Law Enforcement Memorial Tallahassee, Fl. (2023)

This blog is a compilation of photos taken on April 24, 2023 during the Law Enforcement Memorial in Tallahassee, Florida.

Agencies march down Monroe Street heading to the State Capitol
Leon County Sheriff’s Department Deputies march down Monroe Street
Tallahassee Police Officers march down Monroe Street
Survivor’s march down Monroe Street
Supporters watch the Parade pass by

Police motorcycles pass by
Tallahassee Police Officers march on….
Officer Chris Fariello’s Parents walk towards the Capitol.
Tallahassee Police Department Chief Lawrence Revell leads his Department down Monroe Street
The Florida Pipe and Drum Corps march down Monroe Street
Family members of slain Officers march on…
The riderless horse goes by…
Boots turned around backwards…
The service begins on an overcast and rainy morning…
Honor Guards abound…
The Pipe and Drum Corps honor their fallen brothers…
Mounted Units pay their respects…
Eleven new names will be etched on the wall…
Families will soon place a carnation on the map of Florida to signify the loss of a loved one.
Was a windy and rainy day…
The Pledge
21 Gun Salute…

This was a very somber event as eleven Law Enforcement Officers lost their lives in the line of duty last year. We long for the day when we don’t have any Officers killed and these type of events won’t be necessary…

Tour de Force 2023

This banner honors the heroes we lost in 2022.

Blessed to have had the opportunity to honor our fallen brothers who gave their all for their communities in 2022.

The Tour de Force is a 270 mile bike ride which begins in North Miami and ends five days later in Daytona Shores. The ride is to raise funds and to honor those Law Enforcement Officers who died in the line of duty during the past year. Unfortunately, we lost 11 Heroes last year.

It was a great ride for a great cause. It was a privilege to have been a part of it.

Our journey began on Saturday as our team left Tallahassee and drove to Daytona where we picked up a couple more cyclists and their gear and headed to Miami. Twas’ a long ride, but we were excited as we knew we had a great event awaiting. Welcome to Miami!

Welcome to Miami!
Miami Palms!

The morning of the second day (Sunday) is spent on a “warm up” ride from Coral Gables back up to Sunny Isles. Always a beautiful ride, this year’s warm up ride was no exception! Once again, we found ourselves riding north up US 1 in South Beach just prior to the Pridefest parade! This was a very well attended event. We rode up the parade route with no interference from Police assigned to work the event!

Our team enjoys a Sunday Morning warmup ride!
Our warmup ride looking west towards the Port of Miami and Miami proper.
Chip tells his teamates that he has worked up an appetite!
We stopped at a downtown market and got some coffee, Cuban breakfast and a smoothie. This market had a lot to offer including fresh fruit!
This big red Go-Rilla was near the downtown marketplace.
Fruit…..and plenty of it!
Chip and Chris enjoy a cup of Cuban coffee at a street cafe. Shortly after this photo was taken both riders grabbed their cups and ran from the area after they heard what they thought were gunshots nearby. Ironically it was only Moe’s tire experiencing a pinch-flat that exploded causing people in the area to flee for their lives…welcome to Miami!
These fruit stands are awesome!

After breakfast we continued our ride north into and thru South Beach. Little did we know today was the annual Pridefest Parade! The event was very well attended and we found ourselves riding north on the mile long parade route just minutes before the parade was to begin!

Rainbows adorned the Pridefest parade route!
Several local Police agencies had their vehicles participate in the Pridefest Parade!
Parade ready!

After the warm-up ride and a swim in the Atlantic out behind the hotel, we showered and loaded up and headed to one of the trip highlights…dinner at Versailles! Versailles is an incredible Cuban Restaurant in Little Havana. The food is over the top and we have looked forward to this dinner since the last time! This restaurant is the hub of Cuban politics in South Florida and it is said that the Bay of Pigs invasion was decided in a back room at Versailles. If you are ever in the area, do yourself a favor and visit this place, you will thank me later!

Welcome to Versailles!
As usual the place was packed!
Cuban desserts fill the display case!
Customers line up at the coffee window to get some freshly brewed Cuban coffee!

After dinner we returned to the hotel and went out to the pier out back. Lots of people were fishing and I saw a Pompano and a Mackerel caught. Lots of excitement when these fish were reeled in, not so much by the fisherman who caught them but by the crowd gathered.

The pier out behind the hotel
Pier Pressure!
Sunny Isles…
Someone would like a handout…..
Sunny Isles at night…

After a good night’s sleep, we got up early and headed to the North Miami Police Department where the ride began. A large crowd had gathered to get the ride started. Once again it was very humbling to think of why we were there.

Kevin Obrien and Bruce Doras along with a couple of Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders before the start of day 1.
The Honor Guard presented the colors prior to the start of day 1.
Armbands honoring our fallen heroes were worn by riders and exchanged before the start of every ride.
Tallahassee Police Department Officer Chris Fariello’s parents were present for the start of the ride. They are wonderful people and it was an honor for all of us to spend time with them.
The riders from the Tallahassee Police Department wore Chris Fariello’s photo pinned to their jersey’s in his honor.
Our team prior to the ride.
A cyclist has attached these photos to her bike of three heroes who are no longer with us.
Police Motorcycles are lined up ready to begin the escort.
A helicopter flies overhead to start the ride.
Riders Up!
And so it begins!
The reason we ride is always on our minds…
The tour from above…
This year’s challenge coin
The riders in front of the Fort Pierce PD
Our mechanic stayed busy…
Ride on…
This 10 year old Parrot keeps a close eye on things…
Many thanks to the Motormen!
We couldn’t do it without them!
Rey, Scott, and David
Chip explains how it all went down…
Our Motorcycle escorts did an incredible job all week long!

Fuel tanks on Police Motorcycles were works of art…
This Statue of an Officer greeted riders as they rode into the Fort Pierce Police Department
Another Causeway just south of Daytona Beach
This Sea Turtle came up to greet riders on the last stop of the tour!
As the ride ended 270 miles later riders and support staff were treated to Pizza, BBQ and this beautiful cake that summed it all up..

The 2023 Tour de Force Ride is in the books. The tour did an outstanding job honoring the 11 fallen heroes that we lost in 2022. Participating in this ride was a true honor for all who were involved. It would be great to say that this will be the last ride but deep down inside we all know that it won’t be…and sadly next year we will ride again. Never forget that the reason for this amazing event are the Heroes who stood in the gap and sacrificed their lives so that the rest of us can safely enjoy all that this great State and Country have to offer.

Officer Ray Hamilton Officer Jose Perez

Officer Brian Golden Officer Echy Echaverry

Officer Kyle Patterson Officer Jorge Arias

Officer James McWhorter Deputy Michael Hortwick

Officer Chris Fariello Deputy Blane Lane

Deputy Chris Taylor K9 Drago

K9 Blue K9 Max

God Bless You and Your Families.

Happy Trails!

Follow the blaze!

Early April 2023 found the AT crew back at it again, this time the journey began in Tallahassee and after a day’s northbound drive temporarily ended outside the Iron Horse Station in Hot Springs, NC where a fire had shut off the town’s power for a few days. Leaving the truck in Hot Springs the group was shuttled another 50 miles north to the launch point at Sam’s Gap where the five day trek south back to Hot Springs began. ‘Twas a good week, but make no mistake…it was a very tough week. What follows is our story…..

Hot Springs NC was eerily quiet after several days of no electricity due to a fire nearby. Could this be an omen for the week ahead?
Waiting for the shuttle to Sam’s Gap Jay and the packs are lined up ready to go!
As Jason the shuttle driver pulls away Kevin, Lawrence and Bob are left under the interstate bridge excited to finally begin the leisurely walk back to Hot Springs!
And so it begins…..

The first day found the group trekking 11.2 miles from Sam’s Gap to the Flint Mountain Shelter. If all goes well this trip will bring the group about 327 miles from the original starting point of the approach trail at Amicolola Falls to Springer Mountain where it all began several years ago.

Moye Rest monument at Sam’s Gap.
Rusty barbed wire hangs off a weathered fence post along the trail, a reminder of those brave pioneers who came before us.
The “AT”
The team takes a “breather” after a long uphill climb.
This blue blaze indicates a water source in this direction. Water is called “the source of life” and that is no more important than on the Appalachian Trail. Everything revolves around a water source.
Old fallen hardwoods slowly decay along the trail as nature takes it’s course.
The trail continued along this old fence line.
A downhill portion of the trail. Some say the downhills are more difficult that the uphills…I don’t agree!
Recent rains made water plentiful which is important, however if it is not coming from out of the ground it is best to filter or boil it before consuming, this was strongly advised by the “Pipe Snob!”
Kevin looks for his water filter before filling his bottles!
This large rock was covered with lichens that appeared to have been burned by a fire. They hadn’t been but they were certainly different!
This handmade bridge allowed hikers to cross this stream without getting their feets wet!
Follow the blaze!
Lawrence and the team catch a breather after climbing a steep hill.
Broken and overhanging trees and limbs were prevalent on the trail. These “widowmakers”” are to be highly respected when setting up camp at night in a tent or hammock. Medical help in these remote mountains is many hours away at best.
Although it was early April the trees had not yet begun to bloom. In spots groundcover was beginning to awaken after a long mountain winter.
This unique snag appears to be some type of Gargoyle greeting hikers as they walk past!
The Appalachian Trail offers some incredible mountain views! It’s not called the “Blue Ridge” for nothing!

The team takes a break in the action!
One of many mountain waterfalls!
Mountain woodpeckers are making the most of this dead tree!
As we descended late in the day we encountered two old graves. This lady lived 100 years and was buried here 58 years ago. I couldn’t help but think about what life in these mountains must have been like 158 years ago when she was born. What an incredible life she must have lived.
At the end of day 1 we found deluxe accomodations at the Laurel Hostel.
For only $25 each we stayed in this hostel which offered cold drinks and cold beer! It did offer a great place to get out of a cold mountain wind. We were awakened early by several roosters who lived nearby. Yes the small building on the left is what you think it is…and it worked great too!
Inside of the hostel. It had a shower and small heater and it kept the cold wind at bay. I slept great!
This old sawmill was just down the road from the Hostel. It still works but I wouldn’t use it. No telling how many arms this thing has claimed! It is a death trap!
This radiator keeps the sawmill engine cool.
Stacked lumber from the sawmill.
Jay and Kevin navigate a cow gate to start day 2.
The AT continues thru this pasture, there were no cows in it today.
Someone carved the AT Logo into the end of this log.
Jay, Kevin and Bob exit the pasture and cross a highway to continue the trek.
Kevin stands atop a large rock on day 2.
The trail can be very rocky and slippery when it is wet.
Kevin, Lawrence and Bob take a lunch break in one of the shelters.

As we continued to walk south on day 2 we came across a sign leading to the Shelton Graves. There are 3 people buried together on top of this mountain. Two were brothers who were home on leave during the Civil War. While on leave they were discovered by Union troops and shot and killed. Their family buried them here. One young Confederate Soldier was only thirteen years old.

The sign leading to the grave site.
W.D. Shelton is buried here.
Thirteen year old Millard Haire is buried on this mountaintop after being shot and killed by Union troops. He was born in 1850, killed in 1863.
The Exposed Ridgeline Trail (ERT) took us up and over a rocky mountain top some of which required the use of hands and knees to get over some of the rocky climbs!
A view from the top of the ERT.
Kevin prepares to walk down a rocky part of the trail on the ERT.
Looking west off the ERT, we believe that the flat part in the distance is probably the Tennessee Valley.
The ERT was treacherous and we were warned about sunning rattlesnakes before we started.
These rocks indicate the 300 mile mark, the distance from Springer Mountain which is the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
Upon reaching the shelter on night 3 this fellow showed up talking to himself and walking barefooted. He is on his third “Thru Hike” and is walking northbound from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Ironically his trail name is “Feet”. He wears sandals when he is walking around camp, otherwise he is barefooted. For a lack of a better word this is incredible!
This “North bounder” is on his second “thru hike”. He had this dog with him which is almost 16 years old. The dog’s claim to fame is that she is the Appalachian Trail record holder for the oldest dog to walk the entire Appalachian Trail on a leash. She is a rescue dog and is attempting this feat again where if she is successful she will once again break the/her record!
The shelters fill up fast at the end of the day, especially when a night rain threatens.
After dinner Jay hoists the food bags up on the bear cables to keep the bears, rats, and other critters out of our food.
Our food bags are hung high on the bear cables overnight. Thankfully we have not lost any food to critters……yet.
The trail takes a toll on the feet…..
Everything revolves around water sources on the trail and some are better than others! This green leaf directs water into a stream so that it can be easily collected.
Once the water is collected in bags it is run thru filters and into water bottles for drinking. Here Lawrence and Jay filter water thru Sawyer filters. Staying hydrated is imperative and the last thing anyone needs is a waterborne illness on the trail.
Water can also be boiled in a kettle and used for making meals. This old kettle along with a Pocket Rocket stove system has served us well for many years.
Lawrence and Jay enjoy a hearty breakfast before making more miles on the trail! Most of these dehydrated meals are really good, some not so much…
Spring Mountain Shelter was to be our last stop on the trip, rain was forecast for the coming night and this would offer us a good place to stay dry. Unfortunately we had previously learned that a thru-hiker had holed up in this shelter for 3 days/nights suffering from the Nora Virus and had just left about a day before we got there. The shelter stunk of illness and biting gnats were swarming the area. We opted to push on another 3 miles and camp in the woods on the last night on the trail.
With about 47 miles behind us this was our view thru the rain of the town of Hot Springs as we descended the mountain and brought the trip to a close.

This trip brought us to approximately 327 miles completed since leaving the approach trail to Springer Mountain at Amicolola Falls walking northbound. We will continue our efforts to conquer the trail until we no longer can. The further we venture the tougher the logistics become. This was a great trip but make no mistake it was very arduous. This was the toughest leg we have accomplished so far and that is saying something. We introduced two new hikers to the trail which was rewarding in and of itself. We saw two bears which was a treat as we had not yet seen a bear until this trip. The timing of this trip allowed us to encounter numerous northbound “thru-hikers” who’s goal will be to make it all the way to Mount Katahdin, Maine. They are unique individuals and we wish them the best. Our hat’s are off to anyone who can reach that goal. Until you spend some time on the Appalachian Trail its tough to appreciate what a tremendous undertaking that is! Kudo’s to five member team and their families who made this trip possible. We worked together as a team and looked out for each other and accomplished our goal. This trip reaffirms our belief that life is short and we had all better take the time to enjoy the blessings God has given us. If you want to do something then DO IT! Thanks be to God for giving us the resources, desire and strength to make this happen. We are already in the planning stages for the next leg north on the trail. Thank You for taking the time to check out this blog and allowing us to share this trip with you! (Dave Ferrell).

Shoals, Sprangs, and Other Thangs!

This beautiful spring is one of many we visited on our Suwanee River Kayak Trip!

As we continued our southbound Suwanee River Kayak junket, we started where we left off last year at the Suwanee River State Park on a rainy Sunday November Morning. The five paddlers met before daylight and loaded equipment into two trucks and drove to the State Park.

The Paddling Team

Fortunately, the rain subsided and the weather could not have been better for the three day trip with highs in the 70’s and lows at night in the 50’s which kept the mosquitoes at bay.

Day 1 from Suwanee River State Park to Dowling Park River Camp
Day 1 awaits!
Jay waters up for the day ahead!
Mark makes some final adjustments before heading out!
This old railroad trestle stands as a reminder of days long gone.
This old trestle is one of several we will paddle under.
Edward settles in for a day of paddling!
The Suwanee River is lined with beautiful limestone formations. The river was very low which exposed the lower portions of the formations.
With the river level being so low, many of the springs alongside the riverbanks were exposed and flowing into the river. Often they gave themselves up by the noise they make long before they were seen!
Rick and Edward discuss the finer points of paddling techniques such as “feathering” the paddle!
Old bridges span the river.
Mark takes a break under a bridge!
The day 1 morning rains finally left and the afternoon was beautiful!
Day 1 ended at the Dowling Park River Camp.

With day 1 in the books, the paddlers pulled into the first stop of the trip, Dowling Park River Camp. These river camps are state run camps only accessible by the river. There is a camp host at these sites who oversees and maintains the properties. The camps are free but you do have to make reservations ahead of time. They are a very welcome sight to weary paddlers. They have restrooms and bath houses with hot/cold running water. They have picnic tables and screened in houses to sleep in. They could not be nicer!

Day 1 consisted of 14.5 miles of paddling at a 3mph pace. The winds were light and the paddling was excellent. The river was very low which, over the course of 3 days, exposed 12 sets of rock shoals that the paddlers had to navigate. These shoals were challenging and added some excitement to the trip!

Dowling Park River Camp Cabin
Bath Houses at Dowling Park
Inside of the screened cabin!
Jay begins day 2 with a hearty Mountain House Breakfast.
Day 2 takes the paddlers from Dowling Park to Peacock Slough.
Day 2 Begins!
Rick begins day 2 by pouring water out of his Kayak.
And they’re off!
Old bridges cross the Suwanee!
Another beautiful spring pours into the Suwanee!
The Cypress Trees were showing their fall colors!
Cypress knees and tree roots line the river bank.
This buck swims the Suwanee!

Shortly before noon on day 2 a big whitetail buck flew down the eastern bank of the river and with one huge leap hit the river. He was on a mission as if swimming for his life. I paddled close to him in order to take a few photos, trying not to get too close, but he spotted me and turned back. I backed off all the while taking photos. Unfortunately, he swam into a large, downed oak tree in the river and got trapped. He desperately fought to get over the tree and finally made it. Once away from the tree, he swam to the shore and climbed the bank and ran south. Having seen little wildlife on the trip this was an exciting occurrence!

Bucky exits the river and takes off! Sorry for the poor image but Bucky wasn’t waiting around for photo ops!
Cypress Knees!
This suspension bridge spans the Suwanee!
Mark paddles out of a beautiful spring!
Dive platform over a riverside spring!
Day 2 ended at Peacock Slough River Camp.
Deluxe accommodations await!
This pavilion at Peacock Slough was the paddlers dining hall. Like the other River Camps Peacock Slough is only accessible by river.
Day 2 comes to a close.

Paddlers paddled 18 miles on day 2 with an average speed of 3mph.

Day 3, the final day of the trip is about to begin!
Day 3 will find paddlers travelling from Peacock Slough to the boat landing at Hwy 27.

Edward begins the 3rd and final day!

Jay begins the day!
Day 3 turned out to be a warm and beautiful Florida day, perfect for paddlin’!
Paddlers encountered this old railroad turnstile trestle, a remnant of days long gone.
This old trestle is a part of American History…oh the stories it could tell…
These migrating Turkey Vultures roosted by the hundreds. Paddlers were very careful not to paddle under these big birds!
Yet another spring empties into the Suwanee River!
Paddlers ventured up into this Spring just north of Branford. People were swimming in the spring.

Day 3 was the longest day of paddling with approximately 20 miles having been covered. The trip ended at the Hwy 27 bridge/boat landing where the next leg of this journey will begin. This was a wonderful adventure with 5 great friends! The entire trip was approximately 52 miles at a 3mph average. The river was low and we encountered 12 rocky shoals. Wildlife was scarce however we did see a deer, turkey, otter, and a lot of birds. Very little boat traffic and few people were encountered! This trip only leaves us to strongly anticipate the next leg! Hope you enjoyed this blog! All photos were taken with a Go Pro Hero 8 Black.

The Monsters of Midtown!

With Covid finally slowing down the 2022 Halloween event on Beard Street was full on! Below are some of the ghosts and goblins waiting to greet trick or treaters on this scary Hallows Eve Night! Enjoy!!

This Gargoyle protects a Cherry Street driveway!
This flying dragon waits to greet Hallows Eve visitors!
This skeleton enjoys a relaxing afternoon in a swing!
Bustin’ out of the Crypt!
A Horned Reaper!
Bustin’ out of the coffin!
Hollow Eyes!
This scary clown comes out of the shrubs to greet visitors!
Scary Skelly!
Mr. Splatters and his pet birds!
Witches brew!
Spooky Punkin!
Eerie Ghost!
Fortune Teller!

Keep Out!
Dog Rider!
Jack O Lantern!
Oak Tree Skeleton!
Mrs. Green Face

Get the Mucinex!
Gargoyle Eyes!
Spooky Voyeur!
Bloody Beauty!
Grave Digger!
Cymbal Playing Monkey!
Animated Raven!

I’m Out!
The Threshold!
No Thanks!

The 2022 Hallow’s Eve was set to be a great event! Lots of people were beginning to arrive prior to 5pm so hopefully everyone had a great time! A lot of work went into putting this event together! Hope you liked it and……HAPPY HALLOWS EVE!

Pure Michigan!

Beautiful Lake Michigan!

We just recently returned from a week long trip to Northern Michigan. Having never been there before we really had no idea what to expect other than what we had read online, had heard from friends and seen from looking at photos on the internet. Upon our arrival we were in for a tremendous surprise! The place is incredibly beautiful!

The season was fall in mid-October, the temperatures were cold (well, cold for Florida residents, the good folks in Michigan weren’t too affected by the weather). A storm was passing thru which led to rain and strong winds coming in from the west across the lake. Winds so strong they knocked a lot of trees down including some across the power lines which led to three days of no electricity. Fortunately we were privy to a Generac Home Generator which ran non-stop until at last the power was restored.

Storm clouds gather over the lake. White caps and rolling waves were being produced hundreds of yards offshore. The rain was cold with winds gusting to 25mph and reminded us of Florida weather when a hurricane is approaching. Thankfully it settled down!

It was harvest season and farmers were busy bringing in apples and corn and lots of both! Road side fruit stands were plentiful and to stop at one was a treat! The offered apples, cider, honey, baked goods and just about anything else you could imagine that makes this area so very special! Visiting this area took me back about fifty years to when we had similar stands here in Florida. Sadly they have become a thing of the past in our part of Florida. The stores in Michigan were clean and very well stocked. The employees were friendly and helpful, a far cry from what we have been accustomed to.

A painted wooden basket of juicy ripe Honey Crisp apples displayed outdoors. Honey Crisp Apples are very popular here. They were really good too!

We hunted early one morning. The rain on Lake Michigan had turned to snow further inland and the wind was howling. We hunted over corn rows using two highly trained Brittany Spaniels who knew their business. They located and flushed these pheasants who fell to 20ga shotguns loaded with #5 high brass shells. These birds will be enjoyed with gravy over rice and yes, that is snow on the birds and on the tailgate! It was COLD!

Cold Pheasant morning!

The Hunting lodge was loaded with mounted birds, fish, deer and other animals. The Taxidermist who mounted these items is world renowned and awards adorn the walls of the cabin. He is very skilled!

An award winning mount of a pheasant.
This Mallard Drake is very lifelike!

A fire in the fireplace was a welcome sight on a cold Michigan night!
This beautiful fireplace is over 100 years old and sits in a fishing cabin next to a trout stream. The craftsmen who built this fireplace are long gone now but they had skills beyond imagination! This photo does not do it justice…

One thing that really stood out is the cleanliness of the area. There was NO trash on the roadsides, on the beach, nowhere! What a difference this made and it really added to the uniqueness of the area. Its a very special place.

Many of the roads in the area are gravel roads and just like this what stood out….NO TRASH!

One afternoon we visited a beautiful lake fed by a crystal clear and strongly flowing trout stream. We were blessed to have caught several very nice Rainbow Trout, some weighing in the neighborhood of 3lbs! These fish were fat and healthy. They put up a great fight and were put back into the lake to hopefully fight another day!

This artesian spring has been flowing since 1931. People stop by constantly with their water jugs to fill up. The water was cold and very good!
The artesian spring is named “Old Facefull” and provides water to many people in the area!

The seasons were changing and the leaves were incredibly colorful, more so than I have ever seen before!

Golden leaves carpet the ground in Northern Michigan!
Golden canopy!

Looking up!


Fallen Beauty!




Greens and Golds!

The deer were plentiful in the area. This beautiful doe watches us watching her!

Fire Tree!

Tequila Sunrise!

As the weather finally calmed we were able to get down onto the beach along Lake Michigan and do some walks. The water was clear, emerald green and very similar to the water in the Caribbean. I wanted badly to swim but I knew I’d suffer if I did because it was freezing cold. The lake could very well freeze over in a couple of months!

The sand was tan and smooth and very clean. There were a lot of rocks in certain areas of the beach and in the water. The rocks were different colors and sizes and were smooth due to the constant wave action which was similar to the waves in the ocean. One afternoon while we walked 3 bald eagles flew overhead! It was a very beautiful beach and much like the roads there was no trash to be found!

Lake Michigan driftwood.
Waves and rocks!
This strange looking critter had washed up on the beach. Not sure what it is!
Lake Michigan driftwood.

This old duck decoy had washed up on the beach.
Every street was awash in beautiful fall color!
This large rock has been washed smooth by the constant wave action of beautiful Lake Michigan!
The stormy shoreline of Lake Michigan meets the beautiful fall foliage!
Driftwood on the Lake Michigan shoreline!
Wave action washes the rocks along the shoreline of Lake Michigan!
The end of another day on Lake Michigan!

The Lake Michigan sunsets are breathtaking!

Our research and anticipation of Lake Michigan did little to prepare us for the absolute beauty of this area. It was nothing like I had imagined. The beauty of the water rivals the Caribbean! Had it not been so cold I would have spent the afternoon swimming in it! The lake is vast, over 300 miles long and 160 miles across, unlike any lake I have ever seen! Words alone cannot describe it’s awesomeness and beauty!

The Northern Michigan landscape is stunning this time of year with the turning fall foliage. Large corn fields and apple orchards line the hillsides for miles. This visit was truly a step back in time to the beauty of this great country that I remember from my childhood. It was a trip we will never forget!

Leon Lions vs Lincoln Trojans Football 10/7/2022

Was recently invited to photograph the Leon vs Lincoln High School Football game at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida.

The game started at 7pm, we arrived just before 6 in order to capture some pre-game warmups which many times leads to some outstanding photos! This was the first time I stepped foot onto this field since the artificial turf has been installed. Still not a fan of this stuff, was told the Leon County School Board has spent around $900k for this field and others like it. Rumor has it that in 3 years the turf will pay for itself in upkeep over a natural turf field. They may get some folks to believe this but I’m not buying it, I can buy a lot of water, fertilizer and mowing jobs for $100k, much less $900k. Their math and mine just don’t add up. Many thanks to the half cent sales tax that the Leon County Taxpayers were saddled with several years ago….

Meanwhile, we got to the stadium in plenty of time to get set up and start taking some photos. The October weather was perfect and the light was good! What follows are the results of this effort.

The Leon High School ROTC Honor Guard presented the Colors prior to the game!

The Honor Guard did a Great job!
The Lions take the field prior to the game!
Leon’s Team Captains prepare for the coin toss.
Here come the Lions!
Here come the Trojans! Not sure who the little guys is but he was all about it!
And so it begins!

Dodging defenders!
Celebrating a score!




This young man had a busy night!

“The Talk”

Leon Great Frank Doolan watches the action!

Kickoff Return!






Helping Hands!

Stiff Arm!


Heading to the House!

Breaking Free!

It was great covering this football game. Lincoln managed to defeat Leon but regardless it was a great game to photograph! The crowd was large and was very much into the game. Hope these young men realize that these will be some of the best days of their lives, it surely was for me!

Friday Night Lights…Leon vs Munroe

Friday night I was invited to take some photos of a high school football game at Leon High School. It was a great opportunity that I really enjoyed! I have not covered a football game recently so I embraced the challenge and done my best. What follows are photos taken during the first half of the game.

The Leon High School Honor Guard presented the colors. The Marching Redcoat Band did an incredible job playing the National Anthem! Great job by this group but I ain’t gonna lie, I was highly disappointed in the number of fans who sat on their tails during the presentation of colors and the Anthem. Your actions (or lack of) spoke volumes.

The mighty Lions prepare to take the field!

The Lions stumble as they take the field…unfortunately they stumbled during the second half as well.
Leon’s quarterback scrambles out of the backfield under heavy defensive pressure!

Munroe Bobcat ballcarrier rushes behind the blocking of #58 against the Lions!

The Munroe defense realizes there is no penetrating this Lion line!

Leon’s #32 races up field!

Long time Assistant Coach Clay Fallis watches the Munroe Bobcats play the Leon Lions!

Bobcat ball carrier is brought down by a Lion defender!

Munroe Bobcat ball carrier is surrounded by Leon defenders!

Munroe Bobcat Assistant Coach Joey Fallis watches the action from the sideline.

The Lions Line!

Thats a wrap!


The Munroe Coaching Staff discusses strategy during halftime.
Catching a breather!
Brought down by a Pride of Lions!

Offense turns defense!

Lined up!


The Snap!

It was great covering the Leon vs Munroe football game! The game brought out a large crowd in spite of it being the Friday night just before Labor day! The new field was impressive but the old soil held the blood and sweat of many years of practice where boys developed into men. Hopefully the new turf will absorb the same drops of transition. The dedication and teamwork are still there, only time will tell. Kudos to both teams who played their hearts out but tonight Munroe won the game!

Victory is My Destiny!

Once again I had the opportunity to attend the annual amateur boxing competition at John Paul II which is sponsored by the great folks at the Lincoln Center in Tallahassee. This year’s event was very well attended and featured 18 three round bouts! Athletes came representing various boxing clubs from around Florida were in attendance to include several from the Lincoln Center in Tallahassee and a couple from the Shiny Head Boxing Gym in Gadsden, County! This event is always well organized and supported by officials from USA Boxing as well as medical personnel. This year’s event did not disappoint!

The event began with the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem. The Tallahassee Police Department’s Honor Guard presented the Colors.
The athletes competed for very nice belts and trophies!

More hardware!
Ten and twelve ounce gloves are closely monitored and assigned by an official with USA Boxing.

This event was sanctioned by USA Boxing.
This athlete has his hands taped prior to a bout.

The crew from the Lincoln Center does an outstanding job sponsoring the event!
Great people sponsoring a great event!
This was a great family event and everyone had a good time!

Members of the Tallahassee Police Department were in attendance. TPD has always been very supportive of this event!

Jaden Jarvis representing the Shine Head Boxing Gym out of Gadsden County, Florida.
This young athlete receives instruction from his coach between rounds.
Lincoln Center Coach Tyreese Williams hydrates one of his athletes as they wait for the decision!


Retired Professional Boxer Shinny Burns sits ringside as he coaches one of his athletes during a bout!

USA Boxing Officials closely monitored the competition!
The competition was fierce!
Coach Williams instructs his athlete between rounds.

Getting Ready!




Getting Ready!

The talk…

Coach Williams congratulates this young athlete after a bout!
Upper Cut!
Mike keeps a close eye on the action as he judges the fight!

All athletes are examined by Dr. VanSickle after competition! Safety is paramount during the event!
Keep ‘yer hands up!
“The look”

Although they are competitors they display a high respect for each other!

The Winner!
Always on the move!

This event always provides great entertainment, discipline, intense competition and sportsmanship! These young athletes are learning lessons that will carry them thru life. Much appreciation to these coaches who selflessly devote their time and expertise to build these young men. And many thanks to the great folks at the Lincoln Center who once again put on a great show! Looking forward to next year!

A Mystic Fourth!

The American Flags once again adorn the perimeter of beautiful Lake Mystic!

It is hard to believe that we are once again celebrating the Fourth of July at Lake Mystic! It was just a few short months ago that we were celebrating it last year and here we are again!

It is also hard to believe that 246 years ago, the fathers of this great country declared their independence from the tyranny of King George III and pledged their lives to create this wonderful country that we are so blessed to live in. Needless to say, these are scary times we are living in today and I think we can all look around us and be grateful for the blessings bestowed upon us to include celebrating our independence around a beautiful spring fed lake.

Your flag team has been hard at work preparing and hanging the flags around the lake. This year your team hung 51 flags! This tradition was started years ago by Mr. Billy Rankin whose roots run deep in the sandy Liberty County soil. Billy has since moved from the lake but still has ties to the area and if you are lucky, you may see him around from time to time. If you do, please thank him for creating the annual flag decor around the lake. It adds a lot and demonstrates the patriotic spirit shared by residents and visitors of the lake.

Weather has certainly been a factor leading up to this year’s Fourth. Although the lake was busy, it did not seem as busy as in year’s past. No doubt several factors probably played into this to include the weather and the economy. Regardless, those who made it out enjoyed a wonderful fireworks show. Thanks to those of you who made it happen, this was one of the best!

Several new neighbors have taken up residence around the lake!
Fireworks explode over the lake!

Liberty County residents demonstrated their patriotism this year!

These crosses in nearby Blountstown remind us of those who gave everything they had for our freedom. To them we are forever grateful.

Although the water level is still high, the residents and visitors enjoyed a great afternoon before the evening festivities!

The Sea Serpent glides across the lake!

Making laps!

Riding High!

Wave Runner!

The boat parade was scheduled to begin at 7, however the weather played a factor in this year’s parade and between showers and lightning, it finally started around 730 for a few brave souls who decided that the show must go on!

And the boat parade begins!

The parade passes by!
The Flagship!
God Bless America!
Red White and Blue!

Jet Ski Division!

Scooter watches the boat parade!

And as the sun began to set, the skies cleared and the rain stopped. The temperature was cool and it was a perfect evening for a July 4th Fireworks show on the lake!

Families prepared their fireworks prior to the 930pm start!

And as dark approached, the crowds gathered to watch what was sure to be a great night of celebratory July 4th fireworks! They would not be disappointed!

And so it begins!

Fireworks are launched from around the lake!


Fireworks are launched from around the lake!
On and on….

So many!


Three Suns!




Night Sky!

Lion Fish!

Smoke on the Water!

Red Sky!


The Cove!

What an incredible weekend! Many thanks to those of you who made this possible. You are making memories for the young people who will always remember spending the Fourth of July at Lake Mystic! It was a tremendous event and leaves us looking forward to next year’s celebration! Never forget the reason we celebrate and for those who gave their lives in defense of the freedoms that we enjoy. To those we owe our sincere gratitude.

Lake Mystic is calm as the sun rises on July 5th.

May God continue to Bless America!