Recently I went for a long bike ride that took me through the nearby town of Lake Park. Along the way I passed a vacant lot with a very antiquated sign standing along the road. Locust Lane was its name and I sensed it contained quite a bit of history, if only I knew what it was.
After I returned home, I uploaded the above picture to a Facebook group devoted to memories of places long since gone from the Palm Beaches. It got plenty of likes along with this reply:
Why is that horrible place still there? It’s been condemned for years, yet the County won’t touch it. I don’t blame them, though. You want to know how Locust Lane got its name? Well, I’ll tell you.
During the 1940’s a team of surveyors arrived at that very spot to start the measurements. One of the surveyors, a William Macz, stepped on a mound of dirt that triggered a flood of locusts as large as rats that ate him alive. So swift was the attack that moments later, Macz’s skeleton was seen standing upright with its jaw still gaping in terror. The other two surveyors fled the scene and never returned. They later christened the lot Locust Lane but the legend had already circulated around town to the point of the lot remaining forever vacant.
As for the giant locusts, they have never been seen again, but some suspect that they are still sleeping in their underground nest, waiting for their next unsuspecting victim to devour into giant locust shit.
One of the exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida is the hurricane simulator. I had the privilege of experiencing it during my visit there years ago.
The hurricane simulator is a small room that seats about 10 to 12 people. Before entering, visitors must put on safety goggles and protective earmuffs. After taking their seats, the door to the room is closed and the simulation begins.
At one side of the room is a vent from which a powerful fan blows air. At first the air comes out as gently as the morning breeze. Then the fan gradually increases the airflow as a digital gauge on the wall displays the speed of the simulated wind. The wind in the room gets stronger and stronger and soon reaches Category 1 hurricane strength, strong enough to stir up the soft foam bricks from the floor and send them flying all over the room. A few minutes later the fan slows down to a stop as the simulation ends.
I don’t know how much the hurricane simulator has changed since my visit, but from checking MOSI’s web site, it’s still there and waiting for you. Have a seat, if you dare.
While on lunch from jury duty, I went for a walk outside the courthouse to see what’s nearby in downtown West Palm Beach. Behind the courthouse is a smaller building that happens to be an old courthouse built in 1916 and recently restored. On the second floor is a history museum filled with ancient artifacts from Florida’s history, including this one:
If that doesn’t make you feel old, I don’t know what will. All kidding aside, this museum is worth a visit whether you’re on jury duty or not.
Earlier today was the annual NatureScaping outdoor festival at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park near North Palm Beach, Florida. It’s a free event with fun for the entire family. There were tents set up for vendors selling food, plants and garden accessories such as birdhouses and even bat houses. There were also representatives from local organizations to raise awareness of the need to keep our beaches clean and to ensure the survival of those species that depend on the ocean as well as the beach for their survival.
At the visitor’s center was a photography contest with some excellent photographs on display for visitors to vote on. Also ongoing was another contest to come up with a name for the young loggerhead sea turtle who resides in one of the aquariums. It was swimming around the tank happily, not showing any concern for whatever name it gets. But I was stumped and couldn’t think of a possible name for it.
It wasn’t until after I left that I came up with an ideal name for this young sea turtle. I would have named him Fletch, in honor of the late Eleanor Fletcher, who was affectionately known as the Turtle Lady of Juno Beach. She spent countless years scouting the beaches and marking sea turtle nests, often rescuing entire nests and storing the eggs in Styrofoam coolers until they hatched. I had the pleasure of working with her and learned so much about sea turtles and other life that thrives in our oceans. I would think that the young sea turtle would not be here had it not been for the Turtle Lady helping one of his descendents some years ago.
I don’t know what name was picked for this young turtle but I’ll always call him Fletch. It seems fitting to remember the Turtle Lady and to carry on her legacy.
I took this picture while investigating the continuous stream of water that ran off my roof for days after it stopped raining. I used a stepstool outside on my second floor balcony and precariously stood on the railing to get a glance of the roof and that’s when I saw the water. I’m guessing the runoff drain must be clogged. And to think is what’s over my head when I go to bed each night. I don’t mind sleeping underwater as long as the water stays where it’s at. Ta ta.
This picture was taken just days ago at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort in Orlando, Florida. It was designed to resemble a hotel from the 1950’s not just on the outside, but also on the inside with details including retro style lighting and furniture. Even the soap and shampoo in the bathrooms have vintage style labeling. Despite the old style design, the rooms are cozy and the beds extremely comfortable for sleeping.
There’s enough to do here to keep the entire family entertained, including floating in the lazy river of the swimming pool, shopping, dining and even some bowling at the bowling lanes on the second floor.
The best part is that the hotel is so close to the Universal theme parks that you can leave your car in the parking lot, take the resort’s bus and arrive at CityWalk just minutes later. I got to enjoy an additional perk by being allowed to enter Islands of Adventure one hour before it opened and go on the rides at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter before the crowds came pouring in. That was awesome.
Everything about this resort is a treat. It may be a little more expensive than some of the other motels in the Orlando area but my stay there has been the most enjoyable lodging experience I ever had. I can’t wait to visit this resort again.
One of Boca Raton’s best kept secrets is the world famous Upside Down Gardens, which has attracted countless visitors from all over the globe. Visitors board a tram with comfortable seats that flip 180 degrees to offer an unprecedented and unique view of various plants and trees native to Florida. After the tour visitors can dine at the Upside Down Cafe that offers a spectacular view of the gardens as they eat and dine while seated upside down. Before they leave, they’ll definitely want to visit the Upside Down Shop to bring home some souvenirs once they adjust to walking on the Velcro-lined ceiling. It’s wholesome family fun the whole world is talking about.
At the Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando is a gas pump where gas is $1.18 a gallon. I don’t know how they get away with selling gas so cheap, but they do. Here’s where to find it.
Once inside the park, just head over to the Spiderman ride. Behind the building is a rarely used overflow area to accommodate extremely long lines on the busier days. That’s where the gas pump is and as you can see from the photo below, gas once again is extremely affordable, thanks to your friendly neighborhood Spiderman.