Which do you want first - - The awesome sunset stuff like this or the scary tornado warnings and stormy weather stuff?
We’d been in Trimble Park for a week when the weather forecast went from sunny and wonderful to warnings of tornados, damaging winds, thunder, lightening and rain. H and I were in Sanford when the strong winds started pushing at us, blowing gritty sand in my face and eyes. The massive big American flag near the marina was hanging on for dear life! When we arrived back at camp, branches, palm fronds and Spanish moss were being thrown across each campsite. Then the raucous screech of the weather radio started blasting away with tornado WARNINGS. H made the decision to head to the cement block bathhouse across the way. The constant thunder came next, along with lightening that lit up the sky like giant strobe lights above the silhouetted dark trees! 4 more folks and a very nervous little dog soon joined us in our protective shelter! An hour and a half later, when the warnings had past we dashed thru the downpour of rain back to our long tan train. Somewhat subdued, the winds continued thru the night and the entire following day! Across the lake in Leesburg were reports of hail the size of quarters and 60 mph winds. 10 miles to the east in Apopka and to the south in Orlando there were power outages! The bad stuff is over now and our golden sunsets have returned!
Before the storm, the weather was great and H made the most of it. We were normally on the go each day. Several times we stopped in the waterfront town of Tavares - the Seaplane City of Florida! Each time we walked the waterfront park there were different planes either splash landing or taking off from their watery runway. It was fascinating to watch their landing gear either unfold and extend to provide wheels as theyrolled up the boat ramp to deplane their passengers or the reverse as they re-entered the water for another flight. On our second visit a boat like plane with one broad wing above rolled out into the choppy water. As before, the wheels rolled up and out of the way. This time tho, the 2 folks in the plane seemed to be weighing the small craft down causing it to wallow in the rolling waves! The pontoons took turns lifting out of the water – trying hard to balance the low-slung red “boat”. With our encouragement, it finally lifted!
One warm sunny day we found the Lake Apopka North Shore Driving Trail and obeyed the one-way signs that led between the dark waters of the bayous and the grassy swamps that now surround the NE side of the lake. Florida had purchased 91
acres of farmland surrounding the polluted lake and turned it into a preserve,
attempting to filter out the old fertilizer residue before it emptied into the
lake and to give the vast variety of wading birds and ducks a safe home. Gators
|wild life preserve|
H obeyed the one-way signs but not the 10 mph speed limit signs so we zipped thru the wilderness in licitly split time – hardly giving me a chance to snap any pictures of the different birds. Admittedly, I had probably seen most of them before and most likely have pictures anyway! He did stop for the alligator tho and for a rest stop at the pumping station area where several hiking/biking paths crossed the gravel road that lined the pond. It was hard to believe that this calm water and all its reflections flowed out to Lake Apopka and the bustling town of Winter Garden beyond.
Of course we did our usual flea markets, downtown Mount Dora walking tour and lunched at our favorite seafood places. We even ventured back to Disney Springs in Orlando. We parked, as before, in one of the multi storied parking garages that kept track of parking spaces with different colored LED lights, and entered the sensory overload of shopping and dining areas. Disney themed stores lined the wide streets and beckoned parents with small children to spend even more money on the exhorbantly priced merchandise displayed before them! Even the bakery was expensive - $5 for a single cupcake/$54 a dozen!! The Lego Store was still popular with all its brightly colored plastic pieces inside and the giant Lego statues lined up outside. The big green sea dragon still patrolled the lagoon in front of the shop! The Boathouse still had its collection of antique boats, including the miniature tugboat. The popular Amphicars were still giving watery tours! The newest area of the sprawling “mall/village” was the Italian area with its fancy plantings and fountains and very upscale shops. Were we still in the USA?
Our stay here on this beautiful peaceful lake is drawing to a close and it’s time to bid adieu to our new friends from states like Alabama, Illinois, Mississippi, Michigan and even Florida! Thursday evening we’ll have a new home farther south in Hillsborough County. I wonder where??!!