Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lithium Baby!

I took an order for 14 - 11 inch dinner plates.  The customer had many selections but as in the way of all things under Potter's Law, they picked the most finicky of the glazes I fire.  Sat down immediately and threw 20 plates.  I learned very early on, always throw extra.  For pete sake it's dinner plates I can throw these in my sleep!  Get 'em out here and get on with the business of making pots........ because I am a professional! 

Thrown, bisqued and ready to be glazed in 8 days.  Open the glaze bucket and yes #3 of potter's law; not enough glaze.  Mix up 10,000 grams and get on with it.  I do not have running water in the studio so this takes a good half day to mix up a batch of glaze. 

 I bypassed potter's law #2 as I actually had all the chemicals I needed on hand.  Phew!   

Wax the bottom of the plates in the afternoon, glaze around 8 p.m. and get that kiln going.  Everything is going perfectly until I opened the kiln.  

Brown?......... where is my coppery yummy glaze?  Layer after layer of ugly brown plates.  Stack them on the slab roller and get out my notes.  Sitting on the studio floor with papers stacked and the Hamer and Hamer in my lap I was at a loss.  Had my digital scale gone ca-flooey?   Maybe I put in an extra scoop of something....... but what?  Since I am pretty careful about checking chemicals off and putting them back on the shelf when done I crossed that one off the list....... because I am a geeeenius.

I have been at this for three days now......... jumping up at 3:30 a.m. to check the kiln.  Soaking at the proper times.  Yes, I have a computerized kiln but I jump through a lot of hoops to get this glaze and since I am not a rocket scientist I have no idea how to program this kiln for those particular hoops.  Night after night I jumped out of bed and run through the dog poop in the backyard under creamy white moonlight to get to the kiln at the appointed temperature for each cycle.  

 I am also getting a big fat knot in my stomach if I can't reproduce this glaze!
Oh and did I mention I had a 4 week deadline on these plates?  

Standing in the shower yesterday it came to me (I am brilliant in the shower).......... you have different lithium.  Well yes, it's lithium but it's from a different company.  I was running short on funds and ordered lithium from another company because it was ............ .20 cents a pound cheaper.  Anybody bought 10 lbs of lithium lately?  
Sticker shock is an understatement.  I called my regular company for lithium and bucked up the .20 cents and bought another 10 pounds.  

Yesterday I mixed up yet another batch of glaze, this time 2500 grams instead of 10,000 grams.  Dipped a plate last night and fired it.  Since I am in a bit of a panic here I pulled the plate out at 400 F. and slapped it on a kiln shelf.  Ran in the house, got coffee, check email and phone, beat the dog and
waited for it to cool.  An hour later ran back out to the studio and there it was........ 
the coppery yummy glaze I love.


and every potter I know who I always call while jumping up and down while unloading my kiln is at NCECA today......  so I called my dear husband who has not had a nights sleep in three days and jumped up and down yelling I got it!!!  He said I have no idea what you're talking about but can I get a nights sleep tonight?  YES!  Then he jumped up and down too!  

Dolita, my glaze testing buddy have a glass of bourbon for me!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Every once in a while

amazing stuff happens..........

I get bored .......... easily.   I have been working on dinnerware for the last month and have to tell ya I'm getting more then a little antsy to get back to my dustables!

Knowing I wanted some new glazes I have started testing.
This new glaze has been sitting on my shelf for 3 months and I just needed to make test tiles.  Yeah right..... I still don't have them made.  The perfect little cup with no handle fit in my test batch of 500 grams.

Both of these glazes are new for me.  Now toss in the brand new spank'n material called Ohio Slip which I have never heard of or worked with until reading the NC clay blog.  I ordered 10 pounds and thought I fool around.  It's mined in the southern farm lands around Cincinnati.

Here is the result of fooling around.  This never happens.  Nine and half times out of ten I end up scraping kiln shelves or just closing the lid in disgust.  Not today.

cone 6 is looking pretty good today.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


On my nightly walk last week, I heard it!  I wait for the chorus every year as it signals something that just sets my knickers a twitter!  The screaming of spring peepers in the Paine Falls marsh lands! ( Other wise known as the flooded Gristmill Condo's, still standing after two and half years of complete abandonment by the city, residents and all known forms of homeosapiens.)  The peepers have returned!  Along with a spry red fox, loads of deer, skunks and raccoons (who have been seen carrying a Barbie head back to the nest; I guess even baby raccoons love Barbie and you should see what they did with the abandoned big wheel left behind).  Last week on a sun filled day I collapsed on the patio, just the patio, no chairs as they are still in winter storage (behind the shed, I have visions of those same raccoons having a cigarette, from the butts I keep finding in my yard, while lounging on my patio chairs under the moonlight.  These are the Painesville raccoons, not the Paine Falls raccoons!)  Yes, I looked like a beached whale rolled over to clear her blow hole........ it was glorious!  I squinted into the eternal blue sky and saw big black silhouettes circling.  For most that would be a sign to get up and move but buzzards in Northeastern Ohio make spring official!   WELCOME BACK, I YELL!  

I managed to roll myself over and take a hike around the homestead.  The internal inventory sheet rolls past my eyeballs, after a 15 minute survey I roll back to the patio to draw up a triage list. What needs touching first?  Plan of attack....... 

There is a prediction somewhere back in the blog that Christmas decorations would be dangling until the Easter Bunny showed up.  Am I psychotic or what?  No need for me to read my daily horoscope or call the psychic hotline.   Although this year that big bald elf did pretty well as the lights are the only thing I could find.  (I am sooooo plugging these in tonight!)  

I am so desperate to see anything living by the end of March I drop to my hands and knees and find 
little shoots.  I say the garden prayer......... Grow you little bastards, grow! 

and then, there they are......... POPPIES!   Hands down my favorite early summer flower. 

Next week temps are supposed to zoom into the high 60's.  Plan of attack:  work in the yard as the kilns are firing.  Sitting next to the kiln on a 60 degree day is akin to sitting in Hell.  Although shorts & flip flops in March are enticing I am opting for jeans, boots and a t-shirt; proper garden attire for a proper garden wench. Pruning, planting, doing the side out rotate with blueberry plants and small shrubs.  Some of my plants spend more time in the wheelbarrow than in the ground.  I change garden plans more than I change my underwear.  

This is my health care program........ BEND OVER!   The nights I crawl into bed and am bone tired are good nights.  The mornings I jump out of bed and run into the wall because my ankles don't work are good mornings and just forget the stairs........ 

I can open the doors of the studio and move stuff out, hammer stuff, fill ground hog holes with scrap clay and work on the more efficient studio floor plan I have been rolling around in head all winter.   I have plans, big plans!  

I signed up to do a farmers market every Wednesday this summer.  Lake Farmparks has a sweet little program.  I get to stand in a parking lot, next to a bunch of sheep and sell my pots.  I go to the farmers market every week anyway so why not spend an extra hour and sell pots.  The market has been going strong now for 4 years, they have a good customer base in an upscale area.  Hey, I am excited about this!  I can sell flowers from my garden also.  Not taking a 10 x 10 booth just a table of mugs, bowls, garlic jars, jelly pots and stuff I fill corners of the kiln with.......... and get my grocery shopping done!  Double tasking!  I can sit on the tail gate of my little red truck and hang with the farmers.   Besides it's sailing night and Butch will be off in the lake hanging with the sailors.  Perfect! 
My studio is drowning in dinnerware at the moment.  I have stuff stacked on top of stuff.  The progression of insanity.  Long about early January I got the idea to do dinnerware.  A complete cycle of making and firing takes about a month.  Since I have not made dinnerware in a few years there was a learning curve.  The more I made the more I learned.  One dinner set lead to another and I am almost there.  Research and Design........ arghhhhh!!  It's expensive and time consuming and not sure the payoff will be there.  

stacked on top of the freezer, nobody's getting dinner for a while around here!  Also notice the lights for my camera set up...... someday I will be organized but not today! 

Finally used my spray booth and I love it so much it will become permanent.  For now it's on a table I drag out on the driveway, what a concept.  Now I wonder how long it will take me to get over the fear factor of cutting through the pristine vinyl siding on my studio.......... winter? 

Pots are waxed and waiting for glaze........ 

But hanging over my head is my kayak and it's spring and the peepers are singing 
and I just might have to run down the river for few hours this week.

Friday, March 19, 2010

nceca, common sense......

Haven't had time to write since our ripp'n vacation to the south.  In the last two weeks there has been quite a bit tossed in the blender of life.  And yes, it's time for a rant!  And some how so much is all tied together just about the time I hit Frappe'.

1.  Are you going to NCECA?  I don't know.  Leaning toward not going.  It's Spring, look out the window!  Sometime around the end of February I start to feel the frenzy coming.  The seed catalogs show up, the tax stuff shows up and I begin to stir out of full slug hibernation.   Might have been Max, the chipmunk (who lives in the basement) trying to get to Miriam, (who lives in the woodpile).  Max, I want to yell, turn back it's -5 and the snow is up up to my knees. But Max pops above the snow every few feet until he makes to the woodpile.  Miriam must have one sweet nest in the woodpile, thinking little red curtains and fishnets.  Evidently Max made it as yesterday I opened the studio door and there were fresh chipmunks in the driveway, 3 of the little guys.  Fresh, cracked out chippy's jumping all over the driveway.  Since the gestation of chipmunk is 31 days I'm thinking Max went for the fishnets and pheromones.  Miriam is a tramp.  The frenzy of Spring is upon us!  I have orders to fill, glazes to test, spray booth to install, gardens to plant, shrubs to prune and and and..........  NCECA is not on the plan.  Common sense tells me to stay home; do the spring cleaning, fill orders that will pay bills, plant the gardens and go kayaking while taking deep breaths.

2. On our city blog there is hot debate over dress codes in our schools and other things that just have me scratching my head.  I went to Parma High School in the early 70's, there was no dress code.  We had Home Economics.  Mrs Schnerly tried to teach us to sew and cook.  My first year I made a very smart navy blue dress with big red bulls eye polka dots.  I learned to put a zipper in.  Part of our assignment was wearing the dress to school.  My dress; the right side was higher than the left side, the zipper was puckered and diagonal and the hem looked like a picket fence.  I wore it and I was soooooo proud!  I told everyone, Hey I made this.  I sat by myself in the lunch room and thought I looked fantastic!  I wore that dress until the zipper fell out.  I bought fabric at Kreesge's or Woolworth with my own money.  At 13 I had the power, I could sew!  My Mom didn't sew but I had Aunt Pat who even made her own underwear!  (now that's power!)
Then I got to high school, it was the era of hot pants and leather jackets.  I bought them, I wore them to school, I was sent home from to school to change.  My Mom worked and we lived across the street from the high school, no problem.  But then the letter from the principal showed up in the mail.  Mom had a pancake turner or wooden spoon in her holster the day the letter showed up.  My lesson:  red welts never look good with hot pants....... and I was 16!  Mom ranted for a week and then told the German lady next door who ranted too.  Mom was out the door before I left for school but now Mrs Hepler would lean out her window, cigarette dangling from her mouth, clutching her little fox terrier, Tiny and yell; "you look good this morning"  or "go back and put something decent on, you not working the corner today!"  I thought I looked great!  I look back on what we wore to school, considered scandalous at the time.  Last fall I attended a high school football game and I just thank God, Mrs. Hepler isn't around.
Today I thank my lucky stars for jeans and black turtle necks.  The bottom line...... we figured it out.  It was part of our holistic education.  We got a healthy dose of common sense.  I find that sadly lacking today.

Back to Nceca.......... the best argument going for NCECA.  Sandy, you will never see this much ceramic work in one place.  TRUE!  But do I need to see that much ceramic work in one place at one time.  The big draw for me is always the Sante Fe Clay Dinnerworks show.  I have been to six NCECA's now and the Dinnerworks Show is still my favorite........ and the bourbon bottle show in Louisville.  I don't want to see the dead baby "art", I get it, it's alot like my hot pants in high school.  Maybe each art school should employ a Mrs Hepler.  I want to see teapots I can put a tea bag in.  I want to see a thoughtful pots.  I circle back to common sense.  Pots with common sense.
I will miss seeing friends, that is what I will miss most.   Over the years my clay community friends have grown exponentially!

Instead of running off to Philly I am helping a local gallery do our own Dinnerworks show.  Filled with 16 friends from around the country and local, a great gallery owner at Geode Gallery and feel like I am helping support, grow and bring awareness to the local clay community.
Today, off to the studio to finish 14 plates for an order for Whole Foods.........  a very common sense thing to do.

Friday, March 5, 2010

cont. the hike to hell.......

We walked down to the beach and I felt like I was in Apocalypse Now.  We retreated back to the pavement and keep hiking until we found Campbell Lake.  By this time we were loosing our minds as we looked to the left and swore we saw the 23 second ground hogs from You Tube fame;

but just sand plants......... 

We got the map out again and returned to our starting point to try this one more time.  Off on another trail not knowing if we were headed in the right direction.  We encountered three hikers, yes real hikers.  Two women and a guy who was just staggering behind in a fly fishing hat (probably looking for the ocean, DUDE, I KNOW WHERE IT IS!).  HEY, I bet they are from one of those land yachts.....  We smiled and Butch swaggered past like he knew where he was going.  I couldn't help myself and turned around smiling, asked;  Is Campbell Lake up the trail?  The woman, bless her, whipped her map out and said;  This map is stupid and makes no sense.
I dropped to my knees and kissed her feet!  Thank Gawd it's not us, it really is the map.  All 5 of us were in the same state of mind; exasperated!  They said; Yes keep walking, you'll run into it.  So we did.

We walked through; Caution Tape Forest.
we have no idea why all these trees are tagged with yellow caution tape but nice touch.

That lead us to; Burned Out Forest.

and onto the;  Dr Seuss forest.

we walked on the paved trail until my ankles, knees and hips were feeling the pounding.
And just when I was ready to throw in the towel and curse the State of Florida........

there it was,  Campbell Lake.  WOW!  

The only thing separating fresh water Campbell Lake from the ocean is a thin strip of dunes.  
I had a moment and realized I was alone, my hiking partner was no where in sight.  I could hear him talking loudly but couldn't figure out to whom.  I retraced my steps and followed the loud talking back to the pavement.  There he was; pacing in a circle, starring down at the ground and giving directions in Greek.  Hmmmm...... I heard things like;  push the third button down from the orange key three times while pulling the silver handle back and is the dog with you.  
I mouth.........  Is the dog OK?  He waves me off and I hear him say;  put the dog in the house and call me back.  All winter Butch had asked Abby;  Wanna learn to run the snowblower?  
and the answer;  NO!   Tuesday night before we left;  Hey why don't I just show you how to start the snowblower........  NO!  You're only gone 4 days I think I can handle it.  Okey Dokey.  
On the third day Mother Nature dumped a load of snow on northeastern Ohio.  Enough to cancel schools, work and jobs.

Abby left home with a car, a dog and no place to go decided she should run the snow blower.  I suggested a shovel, the one by the back door.  The one the dog was probably watering every morning when she let him out and the ungodly hour of noon.  

I departed the pavement and left Dad and Daughter to work it out.  I returned to bird watching, gator watching and exploring a real trail.  I was a happy camper!  

Butch would run down and glance at the lake but then his phone went off.  It was a lovely hike.
The sun was on it's downward trek and I suggested we start back. 
On the way back we were feeling pretty proud of ourselves for finding Campbell Lake so we decided we could hike off trail to get back to the car.  There were several trails that seemed to be cut into the woods.  We looked at the map and jumped in.  The little voice in the back of my head said;  Do you really want to do this?   My inside voice was now yelling;  Stop yourself.  My outside voice said;
Sure let's try it!  
About 500 feet in I looked around and thought we are in a logging area.  I thought the parks were supposed to be protected areas.  We were both puzzled but what we were seeing.

We stumbled (I was past scurrying) and looped around so many times we found ourselves all the way back at Campbell Lake! 
We had such a hard time finding Campbell Lake now we couldn't get away from it. There was my inside voice again;  Retreat from whence you came greenhorn and go back to the pavement.  
We walked and walked and the sun was setting lower and lower.  Finally we found pavement all the way back at Campbell Lake.  I announced to my hiking partner & soon to be ex-husband if he left the trail I would kill him.  
We found our way back through neighborhoods, really we could not figure out what these were doing in a state park but there were street lights, barking dogs (one barked so hard it fell off the porch), kids on bikes and people grilling.  We came back to the road just about the time the moon was coming up.

We found the parking lot and our dirty little car.  I was so hungry this could have turned into the Donner Party.  The fat shack was closed and I could have eaten my own hand but we found a nice place to eat back on Rt 98.   During dinner he asked.......... are you going to blog about this?  
Ha! is there even a question about this one? 
We are alive!!!!!!!! 
Tomorrow we head west out of town.  

the hike to hell.........

Day 3
Florida State Parks

We started at Henderson which happens to be in the downtown shopping hub of Destin.  Yup you can roll out of your swanky RV and run across a four lane highway to grab a hot Starbucks and by a designer beach tog. (what is a beach tog?)   We wondered what you got for $30 a day in at Henderson State Park.

Wow what more could you ask for?  I am thinking privacy, a tree, a fire ring?  I love sleeping in a tent on a concrete pad!  How about you?  Drove the entire campground and not one tent.  Playing jarts in the middle of the paved road and not happy campers that they had to stop as you drove by.  We waved, they flipped us off.   I wanted to yell out the window;  Hey, we left our angry kid at home with the dog!!!  but I refrained and smiled.  We crossed this one off the list and headed east to..........

Topsail State Park
The state of Florida has cloned their welcome guy!  All in the same uniform, happy smile, beard, wire frame glasses, about 5'8" (perfect for sticking his head out the welcome box) and says;  $6 and here's a map.  Very friendly guy but uncanny how they all look alike!  

By this time I was ready for a hike anywhere but a beach.  Topsail has two fresh water lakes and a beach.  Don't try and stop me I am headed to the lake.  We are from Ohio where a hike constitutes, hills, dirt trails, wild flowers, critters of some sort and occasional friendly hikers.  As a retired park ranger I have been in a few parks.  I tend to lean toward the primitive areas.  Here is what we ran into........

Hey, are we at Disney World?  No walking, they cart your big butt around on this thing!  On paved roads no less.  We looked at the map and said we are hiking.  Butch took the map first and I thought there might be a problem when he turned the map upside down and then on end.  Ummmm what are you doing?  Getting my bearings.  Thinking there are 1637 acres to hike, getting your bearings might be at the top of my list.  I grab the map while hiking around the parking lot, looking for a sand trail into the woods.  Nothing......... we start down the paved the Tram road.  We came to a crossroads; looked to the left and saw land yacht parking.  Honey look, those same angry kids throwing things.  Pictured below is primitive RV camping.

(this is NOT camping!)

or camping in your giant RV next to the fat shack.  Grab your Cheetos and hop on the TRAM while the State of Florida hauls your butt down to the beach.  

OK and one more rant before I move on ......... If you own a fat pug (as in short cute little dog that fits in a beach bag and can no longer breath through their nose due to over breeding) keep him OFF the beach!  Do you know how many women I saw dragging Pugsley Wugsley through hot sand and the dog is coughing, sputtering and gagging on sand, not too mention having their privates burned off!  They are low riders with little tiny paws!  They look great staring out the window of your giant RV but they don't four wheel drive!  FOR THE LOVE OF DOG,  PICK THEM UP ON THE BEACH!  Not everything in a pink glitter color is having a good time! 

  To the right houses.  To the north a big park announcement board and more pavement. 
We looked at the map, scratched our heads, walked over to the giant announcement board thinking there would be arrows pointing to Lake Campbell but nope just a friendly invite to have breakfast with a ranger on the Turpentine Trail.  Here is the picture of the Rangers........ (I am not kidding!)

OMG!  Bubba and Buford had followed us from Alabama!  No, I don't want breakfast with these two.  Thoughts of squirrel omelet passed before my eyes.  I was still getting over pasty white gravy people dump on butter laden biscuits at the big breakfast buffet at the hotel.  
We decided our best bet was to follow the bike people.  Tip:  on a paved path you will be run over by rabid cyclists trying to get to the beach or the TRAM.  State parks in Florida are not set up for hikers.
These are things you will see along the trail

Where is this on the bird list?  And why is it humming?

This is our trail ........
No sneaking up on the wildlife here.  The berm is as wide as the snack shack!  We continued on, hoping to find a path into the brush.  We jumped off the pavement several times to hit dead end trails.  No markers, no universal symbols, no color blazes on trees or stakes just follow the pavement folks.
We walked on and finally just flipped out!   If the sign said; "DO NOT ENTER".  We entered.  We couldn't stop ourselves.  

This where we ended up.

do you see the garage for wheel chairs?  
I have never seen this before and really do applaud the state of Florida for looking out for the handicapped.  

and handicapped bathrooms.  So much for the joke about the bear pooping in the woods!

I was thinking by now we must be close to Campbell Lake but then I saw it ....... the boardwalk that just went on and on.  It was huge and lots of signs about staying off the dunes.  I get it!  You are preserving the dunes!  But how many trees did you cut down to build this board walk? 

Just the top hand rail is made of plastic, the nice recycled stuff from all those milk jugs we toss.

Oh look another sign.

I believe it was around 3:30 p.m. and I was heard myself mutter;  it's the E'ffen beach. I'm throwing myself into the rip tide.  For some reason this sent my fellow hiker & husband into a fit of laughter.  Two big lakes and we can't find them!  Through his tears of laughter he said;  Did you just say; The E'ffen beach.  Shooting daggers back....... yes and I hear it's very easy to dig a shallow grave in sand.
THE BEACH....... again....... 


Thursday, March 4, 2010

What vacation........

I think we should be back rested and tan but feeling like I ran a gauntlet and windburned.  Wednesday night I finished inventory and packing by 7 p.m.  Ran in the house, showered, packed and we were headed south by 8 p.m.   Butch had stopped and picked up a AAA trip tick but they are hard to read in the dark so it was shoved under the seat.  

Two hours into the trip I realized he was really sick and we hit a bummer of an ice storm in Cleveland. 
Off to a stellar start!  Thought the farther south we drove we would come out of it, I was still wondering on our way to Nashville.  Knuckle-busted through Columbus, Cincinnati and then Louisville.  At 3 a.m. Louisville looked like an abandoned demolition derby.  Butch slept on through the night by Nashville we needed gas and a break, I was toast.  Prying my cramped steel grip from the steering wheel,  Butch offered to jump out and pump gas.  Cool, I will un-wedge myself from the clown car and then I heard it.......

We had been in a mobile metal bubble for the last 8 hours, humming along to; The Doors, Black Sabbath and AC-DC.  I opened the door to wailing country music and two guys in pick up trucks with gun racks, confederate flags & matching coon hounds dancing in the window ...... and then I heard it.  "Hey Bubba, how's that dawg hunt?" "Hey Buford, that dawg don't hunt....."  WHOA!  is that banjo music I hear?  HONEY, USE THE CREDIT CARD & GET IN THE CAR!  I was thinking do they take American currency?  Butch took the wheel and we drove off into the dawn. 
What happens in the middle?  Folks are somewhat normal at home and even when we get to Florida they speak the same language, wear clothes I am familiar with and drive cars I recognize.  If you exit your vehicle between Cleveland and Pensecola you will find yourself in a foreign country.  One other example of the middle;  try and find a Starbucks in Alabama, an oxymoron if ever there was one!  
Read the billboards;  
See you at the Baptist Church Sunday morning 9 am. 


and what is; "Whataburger"?  If I have to ask what it is do I want to eat it?  NO!
and what is up with "BOILED PEANUTS"?

We made it to our destination; Destin, Florida, LaQuinta by 11:30 am.  

Unloaded and off to the beach!  Yikes!  Cold and blustery but hey the sun was out!  First morning 28 degrees F.  Started looking for polar bears & penquins.  The beach was deserted, a bonus!!  

We wore our jackets, kicked off our shoes and waded in the surf.  We should have had tattoos on our foreheads; "WE ARE FROM CLEVELAND".  The dead give away; we found ourselves in a Walmart parking lot after buying sunglasses and a bigger digital camera card.  Soooooo easy to find our salt crusted car in the parking lot!

People would ask; why are you here, it's off season.  It's all relative.  Warm for us, from the land of frozen everything and sun, glorious sun we had not seen in weeks.  We looked like Punxsutawney Phil just jerked from his hole on Gobblers Knob and blinded by camera lights!  
We had made it and we were happy!  
The first night we rambled down RT. 98 and stumbled onto a great little restaurant called Goat Feathers. Great seafood, great beer and good prices.  I flipped the bill over and noticed we had consumed the "EARLY BIRD SPECIAL"!  We are doomed, just tint my hair blue and let's start looking for size 10 pink wedgies.  Happy Hour, YES, early bird special, NO! 
We took a leisurely drive back to the hotel and promptly crashed during Olympic downhill skiing.

Up the next morning and back to the beach. Still vacant and cold.

And this is why the kids call him Corky............ 

We walked and walked and walked until I finally figured out there would never be an end destination. 
The beaches start in Key West and go to Brownsville, TX.  Walking to see Nan and Marci!

I switched to my new macro lens and started shooting stuff I thought I could use in the studio.  
Wow I am one happy camper! 


Another sunny day and living large in the Sunshine State.  We toured campgrounds, scouting for our next trip.  Campgrounds were on a Mega-strip and $30 a night.  Not a tent to be seen!  Old people in giant land yachts that were bigger than Rhode Island and towing a Jeep behind. Our room at LaQuinta was $15 with Butch's bonus points and we got the free big breakfast bar!  

By the third day I was pining for a walk in the woods.  There is a National Forest just east of Destin but we could not bring ourselves to drive down RT 98 one more time.  We opted for the state park at Top Sail. 
*read the following blog post;  Our hike to Hell.

All in all three days in Destin and the surrounding area are more than enough, in fact two days would have been fine.   We ate fresh, fabulous seafood, walked miles of beaches, grew sick of strip malls, never really found a fine craft gallery, never found the Kick Ass coffee shop, never needed sunscreen, love bird watching and documented all Starbucks for future trips.  We had a great time exploring.

to be continued .........