Categories
Blogging Career Geography Holidays Home Life Military Travel Weather

35 Years In Homestead Florida

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. After a 1-week hiatus last Thursday for the #Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S.A. – I’m back for an all-new season of travel adventures every Thursday !

I recently spent 10 days with my family over in the Dallas Texas area. It was cold and rainy and dark and dreary for much of that time with 30s and 40s at night and in the mornings, and 40s and 50s in the afternoons. It was a bit unusual to be so cold and dreary for such an extended period of time in mid-to-late-November. I was prepared for the temperatures, as I’m a skilled weather forecaster – by hobby – not by occupation.

I returned back home to Homestead Florida last Friday November 25TH 2022, and the heatwave continues here in South Florida. Temperatures were approaching 90°F (low-30s Celsius) as I drove home from Miami International Airport. It’s been an unusually warm and humid November here, but that likely won’t continue much longer.

My favorite part of South Florida is indeed the weather. I want to live with this weather for the rest of my life. When I move away from here in 2023 I’ll still experience much of this weather – 3 hours north of here in Highlands County along the Lake Wales Ridge (“spine”) of Florida. Winters will be a bit cooler, and summers will be a bit warmer.

So today – the first of December – marks 35 years since I first arrived here during the early-morning hours of Tuesday December 01ST 1987. With the exception of nearly 19 months immediately after the catastrophic destruction caused by Hurricane Andrew on August 24TH 1992 – I’ve been here ever since. I arrived here as a young 20½-year-old USAF Airman, and now I’m a soon-to-be-retired 55½-year old USAF Civil Servant.

I feel like I grew up in this city. During the first 18 years of my life – I lived in 5 homes in 5 towns in 3 states. I have no friends from those years – only memories of what could’ve been. I consider my 20s and my 30s as my “childhood” here in Homestead, and my 40s and my 50s as my “adulthood” here in Homestead. I’ve lived here in Homestead longer than most people have lived here in Homestead. (Most of the growth of the city and the surrounding area has occurred since 2002.)

It’s been a fun 35 years in this town. I’m looking forward to new sights and sounds in the new year. #2023

Next #TravelThursday I’ll hit the ice. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
1980s Animals Blogging Career Driving Food Geography Holidays Home Military Travel

Stateside

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I wrote about my arrival in the south of England 37 years ago to the date (November 10TH 1985). Today is the 35TH anniversary to the date (November 17TH 1987) that I left England behind and arrived back home stateside.

I actually don’t remember much about that day. My memories are quite vivid from the Sunday morning 2 years and 1 week earlier when I arrived in England, but when I left England – not so much.

A friend of mine drove me from our (military) dormitory over to Billeting / Lodging at dawn, and there I got on a shuttle that I think took me all the way to the airport. I don’t think I did the whole British Rail trek going to London (like I had when I arrived). I got on my flight at Heathrow, and I was back in the Washington D.C. area a few hours later that afternoon. (I got those 5 hours back that I lost 2 years and 1 week earlier.)

My Dad picked me up at the airport, and we went home, and my cat – Fluffy – went ballistic with joy and happiness. It was a wonderful stateside homecoming.

I got to hang out with my family – dad, mom, brother, and cat – for almost 2 weeks through the Thanksgiving holiday week. Again – I don’t remember much from those 13 days, but I know that it was a good time because I was back home with my family again.

I’m with my family right now – mom, brother, sister-in-law, nieces, and dog. We’re continuing our annual November tradition that goes back almost 20 years – #ThanksChristmasGiving – or #Thanksmas. It’s where we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas combined in a single week. The Christmas tree and decorations have been up for a couple of weeks, and we are actively engaging in Christmas shopping and gift-wrapping. We’ll open all of the presents by the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving morning. Shortly after that the entire house will be filled with the aroma of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Next #TravelThursday is in 2 weeks – when I celebrate my 35TH anniversary here in Homestead Florida. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
1980s Blogging Career Driving Geography Military Music Radio Travel

London To Fairford England

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. It was exactly 37 years ago this morning – the 10TH of November back in 1985 – that I arrived in a foreign country solo for the first time in my life – as a young 18-year-old.

It was a cold Sunday morning at London’s Heathrow Airport, and I had flown all night from Washington Dulles Airport. Of course I lost 5 hours overnight with the time difference.

I made my way to the British Rail station at the airport. I took that to Reading – where I got off the train. Oops. I wasn’t supposed to get off there. I got confused. I ended-up waiting at that station until the next train arrived. That didn’t take very long. I got on it, and I continued on to Swindon. At the Swindon station I hired a cab to take me to my new home and workplace – RAF Fairford – about 13 miles away.

The cab driver was nice and friendly. He welcomed me to the U.K., and he turned up the radio for us to listen to. I think we were listening to GWR. An eerie song came on that I had never heard before. It was Talking Heads with “Road To Nowhere”. How appropriate for that song to play on the radio as this young 18-year-old teenager was being driven on the left along narrow and curvy farmland roads from Swindon to RAF Fairford.

That was the start of my 2-year and 1-week adventure in the south of England as an 18, 19, and 20-year-old. I got to see a lot of England, Scotland, Wales, France, Belgium, and Netherlands. I wish I had seen more of the European continent, but I’m grateful for the areas that I did get to experience while I was over there.

I’ve attended about 150 concerts and live events in my life (100 since 2000), and the first 17 all occurred during those 2 years in England.

Next #TravelThursday I’ll return home stateside – just like I did exactly 35 years ago. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
Blogging Driving Geography Military Nature Photography Travel Weather

Biscayne Bay Tourist Attractions

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. We’re in the dry season now here in South Florida. It started during the middle of last month, and it continues until the middle of May. It’s our 7-month “nice” season here – marked by abundant sunshine, not much rain, cooler temperatures, and lower humidity. We actually experienced a near-record cold day last month on the 19TH of October when a polar-origin cold front slammed through the area and dumped our temperatures down into the lower-60s with wind chills in the 50s from the early-afternoon through the next morning. It was also cloudy, gloomy, and drizzly for the entire day. It very much resembled one of those weird dark, cold, and raw January days that we get once or twice a year (if at all). It was quite the phenomenon to get it so early in the season on the 19TH of October !

So since it’s nice out, and my days remaining here in South Florida are limited – I need to visit some tourist attractions this season and write about them here on #TravelThursday.

I just read a very nice write-up on Biscayne National Park and some renovation work they have recently completed on one of their main walkways to the sea. I haven’t been out there – just 8½ miles away from my home – since May 2016. It’s time to visit again. It’s a nice place to relax and enjoy the scenery of the sea.

It’s been 3½ years since I’ve visited the Charles Deering Estate – also along Biscayne Bay. That’s a fun 2-to-3-hour visit. They do ranger-led boat tours of Biscayne National Park that leave from and return to the Deering Estate. That’s what I did 3½ years ago. I’d like to do it again.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is also along Biscayne Bay, and I haven’t been there since February 2018. As a U.S. military veteran – I get free admission year-round, so I respect that. I need to drive up the road (about 25 miles from home) and check it out again. There’s a lot of great photo opportunities there.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is also along Biscayne Bay, and it’s been 10½ years since my last visit there. I get in for free there too anytime I want. It’s just another 7 miles up the road from Fairchild, so maybe I can visit both Fairchild and Vizcaya on the same day – like maybe during the week when they are less crowded.

Next #TravelThursday we’ll trek across the sea over to England. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp