30 We are bating down the hatches. There is a big storm coming our way today. Our plan is to have a full day of football. We did lose electricity for a few hours and missed a little football but that’s ok. While I walked over to check on the electricity, right outside our cow, there was a big turtle. She was about 2 1/2 feet long. How do I know it’s a she. She was digging a hole and laying her eggs. It took quite a while and quite a few of us were watching. When she was done, she buried the eggs and headed back to the lake. We marked the site with sticks so nothing disturbs it.
29 This morning is a sunny and warm morning. We took a walk around the campground and smelled breakfast. We forgot they were cooking this morning. So we went for breakfast. John’s out with his net now catching bait to go fishing. Since we haven’t been doing well at fishing, I brought my chair and got sun and read as I fished. We didn’t catch anything, but I got some rays. We headed back and went to our pool for a while. Ed was making turkey soup from the leftovers so we stopped in for a bowl.
28 A new road. We took 44W to Fort Island Beach Park. It’s sunny and about 75 today. On the way, a wild boar ran across the road. There is a small beach and fishing pier. We took a walk around then went to soak up some rays on the beach.
On the way back we stopped at Shrimp Landing and picked up some scallops. We took a hike at Dixie Shores and found a small lake where people were catching Redfish and Trout. It’s a saltwater lake, so when the tides come in the fish get pushed in. It was almost time for sunset so we stopped at Crackers Restaurant and Bar and sat out in the Tiki Bar.
Scoop the parrot was out. We had dinner and saw fish jumping and the water boiling. Then we saw dolphins. They were rounding up the mullets for a feeding frenzy. There were manatees out in the bay. After a dinner, sunset and a couple drinks we headed back. We did stop for one at Castaways to check it out.
27 HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
This morning we made up a batch of Spanish rice to bring to the Thanksgiving potluck. We went over around 1215pm and found some seats and set up our crockpot. The turkeys smelled great. They had deep fried 4 turkeys and made 2 in the oven. We took a short walk around the park and met some people from Antioch Ill. Come to find out the husband knew Judy P from Grass Lake and just saw her last week at the store.
It was time for turkey so we went back to the clubhouse. There were about 100 people for dinner. Our table was called first. After a great meal, we watched some football and relaxed.
26 We headed over to the Crystal River Archeological State Park today. We did a short mile hike around the burial mounds and along the Crystal River. Then we headed over to Crystal Cove and Mullet Bay. There we did a 2 mile hike. We did see a big alligator along the banks and once again armadillos.
After our hike we decided to get some shiners and went to the Inglis Dam to catch some fish. Well, even with the shiners, we got nothing!!! We headed back to the cow for dinner. Tonight is going to be cold with record breaking temperatures. It’s supposed to get down to 26 tonight.
25 We tried fishing at our campgrounds floating pier but no luck. Once again we didn’t work to hard at it. We did some reading while we fished.
24 We headed into Dunnellon today and stopped at Rainbow River State Park and KP Hole County Park to check them out. Both have canoe rentals along the Rainbow river. Then we stopped at Walmart for groceries.
23 After laundry, we went over to Inglis Dam. It’s only about 2 miles from us. We took a nice 5 mile hike along the Withlacoochee River that ran into the canal. Once again we saw armadillos and bald eagles. Today is Sunday and that means football. We went to Crackers in Crystal River to watch football since they have the NFL ticket.
22 Today is the Inglis/Yankeetown Arts and Seafood Fest. Inglis/Yankeetown are two really small towns. I’m not really sure where the town actually is. Anyway, the fest was nice. It had a few streets of vendors. We listened to some music and had some crab cakes. While we were there we bought 5 pounds of stone crabs for dinner. We hadn’t had them yet so we decided to try them.
I can tell you they should not be eaten indoors and you need the right tools which we did not have. We got through them inside with the help of some pliers but it was way to much work. That’s it on the stone crabs.
21 We went back over to Inglis Dam to try fishing. It was very windy and cool. I decided to enjoy the sun and read. John tried fishing but no luck.
20 This morning was a cool sunny morning. We headed back over to the canal for some hiking and fishing. We hiked in a bit and set up in this beautiful little bay. There was a sailboat moored there and there were seagulls and pelicans all around us. We fished and read. We had a couple hits but didn’t catch anything. However, the way we fish, I guess it’s hard to catch anything. We put our polls in, sit down, do some reading and wait for the pole to bend. Lately, their just taking our bait. That’s ok. We’ll get them sometime. We saw a huge animal in the water pretty close to us. We don’t know if it was a Manatee but it was big. Later, we put our stuff in Big Red and went for a hike. It was about 3 miles around an inland lake.
19 Today was a healthy living fair. We went to check it out. They had free cholesterol testing so we got tested. Then we went to give Big Red a washing and made a few other stops. It’s a cool day so we went back to the cow and did some reading and computer stuff.
18 Another cool morning. We went for a nice walk outside our campground. We saw a pair of Sandhill Cranes and a pair of Bald Eagles. Both of these birds winter in Florida like us. Now we’re going to try fishing in our little bay. No luck.
17 It’s a cool morning. This afternoon we headed out to the canal for some fishing. We didn’t catch anything but we had some hits.
16 After doing some grocery shopping and haircuts, we relaxed in the cow and watched football.
15 Since we got back late last night, we slept in this morning then putted around during the day. A cold front will be coming tomorrow and today we have rain off and on. It did clear up later in the afternoon which is good. The Stone Crab Jam starts at 4pm in downtown Crystal River. There are multiple stages, arts and crafts and food vendors. We headed there around 5pm and the weather was cooperating. We were testers for Seafood Chowder. There were 5 different kinds, you try each and then vote. We had seafood piea (seafood dirty rice) and crab cakes. The bands were good. We saw one band that had the harmonica player we saw at the Blues BBQ last week. His band is playing backup for Hank Williams Jr the beginning of December.
14 Today is a new adventure. We headed out at around 830am for a 150 mile drive to Cape Canaveral Florida and Jetty Beach. It should be about a 3 hour drive and we have to get there early. The park should be full by early afternoon. We got there around noon and it was no problem to get in. There are already quite a few people there.
I did some research and Jetty Park is only about 1 mile from the shuttle launch site. The shuttle is scheduled for 755pm this evening. Jetty Park is at Cape Canaveral and right next to the Port of Canaveral which is where the cruise ships dock. We walked along the breakwater where people were fishing. Someone caught a huge turtle and released him. We saw dolphins looking for fish. After we walked to the end of the pier, we headed for the beach. We have almost 8 hours until the launch.
We took a long walk on the beach. Between Jetty Park and the Cocoa Beach Pier there is no place to stop for a break. So we continued on to Cocoa Beach Pier. We found “Oh Sucks” a little bar/restaurant right on the beach. We had a couple cocktails and took a break in the shade. It’s a beautiful day. Sunny, a slight breeze off the ocean and a temperature of around 85 degrees. We headed back. It was nice walking barefoot in the surf. When we got back, we were ready to relax for a bit. Our round trip walk was around 6 miles. We went to the little concession and got some beers, then took our chairs to the top of a dune facing the ocean to watch the moon rise and wait for the shuttle launch.
While we were relaxing the cruise ships were heading out to sea. Today Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas is in port. The other ship is The World. We saw this ship before when we were in Honduras. It is a privately owned ship. You can purchase a stateroom just like you buy a condo. Then you pay a monthly management fee and can just live on the ship. The residents decide on the itinerary by voting on where to go next. We watched both of them leave and disappear over the horizon. We are waiting for the moon rise. Yesterday was the full moon, so it should be almost full. We’re not sure what time moonrise is. We walked to Big Red to get a sweater and snacks. The moon over the ocean is beautiful.
We are back on our dune waiting for the launch. It’s T minus 50 minutes and counting. The TV vans are in the parking lot and the place is packed. The dune near the beach that John found for us is high up and away from the lights and people. Now we keep checking the time. It’s T minus 25 minutes and counting. We know as long as we see the TV vans the shuttle is still scheduled. NASA can and does scrub the mission at any time for weather or technical reasons. OK, now it’s T minus 10 minutes then 5 minutes and counting. This is more exact than New Years. At 2 minutes we knew it would be soon and got the camera ready, although we don’t know how the photos are going to work out.
We knew it should be time. Like I said we are only about a mile from the actual launch site, but cannot see Endeavor. It was so dark, except for the light of the moon and stars. No clouds in the sky. All of a sudden the North sky lit up like is was daytime. It kept getting brighter and brighter. It was like the sun was coming up but really fast. Unbelievable!!! Then, we saw the shuttle. It looked like a huge bus on fire going up in the sky. It was moving so fast, yet it seemed like it wasn’t moving at all. I tried to take a couple photos, but I didn’t want to miss any of this so I just watched. The sky is now bright and the shuttle is slowly going up. It has the trail of fire and smoke behind it. After a while it slowly disappeared into the sky.
I am so glad we came here to Jetty Park to see this. Only a quarter of all space missions launch at night. We were so lucky that it was at night with a full moon, no clouds, low winds and perfect temperatures. People at our campground 150 miles away have told us they can see the shuttle launch from there sometimes. They may see it in the sky, but from our vantage point, it was breathtaking. To really see and experience the shuttle launches, this is the place to be.
We headed back to Big Red to drive back to our campground. We tried to get a hotel, but everything was sold out. It was Friday night, weekend and shuttle launch. That’s ok, so we headed back. I think everyone in Florida came out to watch the launch. After the first 30 miles, which took us 2 hours, traffic opened up and we got back to our campground around 1am. The traffic didn’t matter. A launch like this, was a once in a lifetime event.
13 We decided today is a pool day. We wanted to get some sun, relax by the pool and read our books. Tomorrow we have a BIG day.
12 Today we’re staying around the cow. John is cleaning the outside of the cow. The trees and Spanish Moss here are beautiful, but the cow and Big Red get dirty from the sap and moss. We also repositioned the cow again because it was off level. Hopefully this will be the last time.
11 We headed down to the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. This used to be like a zoo, but then the owners went bankrupt, so the Florida State Parks took it over. Now there are only animals that habitat Florida, except for Lou the Hippo. These animals are hurt or sick.
We took a boat down Pepper Creek to the main entrance. Then stopped for the Manatee program. Manatees need water at least 72 degrees to live, so in the winter this area is their home. The males weigh around 1200 pounds and the females weigh around 3000 pounds. It’s a nice 1.1 mile loop though the park. We saw Manatees, all sorts of fish, deers, all sorts of snakes, a Florida Panther, all sorts of water fowl, including Sand Hill Cranes, Whooping Cranes, Flamingos, Wood Ducks, Vultures and more. We also saw Foxes and Owls. Since it’s Veterans Day the Bald Eagles have an American Flag.
Once we went through the park, we walked back to the entrance on the mile trail. This was a very nice day and I would recommend this to others.
10 Once again we tried our luck at fishing. NO luck.
9 Today is a domestic day.
8 We went to Homosassa for the Blues n BBQ. It runs from 1130am – 6pm. There are 4 bands – Past Tense, Walker Smith Group, Al “Coffee” McDaniel, Mocassin Slough. The Seafood Fest is also going on in the area. We brought our chairs and found a spot near the stage. We walked across the street and had lunch at Old Mill Tavern.
7 Today was a nice relaxing day. We reorganized our basement on our cow and also Big Red. Now we are ready for whatever comes next. It was a bright and sunny day around 82 degrees. So I soaked up some sun and listened to some tunes, and John worked on fishing. No luck. Gary from the campground came in on his boat and he had 7 bass. The largest was 4.5 lbs. So far the largest fish we saw was 9.5 lbs. Beautiful fish. He gave us a couple so I filleted them up and we had them for dinner.
6 This morning we headed over to the medical center to give blood. We were the only ones there. They really need the blood and we got a T-shirt and free lunch at the hospital for giving. Then we headed over to the Crystal River Ecowalk. This is a 2 mile loop hike. It was a very nice hike. We took our time and along the way we saw 4 armadillos. One of them was only a few feet away from us until he realized we were there. Then he leaped up and took off. After our hike we stopped at Kmart to pick up a fishing reel and another Frisbee.
There are a few Frisbee Golf Courses in the area. We went to the Plantation Inn course. It’s actually pretty neat how they have it set up. The Frisbee golf course is laid out on the regular golf course. The golfers have priority, but it was late in the afternoon and not many golfers were out. This is an 18 hole long Frisbee course. Some of it’s over water and we both only have one Frisbee, so we didn’t try over the water. We had a good time and it was a good walk. Instead of cooking, we stopped at the grocery store to pickup dinner.
5 Last night we had a few fire ants in the cow. In this area this happens a lot. We had already got fire ant stuff to put around every area where the cow touches the ground. So far this seems to be immediately helping. John went fishing with Tom for a couple hours and had action but didn’t boat anything. I relaxed outside and got some sun.
4 We headed back over to Bessie Smith Prescott Recreation Area to try our luck at fishing again and do some hiking. This park is only 3 miles from our campground. John had a couple big hits but never landed anything. I didn’t have any luck at all. After fishing for a few hours, we crossed the dam and took the Inglis Lock hike. It’s a 4 mile hike. Actually it can be a lot longer, but 4 miles is a good distance so that’s the one we’re doing today. It was a nice easy hike. Very pretty. Part of the hike was along the north side of Lake Rousseau and part of it was along the barge canal and past the Inglis Locks. When we were finished with the hike, I was tired. We haven’t hiked this far in quite a while. We went back to the cow, had dinner and took it easy.
3 Today is domestic day. We moved to cow to re-level it. Then we cleaned all the windows and screens, vacuumed and dusted the entire cow. Then did laundry.
2 We had an exploration day. We headed over to Ingles and Yankeetown and then to Dunnellon. We went to the end of route 40 in Yankeetown. It ends at the Gulf of Mexico. There is a boat ramp, fishing areas, and a small park. We will definitely head back there to fish, relax and watch sunset. We checked out the north side of Lake Rousseau, but nothing is really there. We ended up at Dunnellon and found this little bar, Coach’s Pub. They have the NFL ticket so we watched the Bears Game and had dinner.
1 We went over to the floating pier for a few hours to try our luck at fishing. There was still some wind and we caught 1 bass and a small bluegill. The rest of the afternoon we relaxed around the cow. We headed out to Cravings on the Water in Crystal River in the evening. We were heading to the Citrus County Parrothead meeting. Even though they have 100 members, only 6 were there. Judy, Lynn, Marina and Brian and Bob and Rose. We had a few drinks with them and then headed next door to Crackers for Nachos and listen to the band. Party animals that we are, we got back at 930pm.