It was mid November, 2016. Four months before this Lynda had applied for the Deland Art Festival. At the same time we snapped up a camp site at Blue Springs State Park as places to stay get few and far between during November. The park is about 15 min. from Deland so it would make a good place to stay for the festival. Unfortunately we didn’t get into the fair. They can host about 150 artists and about 300 applied. Big time prizes, so big time artists apply.
In any case, we had this reservation at the park, so we decided to go anyway. We’ve never been there before, but many people told us it was beautiful . It was a very nice park with a spring that runs out into the St. John’s river. It’s a popular dive spot as the spring itself is very deep. Manatees come into the spring in the winter as the water is warmer than the river. During the months that there are no manatees, you can swim in the spring, its a constant 73 degrees, brrr.
Blue Springs was popular place even in the past. Steamboats used to come here and after that trains. The family that owned it built up quite a trade. The area has lots of animals; manatees, turtles, birds, etc. You can go out on a tour boat or rent kayaks and canoes to go out on the St. John. It is a pleasant place to roam around. And the campsite has brand new bathrooms. What luxury!
There is one down side, a train passes by right next to the campsites about every four hours and toots it’s horn as it goes thru the rail crossing, even at 4 AM.
It is roughly a half hour to the beach, which like Daytona they can drive cars on. You can see Daytona Light across the estuary. Not the soft white sands of the west coast, but it’s a beach.
This is our view, it’s a prairie. It was about the end of October, so we decided to go out to Kissimmee Prairie State Park for a look see. It’s way off in the middle of the state, down an eight mile shell road, about 2.5 hrs from Tampa. More like Okeechobee, not Kissimmee, the K river just runs thru it. Not the best choice as it has been raining a lot lately and it is the full moon. K state Park is noted for its great night sky and trails. The trails were flooded out and we didn’t even see the moon until the last night, let alone the stars, too cloudy. Better to come here in the winter when it is clear and a new moon. This is the first time we’ve been in a state park that was basically deserted. I think there were only four other campers in the whole place. Very quiet needless to say. So we went looking for wildlife.
We did see a deer, there’s no hunting here so they walk unafraid thru the campgrounds. We saw wild turkeys, giant spiders, gopher tortoise, an otter, and the white throated Caracara. I roamed all over the trails looking for the Caracara and it appeared on the picnic table in the camp next to ours. Definitely a strange looking bird. Lots of flies here, not biting but a nuisance (this is a popular horse camping place) bring lots of bug spray. More photos on my site http://www.fishbourne.shutterfly.com
We are definitely going to come back in the winter when there is no moon and the trails are dry. It’s a 7 mile hike to the river down the military trail, might be do-able on a bike and I think you’d see a lot of interesting stuff. They do run a swamp buggy tour on weekends in the winter and holidays. Next Trip Oscar Scherer SP Nov.
We wanted to spend a little longer time at Fort Desoto, so back in January I made a reservation for 10 days, including a weekend. By spring you can’t get a weekend here to save your life, but in January – No Problem. We got #209 again, right on the bay, there are no sites over on the beach. As usual you can blow up all of these pictures by double clicking on them.
We brought the cat and he did fine for the week, except for tearing up the upholstery in the settee area. He is settling down but we did take him home after a week as he seemed to be getting bored,
We basically loaded everything we owned, except for the kayaks so it would be a real test of how we would survive in a small space. After the first few nights it hardly rained at all. One of the things about florida is the evening thunderstorms. Not a big problem as it does cool everything off.But you do have to put everything away otherwise it gets soaking wet. One storm came up so fast that Lynda could just barely collect up all of her art pages she had laying out drying on the table before it hit.
We went back on Monday to pick up the printer’s proof on my cookbook. It’s my first so we really wanted to see what it looked like. If you’re interested its up on Amazon. Just look for “Small Foods” by Bill Fishbourne. Printed version only right now but I should have the Kindle one up later this week. Kindle’s kind of a pain to work with and I had to reformat the whole book.
Here’s the cover
This is one recipe. There are about 25 in the book.
Through judicious use of the grey water tank we did manage to spend the 10 days without dumping the tank until the very end. But we did notice some material going out that looked like slices of bread. I can only imagine that it was fungus growing in the tank. We’re using Odorloss in the tank but I think we’re going to have to take more severe steps in the future.
There was a lot of wildlife around and some brilliant sunsets. More on my photo site http://www.fishbourne.shutterfly.com
2014 Koreshan State Historic Site
We did about a 2.5 hour run down 75 south to the Koreshan camp grounds. I checked the tongue weight on Minnie and found it was about 850 lbs. more than enough so that it wasn’t the cause of any sway. So we loaded up the back end of Minnie to reduce some of the tongue weight and see how that worked out.
The run down was excellent. Our goal for this trip was to visit the Corkscrew Swamp, miles of wooden walks which run thru the Corkscrew Swamp just east of Naples. We expected to see lots of swamp but we were surprised to see all of the wildlife as well; gators, birds, raccoons, snakes, etc. It wasn’t really buggy yet but give it a month or so and it will be swarming with mosquitoes and biting flies. I was nabbed a couple of times by deer flies.
We are camping at the Koreshan site so we did drop over to see what it was about. The Koreshans were a religious sect that formed in the 1890’s. They believed that the earth was hollow, etc. and they practiced celibacy. At its best there were about 200 of them here in FL. Needless to say the last of them died in the sixties, leaving the 300 acres to the state. We shot a mess of pictures of the old buildings etc. and there are a ton of imported trees. Worth a visit if you were already here.
The camp ground is nice, fairly wide sites with foliage between each one. Lots of trees, we have an ear tree right over us and it drops these hard seed pods about three inches long and shaped like an ear. They weigh about 1/2 ounce, when they hit the top of the trailer from way up in the tree you can really hear it! We have the awning out not for the weather but to keep all of the tree flowers off the sitting area. Bath rooms are clean and serviceable but showing their age, showers definitely need floor re-grouting.
We took a run down to Lover’s Key a nice beach a little south of Fort Myers. It’s about 2 miles long. Typical south west Florida beach, hard white sand, lots of shells. I found a couple of shark’s teeth. We also went to Estero Bay Preserve. Not much there it’s really just a birding trail. There’s another one of these just a block or two north of Koreshan. It looks as though there was a good sized state park there once with a parking lot and entrance booth, but it’s all crumbled down now and just a birding trail. Guess the state needs to find some money to develop this park.
You can see more flics on my website http://www.fishbourne.shutterfly.com