. We could see what looked like the beginnings of fields but nothing particularly exciting.

IMG_8577forum-2219What we were seeing more than anything were Indian Paint Brush and some sort of purple pink that might be Everlasting Pea as best I can tell from an online search. 

forum-8617Looking up I managed to catch a pair of these birds soaring above us.  Though I have no idea what they are.

Sometimes we’d see cacti growing in a field where wildflowers were starting to bloom.

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After spending the night in San Antonio we headed back towards Somerset and Poteet to explore some of the roads we didn’t have time to check out the day before by the time we reached Poteet.

When I said that Indian Paintbrush was blooming this is what I meant. forum-8728forum-2214 

forum-8671Sure there was plenty of mixed and adjacent fields of wildflowers though we weren’t going down this private “road”. Nor does it look like the trailer below has been used in many a year.

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Before we knew it a look at the scooter clocks told us we needed to beat it back to Houston. We went via Seguin, TX were we remembered a big field of wildflowers next to one of the medical complexes. Sadly this year it was almost barren of wildflowers so time to head home. We took 90 and saw that north of I-10 the fields were just budding showing only a hint of blue. Looks like it will be another week or two before they’ll have enough blooming to enjoy.

After two days and a bit over 700 miles we rolled back into Houston just as the sun was setting after two days of exploring Texas state and county roads looking for bluebonnets and other wild flowers on the scoots.

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Everglades to Key West

After finishing my last session it was time to mount up and head south. With a goal of making it to Key florida-8018West before sunset leaving at 10 allowed me to take the more scenic and easier to stop along 41 instead of the interstate.

I was somewhat surprised at how brown the reeds were along the side of the canal on the north side of the roadway.  Though one of the instructors talked about how she was able to use her car as a portable blind taking photos along the canals on 41 and in other parts accessible by road. Then there was a place where one of the rivers or whatever you call open waterways in the glades with parking spaces and an outhouse that looked like a good place to stop for a photos.

florida-8048Walking on the boardwalk put you above the water and its occupants. Something you appreciate when these guys came cruising along. The one of the left had rather strange eyes that almost made him appear to be blind but obviously he was able to spot another gator coming towards him.

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This one had eyes black as coal unlike the one above which submerged when they came within 20 feet of each other. Unlike other submerged gators visible from the boardwalk the one above completely disappeared from view. Not sure how he did it when the others were still visible.

I have never seen as many nurseries as I saw on my once I turned off 41 and headed south towards Homestead and Florida City.

020 Just before entering Highway 1 I finally had a Cuban pressed sandwich from a food truck for my lunch. Something I had promised myself to try along with Cuban coffee before I left Florida. Probably just the food truck’s preparation but I found it rather mediocre.

Hit my first actual rain between Florida City and Key Largo that was heavy enough I had to pull over and put on rain gear. Fortunately it only lasted about 15-20 minutes.

Looking at all the signs and businesses in Key Largo made me wish I had enough time to do some diving. I had heard about the small Key Deer but was surprised at how badly the Key with the signs warning to be careful of the deer smelled when I crossed it.  On the whole though the ride down the keys was both uneventful and somewhat boring. I did enjoy the beautiful colors of the water and variety of boats visible on the way down though.

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Key West

i arrived last night about an hour and a half before sunset. Scooted around a bit and located the southernmost point bouy but there was a seriously long line of folks waiting to get their chance for a photo. So it didn’t seem like the best time to ride the scoot up the sidewalk for the photo I wanted. 



Instead I checked into my hotel where I found out I had been upgraded to what they called a partial ocean view. Which looked better than that description to me. 

After which I took a bit of a stroll along the docks picking up some conch fritters from a stand downtown. Stopped for a local beer Ket West Sunset Ale at Conch Repiblic. Had a good one man band/singer to listen to over it and conch chowder. 



Most of my photos are still on the SD card but I took a few this morning with the iPhone to use here. One of the benefits of being here the Monday after the spring forward time change is that sun comes up at a reasonable hour. Walk over for Cuban coffee and a “Cuban bagel” for some early morning photos before getting on the scoot. 



These early morning walking alarm clocks were roaming around. 



Once on the scoot I went over and took the one photo I was determined to get. 



If I’d had more time I’d be on a dive boat right now but since I don’t it’s time to repack the saddlebags and start heading north. A few stops have been suggested by the folks at the dive shop on my way back north so who knows where my next one will be. 

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Little Estero

The reason for this trip was to work on improving my photography at a conference held in Ft. Myers. The pre-conference workshop I signed up for was at Little Estero tidal flat.

After a bright, okay humid beyond belief ride from my hotel to Florida Gulf Coast University campus I was a bit too late to check out the size Canon lens I wanted to test. Seems the zooms that you can hand hold and still exceed the focal length of the one I brought with me were already gone. Met Roman Kurywczak who was to lead the workshop. FWIW, if you get a chance to attend one of his workshops I’d suggest doing so. He provides a lot of useful information in an easy to follow manner.

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The only thing I regretted was that by riding the scoot I was stuck wearing either riding pants or riding (Kevlar) jeans along with boots which wasn’t exactly wonderful with the day’s heat and humidity.

Once we arrived at the title flat these guys were hanging around with the male in breeding plumage. He provided quite an entertaining set of behaviors that made for good photographs. Or would had I not been experimenting with various camera setting that rendered many of the photos less than usable.

florida-7783florida-7592I really wished I had been able to get one of the loaner lenses that Canon had available because none of the Osprey photos were close enough to avoid pixelating when cropped sufficiently to make the Osprey identifiable. Below is the best I was able to do with the 18-270 zoom I brought with me.

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Then there were the other birds along the shore.

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florida-7647And those who took advantage of the remains of piers or other pylons.florida-7701florida-7945

 

One advantage of being at the beach early is not only better light for photography but a fewer people to get into your pictures. Though my husband found the rows upon rows of lounges waiting to be occupied a bit on the sad side.

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