Sunday, March 13, 2011

From Carrabelle to Manatee Springs

While we were in Carrabelle we experienced some of the same problems with the electrical we had when we were at Big Lagoon. So we knew it was our problem. We had a load of laundry to do, so while the wash was going I looked through the big file of information about the RV that we keep. I pulled out a few relevant items related to the converter. William then read over those items and did a systematic check of the breakers, fuses and the RV battery. After taking my side of the bed thoroughly apart he found a cord partway pulled out. He reinserted it and all was well. We think that it jolted loose when we hit a few potholes at speed on the freeway in Louisiana. One was bad enough to have potentially blown a tire. You don't expect horrible pot holes on a freeway. Yeah for William and his fix it skills.

We stayed on 98 to Manatee Springs. We noted on the map that this area of the coast had no development and no roads to the coast. The land seems to be just used for corn row forestry. The land is cleared and trees are mechanically planted in plots. After about 30 years they harvest the trees and use them for pulp wood. They do burning for competition control and disease control. With all the uniform rainfall the burning adds nutrients. We coughed our way along the road when the smoke from this fire blew across the highway.

I saw some small signs along the road. Tupelo Honey. Mayhaw jelly. We passed a man selling out of a truck bed. If we pass another Tupelo Honey seller, I want to buy some. And there is another little sign Tupelo Honey 2 miles. William says, “Only if it is out of the back of a truck.” And of course it was. Such a chattery salesman. I am waving my money and he finally pays attention to me. I just bought a small Tupelo Honey as we don't have room for a lot of stuff. The Mayhaw jelly looked too red and reminded me of jellies I don't like, prickly pear and manzanita berry. There were also small signs for hot boiled peanuts. But William refused to stop for those. I'm going to have him get hot boiled peanuts some time when we are in the south.

Manatee Springs for a late lunch and then a hike to the springs. William booked this site on Reserve America and he swears it said nothing about this site being a handicapped site. At least we are old. It is really handy to the bathroom and no three flights of stairs to climb like in Big Lagoon.
We saw some people coming up from behind the RV in wet suits and William asked them about a path to the spring and they pointed it out. Down into a hollow, past catfish sink and then on to the boardwalk. This is a huge spring that stays at a constant 72 degrees so it attracts manatees in the winter. We stop and watch people swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. We continue on the board walk to look for more wildlife. A sign says to watch out for humans with squirreliosis, a contagious disease of feeding squirrels.
Further on we spot a small alligator and a few turtles. Then out to Suwannee River overlook. Lots of vultures, turkey vultures and black vultures. The ranger who is out here says that this is their traditional area. They may sleep on the same branch every night.

Then we see some manatees out near the vulture trees. They stick their noses up to breath every once in a while. No spouting and breaching like whales. Then one starts for the platform. A huge manatee about 10 feet long with skin mottled and peeling as it slowly swam toward us and then under the platform. Quite a site.

On the walk back William says, “What is that.”

I don't want to yell that it is two vultures copulating because I don't want to disturb them.
Although maybe it wouldn't have bothered them as they seemed preoccupied as I took quite a few pictures. William figured it out.
We also saw a very small young deer. The ranger said it was browsing on the tips of the trees that the squirrels would break off. The deer meandered over to where we had seen the alligator. We waited hoping for some action, but the alligator was not there and was rather small even for such a small young deer. The last animal we saw was a squirrel as we headed back.
Such a variety of animals all interwoven. The vegetarians, manatee, deer and squirrels. The carnivore alligator and the carrion eating vultures. Nice walk.

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