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Orlando Day Trips

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 went down to the Keys, past Miami and saw the southern most tip of the United States of America. The yellow coconuts on the palm trees were amazing. The azure lagoons and inlets along the coast were stunning.

On another trip, starting from Orlando, we meandered down to Lake Okeechobee, avoiding the toll roads the whole way. When we got there we saw a lake so vast we could not see the other side. We did not see much else. Not even a souvenir stand.

We went east a couple of times to watch some space launches at NASA and check out the east coast beaches. Beach going is nice any time except the hurricane season. If you have not seen a night launch of the space shuttle you have really missed something. Watching the light from those rocket engines split the horizon and turn night into day is a once in a once in a lifetime event.

We were not yet done with a star burst pattern emanating from Orlando throughout the state of Florida so we trickled north and eastward toward Blue Springs State Park. It is said that ancient sailors, after voyages of many years, mistook the manatees for mermaids. From the board walk that lines the forest paths you will never get close enough to tell the difference. The spring itself is a deep wound in the earth from which exudes an upwelling of warm water like the blood of the earth. The spring flow is so strong that fish can swim in it without moving. After all, as far a relative motion is concerned whether the water moves or the fish moves it's all the same. To an observer from the boardwalk peering down the fish appear motionless. It as though they were trapped by some invisible force that keeps them still and suspended in space.

We went west and north to Homosassa-even though we had no hope of pronouncing it. Once you get to the park and pay the entry fee, you get a boat trip. On this boat ride you can see wildlife such as egrets, cormorants, wood ducks, and gators as you float along. After twenty minutes or so you get out and go to the main park. For manatee viewing this must be one of the best parks by far. You can even watch from underneath the manatees while the park rangers and volunteers feed the beasts from above in a kind of observation aquarium. It is amazing to get so near such a large animal and to the hundreds of fish that crowd around to feast on the tidbits that go amiss. The manatees appear to be weightless in the warm, crystal clear waters. Warm springs are one of the few places where the fat can appear graceful. Along with the manatees is an entire menagerie including various exotic tropical birds, alligators and even one hippo. There are lizards and snakes and foxes, oh my! Bring your digital camera. You will find something to take photos of.
As long as we were in the general area we decided to check out Crystal River. If you are merely on foot-don't. Just don't. The archaeological digs are basically a graveyard and boy are they dead. They are burial mounds. Wow, that's a lot of dirt. Okay and some hundred year old oyster shells. Boy, those oysters are dead too.We made a trip to Ft Meyers. The boats and canals and are not uninteresting. I doubt that you would want to drive all the way from Orlando just to see them.