El Camino Real

Mission way-station along Florida’s El Camino Real.

From the time St. Augustine (capital of Florida at the time) was established in 1565, Spanish military and religious authorities began extending their reach beyond the town limits.  They developed various modes of transportation between widely dispersed settlements which eventually included forts, missions and ranches. 

Map placed at Ichetucknee Springs near Fort White highlighting part of the Camino Real.

During this period, many roads were established in Spain’s New World colonies, often following earlier Indian footpaths and trade routes. In La Florida, the Camino Real helped move people and supplies between St. Augustine and the more than 100 missions located to its west among native populations living on the frontier.

Rontittle.com photo of the drawing by Edward Jonas depicting movement of an oxcart along the Camino Real toward a mission.

In the 1680s, Florida Governor Diego de Quirogay Losado contracted the services of military engineer Enrique Primo de Rivera to build a formal road across north Florida that was suitable for oxcarts. 

Rontittle.com photo of drawing of oxcart by Edward Jonas.

Although there are no standing Spanish missions in Florida today, important clues found in historical documents, archaeological evidence, and the land itself have allowed researchers to reconstruct this royal road’s path.  So, come learn about, explore, and enjoy the places and stories of La Florida and its El Camino Realhttps://dos.myflorida.com/historical/explore/el-camino-real/

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Door to somewhere

External view of the decorative doors to the courtyard at St. Francis Barracks, St. Augustine, Florida. The balloons were there to identify where birthday party attendees would enter.

As part of the Thursday Doors emphasis, I thought it would be neat to post these decorative doors at the historic St. Francis Barracks in St. Augustine, Florida.

It reminds me of how doors lead to opportunities instead of shutting one out – if one has a key.


Courtyard doors looking outward at St. Francis Barracks, St. Augustine, Fla.

Where is your somewhere, and through what doors to you need to travel?

This is part of Norm Frampton’s Thurday Doors – Norm’s comment section.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Fuel creative minds

Legos creations by Levi

I’m highlighting this week some of the creations of young minds,

Whether drawing or building something.

What did you create when you were young?

How did that help you toward adulthood?

Take time to encourage our young people,

Letting their minds flow,

Creating not just what their eyes see,

But even what they may not know.

Look at little hands, developing, instruments of the mind,

Applaud them, praise them – don’t let them fall behind.

Sometimes the plan falls apart and pieces crumble,

Don’t let then stop, even though they’ve been humbled.

Engineers, scientists, doctors, builders and creators,

They have it within,

Waiting and waiting,

For us to let them begin.

***

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Women’s Bike Month

Street art at a bicycle shop in High Springs, Florida

Who knew that March is Women’s Bike History Month?  I discovered this while comparing Florida’s Bike Month to the May Bike Month by The League of American Bicyclists, established in 1880. 

So, I’ll combine some of the history of the contribution of women along with come bicycle safety tips.  

In 1896, Susan B. Anthony — one of the most important leaders in the women’s suffrage movement — shared her perspective on bicycling with intrepid reporter, Nellie Bly. “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling,” she said. “I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel… the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”  https://bikeleague.org/content/march-womens-bike-history-month

I never realized this.  According to the Bike League article, Anthony wasn’t alone. The article mentioned her friend, and fellow suffragette, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, wrote an entire article for the American Wheelman praising the bicycle for encouraging the building of “good roads,” and increasing people’s mobility.  It states, most importantly, though: “The bicycle will inspire women with more courage, self-respect and self-reliance, and make the next generation more vigorous of mind and body; for feeble mothers do not produce great statesmen, scientists and scholars.” 

Well, I’m not certain about the latter part of the statement but maybe that was a challenge enough to encourage women to begin expanding their horizons with confidence.  Could it have been simply a bicycle that helped trigger this progress?

So, when is bicycle month?  The Bike League focuses on May.  https://bikeleague.org/bikemonth

Florida has the emphasis in March. so I’ll concentrate on that.  Do other states and countries have various months to reinforce bicycle safety?

Florida Department of Transportation Alert Today Florida reminder

I can see why Florida chose to emphasize bicycle usage in March – for health and safety.  The weather warms and many are already out on the roads with these two-wheelers, and sometimes one or three-wheelers.  https://floridabicycle.org/march-is-florida-bike-month

So, as you warm up and exercise on your bike that has been sitting around for the winter, let’s highlight a few safety pointers.  First, give your bike a safety inspection and make sure it is operating properly, including lights.

I realize each state and country has its own special rules and laws so I’ll just stick to a few things to consider.  Consult your own local laws where you ride – and when we travel to other locations. Let’s not assume our knowledge is sufficient for where we ride.  Check before your ride! 

Florida is a great place to ride your bike.  If you are driving in Florida, please be aware of cyclists.  Cyclists need to be aware of vehicle drivers as well.  Let’s have mutual respect and protection.

You never know where a bicyclist will appear; like on Interstate 10 in Florida

Florida Department of Transportation’s Alert Today Florida program has key information, and posted the proclamation from Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, for March Bicycle Month.  https://www.alerttodayflorida.com/ Florida knows the importance of doing everything possible to make roadways safer for all users.

I enjoyed making presentations to teens and adults alike to encourage vehicle, bike and pedestrian safety. I had fun re-enacting Larry, the crash test mannequin (which I changed to Larry the Smarty since he now buckles up, rides safely and walks safely.

Here are some simple tips to remember:

– A bicycle in Florida is a legal vehicle on roadways.  Don’t assume though that people see you or know the law.  Better to be safe.

– Cyclists on roadways fare best when they act, and are treated as vehicles.

– Bicyclists may ride on sidewalks as well but must yield to pedestrians and provide an audible signal while approaching them.

– Some local laws may not permit a bicyclist to ride on the sidewalk, so check before you ride. 

– Ride in the same direction as the traffic since the bike is an authorized road vehicle.

– If a designated bike lane is in the roadway, some local laws require bicyclists to use it instead of the sidewalk.  That may not be safe for children though. 

Sharrow emblem in Florida

– If you see an image of a bicycle on the roadway, called a sharrow, it means a bicyclist should be expected to be in the roadway.  These are often alternatives to designated bike lanes when there is insufficient space to build the separate lanes. 

There is so much more to reinforce for bicycle safety so please check out Alert Today Florida as well as  https://floridabicycle.org/drive-your-bike.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Tiny Doors

Photo of a tiny door in the U.S. Capitol (Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol)

Why are these tiny doors in the U.S. Capitol?  I’m glad you asked.

These small doors and the water sources they housed, found in several places in the capitol building, were multipurpose. Years ago they provided water to prevent a future fire from spreading. 


Inside of a tiny door in the U.S. Capitol (Photo Credit: Architect of the Capitol)

The doors also helped ensure the mud tracked in from Washington’s dirt streets and foot paths could be easily cleaned from the capitol’s floors. That is why the doors stand only about 30 inches tall.  They conceal low, shallow closets where workers filled pails of water to mop the floors. (Architect of the Capitol – https://www.flickr.com/photos/uscapitol/29122889536)

This is a post for Thursday Doors. You can be added to the list too. Follow this link to Norm’s doors. Check them out and then look for the link to the list. Fill out the form, and your doors are in the gallery of doors for this week. #Thursdaydoors

I couldn’t find my photos of the doors during my last trip to D.C. so I’ll have to rely on the photos from Architect of the Capitol. Thanks.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Ichetucknee 2

Trees and wetlands embrace the nourishment and easy flow of the Ichetucknee River.

Ichetucknee Springs near High Springs and Fort White, Florida provides an abundance of life to the natural habitation in Florida’s northeast region, and is an oasis of sorts year round. 

A boat sit still along with the slow moving water flow from Ichetucknee River.

The Ichetucknee 1 post provides information and images of the head water springs and the north entrance to the Ichetucknee River.  The images in this post reveal the south end of the river where water travelers usually exit from the peaceful ride. 

The flow of the springs creates a beautiful river that was once a secret (somewhat) before 1970.  You wouldn’t know it today as thousands converge on the area.  The river doesn’t mind though.  It just meanders along awaiting new people to jump right in and ride along. 

Smooth water from Ichetucknee River allows reflection of the cypress trees.

Ichetucknee River flows about six miles through the shaded hammocks and wetlands before joining the Santa Fe River.  In 1972 the head spring of the river was declared a national natural landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. 

Crystal-clear Ichetucknee River flows toward the Santa Fe River in Florida.
The shadow from a cypress tree provides a clear look through the pristine water to see the bottom surface.

White-tailed deer, raccoons, wild turkeys, wood ducks and great blue herons can be seen from the river. Picnic areas, equipped with tables and grills, are available throughout the park.

Woods and swamp area between Ichetucknee River and the south exit to the store, restaurant and eating areas. Doesn’t it look like a Big Foot image in the photo?
Paved walkway between the Ichetucknee River and the concession area.

A full-service concession offers food, refreshments, and outdoor products from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Tubes plus snorkeling and diving equipment can be rented from private vendors outside the park. Located four miles northwest of Fort White, off State Roads 47 and 238. https://www.stateparks.com/ichetucknee_springs_state_park_in_florida.html

Ichetucknee General Store and concession area at the south end of the Ichetucknee River

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Ichetucknee 1

It’s quiet now, missing the laughter and squealing with the cool spring water. Serene, peaceful, where are the people?

Crystal clear headwaters at Ichetucknee Springs begin at the north entrance and flow southward.
Spring water bubbles up and flows downstream for all to enjoy.

It was a warm pre-spring day with a slight haze from clouds. We ponder, and imagine, that soon the echoes erupt through the oaks; ripples with the splash of the crystal clear flow. It will soon be Ichetucknee’s prime time.

Ichetucknee – Indian word meaning “beaver pond” and is one of Florida’s 33 first-magnitude springs. (Wikipedia) The springs are located close to High Springs, Florida.

To me, prime time is whenever I can be there, taking in the beauty around. I enjoyed the quietness and stillness without all the laughter and splashing – because it was a good picture day – even though vegetation was still dormant.

The soft flow of the springs allows a slight splash now and then but their flow is without effort, abiding within natural barriers. A leaf falls from the tree and you could almost hear it land in the woods, or softly touch the smooth, clear water.

This is a beautiful place. Observe with me the beauty even in the after-affects of winter.

Egrets and turtles continue their daily routine regardless of coolness or warmth.

Soon, the people will arrive, the green abounds and the sun bakes. The springs refresh. Below is a nice video from Trips to Discover.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron


Thursday Doors at High Springs

Wall art on old building in High Springs, Florida

Here is a combination of street art and emphasis on Thursday Doors. Did it catch your attention? Do you notice the door?

https://highsprings.us/

High Springs is a town in North Florida with around 4,000 in population. It is not far from the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Since we are getting close to spring, here is another take on it – High Springs. Visit Florida provides a little additional insight, stating it’s the casual tempo of High Springs that entices travelers.

High Springs tempts visitors with diverse and unique offerings of art, antiques and outdoor adventures that make it a refreshing getaway.

Surrounded by natural attractions, the town attracts canoeists, cave divers and campers heading to the nearby Santa Fe River. High Springs is a place for snorkeling, diving, tubing or swimming in natural springs that flow at a steady 72 degrees all year long. https://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/cities/high-springs.html

If you are in the North Florida area it’s worth a little trip to High Springs and enjoy the small town flavor along with the beautiful springs and oaks.
https://highsprings.us/ More about the springs later.

This is my first post for #ThursdayDoors so I copied the following information from an excellent blogger, Dan, at https://nofacilities.com/2019/02/28/closing-februarys-door-thursdaydoors/. He also links to Norm’s blog and #ThursdayDoors information.

“If you don’t know about the list, it’s worth checking out. It’s even worth the minute or two to sign-in, if you haven’t already. Having your door on the list means that more people will see them. I’ve been on the list and off the list, and I can tell you that being on the list puts more eyeballs on your page. How do you get on the list? I’m glad you asked. Follow this link to Norm’s doors. Check them out and then look for the link to the list. Fill out the form, and your doors are in the gallery of doors for this week. ” Dan Antion

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Life springing forth

Cold creeps along, snatching the warmth from life within;

It fights to keep life – to look for light of day.

It was there not long ago, as the birds sang and nature aglow.

Navel oranges ready for consumption in late fall and early winter

In the cold, the orange comes forth to yield its fruit,

The juice within; the taste that sweetens the mind.

Leaves relax, awaiting time to renew;

Absorb the sun, the rain, the warmth that departed.

Orange blossoms breaking out in pre-spring

Awake sweet tree; stand tall; bloom forth and invite that which shares in your beauty; multiply as Creator ordained.

Your blooms bright, you spread forth, ready to start new life again.

Japanese plum tree begins new growth from a dormant life

Too, Japanese plum, once living in another place,

Planted anew, will you live?

You wait, and you pause, waiting for that time.

Awww, I see you develop – the green enveloping.

In time you grow, move beyond just being still, wondering your life call. 

Now absorb the light, warmth from the sun, soaking moisture through your roots.

Will you soon show your colors, spreading your blooms too?

I’m glad you lived, and growing too.

You can’t wait to show others, you too can produce.

It won’t be long and blossoms spring forth – yielding plum – fruit through strife. 

Japanese plum recovered nicely from an replant; preparing to yield this season.

These were my thoughts this weekend as I saw the orange tree budding.  The Japanese plum (originating in China) was replanted from another place in my yard to a place where it could have more sunlight.  It lay dormant with no leaves until the tiny shoots began to form.  Now it is really growing.

What about our lives? Do we lay dormant awaiting the warmth and glow of the sun? God is certainly there to bring us forth to new life as his love envelopes us, shining upon us, encouraging us to spring forth – trusting Him and bringing forth the fruit of life.  

Blessings along the Way!

Ron