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Random thoughts, rants, raves and photo opportunities

2013 - Maplewood State Park, Pelican Rapids, MN

We spent Independence Day week camping at Maplewood State Park. Located six miles east of Pelican Rapids, MN, Maplewood State Park offers paddling and hiking opportunities. The park is nicely maintained and the park staff were very friendly. But I have to admit, I would probably not return here a second time. While the actual campsite was very nice, it is unfortunate that the beach is over four miles away and the hiking trails are just too steep for young children. But our gang made the best of it and spent our time paddling in the lake, visiting nearby parades, and repairing flat tires.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Fort Jefferson Memorial Cross, Wickliffe, KY

Passing through Wickliffe, KY, near the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, we stopped at the Fort Jefferson Memorial Cross to stretch our legs.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Mount Mitchell State Park, Asheville, NC

Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Getting to the summit from Asheville, NC, via Blue Ridge Parkway, is easily one of the most gorgeous drives I've done to date. Anyone driving through this area should put Mount Mitchell State Park on their must-visit list.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - St. John the Baptist Cathedral, Savannah, GA

Passing through Savannah, GA, would not have been complete without a visit to St. John the Baptist Cathedral. While the outside of the cathedral was undergoing renovations, inside the gorgeous structure was alive and well.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Smallest Church in America, South Newport, GA

The notion of geocaching, the finding of hidden stuff, sounds pretty boring to most people. But I use the hobby as a way to discover things that you wouldn't otherwise see on your normal travels. On a recent pass through southern Georgia, we managed to find The Smallest Church in America. It is located just off of I-95 near the town of South Newport, GA. If you blink you will miss it.

I don't believe this cute little chapel is the smallest that I've ever discovered. But what makes it stand against the others is that it has stained glass windows and outside, it has its own little belfry tower. We signed the guestbook, dropped a little donation, and said a little prayer before heading up the highway.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, St. Augustine, FL

On our route north out of Florida, we stopped to explore the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. Located in St. Augustine, FL, the cathedral is the oldest established Roman Catholic Church within the United States. Another unbelievable example of architecture of it's time, the cathedral was completed in 1797. While the cathedral has suffered from fire and other disasters over time, the look of the cathedral today is not unlike it's original look from the past.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Selfie Gone Awry, St. Augustine, FL

While exploring the Alcazar Hotel recently in St. Augustine, FL, I attempted a self portrait in front of the historic building. The picture taken was quite comical depicting myself wearing a palm tree.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Collier Seminole State Park, Naples, FL

We finally managed to accomplish our goal, which is to hike Collier-Seminole State Park to find Florida's oldest active geocache. Located near Naples, FL, this was the southern most point on our excursion. For those of you that don't understand Florida geography, Naples is located on the northwestern corner of the everglades. There are so many dangers in this park that you are required to check in at the ranger's office, even for a day hike.

Alligators, snakes, panthers, mosquitoes, the heat, and many other dangers lurk here, any of which can really ruin your day. Even having hiked the swampy side of the park, the only issues we encountered during our hike were the swarms of mosquitoes and the heat. Once we checked out of the park and explored further south, we finally encountered a 10' long man-eating gator.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Now This Is A Woody, Ocala, FL

While visiting a city park in Ocala, FL, to find a virtual geocache, not only did I find the geocache, I also found that trees here get very excited and can't control themselves. Nothing more needs to be said.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2013 - Beech Grove Confederate Cemetery, Beech Grove, TN

While on a road cruise south through rural Tennessee we pulled off the interstate to stretch our legs. Little did we know that we'd run into this little gem, the Beech Grove Confederate Cemetery, located in the unincorporated town of Beech Grove, TN.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..