January in Florida

We returned to Florida from our Christmas Tour (see previous post) on January 5th. Needless to say, we were tired from our travels and all our family holiday celebrations. We took a few days to just recuperate, do laundry, and relax. Plus, we were VERY happy to be back to warmer temperatures!

On Friday, January 11th, we drove to Orlando for a very special Christmas gift: tickets to a Billy Joel concert! The gift included two tickets to the concert, an overnight stay at a condo in downtown Orlando via Airbnb, and free dog-sitting all supplied by our son who lives in Gainesville. It was a fun little “get away,” and we thoroughly enjoyed the concert and our time together! We even made our first visit to an IKEA store!

Friday, January 18th was a beautiful day with sunshine and a high in the 70s. Silver Springs was just a few miles from the RV park, so we decided to drive over there that afternoon and explore a little. We had been to Silver Springs MANY years ago, but we didn’t remember much about it except it was a spring and we rode the glass bottom boats. We walked around and enjoyed the crystal clear waters of Silver Springs and the beautiful day.

Do you remember a television show called “Sea Hunt?” It was an action adventure show starring Lloyd Bridges who played a former US Navy frogman. Did you know a large part of the show “Sea Hunt” was filmed at Silver Springs? It was! Plus, he stayed in the motel right across from the entrance to the park in room #8 (we learned that from some relatives we visited with who live about a half a mile from Silver Springs).

The very next day, January 19th, we had plans to drive to Deland, FL, and visit our friends, Connie and Bill. Some other friends from Missouri, Debbie and Kenny, were also visiting Connie and Bill. That afternoon we had plans to attend the town’s famous “Taste of Deland” street festival. Various vendors from Deland put up tents and serve samples of DELICIOUS food from their menu. For a small entry fee, we could sample anything and everything we could eat from 1:00 – 4:00. We tried ALL kinds of food: sushi, barbecue with cole slaw, shrimp with rice covered in a wonderful glaze, desserts, and MUCH more. It was a fun afternoon!

January 23rd was my birthday. Connie and Bill wanted to see our RV and come for a visit, so they drove up from Deland. We showed them the RV park and sat outside on our patio for a while and enjoyed the sunshine and warmth. We decided to go to downtown Ocala to eat lunch at Ivy on the Square. What a GREAT restaurant with reasonable prices for lunch, and the food was DELICIOUS!

On Jan. 26th we drove to Blue Spring State Park, Florida’s premiere manatee refuge. This 2,643 acre park is the winter home to more than 200 West Indian manatees (also known as American manatees). It is home to 15 natural communities, a lagoon, a north-flowing river and a first-magnitude spring. There is a one-third mile boardwalk that follows along the bank covered with shady hardwood hammock. While on the boardwalk during the winter months, one can watch manatees swim, rest, and play in the warm 72-degree waters. The park also has a campground, cabins to rent, and a hiking trail. In the summer, one can swim, tube, snorkel, picnic, barbecue, and rent a canoe or kayak. There is also a kayak tour to experience the native plants and wildlife on a two-hour river cruise.

Viewing the manatees (called sea cows) was exciting. They are gentle, giant creatures that move seamlessly through the water. The day we visited the park, there were approximately 300 manatees present. The West Indian manatee was placed on the Endangered Species List in the 1970s when there were only several hundred left. On March 30, 2017, they were reclassified from endangered to threatened as the number of sea cows had increased to over 6,000. We thoroughly enjoyed watching them!

On February 1st, we traveled to our next RV park which was about 2.5 – 3 hours south. That will be an upcoming post, so stayed tuned!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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