Tag Archives: small town

Apalachicola, Florida; A Small Gulf Coast Town

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Apalachicola, Florida Sunrise on the Apalachicola Rider

When I think of small Gulf Coast towns my mind conjures up all the visions of the many small towns along the Gulf Coast I have had the privilege of visiting. While driving back from a family Disney World vacation last April we stopped for the night in Apalachicola, Florida. Apalachicola is a quaint, small southern historic town with a maritime culture, shops, galleries, restaurants , B & B’s, motels and museums. It is as near to perfect stereotype  a Gulf Coast small town as one could hope to get.

Apalachicola, Florida  Sunrise on the Apalachicola River

Apalachicola, Florida Sunrise on the Apalachicola River

Apalachicola, Florida , small gulf coast town, small town, travel

Apalachicola, Florida Pirate of …

We arrived on a Thursday and found a local motel for the night. Driving into Apalachicola on U.S 98, we drove through the historic downtown. After checking into our motel we drove back to the downtown area to find a place to eat. The restaurant we saw while driving in was closed, so we walked down to the Sea Food Grill & Steaks and had some great southern cookin’. Loved the white beans…

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Apalachicola, Florida The Grady Market

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Apalachicola, Florida Historic Downtown

After diner we walked down to the Apalachicola River. The sun was setting and there were a lot of photo opportunities… Old buildings with interesting architecture, an old wrecked boat and spectacular  views of the river and docked boats. Unfortunately, we left our cameras back at the motel. What a bummer… We decided we needed to return at sunrise and get some of the pictures we missed…

The Three Soldiers Monument, Apalachicola, Florida , travel

The Three Soldiers Monument

Apalachicola, Florida , gulf coast small town, travel

Orman House

The next morning we get up before sunrise and headed down to the river.  At every turn there was a great photo op…  We got some great shots along the river as the sun rose over the river. There were several boats active on the river giving us some sunrise activity. We then strolled through town taking pictures of buildings and interesting sights while we waited for the Apalachicola Riverwalk Café to open. We had a great breakfast and enjoyed visiting with the owner. She filled us in on some of the history of Apalachicola and some of the must see sights.

Apalachicola, Florida , gulf coast small town, small town, travel

Chapman Botanical Gardens

There are several museums in Apalachicola that we hope to visit. It seems that most of them are closed on Wednesday. So we will  save them for our return to Apalachicola at a later date…

The Orman House was our first stop. The grounds were open to touring but the house was closed. We would love to have done the home tour but we will save that for our return trip. On entering the property we saw the Three Soldiers Monument, the focal point of the park. The Three Soldiers Monument pays honor to the Southern soldiers who served in Vietnam. Sculptor Frederick Hart said once that he believed that art must “touch our lives, our fears and cares – evoke our dreams and give hope to the darkness.” The Monument does just that.

Adjoining the Orman House is the Chapman Botanical Gardens. The Chapman Botanical Garden honors the memory of Dr. Alvan Wentworth Chapman, a noted botanist who in 1860 published “Flora of the United States”.  We took a leisurely walk through the garden enjoying the early morning and the tortoise strolling across our path.

The Chestnut Cemetery , gulf coast small town, travel

The Chestnut Cemetery Apalachicola, Florida

Driving in the previous evening, we saw an old cemetery that we wanted to explore. The Chestnut Cemetery, like any old cemetery, is like taking a remarkable walk back through time. If you stop, be sure to pickup a map which gives information about many of the people and history of Apalachicola buried there.  The Chestnut Cemetery is open during daylight hours. The cemetery is on U.S. 98. There isn’t any parking at the cemetery so we parked nearby and walked to the entrance. The Chestnut Cemetery is very interesting and worth a look.

Chestnut Cemetery , travel, gulf coast, small town, travel

Chestnut Cemetery

We would liked to have stay longer but we needed to get on down the road. We will be coming back (hopefully soon) to explore more and to see the museums that were closed… Apalachicola, Florida; A Small Gulf Coast Town you need to visit… You will be glad you did…

National Park Motorcycle Ride – 5542 Miles in 16 Days 2013


National Park Motorcycle Ride Route Map

National Park Motorcycle Ride Route Map

WOW, I can’t believe we did it and it’s in the books. We just rode some of the best national parks, historic sites and national monuments in the U.S. and Canada (Pikes Peak National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Little Bighorn National Historic Site, Devils Tower National Monument and Mount Rushmore National  Memorial).

We had a great time and everything went pretty much according to plan. I thought I would be worn out physically and mentally but Larry and I felt really good for the whole ride. I got back July 29th around 4:00 PM and felt so good I mowed the lawn the next morning!


Me and Larry at Pikes Peak

Me and Larry at Pikes Peak

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but experiencing it is worth millions. There is no way pictures can capture the adventure nor can I describe it all with words. It can only be experienced… Traveling by car gets you there but is only a few notches above watching the scenery go by on TV.  Traveling by motorcycle is the ultimate way to experience travel. You are in the environment, feeling the wind, sun, cool, heat and rain. At several points along the ride we could hear the rushing water in the streams and rivers. The smells are incredible. The smell of crisp cool air in the morning, pine forest, flowers, rain in the distance, food cooking, fresh-cut grass, fields of corn, fresh-cut hay and many unidentifiable smells… and yes the occasional not so good smell of dead animals, feed lots etc… Many of the smells took me back to my boyhood when I lived on a cotton farm in Texas. Those were good memories.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Beside all the great national parks, monuments and historical sites on this ride there were many beautiful farms and ranches in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains and on the Great Plains of the U.S. and Canada. Having grown up on a farm I have a great appreciation for the land and the people who work it. Rural life is a great life but a vulnerable one. There are many perils from Mother Nature and the economy. I also enjoyed seeing the many old farm houses and barns. I can only imagine the  many lives and stories of love, laughter and tears could be told about each and every one…

National Park, motorcycle, ride, travel

Lower Falls Yellowstone National Park

Another part of the ride I enjoyed was the many small towns and the people who lived there. I enjoyed the local businesses and the architecture of the many old buildings. Some buildings were still in use and some have seen better days. If walls could only talk… what a story they could tell.

National Park, Motorcycle, Ride, Travel

Glacier National Park

Larry and I met so many nice people on this ride. Our motorcycles and our tags from Georgia and Texas were always getting comments. Larry’s Victory Vision got most of the comments and questions. My mascot Kow A. Saky started many conversations too. We met people from all over the world. To name a few… a nice couple from England riding a rented Harley, a guy from Belgium riding with a motorcycle tour group, a group from Europe who shipped their antique cars over and were driving the Lincoln Highway, a couple from Ontario riding a Goldwing and many more. There were so many riders we met and riders traveling by car wishing they were on their bikes as well as many “want to be riders” and people just interested in where we were from and where we were headed. To those of you whom we met, who may be reading this, we would like to say thanks for making our ride that much more enjoyable. Please take the time to comment and say hi. We would love to hear from you again…

The other special part of this ride was stopping to see a couple of friends I had lost contact with over the years. I have just recently reconnected with them…

My old friend Jimmie and his wife Diann with Larry and me in Georgetown, Colorado

My old friend Jimmie and his wife Diann with Larry and me in Georgetown, Colorado

We stayed in Georgetown, Colorado on July 16th. Jimmie drove from Aurora and met us at the Super 8 where we were staying. I first met Jimmie when I went to work for Geophysical Service Inc. in June of 1965. I had just graduated from high school and was attending college part-time. He was about 10 years older but treated me as an equal from the start. We worked in Houston, Texas; Sydney, NSW, Australia; Dallas, Texas and Denver, Colorado. Over the years we worked together at different companies and I owe Jimmie a lot for my success in business. It was great seeing Jimmie and his lovely wife Diann, again, after so many years. We ate dinner at a little restaurant down the road from the motel. It was a great time but much too short. Now that we have reconnected I will have to get back up there to see him… Thanks Jimmie for all the great times and memories and a special thanks for all the support you gave me while working with and for you…

National Park, motorcycle, ride, travel

My friends Ed and Avis and me

While I was in the Air Force, Ben, my roommate in tech school was always writing friends back home in Montana. One of those friends was a girl named Avis. I told him to say hi or something to Avis. She wrote back and we became pin-pals for four or five years and became good friends. I went to visit her, a couple of times, over that time. The last time was 41 years ago. Life got in the way and we eventually lost contact with each other. I have wondered many times what had become of Avis. I hoped that life had treated her well… About ten months ago, I tried to find her when I started planning this trip. I did find her and we have reconnected!  We stopped by and stayed with Avis and her husband Ed. Life has been good to her… Avis has a great husband and two great kids. Avis and Ed are very proud of their kids, as they should be…  They live outside Troy, MT on beautiful acreage. It is so beautiful and peaceful with views of mountains and a lake hidden across the road from them. I’m jealous… While there we caught up on what has been happening with us over the last 41 years. We still have more to catch up on. It was nice to finally meet Ed too. Avis and Ed are great hosts. Someday, I hope Janet and I can return the favor and show them part of our great state of Texas. Our time there was short but good. Thanks again to Ed and Avis for being such great host…

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Lake Louise in Banff National Park Canada

While on this ride we visited Pikes Peak, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff (in Canada), Little Bighorn, Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore as well as many other sites along the way. I will be posting about each day of our 16 day ride in the coming days… Please, follow along as we ride some of the most beautiful scenic country in the U.S. and Canada.

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Little Bighorn Historical Site


National Park, Motorcycle, ride, travel

Devil’s Tower National Historic Site

National Park, motorcycle, ride, travel

Mt. Rushmore

For more pictures of our ride click here and don’t forget to like “The Texas Rambler” Facebook page. Look for the “Subscribe to Texas Rambler via Email” at the bottom left column to receive notifications of new posts by email. Also please take some time to leave us a comment. We always love hearing from y’all…

This has been one amazing ride for Larry and me. check out the other post from this ride using the links below…

Day 1 & 2 National Park Ride -Getting There
Day 3 National Park Ride – Dalhart, TX to Georgetown, CO
Day 4 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY
Day 5 National Park Motorcycle Ride: Grand Teton & Yellowstone
Day 6 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Yellowstone National Park
Day 7 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Gardiner to Kalispell
Day 8 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Glacier National Park
Day 9 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada
Day 10 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Banff National Park Canada
Day 11 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Lethridge, AB to Billings, MT
Day 12 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Little Bighorn Battleground
Day 13 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Devils Tower National Monument
Day 14 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Mount Rushmore
Day 15 & 16 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Heading Home