Sunday, December 28, 2008


Henry Flagler was a Florida pioneer and developer. Along with John D. Rockefeller, he was one of the founders of Standard Oil.

Mr. Flagler established eight luxurious hotels, including the Breakers. He also developed Jonathan Dickinson State Park and the Florida East Coast Railroad. He is credited with making Florida a haven for tourists and foreign visitors. He named his Florida home Whitehall, and lived there just six weeks out of the year!

Today we went to visit Whitehall and to marvel at its beauty and opulence. The art work alone is worth the price of admission. We opted for the handheld audio tour, and it was very well done. Dylan was fascinated with the entire adventure and never tired of listening to all of the details. I enjoyed watching him as well as looking at all of the fabulous rooms. We loved the whole experience.

Mr. Flagler's formal dining room

We're all listening to the story of the Grand Hall - the largest room in the mansion.

One of the fantastic Christmas trees - this one was decorated with an animal theme. There were animal cracker boxes hanging on it as ornaments.

Drove back to Stuart afterwards for an early dinner at Shrimpers on Manatee Pocket.

Another great Florida day!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Loxahatchee River

Tom, Dick and all of the Gillespies went canoeing on the Loxahatchee River from River Bend Park to Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

The trip took a total of four hours, including a lunch stop at Trapper Nelson's for yummy PB&J sandwiches.

Dylan sat in the middle of Chip and Laurie's canoe, and I'm not sure, but I think that Dick and Laurie were racing to see who could finish first!

The scenery was a highlight with dense foliage, cypress knees and the jungle-ish surroundings with narrow passageways. Dick was irritated by a group of Boy Scouts who had no idea what they were doing - just flailing around in the river with no instruction or direction.

Dylan's favorite part was ramming the log and getting stuck. I guess getting unstuck was a ton of fun!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

In Which the Whole Family Comes to Florida

I love to watch the ocean. The waves come ashore with so much force, and there's always a strong wind. There is forceful energy all around.

The Summerfield neighborhood sandhill cranes.

Wait a second! Aren't these caches supposed to be on public property??

Dylan turned eleven years old on December 17. The kids went to play laser tag for his birthday party. Afterwards, they had pizza, ice cream and cake and presents. I think they all had a super time - and the laser tag really wore them out.

Dylan transforms Uncle Tom into a reindeer.

Dining room tables are good for more than dining.

More caching


Dylan got new parts for his Battleground game. He and his Dad are checking it out.

Here's a good Battleground set-up

Dylan is ready to win

The day after Christmas Dick and I went geocaching and met everyone for lunch at Duffy's of downtown Stuart. Then we were all off to see the ocean and play on the beach. It was a very windy day, and the temperature was really nice - moderate. The beach we went to is right next to the House of Refuge. Dylan says that this beach gives Florida beaches a bad name because it's rocky and full of shells - but I thought it was wonderful and beautiful, and Dylan enjoyed the tunnel he found in the rocks!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cacheapalooza !!

Laurie, Chip and Dylan are camping for the weekend with the Pratt family at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, the location of Cacheapalooza 3.

Last night, Dick volunteered to deliver pizza to them after they got their tent set up. Chip had a campfire going - it was a blast from the past. How many campfires have we sat around in the past 50 years...but I don't think we ever had pizza delivered to the campsite! It was good pizza, too, Hobe Sound Pizza. The Pratts weren't there yet - their son was walking in the Stuart Christmas Parade with his Boy Scout group.

We had breakfast at Perkins, and wandered into the park around 11 a.m. to spend the day caching and enjoying the events.

Laurie fixed lunch for us, so then we were ready to do some caching along one of the bike paths.

PB&J at site 113
I think that 7 or 8 were found. I walked with them for a distance, and then Dick picked me up and dropped me off at the pavilion while they continued caching for another 2 or 2 and a half hours. Luckily, I had a good book to read, lots of interesting people to watch, and friends there from Michigan. I was quietly reading my book when I heard "Basswood Bend! What are you doing here? It was Trippy, who lives in Florida now. We really enjoyed talking on and off during the afternoon. I also had a chance to meet Jellyfish, another Michigander. Nurse Nana had told me that he would be there and that I should look him up. No problem! Trippy and Jellyfish were caching together.

The potluck dinner was scheduled to begin at 5:30, and by 4:45 people were beginning to congregate and it got harder and harder to save a table for everyone!

Finally, my guys showed up and I was relieved! Pratts sat with us too, and they set up chairs at the end of our table.

The raffle started right after dinner, and Dick and I won a prize (mouse pad that says I'd rather be caching, and some Cachepaloooza pathtags) and Sharkie Crew (Laurie's family) won two prizes - just small stuff this year.

Everybody left shortly thereafter - Dick and I were certainly ready to go home, and Gillespies and Pratts were ready to go back to their tents. It was a very full day for everyone.

Cache logs by Dick for 14 Caches!! Woo Woo!

2008 You attended CACHEAPALOOZA 3 (Event Cache)
This was our first Cacheapalooza and we had an enjoyable, active day. We want to thank all the folks who invested their time, energy, cache and cash to put on this spectacular. We enjoyed our conversations with Florida cachers and it was fun to travel 1500 miles south and to meet up with fellow Michigan Geocacher Organization members Jelly Fish and cache reviewer extraordinaire, Trippy.

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Running Bare (Multi-cache)
On our first Cacheapalozza excursion, we tagged along with the splatt pirates and the sharkie crew to find some caches. Caching with pre-teens is a different ball game, nuff said. Thanks for the fun.

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Bike Trail DECON #8
After lunch, we teamed up with the sharkie crew for a stroll along the bike path. Thanks for the series.

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Bike Trail DECON #7 (Traditional Cache)
We started with 8 and walked the trail. TFTC

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Bike Trail DECON #6 (Traditional Cache)
this one turned out to be more of a challenge for us than I'm sure the owner expected. Five sets of eyes were searching high and low. After introducing my pale northern legs to the joy of the Saw Palmetto, the cache was found. Thanks for the laughs.

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Bike Trail DECON #5 (Traditional Cache)
Another find with the sharkies. TFTC

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Bike Trail DECON #4 (Traditional Cache)
We teamed with the three members of the sharkie crew to stroll part of the bike path. About the time we got here, the energy level had dissipated for one of the team and the siren call of the pavilion was heard. Thanks for the fun.

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Bike Trail DECON #3 (Traditional Cache)
OK, just one more. TFTC

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Gators R Us (Traditional Cache) [visit log]
On our way to work the spectrum series, we stopped to check out the fauna and grab a cache while we were at it. TFTC

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Spectrum of Colors: Red (Traditional Cache)
We teamed up with sharkie crew and splatt pirates to work this series. We started with this one, a short walk on a nice trail, easy find and the next one not far away. Thanks for the fun.

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Spectrum of Colors: Orange (Traditional Cache)
With sharkie crew and splatt pirates we attempted to find a trail/path.opening from Red. As a northerner who left temps in the teens and a foot of the white stuff, it grinds me to wear jeans in such fantastic weather but thankfully, I yielded to the warnings. Bushwacking in Florida is a different experience. Got to 350 feet from this side and decided the approach would be better from the other side.
We retreated to the RR tracks and found a couple of game trails that appeared to go in the right direction. The pre-teens were left with a minder while the adults stared resolutely at their arrows and plunged ahead. Following the game trails when we could, forcing our way through the bush when we had to, we made our way to the cache. It was quite an adventure.
With so many cacher's out the past couple of days, it was a surprise to us that there was the hand writing of only two other people in the book. We added our names and found our way back to the tracks wondering what other treats were in store for us.

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Spectrum of Colors: Yellow (Traditional Cache)
Continuing on our quest we found this one readily. After Orange, almost anything else would seem like a park and grab. Thanks for the effort and imagination that went into this series.

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Spectrum of Colors: Green (Traditional Cache)
Continuing our quest for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We are impressed with the way the theme is carried out in the cache contents. Thanks for the hunt.

Found it 12/6/2008 You found Spectrum of Colors: Blue (Traditional Cache)
Here we come, teamed with the sharkie crew and splatt pirates we are closing in on the end of our quest. Unfortunately, the pre-teens are getting cranky and the post teens are getting hungry. We grab the code and push on, only one color to go.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Castle Pines Place

Today is move-in day for our home away from home in the Summerfield neighborhood of Stuart, Florida. Dick took pictures of everything before we had a chance to mess things up!
Our home away from home:

Dining area

Living room/sitting area:

The Entry!

Our home in Stuart:

Small bedroom:

Master Bath:

Master Bedroom:

Pool area:

Our cool (literally) pool:

It also has a nice garage, laundry room, and a nice neighborhood. I think we should have a great month.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kooky Colloids

The area that Dylan chose to experiment with for his science fair project was colloids/non-Newtonian fluids. His original title was Kooky Colloids, but his final title was Ketchup: Thick or Thin.

The entire project is due tomorrow, complete with Report, Log Book, Abstract, Photographs, Data and Results. He has everything done - it just needs to be printed out, mounted and pasted onto the display board, and his log book and Abstract need to be organized and put in report covers.

The display board as a work in progress:

Dylan polishing up his Abstract:

Laurie is cutting, Dylan is gluing, I am supervising, Dick is preserving everything for posterity!

The Finished Product, complete with Report and Log Book in report covers, and one proud scientist!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

In Which We Celebrate a Florida Thanksgiving

Chip working on dinner preparations.

Mary Lou and I watching everybody else work!

Laurie made a kids' playground in the backyard hoping that they would play outside - and they really did stay outside most of the day!

Laurie monitoring dinner.

Andrew and Blake

Laurie keeps her eye on everything.

Chip takes over as the master carver!

Laurie is on top of things!

Master carver with the other turkey.
Lisa and I having friendly chat.

Is he doing it right?

Everybody's honorary Grandpa.
Laurie set a beautiful table! There were 15 of us for dinner - Bob, Andi, Laynie, Ty, Lisa, Andrew, Kyle, Jessica, Blake, Andi's neighbor Mary Lou, Laurie, Chip, Dylan and us.

The kids enjoyed eating at the kids' table.
After dinner and clean up it was time for volleyball! Nobody won! Bob, Mary Lou and I are way back in the peanut gallery.

Gobble gobble gobble!