St. Louis + Destination


Travel & Nature Photojournalism

I am horrible at keeping secrets.

I’m the person that tries to give gifts early. Whether it is Christmas or a birthday celebration, I get too excited. It is difficult for me to withhold information from people, especially if an element of surprise is involved.

Thankfully, no one spilled the beans as we prepared a surprise 80th birthday party for my father-in-law. Dad already knew that Matt and I would be coming, but it was a surprise that his other two children from Missouri would be making the trip as well.

We started our long weekend trip with an early 6:00 am flight from Belleville, Illinois to Punta Gorda, Florida aboard Allegiant Airlines. The airline didn’t have a direct flight into Fort Lauderdale this early in the year, so we rented a car and drove across the state to Delray Beach.

View from Plane Window Seat

Our first stop after landing in Punta Gorda was a visit to Aunt Micki’s house in Fort Meyers. I love her enclosed pool lanai – which keeps those pesky gators out.

One of my favorite things about Florida is having my morning coffee outside, as the world awakens.

The surprise party was a success! Dad had no idea what we had planned for him.

This trip gave me the opportunity to use my new Fujifilm X100F camera, which is lightweight and ultra-portable. Pictured above are some of the Florida family pets, “Little T” and “Biscuit”. We have known Biscuit literally since his birth. Biscuit was born in a litter that my sister-in-law cared for. He stayed in the family, though he transplanted to Florida.

Sunrise on the way home.

Our return flight was a bit rough. We napped off and on the night before and left Boca Raton at 1:00 am to catch our 5:15 am flight home. The trip across the Florida I-75, known as Alligator Alley, is very straight, and very long. And in the early hours of the morning, it is very boring. Next time, we will be sure to book direct flights to avoid unnecessary travel stress.

Until next time, Florida family!