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Florida Vacation News - August 2005

August 3, 2005 08:57 - Did You Hear About NOAA's Hurricane Predictions?

Yesterday (August 2), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released new numbers for the Atlantic hurricane season. If you didn't catch the news, here are the latest and greatest numbers:
  • 18 to 21 Tropical Storms -- of which...
  • 9 to 11 will become Hurricanes -- of which...
  • 3 to 5 will become major Hurricanes
Even though July was pretty busy as far as storms went, we haven't reached the peak times for storms -- roughly the middle of August to the middle of September. And of course, the season officially lasts until November 30th.

Heard of a funny (well, maybe not so funny) incident last week. A person was at Home Depot, trying to return a generator and some fans. The reason? "There won't be anymore hurricanes this year". Hmmm, not sure where he got that bit of information, and I hope he doesn't come to regret returning them.

Catch you later!

August 16, 2005 08:44 - $5 Off Anyone?

I'm going around the state checking things out this week, and I found something interesting in Inverness. If you like to get dollars off attraction tickets, you may be interested too.

Go to a Wendy's restaurant in Central Florida and you will find a coupon for $5 off admission to Busch Gardens, Sea World and Adventure Island.

Not in Central Florida (or you don't care for Wendy's)? Check out these websites to buy advance tickets using the discount code. You can go to:
  • buschgardens.com
  • seaworld.com
  • adventureisland.com
And enter the code FROSTY to get your discounts! Time to roam again today, will catch up with your later and tell you about my latest discovery.

August 16, 2005 19:59 - Roaming Around Florida

You know, I've forgotten how nice North Florida can be. I've gotten too used to South Florida and commercialization (not to mention attractions). Today's wandering to Ichetucknee Springs in nothern Florida was a wake-up call.

My husband and I walked down to the "hole". There is a great big spring in the middle of the swimming area, and the water is crystal-clear. I did manage to remember my camera, so look on my Ichetucknee page in another day or so for the photos. All I did today was dip my feet in the (very) cold water, but there were some snorkelers who swam over to the spring and described it to us. Next time, I will bring my bathing suit and partake of the pleasure myself.

On another note, we stopped by Fanning Springs today too, and the water isn't clear there -- the park ranger called it "black water". He said that the flooding of the Suwannee from Georgia down through Florida has darkened the water. In fact, the flooding was so severe that swimming was closed entirely in Fanning Springs. Part of the boardwalk was underwater, so I guess the water was a bit high....

Tomorrow's journey will be to Florida Caverns -- catch up with you later!

August 20, 2005 16:29 - I Saw the Caves!

I was wandering around Florida this past week, and I finally made it to Florida Caverns State Park. It's about a 12 hour drive from where I live, which is part of the reason I had never made it up there before now.

Florida Caverns, Wedding Cake FormationI have to say, the caverns are amazing!!! Granted, I have never been to a place like Carlsbad Caverns or Mammoth Cave, so I can't compare in that respect. Still, there were plenty of "oohs" and "ahhs" from other people on the tour with me.

Florida Caverns is located near Marianna, Florida. Where's that? Up in the Panhandle, about 60 miles northwest of Tallahassee. It's not difficult to get to at all -- just take Interstate 10, get off at the Marianna exit and go north. You'll see signs for the caverns.

I would have loved to walk some of the trails around the park, but I'm afraid the mosquitoes made that a no-go. A shame, because the scenery was gorgeous. After making tracks to the Visitor's Center, I found bug repellant for sale. By that time, though, I needed to be on my way to the next Florida vacation spot -- the Gulf Coast. Will fill you in on that a bit later.

August 24, 2005 05:33 - The Beach and Here We Go Again

When people think of Florida, many times they think of beaches - miles and miles of beaches. And we do have our fair share. I'll have to rummage around and find the exact number but I seem to recall reading there were over 600 miles of beaches in Florida. Now that doesn't count waterfront that isn't a beach (no sand).

I will be doing a little bit of roaming today, seeing about visiting some of those golden shores. If I am really lucky I will be able to take some nice photographs. Cross your fingers for me!

On an different note, here we go again. We're coming to the busiest part of the hurricane season, over the next 3 weeks or so. And I see that last night some tropical storm watches went up on the SE coast of Florida. Now a tropical storm watch and a hurricane watch are 2 different things, but both can make a person somewhat uneasy. I'll have to keep an eye out and make sure that the tropical storm watch doesn't turn into a hurricane warning. I don't think so, but after last year's weather I am not taking anything for granted!

Catch up with you again later!

P.S. Almost forgot -- if you didn't catch them, I have the Ichetucknee and Florida Caverns pictures posted.

August 25, 2005 17:02 - The Beach and Here We Go Again, Part 2

I did manage to get some photos of several beaches in Martin and St. Lucie county yesterday, before Hurricane Katrina decided to pay us a visit. I'll get some pictures up tomorrow.

One thing I did see was that the beaches were pretty much deserted. This was before Katrina's effects got to us, so I was a little surprised. However, it could also have been because it was in the middle of the week and the kids are back in school.

I think, though, the next time I want to go to a peaceful beach -- one where the sounds are the wind, waves and seabirds instead of boomboxes -- I will mosey up to one of Martin County's many beaches. Oh, almost forgot -- Martin County is in Southeast Florida, just north of West Palm Beach.

At any rate, Katrina is here for a visit. I went through hurricanes Frances and Jeanne last year, and I am quite thankful that Katrina is a much smaller storm. The eye hasn't quite made landfall, and I am about 50 miles north of the eye so *hopefully* the winds won't get any worse. It will just be rain for me. Lots of rain.

My brother lives further south of me, maybe 25 miles north of Katrina's eye. I haven't heard from him in a while, so his electricity is probably out. I'm sure he's OK, even if a lttle too warm without any air conditioning.

Catch up with you more later!

August 26, 2005 08:47 - Roads Trips and Your Florida Vacation

You might be part of the crowd who spends one or two days at the major Central Florida attractions on your vacation, but then you want to get out and visit the "real" Florida, exploring by automobile.

You might also not be bringing a laptop with you to keep checking on this feed for information. So how do you find some good information on the road?

First, I would recommend stopping at one of the Visitor Centers that populate the state. You can find them in every major city and also in many small-to-medium sized ones as well. In these centers you can find a ton of pamplets on all kinds of things to do. Quite a few have facilities to make hotel reservations for you.

Another excellent resource is a Florida hotel guide. You can find them near just about every hotel and restaurant. You can find excellent deals on hotel stays -- don't pay more than you need to. Just remember that you will need to produce the coupon when you register at the hotel. And most of these deals are for walk-ins only -- you cannot call ahead for a reservation and then use the coupon when you register.

Have fun exploring Florida!

August 27, 2005 08:35 - Florida Driving - Main Roads Versus Scenic Route?

As many of you know, I recently got back from a vacation where my husband and I drove around Florida, to see what we could see. Sometimes we drove the main roads (like the Florida Turnpike, Interstates 95 and 10, etc.), sometimes the more roundabout, scenic routes.

Here's my opinion, based on what we saw.

If you absolutley, positively need to be at your destination at a particular time, seriously consider a more roundabout route. While on Interstate 95, we saw several accidents that backed up traffic for miles and miles. One really bad one had traffic at a standstill for at least 10 miles. And yes, we did get caught up in one. We got lucky -- the one that stopped us, we were within 1/2 mile of the accident so our wait wasn't too bad. Well, not bad considering the one we had passed that was backed up 10+ miles.

There are times that a main road does make sense. And sometimes you really can't get to where you need easily without hopping on one fo the big roads. Do build in some extra time, though.

Personally, we had the best luck with Interstate 10, probably because is was a much more lightly travelled road.

Enjoy your drive around our beautiful state! It can be quite enjoyable if you choose your route wisely.

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