Sunday, April 8, 2012

Florida 2012 - Week 5

St. Lucie South federal campground at St. Lucie locks
Well this is a different kind of RV park.  St. Lucie South is a federal campground with 9 RV sites, 3 tent sites and 8 boat slips at the St. Lucie Locks on the Okeechobee Waterway.  The waterway is a canal that connects the Atlantic Ocean on Florida's east coast at Port St. Lucie with the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast at Fort Myers through Lake Okeechobee.  There are a lot of fish in the canal - those acrobatic mullets which jump 3, 4 or 5 times resembling dolphins in a way, but the mullet always seem to land on their side; alligators; and snook which people are fishing for.  We bike ride in Phipps Park, a county park "next door".  Here there are several ponds, which look man-made, full of black ducks, turtles and a small gator, about 2-3 feet in length.

St. Lucie lock overflow and incoming pelican
All kinds of boats come through the locks, from big sailboats to personal fishing boats.  We learn that a boat is limited in the number of times it can pass through the lock system, because if the locks open and close too many times the water levels drop too much in Lake Okeechobee, which is already too low of water.  We also go to Jensen Beach on the Atlantic.  Again, a beautiful, eastern Florida beach.  Nothing spectacular to report.

Brad, Marilyn, Mike, Marion and Noah
Next stop, the Tampa area to visit our friends, Marion and Mike.  We've played volleyball with Marion for years and she now spends her winters down here in Valrico.  We spend one day just shooting the breeze with them, and another day cycling in a local county park - Aldermans Ford Park, which is so tropical Florida, with palms everywhere.    It's just beautiful.

Brad on the beach at Fort DeSoto County Park, St. Pete's
Brad and I also visit Fort DeSoto County Park on the peninsula near St. Petersburg.  It's a nice beach with the palms and pine trees providing shade right on the shore.  It's fairly crowded even though it's a weekday; I'd hate to see this area on a weekend or during March Break.  They also have cycle trails throughout the park, and a campground.  But what a great visit with Marion and Mike, whom we rarely get to see anymore since they moved to Ridgetown.

Off to the next adventure, Crystal River and then Manatee Springs State Park.

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