Friday, January 30, 2015

Punta Gorda, FL - Manatees and Costco

Today we began with Manatees and ended with a manatee-sized load of food from Costco.

My pictures of manatees were all of their back as they came up for air so I took a picture from the literature that the park volunteer handed out to us.
Manatees are a large plant eating mammal which lives in the brackish water around Florida. It weighs around 1000 lbs and is about 10’ long.
The female gives birth to a calf weighing 60 - 8- lbs and is pregnant for 13 months. Holy Cow. They like warm water (anything less than 68 degrees can cause hypothermia) and that is why we headed over to the Florida Power and Light to see these neat creatures. Best place to see manatees in Fort Myers - an electric company. It started in 1958 when the power company opened, needed a place to drain its warm water and dredged a canal to an ocean connection through what had been a sand pile. Somehow manatees found it and frolicked here in early mornings when it was a bit cold outside.

Tourists then flocked to the spot which really was just a heap of sand with no parking lot, no walkways and no railings along the canal. When the city saw how popular this spot was and how dangerous it might be, they build a park - and charged a parking fee. Today, we arrived early when there were still lots of spots in the lot but, when we left, people were scrambling to find a spot.
Did we see manatees? Oh, my so many that it was hard to count them all. Some were frolicking ( I understand this was probably a prelude to mating - one male and lots of females) up near the water exiting from the power plant, some were lazily eating and hanging around for us tourists near the viewing area and others were lazily swimming out towards the ocean where they could eat - more.

There was a cute mama and baby combination off to the right in this picture - both coming up for air at the same time.
We saw the propeller markings on the back of this one. Boats are one of the greatest threats to manatees.
We then stayed for a short talk on manatees and learned a lot. Their brains are not too big and are smooth, lacking the ‘folds’ that are associated with higher intelligence in other mammals. We also read this phrase in the literature the volunteer passed out: ‘The urinary bladder stores urine until it is advantageous to dump it into the environment.’ ‘Advantageous?’ What do they mean by that?

Next we went to Camping World where Gary had some questions about water heaters and followed that up with a hike through the 6 Mile Slough (pronounced ‘slew’). The trail is through a wetlands area and thus was a boardwalk with railings. Lots of birds, alligators and we even heard some wild pigs munching as they approached us. I got only a butt shot (my usual) but it was neat hearing them.

Another one approached us but then another guy came up and yelled to his family, ‘ Hey, Don, come over here, there’s a pig.’ Of course the pigs ran the other way and he then yelled ‘Don’t bother, they ran away.’ I wonder why.

We did see Woody Woodpecker (a pileated woodpecker) making his mark.
Our final stop was Costco, our first since we left Des Moines. I and went into my usual ‘we’re going to the wilderness for months and I’d better have as much food as I can fit into my pantry to sustain us for so long.’ Well, actually we’re going to the Everglades NP for a week, hardly months. And, we can look up and see planes in a landing pattern for the Miami airport - we’re hardly away from civilization.

As I roam the aisles I wonder about such things as: will I have enough walnuts to last? Strange question, you think, but you do not know my sweet hugga bunch’s love of walnuts. He has walnuts on his cereal treat at night before bed - but sometimes I think the treat is actually walnuts and he just adds a little cereal and milk to vary the taste. I’ve got two 3-lb bags of walnuts and for good measure, I added 2 bags of craisins - not those little bags, mind you, but 4-lb bags. I just read this paragraph to him and, luckily he’s brushing his teeth and can’t comment.

We finally escaped with money still in our check book and headed back to the park. It had been a fun but long day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Punta Gorda, FL - Cue the Lightbulb

We began the day with donuts at Bennets - a 5-star donut shop in Fort Myers. Great flavors - I had the peanut butter while Gary had the Orange Coconut and the Maple Walnut Crunch. The taste was - ummm - but the grease was too much. I realize that donuts are fried in grease but usually it’s not dripping off the donuts. I think that they need to wrap their donuts in paper towels before they serve them. Would I go back? I’d have to think about that. As you can see from the picture I took at 10:00, they had done bonkers business this morning.
But our main goal of the day was the Edison-Ford summer residences just 1.6 miles down the road on the Caloosahatchee River. These were the homes that Thomas Edison and Henry Ford built next to each other down here. It started a year after Edison’s wife died and he didn’t want to spend another winter in cold New Jersey. He visited the area in 1885 - not easy in that day and age since the train didn’t come to Fort Myers until 1904 and good roads were not available until after 1910. They took a ship all the way around the Florida coast, landed where the Caloosahatchee River met the Gulf and finished his trip by boat. He purchased 13 acres for $2,750 from a cattleman known as the ‘King of the Crackers’ (a breed of cattle in Florida), built a home for himself and one for his partner. One year later he married Mina and they spent part of their honeymoon here. He called his winter house ‘Seminole Lodge’ and he lived here until he died in 1931. Mina lived here until age 82 in 1947 when she deeded the house to the city of Fort Myers to preserve his legacy.
One of his employees, Henry Ford, attended a Detroit Edison Illuminating Company conference in 1896 and met Edison. During his spare time he tinkered with gas-powered engines. They became fast friends and Henry Ford visited Edison in 1914 for a camping trip to the Everglades. He liked the area so much and was such a good friend of Edison that he purchased the house next door, which he called ‘The Mangoes’ for all the mango trees in the yard, for $20,000 (which was the same price he sold it for in 1945) and joined Edison for the winters in Fort Myers.

The good friends often sat around discussing inventions and business and Harvey Firestone often joined them.
These 3, along with famous naturalist John Burroughs, also went for camping trips together, in Model T’s and Ford had outfitted one of his truck models with a big kitchen box that they could cook in.
We visited the 9 buildings on the property that were open, walked around the grounds and then toured the museum and a laboratory that Edison had built for his experiments into finding a domestic rubber source.

We were extremely happy to meet Tom and Mina as they strolled about their property. We even got to chat with them for a while.
We couldn’t enter the rooms in the houses, of course but the top half of the door is open with only a glass plane in the bottom half so we could see in completely. I was surprised that the Edison’s bedroom was separated from the main home by a covered walkway. Of course this is Florida and the weather is warm throughout the winter but I know that freezing temps occur here also. The porches sere covered by huge 8’ or more overhangs which also allowed the breezes to flow through. When you’re wearing black wool clothing, as the Edison’s and their friends did back in the late 19th C, that breeze must have been heavenly.
‘This house is a dream... and we are living in Fairyland,’ Edison's wife Mina wrote of the Florida retreat,

Here’s a picture of one of the rooms. Note all the windows on the front to give a great view of the river. The light is an ‘electrolier’ lighting fixture. There was a steam powered dynamo in a laboratory that generated direct current electricity for the house. When he property was first electrified in 1887, a local newspaper reported that all 349 residents of Fort Myers came to witness it.
In the bedroom at the far end of the bathroom is a ‘sauna’ a box with light bulbs inside. You could step inside, sit down and turn the light bulbs on for a warm sauna. It seems that Mina liked pink.
Here’s Ford’s home.
But, aside from his and Ford’s home, there is the banyan tree, probably the largest in the world. It began when he, Ford and Firestone realized that the US needed a domestic source for rubber and they built a lab on the property to try to find this. Edison brought in 1000’s of trees from all over the world to try to find one that would grow in the US, would grow fast and would provide enough latex from which to make the rubber for car tires.

One of his purchases was a banyan tree which he bought here in 1925 as a 4’ sapling. It wasn’t the answer to the rubber quandary but it grew to an acre in diameter and is the first sight you see as you approach the VC. This is all one tree, by the way.
Edison, of course, is associated with his inventions. We all know about electricity and the phonograph. But he held more than 1,000 United States patents, and he submitted patent paperwork for a record 65 consecutive years. Among his lesser known creations: the talking doll,
the electric train, alkaline batteries, a fruit preserver and a stencil pen, the grandfather of today's tattoo stylus.

After we toured the homes of both Ford and Edison we headed on over to the the 15,000 sq. ft museum which details his life and has many of his inventions for viewing. Here’s a high chair for a baby that turns into a small table and chair for an older child. And, check out the waffle iron.
And not to be missed are the entertainment artifacts: phonographs, movie projectors, nickelodeons and films. I liked the headlamp:
Edison was perhaps "green" before the word became fashionable. Some of his words on the subject are posted in the museum: "I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that." Edison wrote that in 1931.

We toured the homes, the laboratory and the museum. Afterwards, we toured the community, natch, on our feet as we walked the neighborhood.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sarasota, FL - 'DaVinci of Debris'

We usually don’t plan adventures or sightseeing when we are traveling to another campground - somehow the adventure of the road is enough. But, yesterday Solomon’s Castle was closed, today it’s right on the way to our next campground and, let’s stop. But first we had to get out of this campground which wasn’t as easy as it sounds. We hitched up, headed around the campground to the exit but found this in our way:
Right in the middle of the road. Obviously, he didn’t turn sharp enough and now thinks he can’t make it around the corner without unhitching. Not only did he unhitch, he also put his tow bar cover on and packed the rest neatly in one of his compartments - to the tune of 16 minutes. - while 3 RV’s and 2 trucks waited. They they turned the corner and headed down the next aisle, the only road out of the campground. Then they stopped, right in the middle so they could examine a campsite that they might park in - to the tune of 11 minutes. Check this picture - do you think he could have moved to one side or the other so that others could pass?
The didn’t like that one and headed on out of the campground just so they could head back in to find another suitable campsite. I’m not sure why we moved along quickly this morning to get an early start. We lost it all behind this jerk.

Luckily we scouted out the parking situation yesterday on our way to Myakka SP and we drove in and parked in an RV/bus parking lot he had cleared out. Gary managed to circle so we’re facing out, in case anyone else comes into this spot. The castle glistening in the sun as we approached. Others had arrived ahead of us (thanks to you know who) but we bought our ticket and walked around admiring the castle from the outside.
But, how in the world did a 10,000 sq. ft. castle get into the middle of Florida anyway? Ah, there’s the story. Seems that Howard Solomon had bought some land in Florida and this was fine - in the dry season. But, when the rainy season came, he noted that he had bought a swamp. Thus, rather than building out, he decided to build up and that if he was going to go up, he might as well pick a style’ and in 1972 he began building his very own castle. Now, Howard is not your usual builder, he is an artist and a builder and his medium is found and recycled objects. He was actually once called the ‘The DaVinci of Debris’.

The sidewalk leading up to the castle door is a beautiful walk made out of brick - oh, I stand corrected, it’s cement with bricks painted on it. Howard used a broom stick and a sponge dipped in white paint.
Found and recycled objects like the recycled printing press plates that cover the outside of the castle. (You can sit inside and read old news.)
Glimmering in the sun, 2 stories tall with towers and turrets, it’s a stunning statement in the middle of the Florida countryside. We drove up, circled the RV and parked. When we got to the castle, we noticed that we were not the only one who had trekked out here, there were at least 30 or 40 ahead of us and many were already on the tour inside the castle. While we were waiting and looking around, this skinny little fellow with a big hat walked by, into the gift shop and behind the counter. Now, we had seen pictures of Howard Solomon and were sure it was he but, when the ticket taker called him, Howard, we were absolutely certain. We’re not Sherlock Holmes but we can read clues like these. What fun to meet the man himself. By the way, the flooring ‘bricks’ in the entry room here were painted just like the brick walkway outside.
Finally, our tour was called and we walked through his castle. Essentially, the castle serves as an exhibition gallery for several hundred pieces of Solomon sculpture; "The ones that didn't sell," he explains. Howard takes as much fun in naming his pieces of art as he does making them. The tour was filled with puns and jokes related to the materials and the naming of his pieces of art. I learned later that this is the exact script he used when he used to show his castle and art to passers-by. Here is the Lion’s Club
No one wants a plain wall in a house but Howard made exactly that: a plane wall.
And, what do you think ‘Gnome on the Range’ might be?

And, on and on. I thought that the patter with all the puns detracted from the beauty and imagination of the art itself, which, is really quite stunning. I particularly like some wooded pieces he did resembling art in museum. Like this Modigliani,
and this piece. True to the original but in his own vision.
Most of his castle is essentially an opportunity to showcase his art. However, we did get to tour through his own living quarters which must make him feel as if his house was for sale every day - and ya gotta keep it clean. Here he had some of the most beautiful pieces in stained glass. These two pieces are on either side of the back door.
Solomon%252527sCastle-36-2015-01-27-17-39.jpg Solomon%252527sCastle-34-2015-01-27-17-39.jpg
His art is mostly folk art and he uses anything he can find. We saw his workshop later and one of my earlier questions, does he keep things around waiting for inspiration?, was answered. Yes, he keeps lots of things he has found over the years in a shed and workshop in back waiting for their place in his scheme of things.
He keeps adding on to his collection and recently added the ‘Alamo’ to the back lot after he had visited the original Alamo in San Antonio - at least that’s what our tour guide said. Note the cannon balls - bowling balls in any other setting.
However, one of his best additions was the ‘Boat in the Moat.’ which his daughter (I believe) has turned into a delicious restaurant.
The aromas from this restaurant waft over the castle grounds as we toured and we just had to stop for lunch - as did many others. We then walked around his castle only to find this lovely meandering stream.

The news is all about the big storm innundating the New England states today. I sent an e-mail to some friends of ours to commiserate and got an e-mail back saying that they were supposed to leave Boston today and head to Florida. Now they can’t get out for 4 days.

Here’s our home in the woods - a bit different than Mr. Solomon’s.

Sarasota, FL - Myakka

Breakfast out: coffee, eggs, biscuit, country fries - $10.00. Holy Toledo, what a price. So we tipped the waitress more than usual. Our goal was Myakka State Park about 55 miles from our campground. Good chance to see what interior Florida is like: lots of orange groves, some picked and some ready to be picked, lots of cattle on large ranches and lots of water - lots of small ponds, lots of water in the ditches lining the roads, lots of water in the fields, I don’t think we’ll get a desert hike in this trip.

The park, which was created and developed in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, is comprised of wetlands, acres of prairies, 39 miles of hiking trails and subtropical forests.

We got to the park and signed up for both tours: the water tour and the land tour and, the boat was leaving as soon as we could get on it. What timing. We actually were interested in seeing some alligators - typical tourists. Certainly not something I’ve been seeing in Iowa nor in the desert Southwest where we’ve been spending our winters. Since we have been in Florida for 6 weeks now and have never seen an alligator I’m thinking that they are merely advertising hype to lure tourists. But, we’ll try today on our boat tour.

We had a guide that had been here for 11 years and he knew his stuff. He rattled on about Blue Herons, Egrets (all 3 kinds) anhingas, a new bird that I hadn’t seen yet. However, as he was talking about them, I realized that we had seen one recently, which I thought was a cormorant. They have no oils in their feathers so have to spread them out to dry them. Like this. (So what do they do on a rainy day?)
Since they swim with only their necks and head out of water, their wings tend to get wet quite often.

Of course, the birds were just the appetizer for the main show which was across the lake: the alligators. It was so windy today that there were almost white caps on the water so our guide knew that they gators would be sunning themselves on the other shore to get the full sun. They like the sun. Sure enough, he found quite a lot of them sunning themselves on the opposite shore hidden amongst the grasses. He told us that these were female alligators since females gather in groups while males live singly. In fact, one of the predators that the females need to protect their young from are the males. He told us that most alligators die young, very few make it to adulthood.
Males are pretty territorial and live mostly alone. They come around during mating season, eat a few small baby alligators, do their thing and leave for 6 months when they reappear and repeat. Poor baby alligators - they have a lot of predators and male alligators are one of them. It takes 3 years of growing a foot a year to become almost too big to be a prey. No wonder so few reach adulthood - well, maybe that’s best. Actually alligators in the wild live approximately 35 - 50 years, in captivity 60 - 80 years. But, since there is no way to tell an alligator’s age while it is alive, we don’t know.

By the way, I learned that it is temperature in the nest which determines sex: male develop in the warmer temperatures of the nest and and female in the cooler temperatures. Nests must be predominantly cold since many more females are born than males.

80 teeth? Yep, that’s how many an average alligator has and they keep replacing those that wear down. Alligators can run 30 mph for short distances - I’m thinking I don’t want to test how far one can run.

Now, I’ve always wondered about kayaking in waters where alligators are known to exist, which, it seems, in Florida, are just about every instance of water. Our guide told us that alligators seldom go after humans because they are too big to fit into their mouths and seldom during the day when the temperatures are hot. He cautioned us about kayaking in the evening when they are looking for food. Now, an inflatable kayak? Not something I’d do.

We really enjoyed the boat tour and were ready for the land tour.
This was more about the history of the Myakka SP rather than the sighting of animals. About the heiress from New York who came down here, loved it and bought a huge ranch, with no knowledge of how to run it. She tried to hire the previous manager but he didn’t want to work for a woman so she went to the manager’s wife and promised her a 2-story house and you can guess the rest. The manager rethought his priorities and changed his mind about working for a woman. The ranch was profitable but her sons were not interested in it and gave it to the state as a park.
On our tour of the ranch lands, we saw the fields where the cattle had grazed - obviously it took lots of work to clear these fields since the rest of the area was thick with slash pine and palmetto. We also saw a mother alligator with 2 babies sunning on her back.
After our two tours we drove through the park to the 100’ canopy walkway. 25’ above the ground gives you a great view of the treetops.
Here are some resurrection ferns. Tight after a rain, like the one we had yesterday, they are glistening green.
They they go dormant - until the next rain. These just covered the trees we saw from the walkway. The walkway sways as you walk over it and the warning is that only 2 can be on the walkway at one time.

The walkway leads to the 74’ tower which gives a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. High above the tree tops, we could see for miles. The tower creaks and sways in the breezes. Ummm. 
Marvelous time in Myakka SP: boat ride, land tour, tower, canopy walkway - egrets, great blue herons, anhingas, alligators, baby alligators - could we want any more?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sarasota, FL - Old Friends

Everyone asks us where we want to live when we hang up our keys. Or what area we like the best. (Actually those two questions are really quite different. What area we like the best might not be what we are looking for when we decided to stay in one place. For example, we really like Utah for all the hiking, the color, the slot canyons, the the off-roads, etc. But - we think it is a bit too cold for what we want to live in. Great to visit but not where we want to live.)

Our answer to the second is always that we don’t know: we haven’t been everywhere, we haven’t seen all areas and we need to explore more. We have liked most of the areas that we have visited and have found lots to do and enjoy. We are on what Gary calls a ‘buffet’ tour of the US. But instead of baked beans or potato salad, we’ve got Florida and other states to explore. We’ve been exploring in the Desert Southwest for a while, now it’s time for Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Who knows where we might end up?

What can you say about seeing an old friend for the first time in 45 years? Hey, we all look the same? Nah - we obviously don’t. But that’s what we’ve done this week. On Thursday we saw Jo who was my house-mate for 2 years in Warwick RI when we both taught at Vets HS there in 1969 and 1970, Jo in the PE department and I in the History department. Then on Saturday we visited with Barb who was my ‘partner in crime’ in developing a World History curriculum in a NH High School for 7 years from 1978 - 1985.

I had mostly lost track of both since we left New England in 1985 but, knowing we were coming out this way this winter and spring, I made a real attempt to find them so I could see them again. Thanks to the Internet, they were not too hard to find. I sent them our Christmas letter and said that we were heading out this way and to call or e-mail us so we could meet up. Now, the only hard part was that both have homes in New England and in Florida so I didn’t know what address to use. Oh, yeah, why not send the letter to both? Got that.

And, this week was the big week. I had a great time renewing old friendships, catching up on 30 - 40 years of living and just enjoying the friendships I had. Gary? Well, he knew both of them and had a great time too. He can fit in anywhere and make friends. Luckily there was so much more to talk about than just memories of the past although that was fun.

It’s amazing how little I remember of those days so long ago. Little bits and snippets. Barb is still the fast talking New Yawker that she was then. She grew up in Brooklyn and I was always intrigued by the fact that she really went to a school named PS 38. I have read about schools named that but never really thought that a school could be named PS 38. I thought they had names like Lincoln, Duncomb, Hawley but, no, her’s was PS 38. Cute. Finding a World History curriculum that was non-existent and materials that were ancient, she and I alternated between units finding materials, worksheets, maps, whatever we thought would enliven the lessons and finally we had a curriculum. We continued to refine it for the years that we were there. We worked well together and had a lot of fun bouncing ideas off of each other for the 7 years that we were there. She left the same summer I did, she for a new baby and I for new pastures in Minnesota.
Jo and I lived together for 2 years while I was teaching in Warwick, Rhode Island. I had rented a house on Narragansett Bay with marvelous views out of the windows lining the front of the house but needed a house-mate to help defray the costs. I can’t remember how Jo and I linked up but we did and lived there for 2 school years. It was a summer house owned by a family named DeBellis and we had to leave in June, when school was out. That was fine with me, I had plans to work in a Girl Scout camp on Catalina Island ’26 Miles Across the Sea’ from Los Angeles. Jo traveled over the summers. Rosie is on the left and Jo is on the right here.
I remember the views out the windows, especially since I sat at the kitchen table as I was correcting papers and developing lesson plans. Jo remembers - that I cooked a lot of onions. Huh? Yep, that’s what she remembers. One life lesson I learned from Jo was to save half of everything you made. On the way home from school on Friday, we’d stop at the bank: one week we’d deposit our checks into our savings accounts and the other week we’d deposit it into checking. Worked for us and I lived by that principal - usually. I’ll have to admit that I did stray. Then I left to go back to school for my Masters and Jo found another house mate. After I got my Masters, Gary had gotten out of the Navy, we had married and had moved to New Hampshire closer to his job.

They had a beautiful house and a friendly alligator in their landscaping. Our first alligator in Florida and it was fake.
Both Jo and Barb have recently gotten married. Barb married Bob, who she met 13 years ago through an online matchmaking service. They dated for 5 years and finally got married with her ex- escorting her down the aisle. They also conned him into helping them move. Good for them. Jo and Rosie dated or 35 years and, when Rhode Island legalized gay marriage, they got married.

What a fool I was not to keep in touch with these two after I enjoyed them so much and had so much fun with them. However, Gary and I moved back to Iowa, opened 2 video stores, and got involved with life in our new location - and I lost touch. That’s why this week was so special and I plan to keep in touch better now. In fact, since they both have homes in New England where we are headed, I plan to see both of the later this summer, too.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sarasota, FL - Ringlings Art

Before Ringling died, he willed his house and his museum with his art collection to the state to keep it intact and away from his creditors. Good move and now we can all enjoy what he and his wife enjoyed and collected over the years. The state has added considerably to the collection over the years and has designated this to be the official art museum of Florida and the 16th largest in the US. It has also added 150,000 sq ft to the original land and has built quite a few buildings including a theater, a welcome center and an addition to the original art museum.

Actually, Sarasota was just a small hamlet until Ringling bought his land and started developing it. When he brought his circus to winter here, it injected a much needed lift go the economy and began to bring tourists to this area. Visitors could watch practices and rehearsals for $.25 which then went to charity.

The building was designed for his art collection and even some of the pillars at the entryways to the rooms are copies of pillars in the paintings.
Although, sometimes these little things overshadow the paintings, themselves and you get distracted looking for these things. You look at the museum itself rather than the art.

We arrived about 6:00 in the evening, in time to see the sun setting behind the copy of the David he has in the gardens and the statues along the roof line of the museum.

He was particularly interested in art of the Baroque and late Renaissance (1550 - 1750) and has paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Michelangelo, Poussin and Velazques. and and most of his pieces were of this period. All in all it has 1000 paintings (and, no, I did not count them but am relying on information from others), 2500 prints and drawings and 1500 decorative art pieces like buffets and sofas and sconces, etc. His Rubens paintings are huge - 15’ tall and are arranged on the 4 walls of one gallery. Originally there were 11 paintings which were commissioned as patterns for tapestries. 4 of these paintings were destroyed by fire in 1731, Ringling bought 4 and the state added 1 later.
Here is one of the tapestries modeled on the paintings.
Here is a small section of the same tapestry - note the fine stitch work.
Much of the furniture was bought when he bought the mansion of one of the Astors. He brought the painted panels, the gilt moldings, the furniture and the ceiling medallions along with the furniture.

Here’s an interesting picture - one artist did the figures and another did the flowers. When you look at them, you can tell this - the brush strokes are different. The people are hazier while the flowers are crisp and distinct.
I liked the skeptical look on the face in this picture. Ya gotta like Rembrandt.
Marvelous museum and art - we stayed long enough to hear the guards circling around telling everyone that there were only 15 minutes to go. That’s Gary who looks tiny compared to the size of these paintings.
We bought gas on the way home and I snapped this picture of the price wondering how low it could go? Obviously still lower.