The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Long Way Home...

Whew... what a trip, and am I exhausted! We left Friday for J'ville, and of course we were late getting there, but I won't get onto hubby too bad here because the rental car place took their time, and that will be dealt with on Monday. We arrived at the zoo there for our "sleepover" experience. We were told at that point that we would be sleeping on the nasty, hard floor in the room with the tarantula and its dead baby chick (ew)... After one mom killed 3 cockroaches, I felt at ease (No, I was really grossed out). Anyway, the sleepover includes an after hours behind the scenes tour, which is pretty awesome. We got up close to many of the animals, and those with nocturnal habits were quite entertaining. At one point, we were brought to the lion night house, which housed two male lions for the evening. We were taken in small groups to approach the lion house because they are capable of reaching through the bars, which could have been exceptionally dangerous. They were asleep when we arrived, but thanks to my flash waking them up we were startled when one let out a roar and stomped his foot. We also got to go through a Juraisic Park looking contraption to visit the elephants up close. That was cool. I highly recommend the experience. The weather was perfect for it. We saw some distance lightning but heard no thunder, so we were fine.

The next morning, we woke up and returned to the zoo, rode the train, recapped what we learned the previous night. I called LL for a radar update when we started to get frequent rumblings of thunder and saw occasional flashes of lightning (yes, I know we were close enough to be struck - we sought shelter). It rained sort of hard at one point, but since LL had shared that they were isolated storms, mostly off the coast, we knew they would be short storms, and we just stayed inside during the stormy parts. We visited the Lorikeet encounter. I highly recommend that. Everyone got a cup of nectar, and birds were landing all over us, even on my "Storm Chaser" hat, which made me a little nervous. One bit me when I tried to take my cup to share nectar with darling daughter. He had some nerve. Everyone had a blast in there though, and my hat made it through unharmed. I took some great pics. I'll be sharing those with my class. Really cool, a photography club was at the zoo with their tripods and SLRs taking some of the same shots I was. I got a great jaguar shot.

We left the zoo for the beach (yep, we actually hit the beach) to have lunch at Joe's Crab Shack. That was a great experience. One of the moms and I wore our bibs to fully experience our crabs. I got a shirt that reads "Crabby". I should get great opportunities to wear that, especially with the weather the way it's been... lol. After eating, we walked on the beach collecting shells. The waves were intense from the weather out there, so lots of surfers.

We left, and we were on our way. Now, here's some background. A trip using interstate from J'ville Beach would be about 2 hours using the interstate, but we took a shortcut getting there (since we were running late), and hubby wanted to take the "shortcut" to return (should cut the trip to 1 1/2 hours). Only trouble with that was that we knew the number of the GA hwy we turned off of, but we were in FL when we turned off of it, and no one knew the FL hwy number (and we had no atlas in our rental-which I think needs to be in all rentals), so we are driving up the road, driving, driving, driving, and we hit a fork. We stay on the same road number since we hadn't seen our turn off yet, but nothing looked familiar. As it turns out, we were actually about 30 miles northeast of our turn off, and due east of the Okeefenokee swamp. We were so lost. We finally (after driving those 30 miles), saw a gas station in the middle of nowhere. I tried there to buy a map after asking which state I was in. After learning I was still in Florida, but barely (we were actually riding the line), they wouldn't let me buy a map. They said it was a waste of money. The best way back home was to follow the road to the fork up ahead, and head towards Waycross... WAYCROSS!!! Yes, going home to South Central, GA from J'ville via Waycross. The best part is that at that point, we were 1 1/2 hours into the trip. We still had 45 minutes to Waycross since we were traveling around the swamp, and it's an hour home from Waycross. So, our 1 1/2 hour shortcut took us a total of about 3 1/2 hours, thanks to our scenic route around the swamp. You have to laugh, you know?

Anyway, I'll share some pics when I get them downloaded. Now, it's time to get ready for church. Weather here is not mentionable. No waves, no storms, no threats.

For now,

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