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Friday, July 17, 2015

We're Traveling - Florida! Part 3

After all our running around along the gulf coast, it was nice to settle in back home. 
Home being the temporary address at the RV park near Sanford.

Having visited family in this area for decades, I know of many off-the-beaten-path attractions. Anxious for a break from the unusually hot temperatures, I thought a trip to an air-conditioned museum would be nice. I figured Ray would love to see some classic cars, so I took him to The Mount Dora Museum of Speed.

From an autographed guitar collection and jukeboxes to drive-in theater speakers and embalming tools and fluids, this museum has a bit of everything old and odd. There are collectible metal and neon signs, old televisions, antique baby strollers and push/peddle cars, gas pumps and air pumps, model airplanes,  and much, much more, you can spend a lot of time in this small place.

We looked around for almost an hour and still didn't see everything. It's quite a small place, but it's crammed to the rafters! For less than the cost of going to the matinee and having popcorn, we went on a trip down memory lane.

The cars and other items are placed very close together, and the neon lights reflect off all the auto glass. Some areas are cordoned off, making it difficult to see the small details. There are signs, trophies and other collectibles displayed in front of the cars. If you enjoy taking pictures, this place will frustrate you. But if this museum had enough space to properly display their items, it would be huge! Still, we very much enjoyed all the pointing and 'had one just like that' moments.

We returned to that area the next day for a Blue Springs/St John's River cruise. I highly recommend this trip. Don't we look like we're having fun?

The main wildlife attraction here is the Florida alligator   and we saw a bunch!

They were along the shore, floating in the lilies, and swimming across the river. You can't ride down the St John's River and not see alligators.

Some people see these creatures as creepy predators. I see them as a glimpse back to a prehistoric age.  I am fascinated by their power.

I really missed this river. Before my family moved here, we vacationed here. So I grew up water skiing and swimming here. 

Yep, there were gators here then. Nope, wouldn't do it now. 

  The second main attraction here is the manatee. When I was a kid, I swam with them.I remember standing in the clear spring water, watching one of the gentle giants up close, when suddenly I felt the earth move! I had been standing on one.

It's really sad to see all the scars they wear from the boat props. Ironic that, if not for these vegetarians, boat traffic along this river would be more troublesome   choked off by water hyacinths and lilies.

We saw osprey, blue heron, snow egrets, and turtles galore! There is a lot of wildlife along this river, but one of my favorite sites has to be the cypress trees with their knees reaching skyward to the Spanish moss swaying in the breeze.

 Back on solid ground, we spent
 some time walking around the 
grounds of the park.

I like to discover crazy stuff in nature, 
like this palm that appears to be 
growing out of the huge oak tree. 

The palm is actually growing out of the ground 
right behind the oak, and the oak tree decided 
to lean back and wrap around the palm.


One of the things I HATE about Florida is the size of the bugs!
I don't know what this thing is...
But I do know that I don't want to find it inside the camper!

It is probably on the way to becoming a beautiful butterfly.
That is what I tell myself so it doesn't show up in a nightmare.

Along the bank of the spring, there are wooden walkways.
This one leads out to a deck 
from which you can observe 
the gazillion gar and catfish swimming from under the lilies.

 Along the walkways are signs posted, telling you about the
wildlife and history of Blue Spring.

 Note to self: 
When camera shopping, include a polarized lens for taking photos in the sun's reflection.

Just then I got a text from my step-daughter's fiance...
He asked if I'd seen Sasquatch.
Yes, I have!
I couldn't resist sending him
this photo of my 6' 5" husband 
next to the sign that reads, 'Protecting the Gentle Giant.' 

There is a lot of history behind the Thursby House, as water traffic was the major means of settling this area.

This park, with the river boat cruise, is a wonderful way to spend an day, enjoying the native critters and scenery, as well as learning a bit about the history of Blue Spring. 

Sanford also has a river boat cruise that is worth the time. I'll be sharing that in my next post.

I've never been on a cruise ship in the ocean, although the one to Alaska is on our bucket list.
Riverboat travel down the Mississippi is also on my list. I've always wanted to travel down 
the Ohio River, to the Mississippi River and all the way to the Gulf of Mexico
Do you have a favorite cruise that you've taken, or one on your bucket list?