Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blue Spring State Park and More! (Orange City, FL)

Debbie and I are approaching the end of our stay at Blue Spring.  We've been busy!  Saturday or Sunday  (who knows which)  after our trip to the lighthouse Debbie and I did a great bicycle ride.  I've mentioned the trail earlier.  But I haven't told you about Debbie's new bike.  For years Debbie has had a standard version of a Raleigh, 21 speed bike.  I'd say for years she hasn't liked the bike.  So we shopped for a replacement.  We were still at Fort DeSoto and St. Petersburg has something like 25 Bicycle Stores.  We visited several.  We were willing to spend $200-$300 but we got off light.  Debbie's choice was a used Schwinn.  We paid $150.  The bike is lavender with burgundy fenders - it's pretty.  It's a 3 speed (simple to operate).  The feature that may have swayed us most was that it has a great front basket.  Before leaving the bike store we bought a new seat.  It must be the most comfortable bicycle seat known to man.

While still at Fort DeSoto we put a $45 price on the old bike and set it out front of the camper.   It sold within an hour.  So we enjoyed our bike ride and  Debbie's maiden voyage on the pretty "new" bike.

Monday we  visited the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. (Warning: bird photos coming!)   It's probably no more than 10 miles north of Blue Spring.  It's a large water covered area with numerous foot paths.  It''s wonderfully tranquil and a birding paradise.

We saw many of the birds we routinely see such as these Great Egrets

and this Great Blue Heron

but more excitedly, we identified several new fellows that we thought were pretty cool.  These included an American Bittern,

Blue Winged Teal (males and females),

Tricolored Heron,

American Coot,

Common Moorhen,

 and a Pied Billed Grebe.

It's only fair to say that we also saw many other varieties that we couldn't ID.  We recommend this destination to anyone who enjoys the birds.
Tuesday we went to the DeLeon Springs State Park.  It also is only about 10 miles up the road.  It's next  to Lake Woodruff.  Along with the springs, the attraction there is the Old Spanish Sugarmill Restaurant.

It's a breakfast and lunch place where you cook your own pancakes at your table.  The price is very reasonable, $4.50 each for all the pancakes you can eat.  They bring you 2 pitchers of batter, one wheat and one plain.  For $1.75 a pop you can buy an order of blueberries, or bananas or pecans etc to add to the batter. We chose the blueberries and pecans.

The meal was great but even better were our table companions. They were 2 couples who were friends.  Both wives were teachers, one husband a band director, the other a choir director.  It may be shameful, but we didn't get everyone's name.  We did give them one of our cards so we hope they will read this blog and share there names' with us, please!

We had taken Bo and Laska with us. They stayed in the truck parked in a shady location.  After breakfast we took them on a five mile hike along one of the park's trails. Immediately after the hike we made a nice spotting of a Red Shouldered Hawk.

Wednesday we drove about an hour to Leesburg, Fl to have lunch with Charley and Sherry Dilworth and Jeff and Barbie Boldt.  We all had lunched together about a month ago in Lakeland, Fl. with about 25 other full-timers.  I think this is all pretty cool that we develop these friendships as a result of blogs and lunch.  We really had a very nice time.  We met at an Olive Garden and camped out there for about 3 hours.  I believe we will get together again in early March.

Left to Right: Barbie, Sherry and Charlie
Jeff and Barbie
Thursday was another great day.  Debbie and I went on a 2 hour "Eco" boat ride that departed from Blue Spring State Park.  It was a large pontoon boat and cost $22 each.  

The mission was to view wildlife and enjoy the river.  Mission Complete!  We saw zillions of turtles

and an endless number of alligators ranging in size from a few inches to 12-14 feet.

New bird sitings included a Green Heron (trying to hide in the grass),


and Yellow-Crowned Night Heron.

Couldn't resist photographing some of our old favorites such as this Snowy Egret.

We also saw another American Bittern which we understand are not that common.

The lady narrating the tour did an EXCELLENT job!

We returned to Titusville today.  We spent a little time at Merritt Island looking for birds and feeding mosquitoes.  We also cruised Willow Lakes RV community.  It''s similar to The Great Outdoors.  Smaller and not as fancy, but still very nice.

We'll return to Alafia State Park in Lithia next week to try to get our warranty work completed.



  1. First I can't believe how long your hair is Debbie! Haven't seen it that long in forever!
    The new bike is very pretty!!
    I love the breakfast concept! Cook your own pancakes at your table! Way cool.
    In the second gator picture is that a baby gator on the back of the big one? It looks like it to me.

    I love the add one's that you've added to the page. The states, temp, and little bio. Very nice!

  2. Alot of great pictures! Once again, we enjoyed spending time with you folks & Dilworths at Olive Garden. Be safe in your travels.

  3. Great pictures! We love to watch the birds but we know so little about them. Mainly familiar only with the common ones in SC. But we are learning more each day. Be safe and hope to see you again soon!

  4. Hi neighbors,

    We enjoyed meeting you on our walk around the park today!!

    We went to the Sugar Mill restaurant with our kids a few years ago and had a great time!.

    John and Judy