Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Springtime at the Spring

“Back to the Forest!”   Our 2014/2015 Winter Tour of Florida has come full circle once more.  Most times on our way home the campground is full but this time site #72 was open and ours for a week.  Central Florida had gone from spring to almost full-blown summer with temps reaching 90 and above and only sliding into the high 60s at night.  The heater was put away and the windows left open each night.   Each afternoon the air conditioner was cranked on. 

Within an hour of getting settled in our spot at the end of the curved road in the campground, D&S arrived to inspect our new traveling home.   What a treat!  Giggles and laughs and hugs were shared before and after a thorough inspection of my kitchen, dining room and ample living room!   Since it was a long trip back to the far side of Ocala, they cut their visit short and we promised to hug once more before we hit the road and moved to our next designation.   But, before they left, we showed them the beautiful clear water and deep turquoise blue crevices of the springs.
One afternoon, H and I took off for Palatka, the town about 24 miles north of the park and found the Palatka Skeet Club so H could finally get his gun out from under the couch.   A nice little club down a dead end road - next to a small airport with helicopters and small planes coming and going while the half dozen men were out with their shotguns aimed high at those bright orange disks that kept whizzing out across the field that was speckled with even more orange.  It was a strange sight for this amateur observer who was watching it all from the comfort of the truck.  Since it was a VERY warm day, H only shot one round but did very well indeed.  He only missed 2 out of 25 and he hasn’t shot skeet since way last summer! 

Our other afternoons were spent down at the springs, aka: “the pool” or “the beach”!  Our kayaks were slid into the water only once in the morning to see the manatees but our hot sweaty bodies were slid into the springs almost every day – sometimes by noon!  Salt Springs has 3 deep springs that send up millions of gallons of fresh crystal clear water each day.  Each deep blue dark crevice is usually occupied by a swarm of silver sided Mullet that try to keep the algae from sticking to the sides of the huge boulders.   SPFB – since we are here each year – you’ve seen our photos of the springs and fish and manatees!  We’ve never been here so late in the season tho and have not enjoyed the water this much.  After our daily swim we perch on the wall and watch others take their turn at cooling off.  Our second weekend there, the basin was full of weekenders (and probably void of fish!)  The open area outside the string of buoys was just about as full of anchored boats and their occupants who were also in the water trying to escape the heat.  No fish in the springs - no doubt, no manatees out there either!
One more chance to hug Dick  came when we all met for an early dinner at Logan’s Roadhouse in Ocala.  While Sharon and I shopped at Joann’s, the boys went to Best Buy and worked the deal of the week.  Dick wanted a new desk chair but the store only had a broken floor model in the color he wanted.  H finagled a dirt-cheap deal and D only needed to buy a new screw to fix the wounded chair.  

Now it was time to say goodbye to our newest friends, Larry and Chris from North Carolina.  They are the new kids to the camping scene in Florida and it was so fun to share some of the fun things to do and see on the back roads of the state.  If they ever get to Michigan they know who to call. 

From Salt Springs in the Ocala Forest we are heading west to Chiefland and the Suwannee River Hideaway Campground.