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

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Strawberries & Manatee

Saturday March 2, 2013
Site 20, Blue Spring State Park
Orange City, Florida


It is important to start the day with a good breakfast.

It is Strawberry Season in Central Florida.  The Plant City Strawberry Festival began on Thursday and goes on until March 10.  Check it out here and especially the entertainment – Chubby Checker, Foreigner, Justin Moore, Alan Jackson, Bobby Vinton, Martina McBride, Trace Adkins, Brantley Gilbert, Scotty McCreery, Bret Michaels, Blake Shelton and others you may know as well.   Last year we unknowingly drove through Plant City the day of the Strawberry Parade on our way to Tampa and thought it was just another little home town festival.  Well it may be but it’s a big time festival as well it seems.

Anyway, we have some of those MOST DELICIOUS strawberries and put them over oatmeal pancakes to fortify us for our 122 mile drive to Blue Spring today.

Last Day at Sebastian 002



Since we have so far to go, we get an early 11am start. 

It is sad driving out the campground drive.  Even the Duckies and Pooh think so.   Hope to see you next year Sebastian.

Last Day at Sebastian 003


For some reason this seems like the longest 122 miles either of us can remember in some time.  It was 240 miles from Flamingo to Sebastian and took twice as long but wasn’t nearly as draining. 



You sure can’t tell a lot of things from Reserve America.

We arrive at Blue Spring and spend a long time trying to get Winnona in any thing closely resembling a level position.  Site 20 is straight down hill.  That’s one of the biggest things I hate about making reservations.  You can’t see the site before you take it.  And during the winter, in Florida state parks there are seldom any open sites to change to.  Everything is reserved. 

So we make the best of it but that means both the dolly and Ruby are in the front of the site so Winnona can be in the back and parked partly side to side.  The picnic table and ultimately the mat are behind the flag.  Somehow, we manage to have only one tire off the ground.  That’s a miracle.  It’s a big site thankfully and we make it work.

Because of the cold weather we don’t really set up anything outdoors.  We’ll do that when we know we will be using it.  The mat, the  chairs, the hammock and the table cloth stay in the basement.  For now water and electric are all we need.  


Site with flag



Sunset gets forgotten in a wealth of manatee.

After dinner, we set off down the trail from the campground to the spring to look for a possible sunset viewing spot.  But when we get to the spring run there are the manatee.   The sun is low in the sky so some of these pictures are very poor.  But it was SO exciting to see SO many manatee.  I take only a few pictures.  I don’t see or enjoy my life as well through the lens of a camera as I do with just my naked eye.


Last Day at Sebastian 008


Last Day at Sebastian 010 

There is no swimming in the spring or the spring run from December through March so that the manatee can have their space.  They seem to like to swim around and under the steps that in other months take swimmers into the spring.

Last Day at Sebastian 013


Soon the sun sets and it is becomes too dark for pictures but we’ll be back to see the manatee again tomorrow.  They are the best show in town.  


Temperatures are going down to freezing tonight so they won’t be going anywhere.  And neither will we, for two weeks.

Freezing in Florida?  What?  Hope that doesn’t last long.  But of course if it warms up, then the manatee leave.  What a choice.  Cold and Manatee; warm and none.


  1. Love the manatees! Thanks for posting.

  2. That's quite a line-up of stars at the strawberry festival. And those strawberries sure look yummy!

    Hope the weather warms up for you. Or do I? You're right -- which is the better choice?

  3. I like your idea of early and a long journey. Although I've never been much for breakfast, it's actually making it that's hard, I've been enjoying breakfast regularly that others prepare. So jealous of fresh strawberries. Did graze on some raspberries along the trail in Hogsback. I understand allowing the Manatees their space but wouldn't it be fun to swim with them. Enjoy your tight and crooked space. ;)

  4. Sounds like you did a great job on getting the motorhome leveled. Looks good tucked away in there.

    Love those manatee, they are such gentle looking creatures. Enjoy your stay there.

    Kevin and Ruth

  5. Those strawberries looked too good to eat, they are really huge! Glad you were able to enjoy them.

    Sorry to hear you are now frozen in place! At least the manatees are nice and toasty. I enjoyed your pictures of them, one of these days I hope to see them in person.

  6. Wonderful shots of the manatees' entire bodies! There's tons of them at the Manatee Viewing Center at Apollo Beach, at least there were yesterday. Can't believe how fast the gulf temperatures change from day to day! gonna have to get some strawberries. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. I imagine the manatees will be back again today if your weather is anything like what's going on here in Georgia today!

  8. Welcome to the neighborhood! I'm glad the weather has been cool enough for you to see the manatee. Now it needs to warm up and the wind needs to die down! Hope to see you soon!

  9. Those strawberries looked wonderful!
    I agree with you about Reserve America. Some of those sites can be a BIG surprise and sometimes, there's no way to make them work. I, too, hate making reservations but they are a necessary evil in some cases.
    Hope your weather warms soon. It is Florida, after all. It won't last long :)

  10. Yep we need to get some strawberries before we leave LD. There were at least 100 Manatees yesterday at TECO Manatee Viewing Center south of Tampa. But of course the water was not as clear as the springs. Great photos!!!

  11. Oh this is going to be a good show...so many manatees! I'm in strawberry heaven...I need a plate full of those signature oatmeal pancakes :O)

  12. I love the Manatee, as well. However, my first introduction to one was very frightening. When I was 13 years old I had a nanny/housekeeper job for a whole summer on a fernery in Jupiter Florida. The house was feet from the Loxahatchee River. I had Sundays off and could take the row boat out on the river to meet some friends. I jumped in and was standing on something very big, and it was moving. I thought alligator, immediately, but it was a huge manatee (which was no comfort to me at the time because I had never heard of one). It then appeared right up next to me where it's head surfaced--have you ever seen someone jump straight from the water into a boat? I was told, later, that it was a sea cow. It wasn't until years later that I discovered that it was a Manatee.

    Jupiter, at that time, was a tiny town. It had a package store, a drugstore and a post office if I remember correctly. The roads were not paved--they were sand and shells. The one I walked to get back to the river house was the straightest road I had ever walked. The drive way was very, very long (couldn't see the house from the road) with a canopy of trees and ferns on either side.

    I don't imagine I would recognize anything, now. If I ever get on the road, again, that would be a good trip to see what it's like, and if the house is still there.

    If you ever pass through there or have passed through, Sherry, can you tell me what you remember?

  13. I know what you mean, sometimes you get so involved in taking pictures that you miss the show. I would love to see a Manatee in person. Your site sure looks nice.

  14. The site does look nice, even though it sounds like it was quite a pain to set up there. I think you got lucky to have the low temperatures when you're not by the beach...and instead have them in a place where manatee will swarm. Perfect luck if you ask me ;) Those strawberries look so excellent! I want some!!!! :)

  15. wow! freezing in Florida! just not right. LOVE manatees .... need to see some. You have someone lovely to cuddle up with .. that's nice. ;)

  16. To see manatees ... I'd take the cold any day!


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