Monday, December 22, 2008

first couple days in MA

After we left the air port and got on our first "stand by" flight, we knew we were off. after we arrived in Baltimore and realized that we had to wait for another stand by flight we were a little worried that we wouldnt make it. But God worked everything out and we arrived in Boston at 11:30. After getting our bags, which were the last two bags to come through the system, we went to the bathroom and then outside to await Erikas mothers arrival. It seemed to be about 40deg below zero, but realistically it was probably in the 30's. A great change of pace (or temperature) from the orlando heat was very nice. We drove 20min to Ruby Tuesdays, where Alexa (erika's sister) is a hostess. We sat down and ate some delicious lunch and about half way through, looking out of the window, noticed that it had started to snow. By the time we left the restaurant there was a thick layer of dusted magic on the ground, and it was falling hard from the sky. We drove back to the appartment and hung out for the rest of the evening. Alexa just got a kitten who is quite fun to play with (much better than Killer, sorry mom), his name is Mogley Noah and love to bite ears and sleep with his paws up in the air.
The snow came down for days, amazing. We did some running around and got the oil changed in the car. We took a little detour to the mall to exchange a watch that erika had purchased a while ago. There were way to many people rushing around that place and we could only handle it for a short time.
Yesterday (12-21-08) we decided to go cross country skiing, and that was an interesting journey. Driving through the snow and ice it took us about 20min to get to the "ski track" which is a golf course that gets converted into a XC ski track in the winter.

After we got our rentals and I realized how incredibly narrow my skis were, I thought maybe there was a mistake, maybe these were erikas skis. I needed the big ones, ones that were at leaset as wide as my foot, these were not. After I clipped into the bindings it felt like I was standing on two tight ropes but I thought to myself, "I run, I ski, Im fairly athletic, this will be cake". Well, it was not cake, it was like trying to walk on ice with feet that were 10 times larger than your used to. As I started "walking" with my skis following the direction of my foot, going towards the trail I started realizing that this was not as hard as I thought. I slipped my ski's into the small, narrow track that was blazed by previous enthusiasts, took a step and started gliding. "this is easy", I thought, untill there was a curve. Nobody ever told me that we had to turn on these narrow "death traps". Well, they are skis, so I should be able to turn them like regular skis, right? WRONG!! aparently you have to pick each ski up and make small turns with each one until you get around the curve, I did not know this. As I started leaning into the turn, like on downhill skis, my body began to turn, but the skis stayed straight. Needless to say I was a little arrogant and the snow decided to teach me a lesson and I ended up on the ground, for the first of many times that day.
Erika and I with our ski tips in the air, shortly after this, Erika was on the ground... Great success!!
Alexa and I after we started to get the hang of this strange sport.
Erika, Larisa and Alexa

Me skiing up a hill toward the clubhouse

Erika thinks she is all cool because she can actually stay on her ski's.

More of erika thinking she is cool... She isnt cool, she is awesome!!
Larisa, Erika, Me and Alexa

Some tree's in the snow;)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day 5: Bahia Honda State Park, Fl Keys 10/28/08

We woke up this morning to very cold temperatures for the Keys. It was in the low 50's and windy. It was a great surprise to have weather that required a long sleeve shirt, but unfortunately Erika was the only one prepared. After donning her extra sweater (I looked quite foolish), we packed up camp and checked out at the rangers station. The trip home was sad and neither of us wanted the trip to be over but such is life and we have other obligations here in Orlando. So until our next adventure, we will make the best of what God has given us here in FL.

Day 4: Bahia Honda State Park, Fl Keys 10/27/08

After a good nights sleep we woke up to a cold, windy and cloudy morning. Although the sun was prescribed all day, he decided that a lazy morning was due, so he just slept in. Since it was so cold we decided not to get in the water and headed back down to the south end of the island. We walked up onto the old bahia honda bridge, which used to be part of the Florida East Coast Railway build by Henry Flagler in 1912. After the labor day hurricane of 1935 destroyed most of the bridge and gave the broken railway the nickname "Flaglers Folly", the foundations became the basis for the current overseas highway "US-1". We walked around a little more until Erika found some dangerous things to climb, I took a picture and then went my own way because I did not want to be there to whitness her falling.
After lunch, the sun awoke from his lengthly slumber, poked his head out from behind the clouds, gave us a great big smile and came out to play. We went for one last snorkel, then came back to shore in search for sea beans.

After we took some pictures and walked around a little while, the sun was heading back down towards the horizon and the clouds were lining up for what appeared to be a great sunset. I was wrong, it was MAGNIFICENT!!.
After a long walk to the bridge, we arrived just intime to see the last few min of the sun setting behind the bridge.

After the sun had completely set and it was dark enough that we could only see car headlights, we made our way back to the camp for some more rest before our long trip back to Orlando.

Day 3: Bahia Honda State Park, Fl Keys 10/26/08

After another hot and rainy night, the sun was finally shining in all of his glory. We made breakfast out of eggs and beans, which might sound a tad bland but was actually very delicious. We had to change campsites so we started breaking down the camp, which was just one tent. This only took a few min. so we headed down to the rangers station to make the switch but apparently were early. Our new campsite was still occupied so he told us to come back in a few hrs and it should be open. We went down to the little store to try some of their famous root beer that our dean of housing told us was the best root beer in FL. He was wrong, it was the best root beer in the entire world. It was creamy and drifted down your throat like a mud slide of carbonated goodness. After our soda adventures we walked to the south end of the island, where Erika saw her first wild iguana, and snorkeled for a bit, then layed on the beach until we were supposed to be back at the rangers station. After a long process of waiting on our campsite we discovered that a site right next to our old one had just opened up, which was a blessing because we really liked that side of the island.
As soon as we got to the campsite, I snapped a quick picture and we headed back out to snorkel. The sun was out and the water was clear so we had high hopes that we would see some great sea life. Erika saw her first octopus and shortly after that, a ramora started following us. Erika seemed a little aprehensive about this strange looking fish following us so closely, so I explained that they wont hurt, but they might suck onto your leg for a free ride. This was almost like giving the thing permission to attatch itself to Erika. After a couple hrs of snorkeling, and Erika giving this ramora a free ride, we decided to head back in where Erika drew on the beach and I just watched the ocean. We waited for the sun to go down and then made dinner. With food in our bellies and fully saturated with sun, we headed to bed.

Day 2: Bahia Honda State Park, FL Keys 10/25/08

Waking up has never been such a joy, a cool breeze accompanied by the early morning sun pulled us out of the tent.
After collecting some shells on the beach, that was only 20ft from our campsite, we decided to go back to Marathon and get some groceries.After returning to camp we had a quick bite to eat, then headed out into the water for some snorkeling. The water was cold so we only stayed for an hour, then made our way back into shore. We were excited to have collected a couple conche shells and some other unidentified ones as well. We dried off and went to take showers in the luxurious bathrooms that were provided by the park. We had decided to make a trip to Key West at some point and considering that the sun was playing hide and go seek in the clouds, we figured that this would be the day to do it. Earlier I had talked to a park ranger and he said that there was something called "Fantasy Fest" going on this weekend and there was a parade tonight in Key West. I thought to myself, Fantasy Fest huh? This must be a bunch of Harry Potter and Star Wars weirdos running around Key West dressed in their best imitation costumes. Once we arrived and found a parking spot, which was an adventure in itself, we started walking towards downtown. We came upon a man wearing nothing but a 4inch by 4inch piece of mesh cloth covering his private area, I tried to think of what Harry Potter character this was and my mind seemed to be drawing a blank. I quickly realized that this was not the kind of Fantasy that I had imagined, it was sexual fantasy. The deeper we got into town the stranger the people were dressed and the less clothing they were wearing all together. After Erika and I got invited to take a shower with an older couple we decided that it was time to get out of there.
We stopped by the Ernest Hemingway house, seeing as he is one of Erika's favorite authors, for a quick picture and then decided to grab a bite to eat before we left. We ate fast, and drove north even faster. Getting out of this present day "sodom and gomorrah" was our only thought, so returning to our beautiful, quiet, clothes friendly island was very nice.
The sun had already set but we were tired anyway and only wanted some rest from the days activities. So straight to bed we went with tired bodies and exhausted eyes.

Day 1: Bahia Honda State Park, FL Keys 10/24/08

Erika and I decided a couple of weeks ago to try and plan a trip to the Keys for our October break, with many hurdles to jump over we finally made all of the necessary arrangements for our rendezvous with the southern most state park in the continental US, Bahia Honda. We planned on leaving on friday around 2pm, so naturally we pulled out of orlando around 5pm (just to start the trip out with a bang). After a long 7hr drive down the FL turnpike, and paying more money than the state knows what to do with in tolls, we arrived in the keys. Night had fallen upon us quite sometime before but the city lights had kept us on our desired path. As soon as we left Marathon, and boarded the famous 7 mile bridge everything got dark, real dark. The water was only a few feet below us, yet there was no sign of it anywhere. There was no moon to light our way, and only a few scattered street lights to suggest our whereabouts. Knowing the water was there was not enough, we wanted proof, we wanted to see it. And without warning, just at the moment we needed it the most, a powerful flash, igniting the entire ocean, atlantic and gulf both. This was just what we needed and just when we needed it. We finally got to our campsite and just as we stepped out of the car, what started falling from the sky but those little drops of liquid that makes everything more interesting. Rain seems to make the process of setting up a tent more hasty and less enjoyable than it should be. As we crawled into the tent there were hundreds of little sand mites that were attracted to our lights and followed us inside. So all night long there were tiny bugs jumping from limb to limb and permitting us little sleep.