On the road again... back up to Tallahassee. A quick two day run-up (Saturday and Sunday) to visit daughter #2, drop off some "vital" items, fix what can be fixed in a very short period of time, and try to be a father. Post-undergraduate-school, these trips seem a little melancholy; they remind me of the time that's passed. But then all that is more than balanced by the good of being able to visit and socialize. While I certainly love to visit, the "getting there" is most definitely not half the fun. Trying to drive responsibly (65mph in the slow lane on a three-lane highway to save gas in the Prius) makes you the target of tail-gaiters and vehicles that literally blow past you, like this trucker that did both on I-75. Florida drivers are real assholes.
We (Labs and I) stopped at the Archer exit in Gainesville to pick up a quick bite of lunch. The temperature was cool enough I could leave the pups out in the car with all four windows down. And being the natural-born clowns they are, they moved like ping-pong balls between the windows checking things out. At this point in time Max has his rear hanging out the window while Ruby is looking entranced at something out in the distance. Ruby has eyesight a lot better than mine, and I'm always squinting to see what she sees.
Part of the trip for the Labs is stopping at the rest areas along the way so they can get out and leave their calling cards for the next animals that come riding through. This rest area is on the east-bound side of I-10, just east of the junction of I-10 and County Road 255. The rest area has a nice big loop that takes you back to woods that surround the rest area. The last time we came through this area was open and a great place to let the pups out on their leads. This time we found it had been completely fenced off. I have no idea why this was done, except if to say if you look through the trees you'll find a lot of farmland. I find it rather interesting that it's labeled as Madison County Conservation Area. In my mind, conservation does not mean converting it into commercial farmland. The Google map of this area (with the rest area in the center) gives you a clear view of how the land is being used.
Tonight we all got together at the Samrat Restaurant on Apalachee Parkway. This is a favorite of my daughter and her boyfriend. It was the first time for me eating there. I had the chicken sagwala and it was delicious. On the way out after dinner I happened to look up and see the large sign for the TAPP (Think About Personal Pollution) campaign. I've been expecting something like this for some time now, and more around Orlando than Tallahassee. As our urban centers grow larger and larger, we cover more land and grow more crowded. We get a lot of rain in Florida and it washes all the oils and other pollutants that collect over our man-made and man-modified surfaces, untreated into our waterways and down into the Floridan Aquifer where a good portion of the state gets its drinking water.
This aquifer, which covers all of Florida and extends into the southern sections of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, covers over 100,000 square miles and is heavily used by Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Gainesville, and Orlando, just to name four Florida cities. Back in the late 1980s, when the Orlando Sentinel newspaper was worth reading, it would run monthly stories during the summers about how we were pulling too much out of the Floridan and how salt water was encroaching around the shorelines, and how our declining rainfall averages (at the time) were exacerbating the problem. I have no idea what the state of the Floridan is today, but it can't be all that great. Our population has reached around 20 million and it's continuing to grow, putting ever greater pressure on what land is left and a critical water resource.
The top three photos were taken with the Olympus E-PL1 and the 17mm. Processed as raw in Lightroom 4. The bottom was taken with the E-P2 and Panasonic 20mm, also processed as raw in Lightroom 4. I am surprised by the quality of the E-PL1 photos. The E-PL1 may not look as snazzy as the E-P2, but its image quality is every bit as good, if not a little bit better, than the E-P2. But then the E-P2 is no slouch and stands head and shoulders above the E-PL1 with regards to handling. In the end they're both excellent cameras and in my mind are on an equal footing.