Florida: Kayaking at Bahia Honda


The water at Bahia Honda was shallow for hundreds of yards/meters out from the shoreline, and there was virtually no wave action at all on the water. So we rented a double kayak for a couple hours to mess around in the water.


Here are my kids looking like they are being photographed for a Land’s End catalog:



Friday: The Overseas Railroad.

Florida: Bahia Honda State Park

If you’re in Florida at the end of December, and the weather is warm enough, you really must go to the beach. We can all agree on that, right?


Our campground, the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge, was located in the Lower Keys about 30 miles (50 km) north/east of Key West, the end of the road. Just above Big Pine Key is Bahia Honda (said “buy a Honda” or “ba-HEE-uh Honda” depending on who you ask) State Park. The weather was beautiful. The beach was small but lovely. The water was a little cold, but hey – wouldn’t it have been a little colder in Cape May?





Tomorrow: We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

In the Key of Florida: How We Started


We started driving south on Christmas night. After an early dinner with the Kings, we put in about six hours of driving, which got us as far as Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Traffic was surprisingly heavy that night, but never slow.

In the morning, we woke to gray skies over Carolina and a heavy, wind-driven rain. (This rain would later fall as snow in Philadelphia.) It was about to become a long day, and a longer drive than we had imagined.

We learned on this trip that driving with the camper in the wintertime is different from the summertime in some important ways.

First is the weather – much likely to have an all-day disruption. If you think about it, storms in the summer tend to be intense but brief, or slow and steady. Winter brings both slow and intense. That was our lot as we trudged across the Piedmont.

Second is daylight – there’s a lot less of it in the winter, as you know if you’ve ever tried to get a suntan by sitting outside in January. The difference between July and December around us is about 5-6 hours of daylight, if you can believe it. Driving the camper at night takes more concentration and requires me to slow down for safety and visibility.

Finally, wind. Winter storms on the East Coast usually come with a chaser of west-to-east wind. When you’re driving north or south, that means a crosswind. Our van and camper together have as much surface area as a small sailboat, and they’re about as responsive to a stiff breeze.

All of this to say: We can (and did) drive safely. Getting the job done meant slowing down. I’ve since concluded that the right daily distance in the winter will be about 500 miles (800 km) as opposed to our summertime max of 700-800 miles (1,100-1,300 km).

Long story short, though we had originally planned to power through to Tampa on the 26th, we stopped for the night in Jacksonville to get some rest and allow a few more hours for the back end of the storm to pass. The rain stopped by Lumberton, North Carolina, but the wind was with us all day and all evening.

The morning of the 27th broke cold and bright in Jacksonville, with temperatures an un-Florida-like 34F/2C when we left the hotel. Everybody slept in the van while I finished out the last few hours of driving into Tampa.

Tomorrow: Robert Is Here, and so are we.

Anna and the Dolphins

Our Anna absolutely loves dolphins.  So when we started planning our trip to the Keys, we realized that we’d have a chance to send her swimming with some of the dolphins who live there. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip, and is certainly something she’ll remember all her life.



She was in a small group of six people who attended a two-hour workshop at the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon, one of the Middle Keys.


The best part of the workshop was when each person went swimming around the lagoon with one of the dolphins. Everyone who has seen these pictures has noted that Anna looks very determined, which is totally in keeping with her character:




Think of how Anna’s last couple years have gone… this girl is not yet ten years old. Already she has been to 23 of the 50 states, she has visited the White House several times and met the President and the First Lady, and now she has gone swimming with the dolphins in the Keys. What on earth will she have on her bucket list when she gets older?



Hi again!

Hi everyone!

This is my first post in a while, because my dad had all the photos, but I got a camera, so i will be posting more! We went to North Carolina for two weeks, the we came home for an hour, the went to the beach.On the first two days in North Carolina, we went camping, which we were going to go for two days, but it was raining a lot, so we stopped camping early. I didn’t have my camera yet, but I had brought my laptop, so my mom put her pictures on my laptop.
We went with our cousins, Jessica, Scott, Zach, and Karena. Also Zach’s friend Dylan and his family came.
Zach and Karena have a trampoline, and we don’t, so whenever possible, we would go play on it. Even Zach and Kareena’s grandpa got in on the action when he was over.
We went to vacation Bible school at Zach’s church, Camp E.D.G.E.. I had fun because I was a camp counselor, of course for my sister Anna, Zach, and Dylan’s group, the Raccoons.We also went to Tennessee for two days, one night. We went to Dollywood, an amusement park owned by Dolly Parton, in Pigeon Forge Tennessee. On the first day, we went to an outlet mall, right by our hotel. We shopped a lot there. I got a backpack from Reebok, and a watch from Adidas. while my mom and I were in the Adidas store, I saw a Dale Earhart Jr. 88 backpack, and my dad has a joke were he likes Dale Jr. so we were going to get it for, when my mom found a Dale Jr. 88 hat, which we were going to give him for his birthday or christmas, but then decided he would have to wear it in Tennessee and North Carolina. so we gave it to him before we went in the park the next day. He was pleased.
We also went on Zach and Karena’s boat, and we went to a rope swing, which was fun.
Above: Zach. Below: Me.
My mom and my sister.
We went down the river in their town, which didn’t end so well.
After two weeks, we headed home, for an hour or two, which in that time, I got my camera Bean. Then we headed for Sea Isle City.
In Sea Isle City, we had a nice house on 49th or 50th, and went to the beach, rode around town on our bikes, read books, watched tv, played cards(500, crazy 8’s,go fish, and war). We didn’t get to ride a surrey :(. But my dad, Anna, and I rode 9 miles in one day biking. I also rode 3 miles to avalon to play soccer, and we did a scrimage, and the coach said I was my teams only hope, but then the other team figured out easily i was the best on my team, so they always had 6 kids covering me, and on defense I was the only defender, and they usually had 5 attackers, but either I made them shoot away from the goal or the goalie saved it. I also scored a goal. Some how at the end we won, 3-2.