Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Arriving at Blue Spring

Saturday March 3 2012
Site 41 Blue Spring State Park


One last interesting note from Sebastian Inlet. 


There was an unplanned mini gathering of Brave Owners on Friday.  Note: Winnona is a 2004 Brave with 2 slides.


That's Winnona on the right


A couple from England pulled into the site next to us with  their 2003 Brave with one slide also towing a Honda  also bearing Virginia License plates.  They come over from England each winter and spend December with their daughter and family in Northern Virginia, get their Brave out of storage and come down to Florida for the next 2.5 months.  They are leaving today to work their way back north for their mid March flight home.



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The evening before I had noticed a Brave in a spot on the row closer to the water from us.   This couple is from Iowa and they have a 1998 Brave with no slides and no jacks but which, like us,  has a tow dolly for their car.  They were smart and planned ahead – 11 months ahead – so they are at the park for 14 days.   So now I’m on the look out for Wanda wherever she may be.  Hope I’ll recognize her. :-)



We reluctantly left Sebastian Inlet and moved on to Blue Spring State Park just outside of Orange City.  


We originally had reservations there for 5 days but had to cut it to two in order to be  back for Tuesday’s start of Treatment set #2.

Most of the 122 mile drive was on I95 and on Saturday this was much better than driving through the country side in terms of ease.    Although we were going to be there two nights, it looked like we’d only have this afternoon to experience the park.  The weather gods had predicted rain from 6am to 3pm for Sunday which was to be our one full day in the park.

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When we arrived it was a glorious 85 degrees (On MARCH 3) so we just hooked up and leveled and set out to see the park.  Blue Spring is known as a winter home for the manatee who frequent the Saint John’s River.  Manatee can’t survive in temperatures below 60 degrees so when it gets that cool, they move into the spring and spring run here.  Blue Spring has been recommended to me by several folks as a great place to see manatee.  But unfortunately this has been a particularly warm winter so the manatee are not needing to leave the river.



The map sent us down the campground road to the path to the swimming area.


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I was surprised to see it was blacktopped up to the parking lot where it turned into the boardwalk that runs through the picnic area and then all along the spring and the spring run.  Very nice for controlling unruly habitat damaging persons of whatever age.

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There are two stores.  One is a very small snack bar & grille offering one with candy, mini bags of chips, a few sandwiches and ice cream bars.

The second is your typical gift shop although here you can buy snorkel gear, giant floating tubes and manatee of all sorts as well as the usual t-shirts, post cards knick-knacks.

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This great carving of a manatee was in front of the fireplace in the previous picture.  I thought it was lovely.

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We left the store and went on down the boardwalk toward the spring.
Here are some of the tubes used in the water.  From the look on her face I wondered if this gal might be toting these unwillingly.  :-)

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There are multiple overlooks all along the boardwalk from the river to the spring so that you can stop and look for manatee.  In at  least two sections of the run, the area for swimming is roped off to give the manatee a people free space.  Good idea I thought.


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There are steps down to enter the water and it is quite shallow there.  You must swim or snorkle or skuba up to the spring head itself which isn’t too far away.  The group of young people in the tubes in the upper part of the picture got out of the water just as we were going back to the boardwalk and we followed them up. 

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Beware, the next picture is not rated PG.  J


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I was amazed at the suits these young women were wearing.
I thought they only dressed like this on the Riviera.  :-)
I just couldn’t help myself.  I had to take this picture.
David’s comment was boy I wish they’d had those when I was a teen.  They turned left and back to the parking lot.  I was surprised David  didn’t follow them but we turned right and went on up to the top of the spring.


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The spring is really lovely and I wanted so to be in that water – with my one piece suit – but it was too late for today and tomorrow’s weather didn’t bode well.   Maybe we can take another “vacation” and come back.


We walked all the way back down the spring run on the boardwalk to the river.  We saw Ibis of course and some American coots as well as some really HUGE fish.   No fishing in the run of course so maybe that’s why they get so big.


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On the way we stopped to check out the Thursby House. 


The house was built in 1872 atop a precolumbian Indian Midden.  When we went inside, it was clear from the interior woodworking that it was the same vintage as Greenfield Mountain Farm which was coincidentally also painted white with Black shutters when we purchased it in 1978,

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There was some interesting history inside.  The first floor was the only one open.

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I love wood cook stoves and had always wanted one in our farm kitchen but the new ones were too expensive and the old ones usually in terrible condition.  We did have a cooking eye on the Vermont Castings wood stove that heated our kitchen and we often made soup or cider on it.  Several times we were without power for days and we did all our cooking on it.  This house was my kind of place.


But we never had such a lovely manatee on our porch.  She and David struck up a close friendship.  A local school art class made this lovely piece of art.


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Isn’t she beautiful!


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After all that excitement it was time to take a rest.  Other folks thought so too.


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Back on the boardwalk I thought this cormorant had picked a great setting.

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We came to the St. John’s river and the tour boat dock.  The spring run is protected from boating.  Manatee and swimmers only.  The first picture is the last leg of the spring run.  The one on the right is looking down river from their meeting point.  Can you see that little boat coming up river??

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A different sort of RV with a toad!  :-)

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It was getting late and time to head back for dinner.
But not before last shots of the spring run and this lovely live oak on its banks.

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  1. It's good to see that Winnona is making new Brave friends. :)
    I just love old live oak trees with Spanish moss draped from every limb. I miss it.

  2. The other girl actually had the better bikini bottom. Too bad you missed that one ;)

  3. We were in Arches one time and a group of six young people pulled up next to us in the parking area--sounded like they had Swedish accents. A very pretty blonde girl decided her long pants would be too hot for the day so she dropped them (no underwear) to the ground while talking and took her time to pull on a pair of shorts.

    I thought Rich was going to fall out of the car. No binoculars needed! Unlike the girl in your picture who, in my opinion, did herself a disservice by wearing a bikini, the girl at Arches could wear nothing or a bikini; she was gorgeous.

  4. I'm surprised at David, first checking out the bikini bottoms, then kissing manatees.

    I thought you had him better trained than that... ;c)

  5. Nice to know that there are places the manatee can go to get away from "too much attention."

  6. A glorious 85! That sounds HOT to me!! Hope you're wearing the sunscreen. Great pictures - love the manatee on the porch. Looks like such a pretty place all around - although I'll agree with the previous bikini commenter ;)

  7. Great narrative and terrific pictures!

  8. At least David didn't check out the manatee and kiss the girl. That might be as well-trained as he'll get.

    I still haven't found the place again where spring river meets dark, tannin river and makes an eerie wall. Does that happen there?

    The Good Luck Duck

  9. Another place in Florida that we have not been. Thanks for the great tour.

  10. I lol'd :) Hey, if those views make David feel better, we're all for it!

  11. We stayed at Blue Springs last fall and we were able to kayak on the spring run. They allowed you to just paddle over the roped off area. However the "Manatee Ranger Nazi" was a bit crazy and yelled at me when I paused for a few minutes to enjoy the scenery. She told me I had to keep moving! We saw lots of Manatees that day and they came up to us, but as soon as they did the Ranger Nazi yelled at US!

    Glad David enjoyed the flabby white hiney! Some people really shouldn't wear a thong, but if it made David smile that's all that matters huh?

    Hope the treatment is going well this week. Thinking of you.

  12. The mosaic manatee is really beautiful. When Karissa lived in Key West she remembers a manatee coming right up to their boat.. it shaped her impressions about manatee. All looks lovely there - bright sunshine and moss on live oak trees - surely these things make spirits soar.. even amidst trials, I hope. I remember Roger being quite enamored with a thong-clad girl - I think we were in St. Martin and rented a motor scooter - the girl on the scooter in front rode around the entire island in her thong - and Roger just had to follow. Ahhh... men... such is the nature of the beast! But - we love them anyway!

  13. Oh my! That young lady lacks some modesty. Unlike me, who would feel more comfortable wearing a turtleneck and long pants to the beach. :-)

  14. My favorite was the mosaic manatee..Eldy's favorite was...well, of course, the cheeky girl!


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