CRT2023: Big Cypress National Preserve / Everglades National Park

On this trip we passed west-to-east through Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park. We saw TONS of wildlife, but didn't take a lot of photos. We must have seen a hundred alligators while driving Loop Road through Big Cypress. And it's hard to tell scale from that photo, but that turtle's shell was easily two feet in diameter.

CRT2023: Gulf Coast Sunset

As the parallel to the sunrise photos we took on the Atlantic coast of Florida, we also got some sunset photos on the gulf coast side. These were from a park called Honeymoon Island State Park, north of Clearwater.

CRT2023: Florida State Parks

A lot of Florida state parks have trails that are basically boardwalks through the wetlands, which is a great way to get out into that area and see things you might not otherwise see. But a lot of the parks *also* have these signs warning you not to "molest" the alligators. Such an odd choice of words. :P

CRT2023: Universal Studios

When we passed through Orlando we spent a day at Universal Studios. Carter and I both aren't very good with rides (we get motion sick too easily) - we went on a single ride when we first got there, and immediately afterwards decided that we were done with rides for the day. I know, we're a couple of sissies. But who wants to spend a whole day feeling nauseous? Instead we walked around and looked at everything - it's a pretty impressive place! The Harry Potter area was pretty impressive, and we love the Simpsons and really enjoyed that area as well.

CRT2023: Kennedy Space Center

When I was a teenager my family went to Orlando for a vacation, and on the day we were all supposed to go to Kennedy Space Center I was sick and had to stay back at the hotel. I've been upset about it even since. :P I love everything to do with space, and it was great to finally be able to get out to KSC after all these years.

CRT2023: Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

One of the state parks we went to in Florida was Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, which had all of these interesting trees. The tree appear to send out 'roots' from their limbs that grow back down to the ground. Really strange, but beautiful!

CRT2023: Florida Birds

During our recent road trip around Florida, we saw lots and lots of birds. Before the trip I bought a cheap pair of binoculars and a field guide of Florida birds, to see if that might be an activity we enjoyed. Turned out we loved it! It was a lot of fun trying to identify all the birds we found - Carter said it felt like trying to catch Pokemon. :) Over the course of the trip we identified over 50 species of birds (and probably saw another dozen or so we didn't identify). Once we got back home we bought a few bird feeders and hung them up around the house, and we've also been going for walks at nearby state parks the last few weekends to look for birds around here too. It's been a lot of fun, and gets me a lot of outdoor time - so I'm definitely not complaining! The bird shown here is an Anhinga - the cool thing about them is that their feathers aren't oily (like a duck), so when they swim to catch fish their feathers get waterlogged, and they have to spread them out in the sun to dry them out again. I love how it looks like he's posing for the photo - he's a handsome devil and he knows it!

Rolling Toolbox From Bowling Alley Lane

I recently got a chance to get ahold of some slabs from old bowling alley lanes. As a first project just to get familiar with the material, I built this rolling toolbox for the workshop. The top is made of a chunk of the lane, and the drawer fronts are made from cutoffs of ambrosia maple from the bedroom set project. The lane material was interesting to work with - it isn't glued to together, only nailed. So it's a bit more 'wobbly' than you might expect. I ran screws up from the bottom in several places to stiffen it. Also, the old lane finish was very thick and tough as nails - I had to sand it off with a 50 grit belt on a belt sander. But once removed it sanded up nice and took some oil-based polyurethane well. At two and a half inches thick it should be able to stand up to some abuse as well!

Bedroom Dresser

This is the last piece of the bedroom set, and man am I happy to be done with that project! Between the bed, nightstands, bookcase, and dresser I think it took almost 5 months start to finish. The dresser is made of solid cherry, and the drawer interiors are made of ambrosia maple - just like the nightstands.