The Weather goes on and on.

Trip Start Dec 31, 2012
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Trip End May 04, 2013


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Where I stayed
Manatee State Park

Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, February 8, 2013

Today, Wednesday, we had a rather lengthy drive to Manatee Springs State Park, west of Gainesville.  The nature of the flora changed enroute, with some of the towering pines being replaced by palm trees and great live oaks with Spanish moss hanging from their lofty branches.  It reminded of us of our time in Louisiana and also near Savannah.


This park is very unique.  The springs themselves produce between fifty and a hundred million gallons of fresh water each day, which flows into the Suwannee River.  Yes, that's the correct spelling... It seems that when Stephen Foster sought a title for his recently penned song, that he consulted with his sister asking for the name of a river in the southland that he could embody in the song's title.  Thus, we have "Way down upon the Suwannee River." But, I digress...


In winter, when the waters of the Gulf cool, the manatees swim up the Suwannee to the springs near here and spend the winter here.  The temperature of the springs ranges from sixty-two to seventy degrees.  The animals, mammals, themselves grow to a length of ten feet and weigh up to a thousand pounds.  


Lynn led us on a walk to one of the sights to try to catch sight of one of them.  Enroute we met three young men, who were divers.  I stopped and engaged them in a short conversation.  It seems they had come all the way from their homes near Helsinki, Finland.  Having learned a bit of Finn myself, I had my first opportunity to try it out.  The got a huge laugh out of "Busca H˛se."  Some of you will appreciate this.


We followed the boardwalk to the farthest viewing sight.  We noticed a large number, at least fifty, of crows roosting nearby as well as some other large birds with necks akin to vultures.  Since it had looked like rain might appear,  I hadn't brought my camera and have only some shots with the phone.  At the viewing sight, we met a young family, with a son about five and a daughter about six years old.  I noticed a familiar accent and found that they are from MŘnchen, or Munich, Germany.  We visited at length and I found that he's an engineer from there, working for BMW in South Carolina for sixteen months.  It was a treat for me again to speak German, especially with the children.  They had watched six manatees swim by the platform earlier.  After about half an hour, I did see one at a distance.  Since they are mammals, the must rise for air about every twenty minutes.  They are strictly vegetarians and eat up to a hundred pounds of sea grass daily.
We continued to explore the area and found a trail which Sacagwea aka Lynn decided we should follow.  It was interesting, however I was tired and my feet were sore.  Ultimately we got confused a bit and found our way, again, using the maps on the phone.  Thank heavens for pocked-technology!


We spent the evening with the windows open and enjoying the temperatures in the low seventies.  The humidity is very high here, to the point that my mustache has developed a bit of a curl on the ends.  Amazing what a lot of moisture can do with so little hair...


Tomorrow we'll head into nearby Chiefland to pick up a few needed items.  Then we'll return to continue exploring.  One side note: At St. George Island, we met a woman from Livingston, Montana.  Today on our return from our adventure, we met a fellow and his wife from the same city.  A small world, or just a lot of people escaping the Montana winter?


Today, Thursday, we awoke to cloudy skies.  We planned to check out the manatees again, but wanted to get to town and get our shopping done first.  We easily found the RV Supply store and I picked up a tube of sealant for the roof.  Folks there were friendly.  Lynn asked about a place to get some fish for dinner, hoping that they had a Fish Market in town.  No such luck, however, but the consensus was that the Wynn Dixie Store had a good variety.  The cod was recommended by one portly customer, as the best bet.


We stopped by the Family Dollar store and picked up a pencil sharpener for Lynn's puzzle tools.  Got a dandy one with a reservoir for the shavings and a second, smaller one to boot.
The Wynn Dixie store was just a short walk away.  We went to the fish section and asked the Fish Guy which to get, cod or haddock.  Without hesitation, he too, recommended the cod.


Lynn has been doing most of the driving of the Subaru of late.  This lets me gaze around at the sights a bit in the area near us.  We got back to camp and had lunch, planning to take off on our walk shortly after my post-prandial nap.  (Fancy doctor word; sorry.)  She visited a bit with Lisa, our daughter, and then we were all set to go.


BUT, and that's a big BUT...the Rains came.  And didn't it rain children?  For about three hours with thunder to boot.  I got so loud in the coach that I couldn't concentrate well enough to enjoy reading.  No data service here, so no internet...  I did start a new-to-me book entitled "The Master Butchers Singing Club."  Very well written and interesting to boot.  ( I know, that's the third time I've used that expression, but who's counting besides me?)


The rain finally broke about an hour before dinner.  We had the cod, baked with Lynn's now forgotten spice mixture, a fresh vegetable sautÚ of yellow crookneck squash, sun dried tomatoes, onions and such.  Plus we had baked sweet potatoes.  Oh yes, I forgot to mention the cool Produce Market we found on the roadside.  Lots of Florida grown citrus fruit plus locally grown tomatoes, cucumbers and all of that great stuff.  The prices were great too.


Anyway, since we're pulling up stakes tomorrow, we hope to get over to Manateeville early and see what is up.  Hopefully it will be sunny.  It's my theory that the beasts should show up better in full sun.  Only time will tell.

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Comments

ferd on

Enjoyed today's entry....sounds like really awesome country! I can only imagine the beauty of the springs and the large swimming mammals! Oh, Happy Day Bud....whose counting? GLad your are no farther north, can you imagine 2' of snow in Bean Town? hugs

Bonnie McGowan on

Loved the Master Butchers Singing Club happy reading. Would also love to see manatees so enjoy. And speaking of old songs "Happy trails to you" !

photodon
photodon on

We had a little rain yesterday with more promised today here on the Sacramento River. Like you, I enjoy the rain and we are sorely overdo there as this is the "rainy season." Good to hear from you, Ralphie. Happy 71st, BTW.

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