Sunday, April 25, 2010

2010-10 Crystal River Florida

Crystal River Florida

B&B Rv Park. Lecanto Fl.   Full hookups w/cable Tv.  $10 per night.  A simple small park with about 40 units, many permanent Rv’s.

I headed out of Orlando traveling along the Florida Turnpike to hwy 44 and into Lake County.  Although this is considered the dry season, Florida has had lots of rain over the winter months and along with lots of brimming lakes, I.e. Lake County, the pasture lands and low lands are covered in water.

I’ve arrived at another Passport America park, and although the owner said he really was no longer a participant in the PA club, he gave me a great deal on the camp site. And after arriving, I found out he had heart surgery this past weekend.  He’s recovering and was really lucky as he said that an artery was completely blocked.

Life can throw some pretty sudden curves our way.  Just hope we can bounce back like he did.

I’m close to the west coast of Florida and have been wanting to visit the Crystal River Archeological State Park.  It is the location of the largest Indian Mound site in Florida.  The first day, I took a boat tour down the Crystal River.  Views of the Crystal River Nuclear and Coal power plants and 4 bald eagles.  The park ranger on board provided us with a history of the area, noting that as many as 7,500 Native Indians visited the site each year.  And as  many as 50,000 could have live in the surrounding county.  We were also able to see the largest of the mounds from the water.

This is the only site where some of the mounds were used as burial sites in Florida.  The second day I visited the museum and toured the numerous mounds and middens.  They have two main Steles (stones turned upright with some carvings).  This is the only known site in Florida to contain such stones.  A park ranger was kind enough to give me more information then one would normally receive after I’d told him of my research on Native American sites throughout the US and Canada (amateur of course).  The ranger showed me a stele that most of the public would never see, indicating a hand print in the stone as well as some concentric circles carved near the bottom of the stone.   Quite exciting to see something that had been carved almost 2000 years ago.

The description of the tallest mound, over 30 feet in height, would have been visible from the Gulf of Mexico, the red and yellow flags of the tribe flapping in the wind.  As other tribes would have paddled down the coast, coming to the area most likely to trade goods, they would have seen those flags and known they were in the midst of a great tribe.

Copper and mica from the north west and Ohio area have been found at the site as well as items that most likely came from the Mayan culture.   This site was occupied continuously for over 1,600 years.  Imagine.

The next couple of days I decided to just tour the country side.  Traveling through small communities like Beverly Hills, Dunellen, Yankee Town and Cedar Key.  The countryside is thick with oak trees, pine and palm trees.  Lush green pasture lands interspersed between the forests.  So thick in many areas I couldn’t see 10 feet into the forest.  Beverly Hills isn’t so much a town, actually I didn’t see one, but they have one heck of a beautiful one mile long boulevard.  Single lanes flank a wide grass and tree lined center median with sidewalks on both edges of the median.  Small concrete homes from the 60’s line the side streets.  Dunellen is a quaint Florida Cracker town and I’ll have to tour it some more.  Yankee Town was little more than cracker houses and a couple small motels, boat docks. With the main road passing through  miles of marsh land and islands surrounded by a sea of tall grasses leading to a dead end where there was a boat ramp and small picnic area.  The Gulf of Mexico shimmering in the distance.  An older couple who live fairly close drove their motor home over to the picnic area and just parked it there for the day.  Enjoying the Gulf views, islands off in the distance.  How cool.

 Cedar Key, normally a lazy fishing village on the Gulf coast was filled with tourists ogling all the Florida artists displaying their wares.  My Friend John Sterpe was there with his awesome “Real Florida” scenes of spring fed rivers and landscapes.  Lots of new artists I’d not seen before.

A final note on this region.  While exploring the Crystal River area, I’ve eaten at a number of local restaurants and I must say, they’ve all been pretty darn good, both price wise and quality of food.  At one, I paid $6.95 for an appetizer, Greek salad, fresh roll/butter, coleslaw, and a Tilapia sandwich.  Oh the drink (a soda) cost $1.00.

Enjoy exploring your own corner of the World.  

PS don't forget to check out additional pictures on my PICASA Web site.

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