Gray clouds blanketed the sky this morning, but a long overdue bike ride was in order. We haven’t ridden for weeks due to lingering illness. Although I didn’t feel well this morning and throughout the day it was just what the doctor ordered.
Jim loaded up the bikes and we headed toward Inglis. After a so-so lunch at the Shrimp and More restaurant we hit the trails. We had walked this trail before, but had not ridden it. This trail is part of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. The Withlacoochee Bay Trail, a 12 foot wide paved trail, runs five miles west from the Felburn Trailhead to the Gulf of Mexico along the southern side of the former Cross Florida Barge Canal. We had also previously anchored at the mouth of the canal coming in from the Gulf. Parts of the trail runs through a very scenic maritime hammock and salt marsh.
It didn’t take long and gray clouds gave way to sunshine, enough that Kaelin ended up with a sunburn. It was rather warm at times, but never too bad. Breezes and shaded spots made the ride comfortable. At the end of the trail sits the Gulf of Mexico and it makes the ride worth it. A nice pavilion provided shade and a spot for Jim to fix a flat tire and Kaelin to run amok. The trail is dotted with pavilions and benches and very clean restrooms about every 2 1/2 miles.
We have been on some boring trails and this wasn’t one of them. Lantana, butterflies, goldenrod, hills, evergreens and of course the waterway made it a beautiful, scenic ride. Definitely worth the 50 mile trip and next time we might even find a nearby campground and make a weekend of it.
I realized tonight that I haven’t posted a blog in quite sometime. I have so much to blog about our summer camping trips and yet I’ve been such a slacker. I have to find a more efficient way of blogging while we are on our trips and emotions, thoughts and events are currently on our minds. I recently purchased and new laptop with much better capabilities than my old one. This is why I’m doing this blog right now – sort of a test run. So far so good. I will try to make a concerted effort to complete our review of campgrounds and restaurants from our summer trip.
We have mentioned Long Key and Curry Hammock. I will try to blog about John Pennekamp, Collier Seminole, Kississimee State Park, Blue Springs and Anastasia. We didn’t hit a lot of restaurants but I definitely want to address a couple. Especially Pollo Tropical.
So this being a trial run, I’m moving on. So far so good. I also want to try adding a photo. If that works, then I’m a happy blogger.
A warm breeze, sea oats rustling in the wind and sounds from the beach greet us this morning. It is a lovely, sunny Father’s Day. Jim is spending it lazing away, just the way it should be.
We spent the morning drinking coffee and eating my famous Crescent cinnamon rolls (Jim’s favorite.) Outside of our camper window we spied the resident iguana. Perhaps he spied us? We watched him awhile, eating our rolls and wondering if mosquitoes were a real problem back in Henry Flagler’s day. Our guess is probably not. We believe that with development the creatures that ate pesky mosquitoes became less while unfortunately mosquitoes still manage to reproduce in the thousands.
Fortunately, with the ocean breeze we are not swarmed with mosquitoes, just a few and a few no see-ums. As it is rather warm we did forego our planned morning bicycle ride and are seriously thinking about swimming time. Perhaps! Or maybe we will just continue to sit here and laze away. After all isn’t that what today is all about?
We arrived at Long Key State Park mid afternoon on Tuesday. Today is Friday and I’m wishing I never had to leave this park. It is truly amazing. Our camper butts right up to the water. The water is shallow for yards and yards out. It is warm and clear and underneath is a world that I would never had guessed was there.
Snorkeling seems to be the prevalent past time here and for good reason. Because of the shallow warm water even young children can safely swim and snorkel. Myself I have always had a deep fear of going under water. I watched Jim last year go under in his mask and snorkel and was so jealous. This year he talked me into going to a dive shop and trying on prescription masks. The guy at Discount Dive in Marathon, the first shop we went to, was very kind and helpful. I explained my situation and he told me how to ease into it. We didn’t buy from him however only because the mask he had didn’t fit quite like the one I ended up buying from Tilden’s Dive Shop / Hawk’s Cay Resort Marina.
Once I became comfortable with the mask and snorkel I truly fell in love with this place, because not everything is visible to the unmasked eye. I will hopefully later be able to post some pictures I took with Jim’s underwater camera. I will save that for a later post.
I would recommend this park for anyone looking to really relax and have fun. There are about 50 sites, some just for tents and others for campers. They aren’t extremely deep but we had very little trouble backing in and setting up. Be aware the sites are sandy.
Anyone that knows us also knows that we love biking. There is a bike trail that runs off and on throughout the keys. The one that runs in front of Long Key State park is a little run down but from what we could tell they are working on repaving the trails. At least in parts of the keys they are. Hopefully the one here is on the list. We have only ridden in the park so far but perhaps we can ride later today and have a more positive report on the trail than what we can see from the road.
The only other real negatives are sand spurs and no see ums. Definitely bring some Avon Skin So Soft as that does work. Bring a fan to set up outside too to help deter the little buggers. Otherwise ENJOY!
Haircuts done. Shopping done and then some.camper packed. fridge emptied. Watering system for plants set up. Lights on timer. Parents visited. Daughter visited. About to go to bed. Why all this nonsense? Because tomorrow we begin our real vacation, a much needed vacation. Tomorrow we head for a one night stay at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, and from there a several day stay at Long Key State Park.