Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanksgiving break!

After crossing into Florida, we had a nice ride into a state park near Jacksonville.  Florida has a pretty nice set of state parks; we've been impressed with what we've seen so far.  This particular state park, Huguenot Memorial Park, was situated right across a bay from a naval air station, which made for some interesting sights (ships and helicopters), but also for unpleasant and early morning wake-up calls (cannon exercises?).

Sunset over the naval air station, complete with a helicopter.

We rode an easy 20 or so miles into Jacksonville to pick up a rental car to drive to Tampa for Thanksgiving with Ed's mom and stepdad.  We had a nice bike lane on the way there; Florida seems to be adding a lot of bike lanes to their roads, which is great to see!

We had a great week in Tampa - maybe a little more time than we would have liked to take off - just in the interest of finishing the trip - but it was well-needed rest. We ate tons of food, drank lots of beer, and visited with lots of friends and family.  Ed's stepdad promptly enlisted Ed's help in deep-frying 5 turkeys (yes, five!).

Ed, telling an epic story while injecting 'flavor' into a turkey (To my former co-workers: this thing was a cheap version of a cannula. Seriously!)

This is how we fry a turkey

Ed's mom brought us to visit one of her hospice patients (she's a volunteer at a nursing home), a wonderful woman named Twyla, who gave Ed some good advice on military life and Army bases. She said that you'll have a ball wherever you go, which goes along with some other advice we've heard, which was that the service is what you make of it. Hello Twyla! We'll send you a postcard from Key West when we get there.

We also got to see Ed's sister's new house, complete with a big-screen tv, a kegerator, and a gator in the lake in the back! (it's Florida) No really... they're getting  a fence soon. Despite the lack of fence, we discovered that the kitchen works quite well, and stuffed ourselves with a delicious chicken dinner.

We went out the day after Thanksgiving to visit with some family friends and celebrate Ed's passing the bar exam. We went to the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino, and had a few drinks and a delicious dinner at their fancy steakhouse. I had escargot for the first time (yum!) and we were also impressed with the lobster bisque, steak tartare, the lobster mac and cheese, and the long-bone steaks. Tasty!

We headed back to Jacksonville to return the rental, but unfortunately got back about 10 minutes after the rental car place closed for the weekend. We were left with a nice little dilemma - an extra 2 days off and a car at our disposal!

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