Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wekiwa Springs State Park visit...

The weather here in Florida for the past few days has been incredible... into the high 80's F. with lots of sun, and very little wind. This is what we paid for I guess, when we decide to come here. It was time today, to get out and enjoy the sun and some water.

Judy and I did not bring our kayaks with us this year, as they travel in the motorcycle trailer, however Tom and Cheryl brought their kayaks. We decided it was real easy to rent a couple kayaks and put in a day on the water...

Here we are heading out above from the boat launch inside the Park. $6.00 entry fee per vehicle is all it cost to get in, and it was $35.00 for 2 hours for 2 single kayaks, so all was good. We stayed out about 4 hours in total, and they charged us another $3.20 for additional rent... go figure.

Here we go down the river...as we left, we were travelling downstream, and the water was flowing at about 3 mph I fugured, which is a bit of work when you paddle back! The water here is all spring fed, and is warm, and crystal clear!

It is great to see all the water birds as you move along the river, they are all over the place, standing and flying... great variety here, just don't ask me to name them all for you!

These were 8 foot kayaks that we rented...(Otters...) and they worked great on the river.

Yes, we are in Florida, and that is a nice Florida Gator you see above, not a real bit one, maybe around 6 feet or so... I could have taken him if he got out of hand, but he was cool.

Hate to tell you all this, but what you see above is a real good example of Florida Gator food... There were hundreds of these guys out on the water today.

Lots of logs in the water you had to navigate around... made life interesting.

Yes, you can even arrange commercial mortgages back in Ontario while on the river, as Tom fields a business call.

Here is a real short video of us floating down river... just like going through a jungle!

As you can see above, there is a big spring fed swimming hole inside the Park... lots of people were swimming today... I am sitting contemplating life on the cement wall, taking in all the nice warm weather!

We all worked so hard today, we had to stop and enjoy our bag lunches we made up! Tom and Cheryl chow down above.

Overall, just a terrific day, and a good reason for me to find my Blog again... sorry I have been a little lax in my writing lately, but I certainly needed a bit of a Blog Break after 6 years of writing... Don't worry, I have not given up on you all yet!

Till tomorrow...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Strawberries and Manattees!

Yesterday Tom and Cheryl wanted to take a run over to the Tampa area, to visit one of their favourite stores, Costco! What better to do than make a day of it!

First off we headed up to Plant City! It is kind of a neat place, and is home to the Florida Annual Strawberry Festival! It actually starts today, and goes till the weekend. Did not matter to us, we found some strawberries anyways!

We decided to stop in and visit the famous Parkesdale Market, just to the west side of Plant City. Now, why do I call it famous when most of you probably have never heard of this place, and don't really care anyways...right? Well check out who shops at this market!

Yes, that is President Bush and the First Lady, visiting the Market, back in 1984. And if you look below, looks like the President brought his appetite!

 

Yes, President Bush is eating a Strawberry Shortcake, which this market is famous for. If you are ever in this area, you have to stop! I took the above pictures of the President from pictures that were hanging on the wall inside the Market.

So, we had to try it out... even though it was only 10:30 A.M. Did not matter when it comes to Strawberry Shortcake!

Here comes Tom above, with a little snack on his tray. They sell them here for $3.75 and they were pretty good. Judy and I, shared one, as did Tom and Cheryl. They were "Primo"

Now, guess who else has been here to check out these strawberry shortcakes????

Ya, that would be President Obama talking with the owner... don't know what year he came here though.

As you can see above, this place is all decorated up to celebrate the Strawberry. They grow them right on the grounds here...

As I walked into the Market and Restaurant, I got a big chuckle out of the sign above... I think they were serious about this, as all their products were out in the open.

We stopped at a local Winery, where they produced Beer and Wine, but for some reason, no pictures... We just wanted to check this place out, as it was still in the morning, so no taste testing! Would not go good with the strawberries...

Next we headed off to Apollo Beach.

This is a nice area of Florida, on Tampa Bay, which leads out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Apollo Beach is home to people with a lot more money than you know who here... These houses above, are right on the water. Vacant lots here sell for $800,000.00, and then you build your home... so, kind of gives you an idea!

 

We came to visit the Apollo Beach, Manattee Viewing Area, located beside the Power Plant which serves Tampa. This is a coal fired power plant, and dumps warm discharge water into the canal you see above. The Manattees have made this canal their own personal hot tub!

There was about 150 Manattees in the canal yesterday, enjoying the warm water during the winter. They only come for the heat, as there is no food here for them. They feed out in Tampa Bay. The Power Plant has embraced them, and made a big conservation area here for them. People flock here to see the Manattee. The canal water was over 80 degrees F. yesterday, with only 2 of 4 power units working. It goes above 90 degrees when all 4 are working. Great spot if you are a Manattee!

In the past year, they have built this new viewing tower, which allows you to see all around the area... we had to climb up, just for something to do!

That would be Judy and Cheryl in the centre of the picture, taking a picture of me, taking a picture of them of course...

They had to build a huge walkway over the everglades to get to the tower... this is 1/2 of it!

This is a view of the power plant from atop the tower... we had a great time here, as it was overcast, but very warm, so it was nice walking around.

This is not a pictures of the Brandon Costco Store, but you get the drift... we spent a while, buying up some of the bargains that they offer... stuff we could not live without apparently! Filled Tom's big GMC Truck to the brim! All that that did, was make us hungry!

So, we headed just up the road to the local Brandon Outback Steakhouse! Had a great Steak Dinner, including soup and dessert for only $12.00! Phew... what a day!

Till tomorrow...

 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Flywheels and Darth Vader????

We certainly welcomed back the nice 75 deg. F. temperatures here again with lots of sun! Things are still not good up in Tennessee or Ontario where the kids live, but I guess they are young and can handle it...right?

This morning Judy and I decided to take a run over to Avon Park, to take in the huge annual Flywheelers Show. This is quite an event here in Florida, and lots of people attend. There is a big interest still in very old steam type engines, and flywheel tractors. This is a 4 day event, and they all come in their motorhomes and 5th wheel trailers and camp out.

We are approaching the ticket booth to get in above... $7.00 each. The Show had a huge market place where people were selling and buying various parts, and anything else you can imangine. This event took up over 50 acres of land... so what you could do, is for $20.00 a day, rent yourself a golf cart to drive around in all day!

This is what the Fly Wheelers is all about, a great big old steam engine...
 

This is typical of the many streets inside this event, and actually led to a quick exit for Judy and I, as there were simply way too many golf carts, ATV's, and small tractors driving around, it was hardly safe for walking. I am not sure why they do this, but they do. All you can smell as well is the exhaust from these vehicles, so it is not a real pleasant experience walking around.

We did make our way over to the North East corner of the property to take in a bit of the tractor pull contest. It was a blast to watch. They had a kids event under way when we were there, and some big kids pulling as well. I took a few videos below which are short, and kind of wild to watch.

 

This young gal did a terrific job on her tractor, beating many of the other kids that were pulling. You have to pull a big sled behind your tractor, with a sliding weight on it, that moves forward on the sled the further you pull it. They just keep pulling until the tractor stalls out, then they measure your distance in feet. The first video below is of one of the kids pulling...

Next we have a couple of the big boys doing some pulling... the winner actually pulled this sled over 279 feet!

The tractors above, both had V8 engines in them of course... they could probably take these over to Daytona this weekend and run the 500!

We did very little walking around the market area due to the traffic problems I spoke of earlier. We decided just to leave, and had a plan B for more daily entertainment!

Just a short 20 minute drive north is the Town of Bartow. They have a Historic Section of the Downtown, and they were holding the 2nd Annual Si-Fi Show. WHATTTTTT you say?

I knew I was safe when I saw R2D2 and the Storm Troupers guarding the entrance to the show! It is amazing how many people dress up as various Super Heroes and make a weekend out of it! I though maybe Judy had a bit too much wine one evening when she found this show on the internet as a potential activity for this weekend. Well, I must admit, I did get a kick out of going. There was not entry fee, so I feel we made up some of the $14.00 at the Fly Wheelers...lol

I was now real safe with Superman and Wonder Women (???) on site for added security....

Now, above is a time machine. I did not dare take a seat in that nice red chair, for fear of being sent back to 19XX whatever! Or, maybe I could have vaulted into the future!

Now, my iPhone 5 totally missed the auto focus on these two AMC DeLoreans above... I bet it is hard to find 2 together anytime now... Hey, did they not take one of these "Back to the Future..." ???? Hhhmmmm.....

They had a few cars on display, why, I am not quite sure... That is the General Lee right above, and I am not sure what the meaning of the VW was... Any guesses?

And then it happened... all of a sudden in the distance, this dark cloud appeared, and it appeared all was lost, as non other than Darth Vader was coming down the road....what to do???

Thankfully, Judy calmed him down, and told him to smarten up or she would call Yoda! Yes, he even made that deep Darth Vader breathing noise you hear in the movies...

That just about wraps up another wild day in Florida, hope you had a good one...

Till tomorrow...