|Poorly taken photo, disguised as an antique :)|
I was so angry at the kittens last night, I went to bed and closed my door, after declaring to Greg that I wasn't going to sleep with anymore cats and that I didn't care if they cried. Only he was still playing videogames downstairs with his noise-excluding headphones so when Explorer started crying behind my door just an hour later, waking me up, he didn't hear a thing. And Explorer kept on crying and crying so I got up to yell at him but when I opened the door, Explorer did that "Rrrrr?!" with his throat and rubbed himself on my legs and then I caved in because he wasn't the one who ticked me off last night after all, it was the other two.
So he came to bed with me and cuddled hard, making biscuits against my face and neck and then buying down with his head atop my cheek while lying across my shoulder...awww. We fell asleep like that. An hour later I had to use the bathroom and he was gone. Later on, I woke up with him back in bed next to me and Princess between my legs. At 6 a.m., they started playing around! Usually they go have a little breakfast and then go back to bed, but I hadn't refilled their food bowls in the bedroom last night so they were trying to get me to get up! Arrgh.
So I figured I might as well get up and catch up on the news before it was time to take a shower and get ready for our hike. We leaving at 8:00 a.m. to drive to Ormond Beach, to Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park. It's a couple of hours away from here. I need to return the Blu-Ray disc to Redbox first and so I suggested we get sub from Publix, but Greg wants to get food closer to the park. There is actually a Publix very close to the entrance. Yes, I should pack a picnic. We'll probably order out tonight too because I'm not going to be cooking. I'm kind of cranky and part of me doesn't want to go hiking today (a big part of me!) but I know that once I'm there, I'll be fine.
I made myself a cup of decaf instant coffee so I don't have to pee so much this morning, but I'm missing my caffeine as I keep on yawning. I'm wondering if Greg will want to have breakfast at Johnny's Flapjacks before we leave, LOL.
I took a shower and discovered a huge bruise on the underside of my right forearm and elbow, from my fall in the breezeway last night. It doesn't hurt if I don't touch it so it's definitely just a hematoma but it's quite unsightly and turning black already. Darn cats! I'm glad I didn't break anything!
I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits and a couple of Swagbucks.
Greg got up and I immediately suggested we go out to breakfast. He protested it would take too long and would put us "behind schedule" so I immediately said "OK fine, we'll do as you want", as he said "OK fine, we'll do as you want!", which is what usually happens and then we're each arguing for the other's POV. So I started packing a picnic lunch and he came into the kitchen 5 minutes later and insisted on us going to to breakfast (LOL, I knew the lure of the big waffles would be too much for him!). We left a note for the kids (they already knew we'd be gone most of the day but I wanted them to know where we were) and left.
As usual, we had a great experience at Johnny's Flapjacks. I had the same as last week, the Philly Cheesesteak Omelet, and this time I took a picture! This is a lot of food and protein and it fills me up that I don't really think about food until several hours later. I had decaf coffee. Greg had his usual combo, with real coffee to wake himself up because he was droopy.
|The omelet didn't all fit on my plate!|
The trip to Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park took about 2 hours from there and we got there at about 11 a.m. We took back roads so as to avoid the interstates and I'm glad because a report I read tonight said that traffic on I-4 around Deltona/Port Orange had been very slow due to a wildfire on the side of the road and the smoke that ensued. We didn't really hit any traffic, the truckers must have taken the day off because of the Easter weekend so the drive was enjoyable.
|Not much traffic|
|We passed this very kitschy place that sells a bunch of huge statues to decorate your property with... one of these days we're gonna stop and buy us a big cow statue.|
|Or the statue of liberty?! LOL. We're mesmerized by this place. It's right outside of Astor.|
|Vultures eating a dead possum. Greg had to honk to get them to move out of the way because they were quite intent on enjoying their brunch!|
The weather was supposed to be cloudy all day in part of the state, but getting there, it was pretty sunny until we got to Volusia County and then some dark clouds appeared and it even drizzled for a while. I was worried that we'd get there and it would rain, as I only had a tank top and nothing to protect my camera. But it ended up alternating between sunny and cloudy the whole time we were there, with a strong cool breeze, which really helped!
Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park is located in Flagler County, just off Flagler Beach. It's adjacent to Bulow State Park, which is a little confusing at first. I had read in the brochure for Bulow State Park that the hiking trail was about 6.7 miles one way, and that they advised to start at the north entrance (Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park) so we did that.
The entrance was unusual and quite beautiful but I was really wondering what would happen if a car was coming the other way. We didn't find out until we left and it was fine as there were several spots that were slightly wider so you could pull aside and let the other vehicle go by.
|Finally, the entrance to the park itself. It;s not manned by a ranger although there is a ranger habitation past the entrance, so bring exact change to leave in the envelope!|
We went on the small fishing pier to look at the creek. It's pretty impressive.
|It was quite windy so I was glad we didn't plan on kayaking today!|
|I had hoped that we might see interesting wildlife, seeing as John James Audubon had visited the property himself and painted some birds there, but let's end the suspense now, we didn't see anything that we don't see in our own backyard.|
From the parking lot, we first took the short (1/4 mile) trail to the plantation sugar mill ruins and the slave quarters. There were quite a few people doing the same thing. Luckily for us, they weren't hikers and we only encountered 2 other parties on our actual hike (and a 3rd one as we were leaving the trail). The plantation sugar mill ruins have been placed on the National Registry of History Places. Bulow Plantation was, at one time, the largest and most profitable sugar plantation in the Southeast.
|Those coquina foundation blocks were all that remained of the slave quarters. It is presumed that the Seminole Indians burned down the plantation during the 2nd Seminole War, after the army that had requisitioned it departed.|
|The ruins themselves were... haunting? I can't imagine having to be a slave in such a hot place, working in a sugar mill over boiling syrup, skimming it to make sugar.|
|Ah yes, "field workers". Thankfully the newer signs called them what they really were, slaves.|
|The sugar mill was made of coquina. It was quite pink in this picture.|
|Yes, he is still wearing the same darn shirt. He's doing it on purpose now that I have complained|
about it. Grrr.
It features more explanations and some artefacts.
Our visit of the ruins done, we walked back towards the entrance to the hiking trail we had planned on using. We weren't hungry due to our huge breakfast, but I suggested we bring our lunch along with us so we took our sandwiches and of course our bottles of water. I had slathered myself in SPF50 and I smelled good like the beach, lol.
|It is 6.7 miles one way so we decided to walk to about the mid-point and then retrace our steps.|
|One of the small bridges we crossed.|
|We did hear a lot of birds but didn't actually see many. However, hawks were quite vocal and active over a couple of parts of the forest and I was able to take a picture or two.|
Since we have a theme of dead animals today, Greg spotted this green and blue lizard that had been smashed in the middle of the trail. I did enhance the picture a little to show off its true colors as the weather was overcast at that point and my photo didn't end up being as colorful as the reality.
The forest itself was full of very large trees. It would have been prettier had there not been a lot of tree damage, probably due to Hurricane Matthew from last fall. It's obvious that the rangers have been busy, in parts, cutting down the trees that had fallen, but everything was left in place, probably to decompose, and in many parts of the trail, we felt like we were walking through a lumber yard or a construction zone, more than in a forest.
|There were lots of those yellow flowers. Aside from some tiny white flowers (picture didn't come out) and a patch of purple ones (seen later) on the side of a creek, we didn't see any other flowers :(|
|We had to climb over or pass under a couple of tree trunks that had fallen across the trail.|
|Another one of those weird craters left by a fallen palm tree. Trees were growing very close to one another and were rubbing against each other in the strong breeze, making strange noises that were unnerving at times!|
|A small field of Scorpion Tails|
|A new tree sprang from this bare root crossing the trail! I had never seen that.|
|This is how the trail looked in a lot of spots.|
|Some interesting tree fungus on a fallen palm tree|
At this time, we spotted some dark clouds heading our way and I was worried being in a forest full of trees that were in the process of falling on one another when it was so windy. Greg spotted this tree and suggested we use it as shelter should it start to rain!
|Luckily, the clouds went away and it didn't rain!|
|That large tree was twisted right off at the base!|
|Not all that picturesque!|
|The bird calls were plentiful and most of them were cardinals! As usual, I was unable to spot the other song birds.|
|We had to go under this one. It didn't look hard but it was hard enough for me. I'm really not limber to go under lumber :)|
|Another hawk, keeping an eye on us.|
Luckily the next bridge was just a few steps ahead. It was actually lovely, with a small, swift and clear creek flowing under it. We decided to sit on the bridge and have our PBJ sandwiches. I wasn't hungry at all but I felt that perhaps I needed the energy boost.
|I truly was tired so I laid down on my back on the bridge. It was so relaxing! I enticed Greg to do so and he resisted at first...|
|But then couldn't help it! After a few minutes, I heard some voices and a couple of ladies appeared and passed us. We exchanged some pleasantries.|
At one point Greg called my attention to something that I had completely walked by without noticing: $13 that had fallen out of someone's pocket right in the middle of the trail! I pick up pennies in parking lots but I walked by a wad of bills in the forest! In my defense, I had spotted a bolt earlier in our walk and Greg had pocketed it as a freebie. He insisted on my blogging about it, lol.
|Profit for the day: $13.00 and a bolt!|
I asked him to stop by the 7-11 that was just a mile or so from the park so I could get a drink because I was so thirsty and the water from the pavilion at the park tasted gross to me. They didn't offer caffeine free Diet Coke at the soda fountain so I had to buy a bottle and also got a bottle of water. They were freebies since we paid with part of the cash that Greg had found :)
The 2-hour drive home was very long. Not much traffic, again, but we were both tired and kept on yawning. I regretted not having gotten a regular Diet Coke as I needed the caffeine really badly (and also I was getting a headache although I think it was from allergies) but since we were taking back roads, there weren't really any options to stop and use the bathroom anywhere.
By the time we got back to our town, I was fantasizing about the nap that I was going to take as soon as we got home. We had texted the kids to ask how they were (they went out to get lunch at Subway and were fine) and to tell them we'd be back at about 4:30 p.m. and we were. We chatted with them for a couple of minutes. Our son was still under the weather and I had him take more Advil. Later on tonight, I gave him a dose of Delsym cough syrup but that didn't seem to do anything, much like last time. He's still coughing.
I headed to bed and fell asleep almost immediately. When my "It's time to cook dinner!" alarm rang at 6:30 p.m., I ignored it. I had warned Greg that I definitely wasn't cooking tonight. I fell back asleep. I had a vague notion that the kittens were in bed with me and I didn't care. When my "unplug the battery charger!" alarm rang at 7 p.m. the kittens were playing on the bed and I didn't want to get up, but no dinner noise was going on so I got up to make sure the kids were being fed. Greg hadn't taken a nap at all and offered to run to McDonald's to get us all dinner. I gratefully accepted.
He didn't have a good experience there, and truth be told, the food was pretty crappy, but I didn't have to cook it and it didn't add any (more) dirty dishes to my kitchen so I was happy. I had to take a Tylenol for my lingering headache and I'm about to head back to bed, at just past 11 p.m.
No D&D trip for us tomorrow. My son is still under the weather and I have a mountain of dirty dishes to tackle. Greg might go fishing in the morning if he's not too sleepy. I can't think of anything else that we have going on tomorrow. I'm tired. Goodnight!