Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ruskin, Fl

Ruskin means Mangrove trees, sandy beaches, bike rides, horseshow crabs, Tampa Bay, Manatees, Osprey, Pelicans, EG Simmons County Park Campground, Anna Marie’s Oyster Bar Restaurant and more new friends!

As we came west and then south on Rt 41 thru Apollo Beach, we could see the tall power plant stacks with their plumes of fluffy white steam billowing up and out into the sky.  We weren’t far from parking the condo on one of the huge grassy sites in EG Simmons Park!   This year we were able to get onto H’s very favorite-est spot - #56 – which is wide, deep and has a good sized open slot in the thick mangroves for launching a canoe, kayak – or porta-bote!  The camp host who is normally on this site has even left old green indoor/outdoor carpeting down to line the rocky, mucky opening.  Great for sliding boats easily between the long tendrils of Mangrove roots into the tannic colored water of the canal!
Safe Harbor

Sun Rise
This is a cold windy winter up north and the same in the south.  North Florida has had freezing temps and frost warnings have abound here in the Tampa area also.  30’s and 40’s at night and 50’s and 60’s most days have been the norm.  Wind and heavy clouds have been taking turns.  Long pants and jackets are required most days.  On one of those cold blustery days we did stop at the Apollo Beach Power Plant for our annual pilgrimage to see the Manatees. They were there in mass but the tide was out so they were all huddled closer to the warmer, deeper water of the area right next to the discharge pipes of the cooling towers.  Oh well, next time.   Right out the back window, some of the sunrises with their peach and coral glow and then aqua blue are still a welcome sight when you first wake up and sip that first cup of coffee.   The high wispy clouds and criss crossing jet streams accentuated the glow of the colors against the starkness of the dark trees.  That’s a sight H only sees in pictures!  Sleepy head!

Sky and water reflections
On our first afternoon, we had surprise guests come to call – Bud Franklin – H’s classmate from Swanton and his wife Nancy!  We’ve since gone to the Big Red Barn Flea Market with them and of course – Anna Marie’s!   On the day after we arrived, we were inside because it was cold and windy out, when 2 bundled up folks wandered thru our site and out behind the condo.  I was starting to get aggravated at the rudeness of people who don’t have any respect for someone’s space, when one of them came and knocked on our door.  It was the couple from Montreal, Claude and Nicole that we had met and become friends with at Kelly Park!   The guys had traded camping stories and ideas and they took H’s advice to come to Ruskin!

The boat has been in the water twice now. On our first cruise, the sky was so blue and the water so calm that it was hard to tell where one ended and the other began.  The light airy clouds were multiplied by the reflections on the bay!  A low flying pelican took advantage of the calm and flew right by us, adding to our beautiful scene.    Our second jaunt was smooth till we reached the open waters of the bay and the farther out we ventured- the bigger and rougher the chop.  Back to the protected areas of the many canals and back to our safe harbor!  

Pelican across our bow

We’ll be in this campground a few more days before we move south to the Port Charlotte area.  We’ve got more to share about the Tampa area – so stay with us!