Greetings from sunny Florida! Yes, it's weird seeing Santa and his elves when it's 75 degrees outside. We're told that when it hits 85, Santa changes into shorts.

Actually, it was a little cold last night for Florida - hit freezing in Chiefland, FL. That's about 50 miles southwest of Gainsville.

We've been finding Florida much more interesting and a lot bigger than we expected. By the time you go down the east coast, cut across the state, and come up the west coast, it's about 1,000 miles.

Anyway, to bring you up to date, after we left Myrtle Beach, SC, we landed in Savannah, Georgia. Very nice town with the tone of the old south, and we saw the bench where Forrest Gump ate his box of chocolates while waiting for the bus. Then on to St. Augustine, FL - the oldest European city in North America. Kind of sleepy, but had some interesting things.

A serious highlight for me was our visit to Cape Canveral. We spent 5 hours there, and I would have been happy to stay longer, except that a) Cordula was beat, and b) the place was closing. Great bus rides to the launch pads, to the shuttle landing site, to the construction area for the International Space Station, to a complete and actual Saturn V and Apollo rocket that was never used. Lots of audio/visual stuff - including 2 IMAX movies, lots of other rockets, and an actual space shuttle, also never used, that you can go into. We thought the best thing was a simulated Apollo launch, in the actual mission control center. All the consoles and lights flash on and off, lots of sound and lights, great video - totally cool.

If you grew up with the space program, don't miss this one - but, don't the word is don't go during high tourist season. We went after Thanksgiving, and the place was empty - no lines, no waiting. We're told that during the busiest weeks, like Xmas break, lines can be like Disneyworld, with 20,000+ people/day passing through. 3 million tourists/year go through Cape Canaveral.

After Cape Canaveral, we stayed for almost a week at my cousin Mitch's house, in Wellington, just outside of West Palm Beach. We were right at ground zero during all of the final election brouhaha - kind of exciting and I even got to see the newest Florida tourist attraction: the Palm Beach Emergency Operations Center. It looks just like it does on CNN. Somehow, Larry Weinstein ended up nearby Mitch's house, so he and I checked it out together. That guy is always around media events.

It was really great being at Mitch's house. Cordula and I got to know Mitch, his wife Sara, and their two unbelievable kids, Rachel and Debbie much better and we are already planning to have them all visit us - wherever we end up. Our dogs loved playing with their corgi and really liked visiting with the horses next door.

Also while in Palm Beach, we had two wonderful visits with my Aunt Nettie. She's a snowbird - summers in NYC, winters in Pompano Beach. Nettie is now using email, and wanted a little brush-up tutorial. Fortunately, she's a fast and motivated learner and my job was simple.

From Palm Beach, we cut across the state to Ft. Myers. That's where Thomas Edison and Henry Ford ha - you can even see Edison's laboratory, where all the actual stuff is still in place. Edison and Ford were friends, and their estates were adjoining.

From Ft. Mters, we went to a real jewel of a place - Sanibal Island - it felt like being in the Caribbean - like no other place in the US we've ever seen.

North from Sanibal brought us to the the aforementioned Chiefland, and Manatee Springs state park for 3 days of watching lots of wildlife, and manatees (large swimming mammals, sort of walrus or sealion-like, about 8-10 feet long). The manatees swim right up to a dock, and blow air, like a whale, right in front of you.

Now we are in Caravelle Beach, on the Gulf of Mexico, about 150 miles from Pensacola.

We like to get the "Hellos" back from all of you, so don't forget to write!

- cordula & steve -