Week 9, Theme 33 – Paths and or Trails

Back in July when we received our list of Challenges for this year and I saw this theme, I said this one is going to be a “piece of cake”.  Whenever we go camping, we try to camp in one of our State Parks.  In the past couple of weeks we scouted out a couple of state park campgrounds and it just so happened that both of these parks had an abundance of “Paths and or Trails.”

For example, at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park we found these trails available:

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And the Great Florida Birding Trail goes through the park.

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At Oscar Scherer State Park, there are a lot trails for both foot and bicycle traffic, including a paved trail for persons with disabilities.

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So if you are a hiker, a bicycler or a wildlife photographer, the Florida State Parks provide plenty of “Paths and or Trails” for you to pursue your recreation choices.

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Week 8, Theme 6 – Bridge

Anyone crossing the Manatee River between Bradenton and Palmetto, whether on the Desoto Bridge or the Greene Bridge is unable to miss the CSX Railroad bridge which crosses the river between the other two bridges.

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The Tampa Southern Railroad, which was incorporated in 1917, and was a subsidiary of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, constructed a rail line from Tampa to a point in Sarasota County, southeast of Sarasota, in a small town named Southfort (near Fort Ogden in the Peace River valley).  This railroad line was completed to Sarasota by 1924 and ultimately to Southfort by 1927.  Northeast of Palmetto near Rubonia,  a rectangular loop was constructed to serve the agricultural growers in the area and return to the mainline in Palmetto.  This loop was known as the “Ellenton Belt Line”.  Just south of Palmetto the line crossed the Manatee River.  To accomplish this crossing, a deck causeway was built which tied into a bascule bridge on the Bradenton side of the river just north of the Braidentown Railroad Depot (now Dr. Pope’s Eye Depot).

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This bridge is a single leaf bascule bridge (drawbridge) which utilizes a counterweight at one end to raise the span.  I was unable to determine the exact date that this bridge was built but I can’t imagine it being 90 years old.  This bridge only sees about 4 trains daily, the north and south bound Tropicana Juice Train and the north and southbound Tampa-Bradenton Local mixed freight.  With permission from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2004, the bridge operation was automated without a bridge tender.  As a train approaches the bridge from either direction, contact is made with the CSX Signal Department.  They in turn activate scanners at water level to ensure there are no boats in the vicinity of the bridge opening and then with a constant warning alarm, the bridge is lowered.  After the train has crossed the span, the bridge re-opens to allow marine traffic to continue.

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Thanks to Wikipedia, my major source for this history lesson. 🙂

Week 7, Theme 44 – Someone Working

One day as I was driving back from west Bradenton I spotted something or someone on the side of one of the downtown buildings.  I thought to myself, “Is that Spiderman?”  But there were two people up there.  “Does Spiderman have a sidekick?”  “I don’t know.”

DSCN2520 edit 1 brdr 1As I got closer I realized it was “Someone Working.”  I said that’s one of the 52 week challenges, I need to stop and get a couple of clicks.  So I found a parking lot where I would be out of the way of traffic and not be trying to do a drive by shooting.  I decided that this job must have been a “spin-off” from Spiderman.  Certainly, he must have trained these workers.

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Let’s zoom in and see exactly what kind of equipment he uses to clean those windows.

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Looks to me like he’s got non-skid sneakers and a large double suction cup to stabilize him.  The rest of the work is done one-handed.  While observing, I never did see him take out the bottle of no smear Windex.

Here’s “Someone Working.”  Not my job.

 

Week 6, Theme 5 – Butterflies and/or Bees

We decided to “Get out of Dodge” for the Labor Day weekend so we went up to Gainesville.  We’ve never really toured that area so this was a good extended weekend to check it out.  Naturally, the 52 week challenge would be on my mind and I believe it was a success as you can see from the “Butterflies and/or Bees”.

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Here are a couple of butterflies.

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Did you know that the colors of a butterfly are used to warn predators that it may not taste very good or be safe to eat?  For example, the color orange indicates that the host plant the caterpillar fed on was poisonous and the butterfly could now also be poisonous if eaten.

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There’s my variety of butterflies.  Thanks to the University of Florida Butterfly Rainforest and the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens for the use of their stunning models.

The theme also mentions bees and I’ve had to improvise here a little.  There was only one bee available and he was pretty busy and extremely difficult to catch and snap a picture.  The other image is of a bee that seems pretty happy and was extremely easy to capture.

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So!  There you have it.  “Butterflies and/or Bees”.