Crunchy on the outside…

We needed time to recuperate! So a very short hop eastwards back to the Space Coast, saw us on the beach at Port Canaveral in the afternoon that we had said goodbye to the kids, early in the morning. A lovely beach, bereft of the commercialism of Daytona, where we managed to get the timing just right as temperatures hit the 80’s. Rather bizarre though to see liners gliding silently by from the port outlet. We spent a day, just doing nothing, such luxury!

Our next move began the trip west; we travelled to Ocala in the centre of Florida. We were welcomed by a free concert in the town square by ”Little Texas” who were actually quite entertaining. This, as we came to learn, is the “Horse capital” of the state on a par with Kentucky, Newmarket and Chantilly. (A fact I’m sure Billy will have known!) The landscape opened up to wide paddocks, though we didn’t see many horses I’m sure they were there (perhaps being coddled in these low winter temperatures!) The town has a thriving artistic community too, some of the results you can see in the photos. We actually stayed in the Ocala State Forest, we’re becoming fans of the State parks and Forests, they provide a tranquil resting spot, though they don’t offer facilities such as wi fi of course, which can be a bit of a nuisance. Back to cruising in the car, computer on knee trying to “steal” a connection. You’ll forgive us if the blog is a bit sporadic at times, we’re not really being lazy, it’s just a bit tricky. We were close to Silver Springs, which is the largest Artesian well in the world apparently..(Lots of things seem to be the largest, the biggest, the best etc.) It also gave rise to the first theme park in Florida! Way back in the 1870’s people flocked here to see the spring and to ride in the glass bottom boat to see the wonderful clear waters below. Did you miss that bit Vic? We by passed the theme park, which I have to say looked rather sad and instead walked some trails in the Silver Spring State Park. Very rewarding it was too… my I spy book is filling up. The tally that day was:

17 turtles (peninsular cooters with yellow striped heads) all-lazing in a row on a log beside the Silver river

1 anhinga, drying his wings in the sunshine

1 fairly large white tailed deer, which bounded off as soon as he saw us

1 scuttling armadillo, a little armoured tank on a mission to cross the path

3 alligators, quite common place now

4 maybe 5 we think possibly coyotes, which rushed off into the brush

oh and a woodpecker!

We got photos of some of them, but weren’t quick enough for all, so you’ll just have to believe us. It was here in the 30’s that Tarzan was filmed with Johnny Weismuller and there is supposed to be a colony of monkeys that are the remnants of some that escaped at the time, but we didn’t see any of them!

 

Next we stopped at a really beautiful spot called Keaton Beach, where we were literally at the edge of the gulf of Mexico. It was so tranquil you could hear the mullet as they leapt out of the water…I don’t know why the pelicans weren’t so huge they couldn’t fly, there were so many fish. This was the place to watch the sun set. Though having to build your home on stilts 22’ above ground was a little off putting!

We’re now making our way towards New Orleans; we are camped in the Three Rivers State park, another beautiful, quiet spot. We’re literally on the banks of Lake Seinole, Malc is determined to get me into a canoe; we’ll see.

Oh by the way, today 14th January we crossed a time zone, we’re now in Central Standard time so we are 6 hours behind the UK now.

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