Pines to Palms - 8/2010

Why not stop by Florida on our way home from Canada? 


Dates: Late August, 2010, for 12 mostly rainy days. There was a huge storm that hung over us from Michigan all the way into South Carolina.


Areas Explored: Eastern U.P., North Shore of Lake Huron, Algonquin PP, Thousand Islands, Northern Alleghenies, the Chesapeake, Carolina coasts, northern Florida, southeast Alabama  (13 states, 1 federal district, & 1 provinces

Transportation: 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan


From pines to palms... From moose to manatees... 

Wild Animals: various shorebirds, seagulls, and cranes; a black bear, pelicans, horseshoe crab, puffer fish carcass, manatees, spoonbill, dolphins, tortoises, racoons, and various lizards, but no moose at all


Cast: Scott, Jessica, & Andrew


Trip Notes: Day 1: Spent the day at Warren Dunes SP, MI, tenting there overnight. Day 2: Drove up to the U.P., camping just south of Brevoort, MI, at Lake Michigan NRA.  Day 3: Spent the day on Mackinac Island and then camped for another night at Brevoort. Day 4: Crossed into Canada at the Sault Ste. Marie and then continued east along the north shore of Lake Huron, stopping at Chutes PP and then carrying on to overnight at North Bay, ON. Day 5: A very rainy morning looking for moose in Algonquin PP then headed south across the Thousand Islands into New York, stopping in Scranton, PA.  Day 6: Another rainy morning across Pennsylvania, clearing up while visiting Washington, DC, then we continued into Peterburg, VA .  Day 7:  From Petersburg we drove south tthrough the Carolinas to the shore at Myrtle Beach, SC. Day 8: From Myrtle Beach we continued along the coast to Charleston and vicinity. After a quick stop in Savannah, we ended day at St. Augustine, FL. Day 9: Most of the day spent at Anastasia SP's beach and poking through the Florida coast to Daytona Beach, where we took a long walk. Day 10: Spent the day spotting wildlife at Merritt Island NWR and Cape Canaveral NS and then headed inland across horse ranches and orchards to Ocala. Day 11: From Ocala we headed northwest to the Gulf, stopping by Manatee Springs, ending the day in Auburn, AL. Day 12: After a morning tour of the Tuskegee Institute, headed across the South all the way back home via Nashville.

The Pines: from Michigan, across Ontario, to New York

Andrew enjoying the best sand in the Midwest at Warren Dunes SP, MI.

The sun sets over Lake Michigan.

Andrew after a long day of playing at Warren Dunes.

The shadow of the cat who guarded our tent all night at the dunes.

The Mackinac Bridge connecting the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan.

A stupendous souvenier shop in Saint Ignace that sits right on Lake Huron..

The ferry to Mackinac Island..

The famous Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, where we did not stay.

There is something good about eating a hot dog at Windermere Point on the island: the colors, kites, geese...

A lake steamer passes Mackinac Island at Windermere Point.

The harbor for private boats at Mackinac sits below the old fort.

A Mackinac Island traffic jam..

You got to dodge the horse poop when you ride around the island.

It took a lot of convincing to get Andrew on a bicycle, but he didnt regret it that he tried it out.

Instead of a sign I would get a weed whacker.

The last time we rode around Mackinac we didn't have a little boy with us.

Sometimes the Huron shore seems like a scene from the Bahamas.

Cormorants sitting on an "island" right next to Mackinac Island.

Arch Rock is near the edge of town on Mackinac.

Some boaters enjoying Lake Huron that made me jealous..

We went back to Windermere to pass the time until our boat was ready to depart.

The ferry dock lets you off right by the main drag.

The sun begins to set over Lake Huron as we race back toward the mainland.

Andrew is ready for a nap.

The view near our campsite on the Lake Michigan beach near Brevoort.

The beaches near Brevoort are among my most favorite in the universe.

Moonlight on Lake Michigan.

During the eye of the storm that bogged us down, we visited Chutes Provincial Park in northern Ontario.

There was a little rocky beach along the river at Chutes PP.

Andrew is getting extra credit..


The Middle: from Pennsylvania to the Carolinas

About two days of continuous rain cleared off long enough for us to consider a walk along the National Mall in D.C.

Andrew really was amazed by the Washington Monument: the biggest block tower he ever saw.

Andrew is learning where the White House is.

It rained on us while we visited the monument.

One of the famous panda bears at the National Zoo.

Daddy and Andrew doing an impression of a panda bear.

The battlefield where the Civil War really wound down at Petersburg, VA.

Andrew lookin' good at Myrtle Beach.

I was surprised at how nice Myrtle Beach was and how "interesting" its locals are.

Sea by day and pool by night.

Great Southern oaks at Pinckney National Historic Site in South Carolina.

Another sign that our latitude was decreasing.

Fort Moultrie outside Charleston Harbor was one of the best surprises of the trip.

Andrew poses alongside the symbol of South Carolina.

The beach at Charleston Harbor was home to some nice little tide pools.

A fishing boat being harassed by gulls comes home to Charleston, SC.

Besides this plover, the beach seemed to be a prime spot for fishermen.

The barnacle covered sea wall outside Fort Moultrie.

When Andrew stumbled upon this dead horseshoe crab, he ran back to me yelling: "Monster!"

A dead puffer fish to occupy your nightmares.



The Palms: from Georgia to Alabama via Florida

Mommy and Andrew at the old guard tower on the Castillo de San Marcos in America's oldest city.

Looking for pirates in St. Augustine harbor.

Andrew peering out from St. Augustine's Castillo.

Defensive works of the Castillo de San Marcos.

The symbol of historic Spanish authority in the area.

The beach at Anastasia SP near St. Augustine is another old familiar spot for us.

He's still cute.

A team of pelicans on the Atlantic Ocean. I love pelicans. They are like flying dogs.

Daddy is looking for trouble.

Our little home on the beach.

Andrew and Mommy must have been inspired to build their own Castillo.

Daytona Beach does not seem to sleep.... and it isn't even spring break yet.

Andrew on his first Ferris Wheel ride at Daytona.

A crane fishes a pond on Merritt Island.

Another nice looking crane poking through the ponds.

An anole we found near a canal in Merritt Island.

We drove around Merritt Island and bird watched for the better part of the day.

Jessica's dream come true: a spoonbill.

Tortoise at Cape Canaveral National Seashore.

Andrew getting messy at the Canaveral beach.

A paradox.

Cape Canaveral sea turtle nests are protected by park staff and marked like this.

A pair of manatees outside Titusville in the Intracoastal Canal.

We sat for an hour watching dolphins play in the Titusville Intracoastal.

Hanging out in the pool in Ocala. It rained again that night.

Another classic destination for me: Manatee Springs outside Chiefland.

Andrew going for a manatee ride.

Did you know you could ride a manatee side-saddle?

Flood level indicator along the creek that connects the springs to the Suwanee River.

We watched Gulf Sturgeon leaping 8 feet out of the waters of the Suwanee River here.

This racoon's home is a cypress swamp along the Suwanee.

A pileated woodpeckerin the palm forest along the Gulf coast.

Florida is home to the smallest deer in America from my experience.

A boater pulls in traps he set in the Gulf of Mexiconear Hagens Cove, FL.

The historical airfield where the Tuskegee airmen trained in southern Alabama.

All photos (c) 2010 by J. Bezold and all other material (c) 2010 by S. Plencner