Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Orlando Area

Camping at Moss Park is like having one big scavenger hunt!   Deer? Check!   Turkey? Check!  Sherman Squirrels? Check!  Armadillo? Check! Big Black Snake? Check!  Songbirds? Check!  Sandhill Cranes? Check!  Sandhill Babies?  CHECK!!   Last year the babies arrived as scheduled but sadly, they only made it thru that first night.  This year the parents brought their new chicks by as soon as we were parked for us to admire and take too many pictures.   Both chicks peeped and eagerly accepted food delivered to them by the long powerful beaks of both parents.  The two babies survived life in the park for almost a full week – until one morning Mom and a very disheveled Dad showed up for their morning stroll with only one child.   In its one week of life the oversized golden chick grew to twice its original size.  It’s neck and legs also doubled in length, which now made it look more like a Sandhill.

We don’t normally “move” on a Friday and when we arrived, the campground was filling up.  We managed to secure the last site on the outside of the campground loop.   Moss Park is on a lake but most campsites are in fairly dense cover and the lake is hard to see thru the trees.  Each sunset, the deer crept across the back of our site on their evening search for food. 
Every day there were myriads of songbirds flitting from branch to branch as they sang their sweet songs.  H was reclining in his chair with his book in hand when one even landed on his extended foot before hopping down to explore the rug for some tiny, tasty morsel.
And we finally got to see the launch of the SpaceX rocket!  We rode our bikes down to the long fishing pier that stretches out into Lake Mary Jane just a few minutes before the launch was to take place.  At first it was just a bright ball of light that rose above the tree lined shoreline to the east, but as it went up across the rose colored sunset sky you could easily see the jet trails extending back to earth.   Then the satellite and rocket separated and you could see each go it’s own way.   As the darkness seeped in, we rode our trusty little bikes back to our site and reminisced about the NASA Space Shuttle launch we had seen at this same park when we were still camping in the pick up truck camper!!   Now, that was a long time ago!

The only thing our Moss Park scavenger hunt was missing was George – our dear friend from upstate NY who used to be the campground host/wildlife photographer here in Moss Park.  He retired and had moved to another campground.  He endured a massive heart attack while up in NY last summer.  We drove to our favorite St Cloud restaurant, The Catfish Place, and met him for lunch.  His recovery is coming along a little at a time but as it is with most men – slowly is frustrating.

There is always something new in Orlando to go find and explore.   Last year we found the Orlando Eye – the 400 ft tall Ferris wheel.  This year it is open and the large passenger capsules were going up and around very, VERY slowly to afford the best views of Orlando and surrounding landscape.  Also open were the Wax Museum and Orlando Aquarium.  The sides and the back of the main building were covered with oversized murals of various Disney characters including Shriek and Fiona!  Besides the mandatory fast food restaurants and sweet shops there were bright flower gardens and tall dancing fountains.

The main reason for our venture out that day was to find the “new” Disney Spring.   From the Orlando Eye location, the GPS led us south and we ended up at the “old” Downtown Disney!   Go figure!   A massive new multi leveled parking garage came complete with LED lights that directed us to available parking spots. The lights turned from green to red once we were securely parked!   This new and improved shopping and dining complex had greatly increased the space of the old Disney Downtown!  Besides new bridges that crossed over the small lake, one high-end restaurant called The Boathouse even had a dockside bar with a dozen or so beautifully restored Chris Craft boats and other exotic 1940 runabouts sitting in individual lifts along side the docks.  Nearby, there was even a new “boat” ride, which featured at least 6 restored 1961 to 1968 Triumph Amphicars!   These brightly colored fun vehicles were lined up behind each other as they were driven up out of the water.  As needed, the “captain” would fetch the next vehicle and drive it up the ramp to a big cement turntable.   Once turned around and facing the ramp that led back to the water, the “captain” would allow his life jacketed passengers to enter the open topped car and they would proceed down the ramp and into the water, where it became a boat!  A trip around the lake and the procedure would be repeated again with new passengers.

Now it is Saturday night.  The awning is rolled up and the rug is folded up!   Sunday morning is once again time to move.   Our next site where we’ll put the jacks down is back in our favorite Salt Springs!   YES!   Our clocks have                                                                                already been changed –                                                                                  SpringUp!