Upon return from our excellent trip to Cuba Xavier and Joy picked us up at Fort Lauderdale airport and took us home for a two day visit. Just like our stay with them before Cuba, it was really nice to do so without having to worry about the RV parked in the driveway or how the cat was doing out there all alone (PKM can’t be inside the house due to allergies. Not the cat’s. Someone else’s.)
We crossed back to the Gulf Coast and Venice, Fl, to stay with Gloria and Jerry for a two days as well. PKM was no worse for the wear, and honestly seemed to really love having a fixed home with a screened in porch from which she could watch the rabbits that come every evening for Gloria’s carrot offerings. Jerry treated us all to a big steak meal at Serious Prime Steak house, which had outstanding salads but managed to significantly under cook two out of four of the steaks we ordered. No link for them!
I picked up Serenity from Mr Mobile RV (had a few minor things done while we were in Cuba) and a discussed with the owner, Bill, probable future repairs and upgrades when we return to Florida in the Fall. After gathering up Rose and the cat back in Venice, we headed north of Tampa for a one night stay at Fort Desoto Park. This Pinellas County Park has been on our “need to see” list for a couple of years, so we finally were able to fit it in.
It is pretty large for a county park, including nearly 300 camp sites, miles of beaches, and the old Spanish Fort. We only had a single night stay, but it was enough to confirm that we want to come back for a longer stop. We stayed in Camping Area 2, and though the other two areas are a bit nicer with more water views, they are both no pet zones. Plus Area 1 is for tents, pop-ups, and camper vans only.
Our plan had been to get an early start and head to Weeki Wachee Springs to enjoy the shows. If you are not familiar, this is a kitschy water attraction that became a bit famous back in the day due to the “mermaid shows” conducted by live actors in costumes for the benefit of an audience situated in an amphitheater below the water line, turning the spring into a giant aquarium. It is actually part of the Florida State Park system, though the relationship FSP has with the concessionaires running the show is unclear, even after reading the Weeki Wachee Wiki page.
I had been a couple of times as a kid, but Rosemarie has wanted to go for some time. Unfortunately it will have to wait until we get back to Florida in the Fall: I failed to do adequate research, and we arrived only to find the park undergoing major renovations. This meant no mermaid show, no glass bottom boat tours, and no wild life shows; only the swimming area was open.
Ah well, it had only been a few miles out of our way on our route to Cousin Carlyle’s in Inverness, FL. We headed there well before we planned, but fortunately Alex arrived home just a couple of minutes after we got there to let us in the front gate. We had a great visit with them and youngest daughter Haley. Alex and I also learned the danger of ordering take out pizza in a town that has both an Angelotti’s and an Angelo’s; make sure you know which one your spouse placed the order with before trying to pick it up!
Alex hooked up his shallow draft fishing boat and took us all out on the water on Saturday. We had great weather, and with a cooler full of beer and light snacks we enjoyed the ride and a swim at Homosassa Springs. We finished the afternoon at a dockside bar, with boat moorings just down river from Monkey Island. Yes, they have monkeys left over from old zoos and movie productions.
We closed out April and started May with a full week stay back at our main go-to Central Florida campground, Wekiva Springs State Park. Having grown up in the area and visited this place many times as a child and young man, it never grows old coming back here, particularly since we get to enjoy the spring during school and work days when there is almost no one around. Dad and Stepmom Marcia were there for part of our stay as well, and introduced us to one of the camp hosts, Bill, who made a strong pitch for us to consider camp hosting here for part of the Fall later this year. We shall see!
We had great wildlife viewings this visit! In addition to the usual gaggle of wild turkey’s, gopher tortoises, and deer, we finally got to see an owl up close and personal. A barred owl deigned to sit on a branch for over an hour near dusk, and was surprisingly cooperative with photo taking initiatives.
We only have one more stop in Florida before beginning our annual circuit of the country. More on the rest of our 2019 plans in a couple of posts from now.