When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

To Daytona

We left New Orleans in the rain and took the coast highway to Florida with a stop at Gulf SP in Alabama.  The highway led right along the coast and past lots of casinos.  We had made sandwiches for lunch and stopped at a beach-side bench to eat.  Where we drew a crowd of hopeful gulls.

As soon as we left Louisiana the condition of the roads improved, fewer potholes and patches.  But we are also now on solid ground not swamp.






We crossed Mobile Bay on a half-hour ferry ride and could just pick out oil rigs in the fog and rain.











As a long time forester and wildland firefighter in the Pacific Northwest I have worked in a lot of pine stands.  To me pine and palms don't go together.  It is very incongruous to see a pine forest with a palm understory.  The pine plantations have been extensive along our route and the palms are too.








The following day we spent the night at Manatee SP in Florida.  We spent two nights here and wandered the trails and walkways of the park.

Manatee Spring is a welling of fresh water that totals millions a gallon a day and runs a quarter mile and enters the Suwannee River.  The spring water remains a constant 72 degrees F and is a warm refuge for the Manatees when the river waters are colder.  This year they are colder than usual with the Arctic cold blasts that have been coming way south.





We did see Manatees, there was a group of seven or eight just resting in the spring.  This is not one of the places where you can swim with the Manatees so we had to be satisfied with blurry views through the water.  The water is extremely clear but the light refection made it difficult to see unless looking straight down.

We also saw water snakes and turtles, vultures and woodpeckers, squirrels and deer.






The spring comes from a cave system through the limestone of the area.  There are "sinks", places where the roof of the cave has fallen in, and the local scuba clubs use this area for training and have explored five miles of various under water cave tunnels.








From here it is a quick run to Daytona Beach and our next campsite with a stop at "Gator Joe's" for lunch.  Joe was a huge alligator that was mentioned in a letter from Ma Barker to her son and was intercepted by the FBI.  This led to a shootout that killed Ma Barker and one of her sons, ending her life of crime.  This is a tavern and grill set on the lakeshore near where Joe lived.







We made camp and soon left for a GWRRA Chapter meeting nearby.  FL1-H welcomed us with open arms.  We had an enjoyable meeting but again we didn't win any of the door prizes.

And that brings us to Daytona Bike Week.