|Myakka River State Park, Florida|
We decided to take more advantage of our camper while we took our time and searched for a slightly bigger unit. We looked at the calendar and decided to pick a Florida Sate Park that was within a half-day's drive at least once a month. It turns out there are many great state RV parks that make a weekend or three day trip easy to do, no matter where you are in Florida. We picked the Myakka River State Park, just east of Sarasota on State Road 72 for our next weekend trip.
While looking for a longer camper, we have decided there is one feature we really like: The walk-around bed. The bed is mounted in the center of the camper, lengthwise with space on either side to get in or out. After a person reaches a certain age, bathroom trips during the night are not uncommon. Having to crawl over your spouse is not always easy to do, especially if you are trying not to wake her, or him. I usually end up banging my wife in the back during the process which results in groans or grunts and a “sorry, honey!”
Ilse had passed yet another kidney stone, although this time not while we were camping. She had a doctors appointment that ended up scheduled for the morning we were due to leave, but since we weren't going far and didn't have to leave until later in the day, it worked out great. She was home in time for lunch, and we finished loading the last few items, mostly for the refrigerator. The dogs were nervous as usual, but not as bad as during the first trips. We called the park to make sure the campsites weren't under water, and rolled out a little after 1:00pm. Calling the park before leaving home is mandatory during the rainy season as the park often floods and certain sections have to be closed.
We arrived at the boat ramp the next morning a little later than planned. The weather was nice with just a light overcast with the sun just beginning to peak through. Unloading was a snap and we were ready to paddle in less than 15 minutes. I took my trusty video camera for the first time as I had never taped one of our paddles before. I picked a good one to start with. We weren't ten minutes on the water when a pair of Roseate Spoonbills passed overhead. Beautiful pink birds that look like they were from an animated cartoon. I only caught them on tape as they passed away from me. I thought next time I'll just keep the camera in my lap to be ready.
Ilse coasted up to a large gator, probably in the twelve foot range, laying placidly to the right of her kayak. As she slowly and quietly coasted toward the fearsome looking creature, it slowly began to swim to the other side of the weed-free part of the lake passage. My wife sat calmly with her paddle out of the water as the obvious owner of the lake rather pompously swam across her bow. Kayaking in Florida is quite different than the mountain lakes of Georgia. [The video is on YouTube at Myakka River State Park]
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