Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Completed in 1987, the Sunshine Skyway is the world's longest cable-stayed concrete bridge. It is probably the best known of the several dozen cable-stayed bridges that have been built in the United States since the late 1970s. Its popularity may be due to its unique color -- its cables are painted a bright taxicab yellow -- but the bridge also boasts an interesting history.
The Sunshine Skyway isn't the first bridge to span the broad mouth of the Tampa Bay. In fact, a four-mile steel cantilever bridge used to live where the new Sunshine Skyway now stands. But during a violent thunderstorm on the morning of May 9, 1980, the freighter Summit Venture plowed into the cantilever bridge. More than 1,000 feet of the bridge fell into the bay, killing 35 motorists and bus passengers instantly.
The Florida Department of Transportation began construction on a safer Sunshine Skyway Bridge only days later. more than 300 precast concrete segments were linked together with high-strength steel cables to form the roadway. Protecting the new bridge from ships was a big priority, so they installed large concrete islands, called dolphins, around each of the bridge's six piers to absorb unwanted impact. Since it opened to traffic in 1987, the sleek, new Sunshine Skyway has won dozens of engineering and design awards.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Clearwater Yacht Club

I had dinner last night with Spike and
Randy at the Clearwater Yacht Club!
They have their 2nd home there - a
38' cruiser! Here are a few shots after
the sun went down!

Friday, April 27, 2007


Last night Charlie asked Brook to marry
him and gave her a beautiful engagement
ring to "seal the deal"!!! We are all so
very happy and excited for both! YEAH!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Don CeSar Beach Resort

Florida's Legendary Pink Palace opened in 1928
during the Great Gatsby era, the Don CeSar
Beach Resort was the dream of Irishman
Thomas Rowe who found his fortune in Florida
real estate.

Gradient Harbor

Here is a little harbor on the inter coastal
side of Madeira Beach with a gradient map

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sunrise Buddy!

Bamboo, Palms and Clouds

We call the back of our house, around the
pool area - LaLaLand. Behind our fence are
30' bamboo trees that blend in with our huge
queen palms to make this lovely site as you
look over our house....Cheers :-))

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

On we go....

WOW!!! Time flys! JerrySpeak started out in October 2004 as an online
journal with me sharing the family happenings 4 -5 times a month. Then
I started adding a picture here and there - neat... Then I kinda went
crazy and now I share more images than feelings... I guess this is where
I am at - at this point in this wonderful, wild ride called life! I still feel
like I am the most fortunate guy around! Why? I had the absolute BEST
parents our Creator could make!!! I been blessed with a wonderful life
partner in Linda, (33 years now) and the 2 best people I know as children!
OK, I'm probably a little prejudice - but feel extremely proud and blessed
over Charlie and Courtney!! So, I'll just catch you up to date today and
we'll get back to more pictures...

Linda - my bride is working on her 4th year at the same community and
has survived 3 different owners! Bless her heart - she works her butt off
for these people... She has always taken her job seriously and worked
hard - I've always admired that about her! She had a wonderful Christmas
because we were all together for the 1st time in 3 years. Her health is
holding in there - actually she is amazing to see all she does - she gathered
a few more bumps and bruises but just rolls on! She worries TERRIBLY
when Charlie is out of the country, but holds up well...She has a trip to
Little Rock is 2 weeks for another Armstrong gathering! She loves these
trips and all her people go to great lengths to make her feel comfortable
and loved!!! Then in May we go to the mountains for 9 days and she able
to totally relax up there!!

Courtney - 4 years with Yerrid Law Firm now and has a special place with
some special people! We are so PROUD and happy for her! She, too works
very hard!!! Her family grew with the addition of Stella, the English Bulldog
and the 2 of them couldn't be happier!! She traded cars and got a VW Passat
and loves it - nice car! She has celebrated 3 national Championships by the
Gators in the last 12 months and she lives and dies with every play! Wonder
where she gets that??? She will be moving soon to a big house and will live
with 2 of her childhood friends, Molly and Lanie! They have all grown up to
become such beautiful women...Courtney still ROCKS!!! My wish for her is that
realizes just how special a lady she is!

Charlie - whoa!!!!!!!! Non-stop. Ranger School, mountains with Dad, Cabo,
became Captain, Special Forces Selection, back to Baghdad, move to Louisville,
and along the way met a wonderful girl named Brook. He "hopped" up his Harley
last year to make it go more zoom - zoom and continues to add more upgrades.
he is as happy now as we have ever known him to be and that THRILLS us to
the MAX!!! We wish him all the happiness in the world as he rolls on....I look forward
to meeting him in the mountains again and us racing up and down the mountain!

Me - old and older....Mountains in May (Steve and Adrienne coming up for a few
days) hip in June....I really look forward to some days with less pain. BUT,
it's all worth it! In my 15th year with Phoenix - blessed here too - I work with a
bunch of extremely hard working people and appreciate each one of them. I'm
really enjoying my digital photography and editing!!!I remain unable to put into
words how much my family means to me - they truly are the very breath I breathe!
I would not be - without Linda, Charlie and Courtney....I remain thankful! I'll
journal our great May Adventure again this year - until then, I'll be putting up
more of my images and ON WE GO....

Charlie the bladesmith!!!

Here is Captain Charles doing his best
Charles Ochs imitation!
Charles Ochs is a modern day blacksmith
that came to Iraq in 2005 and taught
blade smithing for a month and Charlie
has continued what he learned - making
knives for himself and me during his
last tour earlier this year!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Easter Sunrise

Easter morning was cold - for us in Florida..
My hands were freezing as I was waiting for
the sunrise - but it was real worth it!!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Charlie and Brook!

Charlie was in town for Easter weekend - we got
to see him for 2 meals and a few pictures! That's
OK! You can see where his mind (and heart) is now!
We can't remember when he was this happy!!! We
are very excited about their future!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

St Petersburg Sunrise

I was up early this morning and over to the
St. Petersburg Pier for the sunrise! It was a
little unusual in that it came up directly behind
the Pier Pavilion - it was still gorgeous and
an exciting way to start any day!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Floating lillies...

Floating lilies in b/w.... a photographer
friend sent me the original image and
we were doing tests on b/w conversion.
I'm please with the way it turned out...
Thanks Laurie!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Easter Bunny is on his way!!!

I know the Easter Bunny is right around
the corner when I start seeing the beautiful
Easter Lily baskets around town! They look
great and always remind me that spring is here!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007



Gators topple Ohio State 84 - 75
to defend title!!!!!!

Thanks to Coach Donovan and team for super-charging
my heart! This was a team for the ages and I was grunting
and groaning through the whole game and the end came
as before - tears running down my eyes, Linda sleeping
and Courtney & Charlie calling to share in the moment
with Dad!

YES - The Florida Gators are National Champions - AGAIN!!!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The University of Tampa

Nestled on the Hillsborough River this college
is full of history and tradition!


By ANDY STAPLES The Tampa Tribune

ATLANTA - The University of Florida basketball team huddled Saturday night in the same spot beneath the Georgia Dome stands as it did 22 days earlier. Exactly as they did before a Southeastern Conference Tournament game against Georgia, the Gators held their hands high and said two words.

The first was "Kick." The second still can't be printed in a family newspaper.

Seconds after the Gators took the floor for their second consecutive Final Four, UCLA players stood in the same spot. They also said two words.

"Play hard."

One team came Saturday to play hard. The other came to kick, well, you get the idea.

Just as it did in last year's national title game, Florida hammered UCLA. The 76-66 win set up a championship matchup Monday at 9:18 p.m. against Ohio State.

"[The Bruins] said they wanted to play us," Florida guard Taurean Green said. "They said they had unfinished business. … We felt like they didn't have any respect for us."

For the second time in less than three months, a group of Gators will meet a group of Buckeyes with a national title hanging in the balance. For the first time in NCAA history, the same two schools will meet for the Division I-A football and Division I basketball titles in the same school year.

The basketball Gators would love to emulate the football Gators, who beat the favored Buckeyes, 41-14, on Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz., to claim the title. Florida should enter Monday confident; the Gators raced to an 86-60 win against Ohio State at the O'Connell Center on Dec. 23.

Saturday, Florida (34-5) moved one win away from becoming the first repeat champion since Duke in 1991 and 1992. In that time, Division I-A college football, the NBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NHL all have had repeat champions.

UCLA (30-6) put up a better fight in Saturday's first half than it did last year. The Bruins double-teamed the ball on almost every possession, forcing Florida into 10 first-half turnovers. But top scoring threat Arron Afflalo and power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute each committed three first-half fouls, forcing Coach Ben Howland to spend timeouts early to assemble patchwork lineups.

After the Gators went into halftime up 29-23, Florida guard Lee Humphrey made a pair of 3-pointers early in the second to give the Gators a cushion. With the Gators up 44-28 and 13:49 remaining, Howland called UCLA's final timeout. Mbah a Moute fouled out with 9:02 remaining.

"Credit Florida," Howland said. "They're an outstanding team with outstanding athletes, very well-coached, and that's why they're the NCAA champion and playing for it again on Monday night."

Florida forward Corey Brewer led all scorers with 19. Center Chris Richard came off the bench to score 16. Center Al Horford scored nine and grabbed 17 rebounds, only nine fewer than UCLA's entire team. Guard Josh Shipp led the Bruins with 18 points.

For Florida, the win guarantees two more days of unabated speculation about whether Gators coach Billy Donovan will take the Kentucky job after Florida's season ends. Since Tubby Smith bolted the Bluegrass for Minnesota on March 22, Donovan has said nothing to indicate he would take the job. He also has said nothing to indicate he would turn it down.

For three games, Florida players have succeeded in tuning out that particular distraction. With so much on the line Monday, the Gators probably can forget the rumors for two more days.

"We're really excited to be in this situation," Florida forward Joakim Noah said. "We know it's not over yet. We're happy, but we're not satisfied."

As Noah left the court Saturday, he reached the exact spot where the Gators had broken their huddle about two hours earlier. Never breaking his jog, he pumped his fist and yelled.

"Yeah!" Noah said. "Yeah! We're back!"

Saturday Sunrise!

Sunrise Saturday at Ballast Point pier!