On the road with Airstream

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IMG00494-Airstream-camper-on-the-road:) I think the classic Airstream camper sort of looks like a toaster on wheels. I wonder, does it pop you out of bed in the morning automatically, three shades tanner? 😉 Also, if you are traveling on the same road with one, be prepared to be periodically blinded by the sun glinting off its aluminum exterior – very distracting. I’m surprised these things are allowed on the road this shiny! Photo taken through the windshield while traveling eastbound on Interstate-4 in Florida – somewhere between Tampa and Orlando.

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Just call me “The Cougar Whisperer”

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IMG_2068-Naples-Florida-zoo-western-cougar-sign 😛 While touring the Naples Zoo in Southwest Florida last week, we came upon an enclosure full of cougars. No, not the Courtney Cox variety! These are the type found in the wilds of the western United States. Other words for cougar are panther, mountain lion, even puma – all are part of the same species of big cats.

I remember reading a few years back about genetic defects found in the Florida panther that scientists attempted to correct by introducing DNA from Texas mountain lions. They trapped a number of female mountain lions and transported them from Texas to Florida, releasing them into the Florida panther’s habitat. When the females gave birth, the genetic defects had been either reduced or eliminated from the offspring. All of the Texans were then returned to their home state.

At the zoo on this particular day, a pile of cougars lay sleeping on the ground in the shady enclosure, while a significantly larger one lounged on a wooden platform. I stood there silently wishing he’d get up and move about so I could get a good shot of him. Suddenly, as if my wish were his command, he roused himself and looked directly at me with sleepy, patient eyes – and then he stuck his tongue out at me! 😛

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Just call me “The Cougar Whisperer” 😉

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Approaching the Sunshine Skyway, St. Petersburg, Florida

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IMG_2186-Sunshine-Skyway-sets-sail

:) Looks like the sails of
a tall ship in the distance;
when will it set sail?

My obsession with the Sunshine Skyway continues. If I can find a place to pull over and shoot, I do. Otherwise I just keep my eyes on the road, point the lens in the general direction and pray 😉 Not bad, huh? Have a happy and productive Friday, everyone!

 

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Oh, give me a home… at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Beware of buffalo!

While walking the path in the Pangani Forest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we are admonished to beware of the dangerous, marauding buffalo! I wonder how often a stampede actually occurs there? And come to think of it… have I ever actually SEEN a buffalo in Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Hmmm, I don’t think I remember seeing one… anyone? Have you been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Do you remember seeing any buffalo there?

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Lovely, now where’s my pot of gold? ;)

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IMG_2175

:) I was driving through a sudden shower, on my way over the causeway to a birthday dinner celebration for my friend Cheryl, when I happened to glance to my left and saw this rainbow hanging out near Fort Myers Beach. I pulled over at the first opportunity. If you look closely, you can see that it’s actually a double, which had started to fade by time I found a place to stop. This is one of the BEST things about living in Southwest Florida. The skies are so big and dramatic, with towering clouds and beautiful rainbows :)

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Into the belly of the beast at the Naples Zoo, Southwest Florida

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IMG_2095-Naples-Florida-zoo-gator-feeding-time:) I recently had the privilege of touring the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens here in Southwest Florida. OK, “privilege” is stretching it a bit – it was REALLY hot and the animals were mostly sleeping, so not so much in the excitement department. But the botanical gardens were beautiful, and we know that if we go back in, say, December, we’ll have better luck with the animals being more alert. As it happens, it was the animals that are accustomed to the heat who provided the most entertainment and education for the day – plus, my spot of red for Ruby Tuesday! In this photo, we see one of the animal handlers at the zoo ringing a dinner bell – hmmm, who’s getting fed?

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Hey, who said you could come up out of the water yet? Back, back you beast!

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Now, you just get right back into that water this instant, young man. You heard me – git!

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Aw, you’re so cute when you’re all contrite and sorry like that! Good boy!

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OK, here ya go – nice, juicy, RED steak. Supper time!

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When critters attack! Part 2

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IMG_6610-WDW-EPCOT-Germany-blue-train:) It’s a a day just like any other day in the beautiful German alps. A gentle breeze sets the pines a-whispering amongst themselves. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and a single, blue passenger car serenely makes its way along the alpine train tracks, little suspecting what insidious dangers lurk ahead…

IMG_6612What a pretty and quaint train station! OK, so the dead truck isn’t very attractive… but the buildings are a lovely pale yellow and the railroad staff stand ready to attend to the passengers, looking so smart and spiffy in their uniforms… but wait! What’s this I see? OH NO!

 

IMG_6612_cropIT’S A GIANT LIZARD! This horrible beast has apparently felled one person already (the unfortunate soul lying face-down by the tracks) and now it lies in wait on the roof of the station, ready to pounce upon the unsuspecting villagers as they disembark from the train.

 


 

RUN, UNSUSPECTING VILLAGERS – RUN!

(in case you hadn’t already guessed – just like Part 1, this is also the model train set-up at the German pavilion in EPCOT).

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Sky travel at EPCOT

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IMG_1095-WDW-EPCOT-monorail-rose-walk
You can get into EPCOT without ever having to set foot in the park. All you have to do is hop aboard the Walt Disney World monorail. It dips into the park before pulling into the station outside the gates.

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Depending upon where you are in the park at the time, it is possible that the monorail train will go softly whooshing right over your head – photo op!

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I was standing in a rose garden at the time these shots were taken. WHOOSH!

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When critters attack!

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IMG_4311-when-bunnies-attack
Unsuspecting villagers practice yodeling outside the local pub while a giant bunny prepares to attack the village. RUN, UNSUSPECTING VILLAGERS – RUN!



(it’s really just the toy train village that’s set up outside the German pavilion at EPCOT)


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That “other” Disney castle

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:) Castle ‘cross the lake
neighbor in glass looming near
It’s a Disney day!
:)

No, it’s not the one in the Magic Kingdom – it’s the one in the Canada pavilion in EPCOT. It’s modeled after a hotel in Ottawa called Chateau Laurier. I think it makes a pretty picture, don’t you?

Happy Friday, everyone!

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This Way Thurs-Way is under new management!

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ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

I am the new manager of This Way Thurs-Way, a Thursday photo meme about signs and the road. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to help keep this meme afloat, and I hope that everyone reading this will consider visiting the participants and maybe even post a “This Way” of your own now and then!

Here is a path I’ve recently encountered –

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That’s the bridge between Sanibel and Captiva, under which the waters of Blind Pass flow, courtesy of recent efforts by the Army Corps of Engineers to open up the pass after many years of dry sand under the bridge. You can drive across, walk or even ride you bike – just don’t jump, ok?

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My top 5 FUNky Facts about the ring-tailed lemur

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_1363-WDW-DAK-ring-tailed-lemur:) Ring-tailed lemurs can be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, pretty close to the entrance to It’s Tough To Be A Bug. I enjoy watching these guys. To me, they look like an odd mixture between a fox (pointy face), a raccoon (rings on the tail) and a spider monkey (general shape of body). I’ve done some reading about them and here are the FUNky facts I’ve discovered

1) Ring-tailed lemurs are in fact primates, so they are related to all sorts of monkeys as well as to humans. However, they are not of the simian order of primate; they are what’s known as Strepsirrhine primates, typically regarded as less intelligent than simians (although, that has recently been debated). There are several different kinds of lemur, and all of them hail from Madagascar.

IMG_1364-WDW-DAK-ring-tailed-lemur2) Ring-tailed lemurs like to sunbathe, and are often found doing so sitting up in the Lotus position. The sunbathing is to warm themselves during the day, but at night they sleep all piled up with one another to share warmth. Such a sleeping pile is called a “lemur ball”. They are usually found moving about on all-fours (quadrupedal), but are also capable of standing on hind legs for short periods. Whenever I’ve seen one walking around, they’ve usually sort of stalked along, similar to a cat or a raccoon.

3) While most lemurs are nocturnal, the ring-tailed lemur is dirunal – like (most!) humans, they are awake during the day and asleep at night. They are very social and live together in troops of about 30. The most lemurs I’ve seen at Disney is two, and I often wonder if they miss living in a big troop, and what Disney does for them to help compensate for socializing with the troop. I hope to remember to ask around next time I’m there.

IMG_1366-WDW-DAK-ring-tailed-lemur4) Ring-tailed lemur troops are female-dominant. This is true of all types of lemurs. The hierarchy of females in the troop is not inherited; you don’t get to be the top mama lemur just because your mother was.

5) Lemurs have scent glands that they use to mark territory, and sometimes they even have stink fights with other lemurs. They soak their tails in “stink” from their scent glands and wave them at the opponent. I have to admit that I giggled when I read this. In my head, I heard the voice of the French soldiers in Monty Python and the Holy Grail – “Hah, I stink in your general direction!” 😀

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The spirit of generosity on Sanibel Island

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IMG_1760-Sanibel-Island-Sunset

:)

Stalking seagulls on
the causeway beach at sunset
a young woman said,

“Come and look through here!”
and standing aside, she then
let me take this shot.

People can be so nice. A young woman on the beach really DID call me over to show me the “frame” she’d found for the sunset, and invited me to help myself to a shot or two. I guess she was just so excited, she had to share :)

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A SIGN that Disney thinks GREEN

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IMG_1696-WDW-EPCOT-Jiminy-Cricket

:) This sign was captured at the Festival Center in Disney’s EPCOT theme park. The occasion was the 2009 Flower and Garden Festival. Jiminy Cricket encourages us all to behave as though every day was Earth Day. I’ve never been at Disney on Earth Day itself, but I hear The Mouse likes to celebrate – Jiminy looks like he’s having fun (he’s also looking pretty green), so clearly Mickey’s friends like to celebrate, too :)




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Mystery shoes in EPCOT’s Canada

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IMG_1735-WDW-EPCOT-Canada-waterfall

:) A waterfall splashes down the side of “the Canadian Rockies” in EPCOT. But, hey – what’s that up there on that ledge?

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Wow, it’s shoes! Did someone go swimming, perhaps? Or did some Rocky Mountain hiker drop them from on high? Or maybe this is the handiwork of some rather high-spirited Walt Disney World guests. I doubt I’ll ever find out! My friend Deb first spotted them, and then I confirmed it with my 10x optical zoom. Fun stuff!

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The “unknown flower” at EPCOT

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_1684-WDW-EPCOT-flowers

These bright, orangey-RED flowers were found growing in a pot inside the Festival Center at the 2009 International Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT this past May.


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Normally when I photograph flowers at EPCOT, I look for a sign posted nearby that tells me what I’m looking at. However, for whatever reason, I don’t appear to have done that this time – and therefore, I’ve got NO CLUE what this flower is called! I tried googling, and the closest I could come up with was gerbera, but didn’t see any in this particular shade of red.

Anyone have any idea what this flower is called? Please leave a comment to let me know!

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Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge – pelican roost

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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:) Back in May 2009, I took a cruise on Tarpon Bay with the Tarpon Bay Explorers. The cruise was a “thank you for your donation” gift from the local National Public Radio (NPR) station, WGCU, 90.1 FM in Fort Myers, Florida. The narrator is Dr. Jerry Jackson, a professor at FGCU (Florida Gulf Coast University) who also narrates a daily radio spot on WGCU, “Out With The Wild Things”. Enjoy! And for those in the USA, hope you’re having a wonderful Labor Day Weekend.

I enjoyed the tour of Tarpon Bay – beautiful surroundings, sunny May day, fascinating speaker, what’s not to love? But I much preferred last year’s tour with Dr. Jackson on Rookery Bay. Click this link to see photos and videos from the Rookery Bay tour.

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Sunset happens on Sanibel Island

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07162009914-Sanibel-Sunset

It crept up on us
while we dined and surfed the net
sunset blazed away

My Niece No. 2 and I are peas in a pod when it comes to leisure activities. While vacationing together on Sanibel Island this past July, we would have dinner each night and then happily tether to the 3G on my cell phone, each with her own laptop, geeking out to all manner of websites, social media and etc. And the first night we were there, we were so very happily geeking, we almost missed the sunset! As soon as we realized, we raced out there and snapped a few pictures, then raced back inside our cottage before the no-see-ums could do any major damage.

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Of sand, surf and skateboards on Sanibel Island

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IMG_2037-Captiva-Blind-Pass-equipment

:) On Sunday, I drove out to Sanibel Island to hang out with my friends Gary and Tootie. Shortly after I arrived, we proceeded to “Santiva”, as the the area near the bridge between Sanibel and Captiva is known. We had lunch at the Sunset Grill, and then we went to look at Blind Pass. The pass between Sanibel and Captiva had filled itself in years ago, but a recent dredging project opened it up again. It is hoped that the flow of salt and brine through the pass will improve the health of the estuaries on the bay side of the islands, and also improve fishing in the area. Tootie said that it’s been reported that sharks are using the pass quite a bit already. 😯

IMG_2038-Captiva-Blind-Pass-skateboard

As we stood on the bridge watching the water swirl under the bridge and break on the newly carved shores, Gary and I realized that one of our prime shelling beaches had in fact been removed by the dredging! You can click here to see all the gifts from Gustav (one year ago on September 1st 2008), and then if you want to see more, click here to see what came later in the month when Ike passed through (September 22nd, 2008). The place where we’d scored great hauls of shells after storms last year was now gone, and the swirling waters were in it’s place. We contemplated this for a moment, and then we saw the skateboard. Tootie observed that you’re supposed to bring a surfboard, not a skateboard! We were there for another ten minutes or so, but the owner never showed up, and the mystery of the skateboard in the sand remains unsolved.

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