Tag Archives: Hurricane Michael

2018 Florida Road Trip Part 6

16 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Day 6 Wednesday 10/24/2018


Two of the most important museums I had my heart set on visiting on this trip, were the National Museum of the U.S. Navy located in Pensacola, and the U.S. Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB.  Since hurricane Michael had changed my route plans, I now had to work my way to Pensacola by an alternate route.  After breakfast this morning, I headed north on U.S.-19 to visit some of the museums in Tallahassee that were originally on my list to visit on my way back from Pensacola. The first was the Museum of Florida History.   This museum is located in the R.A. Gray Building, there in Tallahassee, and as the state’s history museum it displays exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia related to the development of Florida’s unique history over the years.



Just a few miles west of the Museum of Florida History, I visited the Mission San Luis de Apalachee. This is the site of a Spanish Franciscan mission that was built in 1633 as part of Spain’s effort to colonize the Florida Peninsula, and to convert the Apalachee Indians to Christianity (see Wikipedia for “Mission San Luis de Apalachee“ for many additional interesting details).



As I headed for the next museum, I passed the Florida State Capital Building and stopped to take a photo. There was a modern 22-story executive office building in the background that ruined any kind of decent photo that a person would try to take of the restored original 1902 Old State Capital Building. Rats! I could have done without that modern distraction.  Guess I’ll have to learn how to do “Photo Shop” so I can get rid of those, and other, ugly distractions in the future.



While I was in Tallahassee, I went looking for the Railroad Square Art Park, and found it located just south of U.S.-90 and the Florida State University.  Because of my word dyslexia, I didn’t read all the words, and was expecting a “Railroad” park or museum, not an “Art Park.”  All I found at the “Park” was the sign below, just outside a small house with a “Black Dog” sign on it (whatever that means) and a couple of unidentifiable warehouse looking buildings.  DiVoran keeps telling me to, “Read ALL the words Bill” but one slips by me now and then.



Now I headed northeast on U.S.-90 about 10 miles, to visit the Tallahassee Automobile Museum located near the intersection of U.S.-90 and I-10.  This turned out to be one of the largest auto museums I’ve ever visited. The museum displays some 160+ beautifully restored (mostly American) cars dating from 1894, and includes, among others, a rare1948 Tucker.  The museum also has on  display, large collections of motorcycles, bicycles, boats, grand pianos, cash registers, and clocks filling two floors.



After this exhilarating experience, I headed northwest on I-10 & U.S.-231 toward Dothan, AL where I was to spend the night. I was running low on gas when I crossed the state line between Florida and Alabama.  The first gas station I came to in Alabama was advertising gas for $.40/gal lower than the last station I had passed, in Florida.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I pulled in and asked a guy at one of the other pumps if the price was a joke or what?  He said, “Nay, this heres the reglar price, ‘causen we have lower gas taxes here in Alabam than they does down in Florida.  People comes across the border for their gas all the time to save money.”  WOW, what s serendipity!   I made plans to top-off my tank again tomorrow before leaving Alabama.



I skirted Dothan, AL and headed north on U.S.-431 to visit the Todd Syrup Farm  located a few miles north of the city of Dothan near Headland, AL. This turned out to be a long standing small community developed by Mr. Joe Todd and his wife Edria, and consists of a General Store, a Café, a Syrup Factory, a Farming Museum, and Campground.  I got to the Farm just at quitting time, and was able to meet Joe Todd and several of his syrup factory workers as they were closing up shop for the day.  Joe informed me that Thomas Todd had started this syrup business back in 1864, and that the family had been running it ever since. When I asked him about the museum, he mentioned the 40+ different cane mill designs the family had invented over the years, some dating from the Civil War days.



On my way to the motel I passed the entrance to the National Peanut Festival grounds and stopped to take a photo of their giant peanut.  Wikipedia informs me that the annual fall National Peanut Festival is held at this fairgrounds complex to honor peanut growers and celebrate the peanut harvest season.  The festival has amusement rides and an outdoor amphitheater where live music concerts are performed.   I would imagine you could find the “Miss. Peanut” beauty pageant winner there too.



While I was checking in at the motel, the desk clerk commented how lucky I was to have a room reservation, as they had been booked completely full, with relief workers, every night since hurricane Michael.  He was right, as I would not like to have to sleep in my van tonight.  Once settled in my room, I heated up my Italian Mama’s delicious meat Lasagna dinner and enjoyed it again.  Yummm!



—–To Be Continued—–


Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.




One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Edisto Island Get Away- The End

29 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


As Hurricane Michael made its way ashore in the Florida panhandle, we followed its projected path on the television. According to the forecast we would begin experiencing tropical force winds during the night. By the time we were ready to retire for the evening, the winds had begun to pick up. At some point during the night, I think around 3 am the electricity went off. I lay there waiting for the emergency power to come on. Nothing happened. Surely a resort would have back up generators! Apparently not.  As I went back to sleep, I wondered how long the condo would remain cool without air-conditioning. To my surprise, my room remained cool to the point it felt as though the air-conditioning was on.

We arose around 7:30 am and I looked around hopefully to see if the electricity was back on. It wasn’t. Which meant no coffee. As we shared our experiences during the night, it became clear that husband and I fared the best. Our room remained cool and we didn’t hear the wind howling. Not so for our daughter whose room faced the exterior walkway. The winds roared down the walkway and shook the windows. She ended up sleeping on the floor, just in case the windows blew out.

I was a trifle miffed that the resort did not reach out to any of the guests before or after the storm. There were no updates on the power outage or suggestions of what to do about check out. We were due to check out this morning. Were we supposed to venture out into the storm to avoid being charged for another day?

Around 9 am as we sat around, trying to figure out what to do, the electricity came on. Our first thought was COFFEE! Once we all had cups we gathered around the television to learn the status of the storm. Even with the restored power, still no phone call from the resort and they were not answering their phones.

We decided that if the bridge to the mainland was closed, the news would be reporting it. Gradually we began to see a few cars on the road outside our window. Rebekah and Pam were heading south to Florida and should be fine once they were off the island. Husband and I were kind of stuck. If we decided to abandon our plans and head back to our home in Western North Carolina, we would be crossing the path of the hurricane. If we continued with our plans, we would be driving north with tropical storm force winds. Having spent over 50 years in Florida, we had plenty of experience with tropical storms, so we felt confident that we should continue with our plans to spend two nights at a hotel on the North Carolina coast.

The previous evening, in between rain, we had loaded the majority of our luggage in our cars. This morning, we waited for a lull in the rain, then made a dash for our cars. We followed Rebekah and Pam’s car and were pleased to see that the bridge was open and the winds were not bad at all. Soon after, they turned south and we headed north.


Photo credit edistoscenicbyway.org

I’m glad we didn’t allow the less than ideal weather spoil our visit to Edisto Island. My favorite comment to my husband when we are meeting friends for a meal out and he isn’t fond of the restaurant is “it’s the fellowship, not the food.” In this case, it was the fellowship, not the weather and the fellowship was worth every rain drop.


For photos of Edisto Island visit edistoscenicbyway.org

Previous installments

Edisto Get Away Part One

Edisto Get Away Part Two

Edisto Get Away Part Three


I'm a winnerAfter my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

Edisto Get Away Part 3

1 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


Day Two


The rain we expected yesterday arrived during the night and we awoke to heavy rains. We turned on the local news to see when the storms would move out and were surprised to hear the weather person state that the rain was the result of outer bands in Hurricane Michael! Our daughter studied the radar and declared the weather person was wrong as there were a lot of unsettled air in the Atlantic and our rain was an off shoot of that. She is kind of a stormy weather geek.

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and she was right, the rain cleared out around 11 am. We decided to explore the island and find the private beach cabana owned by the resort. Oh well, we are at the beach so of course, I should expect to get wet feet! Fortunately the inside was completely dry.




I love beach pictures with sea oats. I’m not sure why, maybe memories of childhood vacations at North Carolina beaches with my family, but they touch a soft place in my heart. It was still windy but not enough to make the sand fly and sting.



We older folks sat in the provided loungers while Rebekah roamed the beach with her camera. The sun came out and I began to wonder if leaving the sunscreen at home was a mistake. I generally don’t sit out in the sun for long, but it was so relaxing, I didn’t want to head for shade. Rebekah was wearing a flowing vest and the wind was whipping it around her. I got the silly idea to do a Facebook live video, pretending to be doing a live weather report and poke fun at the “enhanced” broadcasts that occur during hurricanes. I was the announcer, Rebekah in her flowing vest was the reporter barely able to stand against the wind and Pam was the person walking behind the reporter with no problem.  It was fun, but some people thought it was real and I am sorry if we caused them unwarranted concern.



The walkway that led to the beach was lined on each side by large rental properties. One had the tiniest pool ever and the sign cracked me up.






We spent the rest of the day exploring the island and visiting some shops and a nice book store. There aren’t a lot of restaurants on the island but the name of one intrigued me. The SeaCow Eatery. It had good reviews and we decided to give it a try. The restaurant isn’t large but it had a nice menu and the food was delicious. The deserts were homemade and tempting but we all passed.



On the way home we picked up some bottled water at the Bi-Lo. It seemed the least we could do with Hurricane Michael on the way and the weather people predicted tropical storm force winds to move in over night. It’s kind of hard to know how to storm prep in a resort. We had debated cutting the trip short, but Michael was between our location in South Carolina and Florida where Pam and Rebekah live. My husband and I would have had to go west to the mountains, crossing the path of the storm. We “hunkered down” as did most f the vacationers at the resort.


Shameless mama plug. The sequel to my daughter Rebekah’s novel, Jessie is available in eBook on Amazon for pre-order. The release date is November 6, 2018.  Jessie is a coming of age story of a young boy growing up obsessed with becoming an astronaut and is set in our hometown of Titusville, Florida. Several of Jessie’s antics were taken from her father’s youth. The sequel, Destiny’s Call picks up on Jessie’s life as he struggles to make his impossible dreams come true.




Jessie was supposed to be a single novel but according to Rebekah, his story just would not end. In the near future, the title will be changed to Undaunted and the series will carry this tagline:  A Jessie Cole Novel

If interested you can find all of her novels on Amazon https://amzn.to/2SB1Tnn . They are also available for Nook, Kobo and Ibooks.



I'm a winnerAfter my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

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