During our travels in Florida over the years we have been fortunate to enjoy Tarpon Springs, Florida, a quaint and pretty town north of Clearwater and Tampa on the Gulf. When we were actively engaged in Flea Market business in Central Florida, Tarpon Springs became one of our favorite spots for R&R.
Statue honoring the Greek sponge divers. Note the sponge diving boat tied to the dock.
Tarpon Springs is famous for the Sponge Docks where diving boats still sail to the sponge beds and hard hat divers collect the sponges. This industry began here in Florida in 1905 when John M. Cocoris from Leonidion Greece started the now flourishing sponge business.
Sponge diver in a beautiful tile mosaic
Memorial to the founder of Florida’s Sponge Industry
Dodecanese Blvd. is the main street that houses multiple shops and businesses. The shops offer everything from fresh tea and spices, hand made cigars, souvenirs, freshly caught fish shops and of course several shops selling sponges collected by the Greek divers.
Locally collected sponges of all sizes for sale
Also of note in Tarpon Springs are the marvelous Greek Restaurants! Talk about authentic Greek cuisine, you’d have to go to Greece to get any cuisine that is more Greek. We have enjoyed several restaurants and bakeries in this wonderful spot on Central Florida’s Gulf Coast.
We have not yet seen any reports of Tarpon Springs suffering damage from Hurricane Ian. We hope that the Sponge Docks and the town were spared.
Original wall sections, note the tank trap in foreground
Having just seen some of the statues of US Presidents in downtown Rapid City we continued just driving around checking out the town. Sher spotted a sign in a park next to the convention center that said “The Berlin Wall”. There we found a memorial to the history of the divided city and the ultimate fall of Communism and the tearing down of the wall in November of 1989. Remember Reagan’s speech to the Soviet leader? “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
There are two sections of the original Berlin Wall displayed along with information filled plaques, signs and even old tank traps that were once used at Check Point Charlie, the only gate between East and West Berlin during the times of the divided city.
Original sign from “Check Point Charlie”
If you travel through the Rapid City area on your way to Mt. Rushmore, take a few minutes and go see this memorial. It is worth the time.
The scenery in Wyoming is absolutely stunning. On one of our trips West we were driving in Wyoming on Highway 16 through the Big Horn Mountains. We were heading from Buffalo on our way to Yellowstone National Park. On the way we found ourselves climbing up to and descending from the Powder River Pass (elevation 9666) which was frankly at times a white knuckle affair!
Blue skies over the rocks
Massive limestone cliffs
We soon came to beautiful and awesome Ten Sleep Canyon. The glacially formed cliffs had nearly vertical walls that we later learned were popular for rock climbing. There were wide shoulders to the road which enabled us to stop and take in the view.
Sher enjoying the break from mountain driving. The exit from the canyon is in the “V” in the distance.
Just past Ten Sleep Canyon is the little town of Ten Sleep, Wyoming. With a population of about 250, it is at the junction of Nowood and Ten Sleep creeks. Historically it was a Native American rest stop, called that because it was 10 days travel, or “10 sleeps,” from Fort Laramie (southeast), Yellowstone Park (west-northwest), and the Indian Agency at Stillwater, Montana (northwest).