We have a winner!!
Congratulations to Jill Walker for correctly answering the question!!
During the Civil War, Union soldiers were encamped in the Colonial Cemetery. Whether out of boredom or some other reason they changed the dates on a number of the grave markers. History can be fun eh?
For answering correctly, Jill and her lucky family will soon be spending a delightful evening enjoying
these fabulous prizes!
The movie takes place in and was filmed in Savannah Georgia. many of the movie's characters are real people who still live and work in Savannah. The tin of keylime cookies will be a sweet treat for them to enjoy along with the movie. Enjoy kids!!
Be the first to answer the question to receive fabulous prizes. Just click on the "contact" link above to participate.
Here we go.. While in Savannah Georgia, Lauren and I visited Colonial Cemetery and noticed several headstones with strange dates on them. The one pictured here is typical of them. According to the dates on the headstone, the deceased was born on October 28th, 1711 and died November 9th, 1811 making him 100 years and 12 days at the time of death.
Also notice on the headstone that stated age at death is 75 years 12 days.. Here's the question.. Why is there a discrepancy in the number of years the person lived on this headstone. Remember, there are several other headstones with the same discrepancy in Colonial Cemetery. Good luck
"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity."
– Gilda Radner
Let me begin by saying SAVANNAH IS AWESOME. We absolutely love this area - - so much so that we extended our stay here, which we have not done before on this trip. So let me just tell you all about it.
We are staying at Skidaway Island State Park which is beautiful. Our site is huge and very private and lousy with squirrels and live oaks covered with spanish moss (which, by the way is not Spanish nor is it moss -- it is part of the pineapple family). It has lots of nice trails and bike paths too which is really nice. Steve and I spent a couple days this week just hanging out here as it is such a nice place to stay. But on to our adventures . . .
Our first was a day in the city of Savannah. Please be sure to check out Steve's gallery for pictures of the city because there is just no way to describe the beauty. It is old world charm in spades. The architecture ranges from Greek revival to colonial and even a bit of French, sort of quasi-New Orleans styles. The city is organized around a series of squares that are used for both recreation and social activity. The landscaping in each square is meticulously done and a joy to behold, especially for someone like me who loves gardening. The best part about the city is that you can walk the entire thing and that, actually, is the best way to take it all in. Because of the squares, there's always a place to stop and take a break from the heat or to rest up and people watch. This day, to top off our Savannah visit, Steve and I had lunch at The Lady and Sons, the restaurant owned by Paula Deen and her sons. The restaurant has three stories and is constantly full. I had a half chicken salad sandwich and a cup of Confederate Soup (nine-bean soup) that was deeeeeelish! Steve had a tilapia sandwich that he said was just "alright". But the key lime pie was to die for - - I mean the crust had slivered almonds in it. MMMMMMMMMMMMM. On the way out of the city, Steve snapped a pic of the "Occupy Savannah" crowd. What a hoot!!!!!
The next day, Steve and I ventured out to Hilton Head Island. On the way, we stopped at the Del Webb community to check out their houses and get a feel for what they offered for a 55+ community. We really liked one of their model homes and what Del Webb has to offer. The community is no where near as large as The Villages, which we liked, but offers all the same type of social and recreational activities. We are keeping this on our list of options as we move forward. After our stop at Del Webb, we headed to the Island and had lunch at a really nice restaurant off the Shelter Cove harbor. At the time that we were there, it was low tide and it was fascinating to see that the water level rises 8 feet when the tide is at its highest. Interesting. Following lunch, we headed out to ride our bikes around the island. Hilton Head Island's community leaders recognized that their island is small enough (5 miles by 12 miles) that you can reach anywhere you need to go by bike, so they paved 50 miles of bike tracks that run all over the island. The beach can also be traversed via bike as the sand is very hard-packed, much like Daytona. We had a nice time just riding around and enjoying the beautiful weather and landscape. It got a little hot so, of course, we stopped for the requisite dish of ice cream before we headed back to Savannah.
There is an historic homestead near the state park we are staying in called Wormsloe. Steve and I ventured over there for a day of learning, exercise and a little geocaching. This home was built by Noble Jones in the early 1700s as part of an experiment that England was conducting. Some of England's poorest were taken to Georgia, given up to 500 acres each to work, and were required to develop a new community to expand the colony. Noble Jones was a carpenter, physician and a surveyor and became one of the more prominent members of the Georgia colony, along with James Oglethorpe who founded the city of Savannah. The house itself is what is called a "tabby" house because of the construction materials used to build it. The walls and foundation of the house is made from a combination of lime, sand, oyster shells and water and is quite sturdy. The Joneses lived on this plot of land beginning in 1737 and continues to live there to this day. They are now the Barrows family who are rather prominent in Savannah society, as you can imagine. The bad part of the day was the hike that Steve and I took on the property after we had finished geocaching. We took a poorly marked trail that was supposed to be a mile in length and head us back to the visitor's center. Unfortunately, that was not the case. We ended up lost in the woods, along with another older couple, and walked about 3 or 4 miles before we made it back to civilization. We remembered that we had our geocahing GPS and used it guide us on the right trails. That trek reminded me of the time my friend Michelle and I got lost on the nature trail across from Visteon. Recalling that memory made me laugh.
One of the really cool places we visited this week was Fort Pulaski which is out on Tybee Island. Construction on this fort began in 1829 and took 18 years to build. This fortification played a role in the very beginning of the civil war. In January of 1861, South Carolina attempted to secede from the Union, causing federal troops to occupy Fort Sumter two weeks later. That occupation caused Georgia's governor to call for the state troops to seize Fort Pulaski and arm it against the Union soldiers, as Georgia had seceded from the union just two weeks after South Carolina did. This fort was protecting the southern Atlantic coast for the confederate nation and faced battle with the union who ended up taking over Hilton Head Island. In April of 1862, a battle ensued and the fort was bombarded with artillery and the confederates surrendered. The outside wall of this fort still shows the battle scars. Check out the picture of the canon ball still lodged into the brickwork of the fort. Cool!!!!!
What a great week. We are headed back to Savannah this week to continue our tour of the city. Steve and I have a contest coming sometime in the next day or two so watch for that. It involves another cemetery and is a trivia question. The prize for this contest is pretty cool too. We also plan to attend a "low country boil" on Wednesday night at the Methodist church we attended yesterday. I will report back on what exactly that is when you next hear from me. At the end of this week, Steve and I pick up our oldest grandson, Jeremiah, who will be staying with us for a few days. The following week, our next oldest grandchild, Darius, and his sister Diamond are visiting. Can't wait to see the kids!!!!!!
Take care everyone
P.S... Tonight (3/26/12) our son, SSgt Steve USAF, will be escorting Karen Newman onto the ice where she'll sing the National Anthem prior to the Red Wings hockey game.. pretty cool. If you're going to the game try to get a video for us to post on youtube. Thanks y'all!
St. Marys, Georgia
Hello from St. Mary's, Georgia.
After 7 weeks, we have finally emerged from Florida and have started to head north. Our first stop is a camp called "Walkabout Camp" in Woodbine, Georgia. It is owned and operated by two young Aussie's and their four young kids. They are building a dream here in the U.S. and so far, based on the fullness of this RV Park, they are on their way. This camp was cool in that it had a salt marsh out back and they had a boardwalk that lead to a nice covered platform that was used for fishing. It was really quite pretty watching the birds and butterflies and the crabby patties meandering from their aquatic homes. Two kids that we met borrowed our fishing stuff and they were lucky enough to even catch a flounder right off that dock. Supposedly there is an alligator that lives in that salt marsh, but we never saw it (thank God. I am kinda alligatored out.)
Our first adventure was out to the Okefenokee swamp. Holy Cow. Talk about creepy! We took a boat ride out into the swamp and I gotta tell you, it was NOT fun for me. Don't get me wrong, the swamp is a beautiful tranquil place as long as you don't focus on the alligators that are laying about all over the place. We boated down this canal that rode on water that was almost black in color. This blackness is caused by the decomposing leaves that hit the water as well as some other naturally existing minerals, but let me just say that I didn't care for it at all. Even the turtle that swam next to our boat was almost completely invisible in the water until it hit the surface. Now this water makes for a nice reflector of the wilderness around it, so for that reason, it was pretty. But did I mention that there were alligators - - EVERYWHERE? Anyway, we tool down this canal and get to what is called a "prarie" in this swamp. I believe they call it a prarie because it actually looks like a grassland with some trees and flowers, etc. In reality, however, it is all this black water with the grasses and flowers that grow on the surface of the water, and under this water, were - - you guessed it - - ALLIGATORS. I know Steve enjoyed our boat ride but all I could think about was that if that small boat we were in had any kind of mechanical failure or, God forbid, tipped over for any reason, I would be lunch in less than a minute. I couldn't wait to get out of that boat and back on land at the dock. The rest of our time in the park was quite nice. We took a drive through the park on the Swamp Island Drive, which took us to the house of the Chesser family. This house and the entire homestead was absolutely charming. The house itself was built in the late 1800s by W. T. Chesser. He, his wife and seven children, lived their most of their lives and provided everything they needed themselves. They grew many types of crops, raised cattle, and sold turpentine and syrup made from sugar cane in order to earn extra income. While visiting this homestead, we met a wonderful couple who were volunteers at the park. They told us about their work-camping lifestyle and this intrigued Steve and I very much. In exchange for 24 hours of work per week, they are given a beautiful campsite that has full hook-ups, propane, firewood, and cable TV. Nice deal and Steve and I may just look into this as a way of supplementing our income while on the road. We won't be doing that for another two years because we have the entire U.S. and Canada to get through before we can stay put in one place for more than a week or two.
One of my favorite things are trains. I have no idea why, but I am especially intrigued by model trains. Anyway, in a town near where we are camping (called Folkston), the two main lines of the CSX railroad come together into one set of tracks which feeds the entire state of Florida. More than seventy trains per day coming into and out of Florida pass through this town, so it is affectionately referred to as the Folkston Funnel. In downtown Folkston, they built a rail platform specifically for trainspotters. The CSX railway communication system is broadcast through a loudspeaker on the platform so you can hear the train engineers and the dispatchers conversations. We sat and watched the trains for a while and chatted with the trainspotters, one of which was a young teenage boy who was quite knowledgeable about the rail cars and engines. We learned that the tracks have defect detectors every twenty miles or so that check for excess heat on the undersides of each car as it passes over an electronic eye. The defect detector then reports the length of the train, the number of axles, and whether or not it has spotted any defects. That was cool to hear. I have no idea why, but that time we spent on the platform was quite enjoyable for me. Check out the Folkston Funnel webcam and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Ok, so back to the interesting stuff. Steve and I tried to do some geocaching in Crooked River State Park but were completely unsuccessful. So we gave up and went on a hike into the woods and saw some really cool stuff. It is interesting here in this part of Georgia to see all the different environments that somehow co-exist together. For example, the Crooked River State Park is bordered by a salt marsh. Just beyond the edges of this salt marsh is a dense hardwood forest. Just beyond that, is a pinewood forest that houses both tropical and evergreen plants and is where the gopher tortoise makes their nests. What a great hike that was!! We learned about "midden soil". Hundreds of years ago the Guale people harvested shellfish from the river and discarded their shells into trash piles, called middens. Over the centuries, these shells have broken down, releasing calcium into the soil. It is because of this calcium release that the soil allows these hardwoods to grow to such huge heights. Close to the shore, we saw a tree whose limbs made the most beautiful, yet queer, pattern. Check out the gallery to see that picture as it is quite remarkable. Anyway, as we got to the end of the hardwoods and to the salt marsh, we glanced to the right and got a shot of the Naval Submarine base in Kings Bay, Georgia. We stopped by their on our way home to see if they did any tours, but sadly they didn't. All we got to see was the submarine they had buried out front of the gate, but that was pretty cool.
Steve and I went into St. Mary's one day to check out that town. So cute and supposedly the second oldest town in the U.S. I am not sure I buy this but there are several buildings there that are dated from the late 1700s and early 1800s. The town is on the St. Mary's River and is quite quaint and boasts an absolutely gorgeous riverfront park. This riverfront park is going to be the location for the shooting of an episode of "Royal Pains" next Tuesday through Thursday. Sadly, Steve and I aren't going to be here then or we'd try to get a part as an extra. While in town, we visited the Submarine Museum. That was pretty cool as it had a ton of submarine equipment and memorabilia, but the museum itself or its organization was hard to follow as it was not organized by year or by war, which made it hard to find a particular theme to the exhibits. But it was only $5 and well worth it. I did learn that the largest submarine was 700 feet long and was commissioned in 1997 (or at least, that's as far as the museum information went so it may be outdated). Still interesting, though.
While driving around one day, Steve and I happened upon an old, abandoned church and its accompanying cemetery and we thought we'd take a gander. Having lived in Abingdon, VA for some time, I am intrigued by old cemeteries and Abingdon has one of the country's oldest (hence, my hesitation at buying St. Mary's boast of being the second oldest town in the U.S.) Anyway, Steve took some black and white shots that are especially cool. What was interesting to see is that the cemetery is still being used today. There were several new graves there in addition to some that dated back to the early 1800s. The older tombstones were from one particular family, as is common with these church-related cemeteries. The other adventure we had that was "in town" so to speak was the car show we went to in Kingsland, Georgia. First, before I get to the cars, this town won a contest that Oprah Winfrey sponsored in which she tried to determine where in the U.S. she could find "Love City". This city was voted #1 because of the way the people within the city take care of each other and give back to improve the lives of everyone in the community. The episode that talks about Kingsland, GA is supposed to air sometime this summer, but I forgot to ask which channel it would be on or which show (if it's Oprah's OWN channel). Anyway, we had a great time at the car show. There as live music and barbeque as well as some awesome cars. My favorite was the 1953 Chevy Pickup that had a 5-window design. The owner, David Culpepper, is a Korean War veteran (as is my dad) so we struck up a conversation with him and learned about his truck. He spent 9 years restoring this vehicle and did 92% of the work himself. He was rather proud of this truck as he should be, and we voted for it as our show favorite.
Our last adventure while here in southeast Georgia was a day at Cumberland Island National Seashore. To get there, you have to take a boat from St. Mary's which was fun. On the way out, we saw a dolphin jumping through the wake of our boat. Totally cool and I wish we could have gotten pictures of that but they move too quickly for that. Anyway, on the way out, one of the submarines from the Naval Base passed right in front of our ferry. TOTALLY COOL! I have never ever seen a submarine outside of one dry-docked in Chicago so it was completely beyond words to see this thing sail by in the water. Quite impressive, I must say. It was being escorted by a large tug boat and two gun boats which sported machine guns both fore and aft. Sweet!!!!
Ok, back to Cumberland Island. This island is now part of the National Parks system but that wasn't always the case. Originally this island was owned by the Carnegie family (all 36,000+ acres) and served as their winter retreat. They built a magnificent home that was called Dungeness, the ruins of which remain on the island today. I say ruins because in 1959 the house burned to the ground and was not rebuilt by the Carnegies. There were several other buildings that made up the Dungeness compound and we enjoyed wandering around these sites and imaging what it must have been like to have so much money and to live that lifestyle. One of the unique aspects of this island is that it has more than 100 wild horses that roam around freely. They are not tame, at all, so we stayed clear of them and did not try to pet them or feed them anything. There are also wild hogs, deer, and a ton of other animals who make this island their home. Steve and I then decided to walk to the beach from the Dungeness ruins. It was a nice walk until we hit the sand dunes. Have you ever tried to walk over sand dunes. I'm not talking about hard-packed sand, but very fine and loose sand that doesn't really allow for much footing. Let me tell you, it's exhausting. After much panting and sweating, we arrived at the beach and it was worth the sandy ordeal. The surf was very nice to watch and we got a nice view of some naval helicopters on maneuvers overhead. I wish I could have flown my kite on that beach because it was perfect for that activity. But after tredging through the dunes both on the way there and back (it was a mile of walking on that sand, by the way), I was happy we weren't lugging the big kite with us. Steve and I were so tired after we crossed back over the dunes it was by sheer will itself that we made it back to the boat dock. My feet were KILLING me.
So we're sitting there waiting for the boat to come pick us up and what comes down the intercoastal waterway was the submarine. This time it passed right by us and we could just about reach out and touch it. As it made its way down the channel to the naval base, submariners started emerging from the hull of the ship. There must have been about a dozen of them riding on top of the submarine, which was really cool to see. We then boarded the ferry and headed back to St. Mary's and watched these people skydive and parachute down as we meandered down the St. Mary's river. What a great day and we lived to tell about the sand dune journey.
Ok, that's it for this week. We are off to Savannah tomorrow. I have a knitting class at the Michael's in town and I am very excited about it. We are staying at Skidaway Island State Park while in the Savannah area and also plan to visit Paula Deen's restaurant, "The Lady and Sons" so I will report back on how much butter was in my meal (you know she's famous for her butter content).
Later gator (and if I never seen another again as long as I live, I'm okay with that). : )
Bushnell - Week 2
"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly."
– Richard Bach
How was your week? Ours was more low key than usual but still good. We spent more time here at base camp than usual because the people in this RV park were just so warm and welcoming. Steve and I played Bingo (won $14), attended an ice cream social where some of the residents put on a short play called "The Six Chickens", which was absolutely hilarious. It was from one of the "Fractured Fairytales" for you Rocky and Bullwinkle fans.
Some of the people here play musical instruments so on Fridays they do a jam session, which was fun.
I learned how to knit this week too and made a beautiful loopy scarf. Knitting has been something that I've wanted to do for a while but didn't have the time to learn before. That's what's nice about "retirement". You can spend time doing things you've always wanted to do. My list is long and I am looking forward to learning other things like fly fishing and skeet shooting, etc. Anyway, this campground is called Sumter Oaks and is located in Bushnell, Florida. We highly recommend it if you are in the area. The grounds are covered with these absolutely majestic oak trees, all of which sport that cool Spanish moss which makes for a classic southern look. This campground even has three resident sandhill cranes which live here in the winter like all the other "snow birds" from up north. Steve and I were watching TV one evening when we heard this very loud noise that kinda sounded like an alarm. We went outside and saw this crane just wandering around behind our trailer. This bird is so big and has beautiful coloring. When it flies, however, it makes that honking sound that is rather disturbing and because of it's large size, it looks somewhat prehistoric. I felt like I was watching a Pterodactyl or something.
Anyway, this week Steve and I went back to the Villages to check out the neighborhood again and to do a drive by on some of the houses that we saw on the website that were for sale. Again, we were very intrigued by this area as a place for future full-time living so we wanted to do another "look see" before we left the area. This time we visited on Saturday morning rather than a mid-week afternoon visit. Boy, what a busy place. There was so much traffic - - both automobiles and golf cars - - and we were particularly taken aback at the number of people waiting to tee off at the various golf courses we passed that morning. The carts were ten to twelve deep which didn't look very inviting at all. Visiting the neighborhoods was a good thing to do. We can most definitely eliminate the manufactured housing areas as a possible location as they were old and not as nicely kept as the newer neighborhoods. There were even some that looked abandoned and extremely unkempt. This is certainly not the view we had when we traveled with the sales person the week before. The other homes we visited were overpriced, for sure. For example, a 2 bed/2 bath home with a very small yard will cost somewhere between $140-$175k. So you say - - "Why would you want to live there?" Well, in all honesty, the place is just the coolest. There are a million things to do and these people are seriously active, which is very appealing. For one, the security that comes with living in a 55+ community. We also think it may be a nice place for our kids and grandkids to visit for that reason and the location is pretty ideal (one hour from Disney). We had lunch at a restaurant in one of the town squares and talked with our waiter about the "busy-ness" of the area. He told us that when the snowbirds are down for the winter, the place is really hopping but that it settles down in the spring. So, we'll leave this place on our list of possibilities and keep our eyes open as we move up the east coast.
Steve and I ventured down to Lakeland to attend a Tigers' spring training game. I must say, I was rather impressed with Joker Marchant (what kind of name is that ) Stadium. It was very intimate and the players seemed to be close enough to touch. The cool part of the stadium was the berm in the outfield. This is just a large hill of really nice grass where people just hang out. We sat out there for a while and I really enjoyed that much more than the seats we had when we originally arrived. Miguel Cabrera hit a home run and the Tigers looked dominant over the Atlanta Braves, but whether or not that plays out in the regular season would be difficult to predict given that neither team really had their "A" team on the field when we were there. Nonetheless, the game was fun and it was surprising to see how many people were there for the game.
Our last adventure for the week was attending the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville. What a blast. These cars are so incredibly fast I cannot even describe it. They go from 0 mph to 300 mph in less than 4 seconds and cover a quarter mile in that time. The loudness of the engines is also something you have to experience to believe. Steve tells me that the two cars on the track have more horse power than the first ten rows of a Nascar event. WOW! That's a lot of power. We posted some videos on youtube from a qualifying round. One is of Courtney Force, one is of Top Fuel dragsters and lastly of Funny Cars in slow motion. That one is cool. One of the more impressive things about this sport is that there are several women who race. John Force (a legend in this sport) has 4 daughters who race funny cars. There were four other women who did well and we didn't even see the entire field. The other thing that I like about NHRA is that the fans can get up close to the cars and drivers in the pits. Steve and I talked a bit with Doug Kalitta's pit crew and learned a bit about the lifestyle these guys live. They all love what they do but the job is really quite draining. First of all, they have to disassemble the engines of the cars after every heat and they have only 30 to 45 minutes to take it apart, inspect it, and put it back together and install it in the car - - and they do that several times a day. When they are finished at the track, they are the ones who pack up the haulers and drive them to the next location. They work 16 hours a day from February to November, which leaves them no time for family or fun. It seems glamorous to be involved in the racing world, but in reality it is quite the grind.
Ok, Steve and I are getting ready to move today. We're finally leaving the state of Florida after spending the last 8 weeks here. We have really enjoyed our time in Florida but we are excited to start moving north. Our first stop is a small town called Woodbine, where we plan to take in the southeastern Georgia shoreline. Then we head to Savannah for a week. After that we will be in the Atlanta area as our grandkids are coming for a visit - - YAHOO!! We will also be sending Terry and his girlfriend off on their trek up the Appalachian Trail while we are in the Atlanta area. Lots going on in Georgia so we're pretty excited about it.
Until next time peeps . . . .
Bushnell - Week 1
"Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."
– Virginia Satir
So true, isn't it? I know this is a lesson that I have learned, and continue to learn, and I'm 52 years old!!!! When does it stop????
So, we're here in Bushnell, Florida and having a very nice time. The park we're staying in is smaller than usual (probably about 50 campers) but the people are just the friendliest. Steve and I enjoyed the Mexican dinner night and the all-you-can-eat breakfast they provided. We once again played Bingo and I won $2 (because I had to share the pot with several others who also won with me). This park belongs to the Escapees camping club and I highly recommend this club to anyone who's thinking about doing some serious traveling like Steve and I. You get discounts at a ton of RV parks, but this group also provides other services to full-timers like mail forwarding, trip planning, etc.
We began our week with a visit to The Villages. It's a community designed for people 55+ and it offers everything you could ever possibly want in life. Honestly, it was kinda weird to drive into this city, and when I say city, I mean it. There are 80,000 residents of The Villages and the plan is to grow that to 100,000. The residential area is organized into "neighborhoods", all of which contain multiple community pools, at least one clubhouse (but most have multiple), and at least one Executive golf course. Overall within The Villages there are 20 executive and 8 championship golf courses, each of which can be used by anyone within The Villages system. This community also offers all kinds of clubs to keep the seniors active and engaged and quite frankly, it was overwhelming. We drove around and looked at homes with a sales person and I was taken aback at the amount of activity. There are "streets" right next to the main roads that are for golf cars only and these "streets" were full of traffic. The golf car is the major source of transportation in this community and when we visited one of the town squares, the place was lousy with golf cars. Steve and I both loved this community and will definitely keep it in mind when we finally settle down and I go back to work. Here is a link to the website if you want to check it out yourself: www.thevillages.com. In my mind, the homes are overpriced, but the monthly fee (similar to an HOA) is so low, it sort of makes up for the overpricing on the house. Residents pay $135/month which covers all the costs associated with maintaining the facilities throughout the Villages. This fee allows each resident access to each and every pool, clubhouse, entertainment and social clubs, and free golf on any of their executive courses. So, yeah, Steve and I could become "Villagers". Holy Cow!
After this visit, we stopped at the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing. What a gem this museum was. There are two buildings full of cars and I mean FULL - - the first dedicated to Don's drag racing career and the sport in general, and the second was just chock full of antique cars. "Big Daddy", as Don was known throughout his career, began racing cars in Florida in 1950. He was quite the visionary and innovator for the sport and dominated the drag racing circuit for nearly 25 years. While there, we met Don's current crew chief, Bob Taaffe, who told us about his time with Don both in the past as well as the present. These two men go WAAAAAY back and it was interesting to hear Bob talk about old times.
Also in the area is Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. This was more like a zoo than a state park and is the home to some of Florida's largest winter manatee population. It's an interesting park in that you enter at the Visitor's Center and then board a boat that takes you to the actual park. The ride is educational and informative as the guide tells you about the native wildlife and the history of the park and it's most famous resident - Lou the Hippo. Once inside the park, you walk along a paved path and view tons of animals that are native to Florida: red wolves, bald eagles, flamingos, bobcats, alligators, manatees, key deer, and many others. There is even an underwater viewing area for the manatees and many of Florida's resident species of fish. This has to be one of the best state parks I have ever visited and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. This is a recommended stop if you are ever in the Ocala area.
One of the disappointing things we did this week was visit Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. I had always heard about the mermaids at this park and both Steve and I were looking forward to the visit. Unfortunately, the day we were there was dedicated to celebrating the 100th birthday of Dr. Seuss so the entire park was centered around Dr. Seuss related activities and entertainment. The place was swarming with kids and it was quite hot so we picked a bad day. The mermaid show was superceded by a show about the Cat in the Hat. It was cute but not what we wanted to see. We also took the boat ride down the river which also turned out to be a disappointment. The boat traveled only 1/2 mile and there was really nothing to see except the kayakers. UGH. To compound this bad experience, we headed from there to the Botanical Gardens. This would have been a spectacular place to visit if it weren't "winter". Most of the plants were in their winter hibernation stage and very little of them had flowered. Those that did, however, were spectacular and Steve got some awesome pictures.
The balance of the week was spent hanging out at the trailer and visiting with our neighbors. This week will be exciting. We are going to a flea market in Webster that everyone seems to think is a "must see". We also plan to see the Detroit Tigers in a Spring training game and then our final stop is a day at the NHRA Grand Nationals in Gainesville on Friday.
Until then, hang in there you winter people. Daylight Savings time begins on March 10 and that means that Spring is just around the corner. We miss you all!!