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Written By: O.C.fotoguy
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    My 2014-15, Adventure XVII, is just around the corner.  When will I leave, what route will I take, what sequence of stops will I make, what extraordinary event(s) will occur, or what will I do that I haven’t done before? I’m not real sure, but I am sure I’ll have a general plan, go to where it’s warm in the winter, and let it happen with little risk and avoid doing stupid things. What will the weather be like?  Who knows?!?! The National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration says, this will be one of the warmest winters ever and the Farmer’s Almanac says it’ll be one of the coldest ever. Since it never got hot this summer and now the temperature seems to drop with the passing of each day, I expect cold and the weather is the biggest controlling factor of where I go and what I do. As for the unexpected, who knows, but they always happen! I’m also sure I’ll be fascinated, astonished, and amazed by what Mother Nature shows me, and lots of it will be what most people never see in a life time. And I know that way out in a nowhereland I’ll know it is time to go home.
    Last Adventure may have been my best ever. I really got it right. I was more relaxed. I ate good food every day. I had few hassles from the fuznics (actually some were downright friendly! but of course, there were a couple jackasses). I drove less and drove no marathon days.  Had no horrendous events (yeah, everything doesn’t always go right).  I was warm every day, especially when below the Smile Line, 27 degrees north latitude or a line from Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Myers Beach and west, where everyone is happy all the time because they’re warm!
    My nest (a slide-in camper on my pickem up truck) was the star, what a wonderful, convenient, portable, comfortable little space to be in.  The tent worked, but I got so tired of setting up and tearing it down. The events that stand out in my memory from my Adventure XVI include:  Friendly happy warm people, my bronco kayak ride when a cruise ship passed me in Key West,  the day torrents of rain nearly drowned Key West and the streets became rivers drenching me as I went to HH, my photo of the Seven Mile Bridge at sunrise, finding out that I had to make reservations to camp in Big Cypress where it had been exempt from National Park Service rules and restrictions, the Jimmy Van Zant Band doing “Free Bird” at the EverGlades Seafood (Music, for me) Festival, Mother Nature’s Finest Show by the birds at the Venice Rookery, kayaking in the St. Elena Canyon, the ticket that ensued, the balanced rock & the lizard Decked Out in Easter colors in Big Bend N.P., the migrating birds at South Padre, Tex., including several types of Orioles, the Rattle Snake at Laguna Atascosa, Tex., and my truck’s tire trouble, luckily when I was near help.  Wow, that’s a lot! I’m ready to do it again.
    If you missed my tales about any of those go to and enjoy them.  The photos here are some that didn’t make the cut for other articles, but are amongst my favorites and my Photo of the Year.
    I already have a general idea of what I want to do and where I want to go on my next Adventure to escape the cold, but I know that my meanderings take a course that happens as the day’s happenings unfold each time, so no detailed plans or agenda is made. I’d like to get to Las Vegas where the most tremendous St. Patrick’s Day Party I’ve ever seen happens under the light show on Fremont Street. There’s a fantastic musical group playing outdoors in each block and I can take my own ACBs.  My nest is parked in an RV park about a block and a half away for $15/night, so I can return to refill my camera bag that’s really a small cooler.
    I’ve heard so many people rave about the wildlife they see at Lone Pine Key in EverGlades N.P. near Homestead, Fla., that it’s on my Don’t Miss list.  Of course, I’ll be in Key West and Islamorada for weeks, then Big Cypress for a month, too. The EverGlades City Seafood (Music) Festival is always the first weekend in February, so the rest of what I do in Florida must accommodate it; and the migrating birds in South Padre Island, Tex., that happens the second week of April were fantastic, so there’s some dates to build my next Adventure XVII around. I always want to return to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, where there’s no tour buses or mega mouthed/horned tour guides and all those remote places in southern Utah. If the weather doesn’t allow that, it rarely does in April, I have a course east through southern Arizona to Carlsbad Caverns, where I haven’ been yet, and then to and up through Mississippi’s Delta Restaurants on Rts. 49 & 61 that Andrew Zimmern on Bazaar Foods raves about, on to and north up US 95 with a stop to, hopefully, see the insect eating plants in North Carolina. I’ll be ready!
    Thanks for reading my articles. I’m always surprised around O.C. when someone tells me they enjoy them. Wow! Someone actually reads this prattle!  Hopefully I’ll see some of you in south Florida or where it’s warm this winter.
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
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