Photography and commentary by Paul Yarnall

Trekking to Florida and Back

It’s funny how one thing leads to another.  Late this past fall I decided that it was time to look for a replacement for my aging 1/2 ton pickup truck.  It served me faithfully for 10+ years, but was showing “the signs.” So I started the “hunt” while it still had enough value to be useful to someone else.

The great search turned up  a nearly new Dodge 3/4 ton diesel.  Somehow the new truck and its greater capacity led to a bigger camper. This one has a small bathroom which greatly expands one’s choices for evening stops on long trips.

All of this led Susie, my wife, to suggest a late winter trip to Florida for a maiden voyage.  Great idea!

Susie insisted that we take our two dogs, and I insisted on getting the canoe and kayak on the roof.  I knew this “family vacation” was not going to be ‘photo trek’ per se, but of course I took every lens and body, prepared for anything.

Dogs are like little children and need a fair amount of attention, but they travel a lot better… they never ask “are we there yet?”, though they do make a protest if you drive past their dinner time!  You can’t just let them out the door when they need to go out, so it was leashes and little plastic bags several times a day.  I pretty much resigned myself to missing sunrises and sunsets with my camera.

Still, we had a great time. We spent a few days in the charming city of Charleston, SC and a day at the beautiful and authentic Magnolia Plantation. A couple of interstate billboards extolled the Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, so we spent a day there in butterfly heaven.

Visiting family near Tampa, we spent a day as authentic tourists at Busch Gardens. Laugh all you want, but there are great photo ops for African wildlife few of us will get to experience on African soil.

We visited a number of the many Florida natural springs and spring fed rivers in the fantastic Florida State Park system, and that led to canoeing on the Ichetucknee, Weeki Wachee, and Chassahowitzka. Magical places to paddle.  Check out Florida Snapshots.

On our last weekend before heading back to the frozen north, we spent a day at the Jennings Raceway in north Florida watching and photographing my brother, Dave, and his friend, Mike, balance the physics of horsepower, speed, friction, and human dexterity and skill on their motorcycles. Photographically this was more challenging than you can imagine!

Since these photo subjects were all so different, I put them in their own little galleries. You can get to them from the links above or from their description widgets on the right.

If you would like more detailed information on where any of these photos were taken, drop me a note.

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  1. Mike

    Paul – Great pictures. It was a pleasure to meet you guys in Jennings. – Mike

    Mar 09, 2009 @ 9:00 AM