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

Henry David Thoreau

Moving from Spring to Spring

Wednesday & Thursday March 5 & 6, 2014
Rainbow Springs State Park
Dunnellon, Florida






This is our last day here in Blue Spring and as usual I am reluctant to go.The manatee are still here in enough numbers so there will be no swimming in the spring for me this year.  I guess I have to come twice if I want to enjoy both the manatee and the water of the springs although last year I managed to do both in the two weeks we were here. 

Maybe that’s the key.  This year it was just 11 days.  But last year our stay stretched into Daytona’s Biker Week and DeLand also has a biker week at the same time so the park was full of motorcycles.  This is such a wonderfully quiet place that it seemed almost sacrilegious to have so much noise.  So this year I was more careful when I planned our dates.  BUT that meant missing out on the swimming.





I do my morning walk to the spring run.  The ranger says he’s seen 8 manatee this morning but I only see this little turtle coming up for air in what looks like a massive spring run when he is in the middle of it.   I am reminded this visit that the spring water comes from so far beneath the earth that it has no oxygen in it until it reaches the river.  Thus all the manatee, turtles, alligators, and fish have to come up for air.  We’ve seen a lot of tarpon jumping out of the water this year.






I do see  these two critters on the boardwalk.  Sue and I are the up early ones but because the manatee were playing around so much yesterday, Mo has come out early to see them today. Unfortunately, none are around.   So they are heading back for breakfast and an early trip over to Hontoon Island for a bike ride before the predicted rain shows up at noon.  If you don’t have a kayak and want to go over to Hontoon, there is a free ferry from the land side that you can take and they are taking their bikes over.




I wish them a happy ride and stay around for about 15 minutes and watch to see if Pixie goes out of the run.   Not while I’m there.

When I get back to the campground road I find them trapped about two sites before their own by a fast talker.  Sue gives me that “help” look.  You know the one people do with their eyes?   So I stop and join them.  

This man was the fastest talker I have ever heard.  I couldn’t discern that he took one breath for air.  It is amazing. Sue takes his picture while he talks.  I take this picture while he talks.  It becomes clear there wasn’t going to be a break in the monologue and  someone will have to interrupt him and say that they really have to go before it rains. HA!


They are too nice to be so rude so I do it for them.  LOL    I just talk over him and say “well it was great to meet you but they have an appointment they have to get to”.   He stops dead and seems really taken off guard.  He says “oh well, umm, nice to meet you too”.   We walk off and they are saved.  I felt badly about it since he obviously had a lot to say and was happy for the ears to listen. But it had been over 15 minutes at least since they left me.  I ask Sue if she thought he was alone and lonely.  But she says he’d referred to “we” did this and that.  Hope he didn’t mean he and the dogs.


Sue and Mo go off to breakfast and their bike ride.  We get a lazy breakfast, start some of the pick up from our 11 days and then run some errands.  The vegetable stand, the grocery store, the truck supply, the pharmacy – something for everyone.  


By the time we get back it is mid afternoon and Sue has gone out with a former work colleague to kayak Snake Creek one last time.  I’d say she puts us to shame biking the island in the morning and then kayaking the creek in the afternoon.   Mo is reading on the patio and I go over as she starts to do some close up of her own.  We chat for a while and then I leave for an early dinner and she returns to her packing up.




They are leaving tomorrow too and driving 500 miles to Fort Pickens so they plan a very early start.   We are driving less than a quarter of that distance so we will no doubt go down for the morning walk and lazily finish the departure lists before driving a whole 90 miles to Rainbow Springs.

After dinner, Sue comes over to say good-bye, she’s had another nice afternoon on Snake Creek although she says it was not as spectacular as the day before when she and Mo were the only ones on the water.   For an hour or so, we chat politics, health care, the environment as birds of a feather.   David gets into one of his stories (wink to Carrie) and Sue is a great listener.   I can’t help taking a picture.   As I recall this wasn’t a fish story!

We wish them safe travels all the way back to Oregon.  It’s been fun having them as neighbors.








Today is moving day for us too but since we aren’t going that far, we can take a last walk on the boardwalk to say good bye to the manatee. 

The boardwalk is stunning as always. What a wonderful job they have done here at this state park in keeping it natural.  I really feel like I am walking just below a jungle canopy.






The Head SpringP1040867




One of the two spots where there are steps into the spring run for swimmers once the manatee leave for the season.  This one is used by divers also.P1040870






The steps across from the stores where swimmers and tubers often get out and then walk the boardwalk back up to the steps above to swim up to the spring head or just float back down.














The manatee are here today in bigger numbers than yesterday. Not big numbers mind you but perhaps 50.  Many of them appear to be sleeping across the spring run on the opposite side from the boardwalk.  The sun shines there in the early morning when the cloud cover isn’t so thick.









Mama and babyP1040882






I take David’s picture with Mandy as we stand at her overlook and count the manatee.  She is no doubt the most photographed manatee in the park.








These two have caught up with us as they swim down toward the mouth of the spring run.









We say so long to some of Blue Spring’s other residents who are out today too.



He is a BIG one.DSCF8684














Over the years we’ve been stopping here, Blue Spring has become one of our favorite places for its low key atmosphere and “real Florida” feel.   We’ll miss it and Mandy too as we head on north.






  1. Oh my gosh....this is not even about what you have blogged,, but what are the plants in your front window????

    All we have left is a leek, (sick), 2 basil plants (thriving) and a Poinsettia (not good for eating)....lol

  2. Wow Nan, you have GREAT eyes to see those in that rather dark picture behind David's out stretched arms. We travel with 6 herbs and an aloe. Chives, basil, rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme. I was a big gardener in my former life and have to have some green living plants in my house to clean the air and provide their energy.

  3. Ah, I love the woodpecker. Also, I think that many people who live/travel alone need some human contact and to talk to people at times. Dogs are great company, but they don't talk back to you like a human does. I love to talk to people and I hope I can recognize the ones who want to leave the conversation!

  4. I'm sure, with a little re-arraigning, you could find room for Mandy in one of your basement compartments. She's a little big for the dashboard, plus I think the duckies would get jealous of the competition... :cD

  5. Great woodpecker shot, I'm a sucker for woodpeckers. Living in Arkansas they "thought" they had discovered the extinct Ivory Billed Woodpecker. At the time I had just got a truck to pull my 5th wheel, and I got a "Woodpecker" license plate. A bit embarrassing a few years later when they decided they did not find one after all. Oh well...

  6. Glad you posted the alligator pic....have been to Blue Springs many, many times and have never seen an alligator there. Can't wait to see more pics of Rainbow Springs. I have favorite childhood memories from there when it was a commercial park that used to compete with Silver Springs in Ocala.

  7. Definitely going to have to put Blue Springs on our "To Do" list!! You certainly had a wonderful visit and you got some fantastic photos:o))

  8. I had to laugh at your first sentence... "and as usual I am reluctant to go." You are ALWAYS reluctant to go at each place you stay. No one enjoys a place like you and David. I love that you really see the place you are at and don't just buzz through for a night or two without seeing the area.

    I'm sure you'll also hate to leave Rainbow River as well. I can't remember if you've been there before, but it's one of the prettiest rivers in Florida (along with the Weeki Wachi) If you get a chance, go to Swampy's restaurant for a good meal with a gorgeous view of the river. You can also launch kayaks there I think.

    What will you do with sewer hook-ups??? :)

  9. I'm sure the manatees will miss you! It's too bad that Florida parks only allow 2 weeks. Barely enough time to explore!

  10. Sure was a beautiful location. The water looks so inviting. No wonder you are missing that swim.

    I wonder if the cold rain Thursday brought the manatee back in to the spring for warmer temps. There sure a lot of them in that one picture. Love the mom and baby:)

  11. That was a BIG TREE story as one might have guessed. Sue & I were discussing the huge trees on Hontoon Island, and she may have seen one bigger than the ones we saw, so we will have to go see that tree on our next visit. BTW, check out Sue's Florida tan - pretty amazing for an Oregonian in early March.

  12. Was Dad's story about an alligator? ;) Nope...a big tree. OF COURSE :) I'm sure he was not as fast as the fast talker :) It is difficult to get away from those who get started and just don't stop. I figured you'd be the one to help. I find that tough and do feel badly but relieved afterwards. I really like the Mandy selfie :)

  13. That spring water is so clear and inviting I'll bet you'd like to join the manatee.

    Feel bad about not reading and still trying to catch up.

  14. Haha, I'm ALWAYS reluctant to leave places, too -- well, almost always -- maybe it's a Sagittarius thing, even though we also have an insatiable desire to explore new places??

  15. Wow- didn't know about the spring water and lack of oxygen in it. Interesting! I don't think I'd want to leave that place either when you can go out every morning and watch the manatee. Are alligators a threat to them? Find out how folks manage with their pets when they are RVing. I have this awful image of the power going out and my dogs dying in the heat of the RV. Glad you are having fun! XXXOOO

  16. Your pictures are so lovely...we only spent a couple hours there and didn't see nearly as much as I'd have liked. Florida has a lot of lovely 'old Florida' places...it's fun finding them!


Your comments are the best part of this blog for me.
I LOVE hearing from you!