HAPPY NEW YEAR!
We are thinking of changing the name of the “condo” to “the ARK”. Rain, rain and more RAIN! It was raining on our trip down. It was wet at Salt Springs and Wilderness and it’s been raining on and off since we arrived at Kelly Park in Apopka. Our fingers and toes look like albino prunes and the trailer is turning black from mildew! We’re running out of bleach! But, H checked the traffic cams up home and it don’t look good there either!
We spent one day out exploring since it was too cold and gray to jump into the Rock Spring and snorkel down the run like we usually do when here. Around and about we ended up south in Winter Garden. Their downtown Christmas displays were still up and still beautiful. Lucky for us the sun came out and we enjoyed our stroll up and down Main Street. Next stop was Hickory Point Park just north of Howie in the Hills Bridge on Rt 19. The HUGE southern plantation style, 2 story, screened in shelter house anchored the peaceful setting of nature boardwalk, boat launch and sprawling boat docks/fishing pier. We followed the highway up and over the Dora Canal and Dead River to Lake Eustis, just west of Tavares on Rt 441. Now the mission was to find a boat launch suitable to unfold the boat and get it into the water. The launch on Lake Eustis was way too big but we did meet a family from Ohio who was visiting family in Eustis for the holidays! They were from Whitehouse and knew our grandsons and their teenage son had had H’s daughter for a teacher! Our atlas showed a boat launch in Tavares on Lake Dora and looked close to the Dora Canal. It was in the picturesque lakefront park we visited last year! The seaplanes were still offering rides to tourists and were constantly roaring in and out of the little harbor. The grassy area next to the big launch ramp was going to be just right to unfold the boat!
We rolled the dice and took a chance on picking which day to attempt our boat launch. The clouds were heavy and dark gray on our way to the launch but the sun peaked thru as we ventured out of the harbor and headed for the Dora Canal which is a jungle river that joins Lake Dora and Lake Eustis. It is guarded at the mouth by a small lighthouse and rows of pontoon boats and small cottages. From there the small olive green river runs thru a Florida jungle! Large green vines, palmetto bushes and Cypress trees line the banks and kingfishers and herons flew up and away in front of us. According to a local magazine, the canal was dug back in the 1800’s, and the librarian at the Lake County Library (who is originally from Lima Ohio!) said that a lot of the old Tarzan movie still pictures were taken on that canal! Boat traffic was going both ways, from the Sheriff’s wide craft, kayaks, a pontoon, a couple of fishing boats, and a rather ponderous sailboat! Good thing it had its mast laid down because there were 3 rather low wide bridges it had to go under before it reached the next lake. A rather portly gentleman in a red plaid shirt manned one of the bass boats. He had long white hair and a full white beard! HUH! Now we know where Santa went after Christmas! Lake Eustis at the other end of the canal was way too rough for our little craft so we turned around and headed back thru the jungle. Once back on the calm side of Lake Dora we viewed the lakefront as we slowly puttered up and back before turning off the gas in the trusty little 2.2 Mercury motor and gently floated to the shore.
Now it’s Friday. Thursday we put more miles on the truck in the daylong rain. Today we are trying to dry out and warm up! Temps last night reached the low 40’s. The big project for the day is to see if the Catfish Place in Apopka is as good as it was last year. Saturday is our Sanford exploration day and of course – OLD people in Florida go to Flea Markets. Temps Sunday are to warm up a bit so maybe, just maybe – we’ll make it down the Rock Springs Run. Monday is moving day! Where to?? DISNEY!!!