Monday, May 31, 2010

2010-16 Florida Folk Festival

lorida Folk Festival, Steven Foster State Park

With Steven Foster’s songs bouncing around in my head, Way down upon the Suwannee River, My Old Kentucky Home, and Jeanie with the Light brown hair, I arrived for the first day of the Florida Folk Festival.   My touring of the local area done, I was ready to settle down for some serious grinning and pickin.

There are stages set up all over the park with food vendors and craft vendors interspersed throughout the area.  I took my bike, as many others did who have been going to this for years.  Didn’t need to lock the bike up at each stop as Folk music type don’t steal bikes.  Friday’s crowd was light and there were seats available at all the venues.  Friday is always my favorite day at the Festival.  By the time I got there, it was almost lunch time and the “Church Ladies” food vending area was all set up.  Why wait.  I listened to one father/son duo singing all original songs and then I went for the food.  The Church Ladies area consists of about 6 church groups, all run by black women who cook up the best southern food around.  From collard greens (really not a favorite of mine), beans, cornbread, okra, and other southern favorites.  Only one booth was selling fried chicken, as I think all the talk about healthier cooking has sunk in even with the Church Ladies.  I opted for a chicken and rice dish one day and seafood gumbo the next.

Listened to a couple of story tellers in the tower (in the center of the park where they have the largest carillon pipes in the world).  Only problem, the square, domed, all marble hall has an echo that would destroy the best of singers or story tellers.  It did.  I stuck it out as long as I could, the place is air-conditioned after all.  The stories were good, what I could hear of them, hear of them, hear of them.  Opps, sorry the echo is still with me.

The next day, I was to join John and Margie for a hike with an outdoors group to the Big Shoals rec. area.  But before we went on the hike, the small hamlet of White Springs was having a old fashioned street sale.  Where they block off one street and everyone sets up tables and sells all their used items, crafts and chickens, geese, and rabbits (for pets and eatin).  One country farmer told me he had some rabbits already dressed and ready for cookin.  I didn’t take him up on the offer.  I talked to a cowboy who had about 10 saddles for sale and were they beauties.  Used of course, but he liked to buy and sell them, having an eye for the best of them.  Margie and John bought a western vase, one in the shape of a swan, a watermelon and some jewelry.  They’re still in the collecting stage of life.  Seems we collect things for half our lives, then spend the other half getting rid of them.

The hike was fun, joined by about 4 other hikers.  The Big Shoals is the only rapids in Florida.  It was all of a two mile hike for some of us, the others were going a full 6 miles.  Since we needed to get back to the Florida Folk Festival, our group did the 2 mile hike.  In hind site, we probably should have done the hike on a different day, as by the time we got to the festival, we were all over heated and exhausted.  It being another day of 90’s and high high humidity.

Later in the day (after I had went back to the camper to chill out, literally) I was back in the park to search for my friends and hear some good music.  A few afternoon clouds had formed, but I thought it would be one of our Florida 15 minute showers and be gone.  Wrong.  It was a hoe down stompin gulley washer that lasted a good two hours.  I was standing under the Church Ladies food vending area.  A heavy sturdy steel beamed open air building with metal roof.  The rain came pounding down and one could hardly hear to talk.  After about an hour of pounding rain, lighting and thunder, suddenly we all looked up in frozen shocked disbelief as we saw this huge metal structure begin to abruptly sway and rattle back and forth.  Now the beams holding up the roof are easily a foot and a half wide I beams at the bottom tapering to about maybe a foot wide at the top.  Not a gust of wind came along with this phenomenon.  Just a violent shaking of the whole structure, and then it was over.  We all let out a breath as the rain continued to come down in buckets.

I ran between raindrops to another tent pavilion to hear some banjo and guitar pickin  (yes, they continued to play music throughout the entire rain storm, each tent pretty much having a captive audience) before finally giving up and heading back to the camper.  That was pretty much it for the festival that day.
The last day of the Festival, I heard a couple of singers I’ll keep track of.

They are:

Arianna Hall, with a powerful clear voice for such a small package and so young.  The announcer said she should be on American Idol.  Got a rousing standing ovation.  Doesn’t even have a CD out yet.

Edward Cotton, a seasoned performer with a good personality and great folk songs

Amy Carol, a black singer doing mostly original songs and lives in St Augustine

Mindy Simmons, a true entertainer, fun and has a large following where ever she goes.  Did the song “Halleluiah” and had the audience give a standing ovation.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

2010-14 A Bonus BOOK report, The Joy of Not Working


The Joy of Not Working, by Ernie Zelinski

As I mentioned last week, I thought I’d go ahead and report on a few highlights from the book, The Joy of Not Working.  As so many of my readers have retired or especially for those yet to retire and are wondering what’s it all about and how does one retire successfully and lead a healthy happy life after work.

The book is written by a Canadian author (Woo hoo to all my Canadian friends).   At the age of 29 he decided to take a 10 week vacation, having not taken a single week off in 3 years.  After returning to work, he discovered that his bosses hadn’t appreciated his time he’d taken off or his happy demeanor once he returned.  They fired him.

It didn’t take Ernie long to realize that the heavy work a day world was not for him and he vowed to never work a 9-5 job again.  Now most of us couldn’t imagine such a life, even though it is possible.  What Ernie does in his book is provide many opportunities for viewing the world in a different perspective with the hope that we will be able to structure our own lives in a more joyful way during our working years and beyond.  With emphasis on the non working years of course.

So here are a few highlights that jumped out of the pages at me:

  • North America has become obsessed with the idea that the more work we do the more self worth we are.  IE if you enjoy leisure time, you are in effect not productive and therefore not as worthy as others.  To the point, many workers brag about the extra hours they work each week.  If this is you, it’s a warning sign.
My thoughts: Goes back to my spiritual training that emphasized the need to keep the body, mind and soul in balance.  How does one do that?  I can tell you working doesn’t do it.  I remember throughout my own career, I would always take time to have other activities outside of work.  Exercise, biking, swimming, camping, reading, meditating etc.  Building my body, my mind and my spirit.
  • “Leisure consists in all those virtuous activities by which a man grows morally, intellectually, and spiritually”, “ it is what makes life worth living”.  philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero.
  • “The early Greeks and Romans relegated ALL activities done with the hands, done under orders, or done for wages to the lower-class citizens or to the slaves.”
  • “Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle cited leisure as ultimate wealth; leisure was desirable as an end in itself so people could use it to think, learn, and develop themselves..  Conversely, pursuing wealth, power, and status through work was considered a form of voluntary slavery that failed to enhance the human condition.”
  • Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do.  Oscar Wilde

  • Many people see there self worth in the work they do which is furthest from the truth.  It's what you do with your life that gives a person true worth.

  • “If there is anything that will keep you from getting what you want, it is not knowing exactly what you want.  Reaching your ideal destination is highly unlikely if you don’t know what that destination is.  You must do some soul-searching and really understand yourself before you can determine what your wants are.  Only then can you proceed toward getting what you want out of life. “

  • To enjoy leisure time it must be done in an active, not a passive activity.  TV being the number one passive activity.

  • “If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead” Erma Bombeck.

  • What are active leisure activities?  The author lists Writing, Reading, Exercising, Walking, Painting, playing music, dancing, taking a course as examples.  He lists over 300 activities that expand the mind body and spirit in the book.

  • “If you are still in the workforce and spend most of your leisure time in front of the TV set, this is certainly not good training for an active retirement.”

  • “I like long walks, especially when they’re taken by people who annoy me”  Fred Allen

  • “Write without pay until somebody offers pay.  If nobody offers within three years, the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the most implicit confidence as the sign that sawing wood is what he was intended for:” Mark Twain.  I thought I’d throw this one in for my writer friends…. :)
Oddly enough, as I was reading along in the book, I began to think wouldn’t it be nice to join a Yoga group or Zen group.  As if led in that direction from the reading, though the author had not mentioned either up to this point in the book, suddenly, a couple chapters further on and a whole chapter was devoted to Zen.

The Zen idea being to live in the moment, as one can never live in the past or future anyway.  As a fully engaged retiree, I had always had the belief that one prepares for the future, but one lives today.  That meant making sure I worked and played to keep in balance mind/body/spirit.

  • “Being in the now is the essence of Zen, an Eastern discipline that has personal enlightenment as it’s goal.”
Lost, yesterday, somewhere
Between sunrise and sunset, two
Golden hours, each set with sixty
Diamond minutes.  No reward is
Offered, for they are gone forever.
-Horace Mann
  • This might be a bit heavy, but here goes.  Time seems to stretch, sometimes being short and sometimes being long.  The faster we go trying to fit everything in, the less time we seem to have.  The more we slow down, the more time seems to stretch out.  So in essence, if we hurry, we have less time to do the things we want to do.  Vice versa, if we slow down, we now have all the “time” we need….

  • If you haven’t taken all of your leave lately, it’s a sign you will not enjoy retirement.  I’ve recently met a number of strangers and friends who have told me they have not used all of their leave each year.  A manager at Red Lobster told me she just took 3 days of leave out of a couple of weeks she has not used and didn’t know what to do with herself.  The book goes in depth as to what a person like this needs to do to balance their life out.

  • “Knowing others is wisdom, Knowing yourself is Enlightenment” Lao Tzu

  • “According to a 2002 survey conducted by AIG SunAmerica, the people most likely to enjoy retirement are those who have planned for it…. 78% of people who prepare for retirement both financially and psychologically view it as a whole new life.”

  • Another book on the subject is:  Breaking the Watch, by Joel Savishinsky. And; It’s only too late if you don’t start now: how to create your second life at any age, by Barbara Sher.

  • “Do not worry; eat three square meals a day; say your prayers; be courteous to your creditors; keep your digestion good; exercise; go slow and easy.  Maybe there are other things your special case requires to make you happy; but my friend, these I recon will give you a good life: -Abraham Lincoln
  • “It’s oldish thoughts that make a person old” -James “A Farley

  • “Above all, let go of your attachment to the idea that you should work hard.  Clearly hard work doesn't guarantee happiness.  If hard work guaranteed happiness, over 90% of Americans would be happy.
  • “Do something everyday to make your life less complicated.  Learn to identify the unimportant.  You will find life’s a breeze when you work as hard at simplifying it as you now do at complicating it.”

The last chapter is so good and upbeat, I wish I could copy the whole chapter and share it with you.  It’s titled; The end has just begun.  Though I think it should be titled a new beginning.

We in the Gov had a chart passed around years ago that showed for every year you work past your retirement date, you lost two years of your life.

After reading the book, it dawned on me that I had been preparing for retirement for many years.  I remember recently telling a friend that I actually started to think about it in my early 20’s.  First, finding a job that would let me retire as early as possible.  Later, during my working years, I worked on balancing my life and having outside interests besides work.  From there, my love of camping expanded into a new life of traveling the country and exploring and learning about history, culture and the discovery of new places, ideas and experiences.  So a happy retirement (though I prefer to call it graduating from work) is possible and I have many retired friends to prove the point as well.

I’d say the bottom line is one needs to have a love of life and an interest in discovering what’s out there.  And to accomplish that, one needs to stop doing passive activities and do more active activities.  Not waiting until retirement, but incorporating it into a new lifestyle for the now.  As the Zen masters say, you only have the now.

I hope this helps any of my readers along their own path to a new life of leisure.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

2010-13 White Springs, North Florida

White Springs

I got back on the road again on Monday heading towards White Springs.  I took hwy 75 all the way and even though there was a light rain much of the way, the traffic wasn’t bad.  Considering it’s a major artery in and out of the state, I was lucky.  And the good news is that the rain washed all the bugs and dirt off the camper and truck. Woohoo.

I should have checked my Passport America Parks a bit closer and stayed at a campground called Lee Country Rv instead of Kelly Park where I’m staying.  Kelly is only honoring my Passport America discount for one week.  So I’m paying about $20 a night, instead of  the $13 a night I could have been paying at Lee Rv.  But I’ll be more careful next time and make better arrangements.

This is another nice rural area, the closest town with good grocery stores and shops is down in Lake City, a 10 mile drive.  White Springs has a number of really nice homes in an old Florida setting, aka really large spreading oak trees and the largest magnolia trees I’ve ever seen.  The one thing they don’t have much of is a town.  Only two restaurants, a gas station and a few churches.

I’m here for the Florida Folk Festival and decided to purchase my tickets in advance to save a few dollars. So I stopped off at the large Florida Sate Nature and Heritage Tourism Center in the heart of White Springs.  But no go.  They don’t sell the FFF tickets.  Brochures advertising the event were everywhere, but not a ticket in sight.  So I went to the main entrance of the Stephen Foster State Park, only about a block away to get my tickets.  That’s where the event is to be held.  No go again.  The Ranger at the front gate said they don’t sell the tickets either.  I was directed to the back entrance to the park and told to go to the Administration Building to get the tickets.  Once there, I parked in the visitor parking spot, and proceeded to try and find the entrance on a single story green building.  A sign on the corner of the building said “ Admin. Office”.  But the door facing the parking lot was locked.  I ended up walking around the back side of the building and there was the unassuming entrance.  Upon entering, a secretary asked what she could do for me.  I told her I’d like to buy tickets for the upcoming Folk Festival.  Sure she said, and then called someone’s office deep in the bowls of the building to make sure I could purchase the tickets.  I was then escorted all the way down a long hallway (almost back out to my truck) and Lucy signed me up for the tickets.  She told me they had only one computer/card reader that could be used to purchase advanced tickets.  Hmmmm the government is the same all over, whether it be state, county or Federal.  She didn’t actually have the tickets and had to go to another office to get them.

That ordeal over, I’ve been exploring the local area a bit.  Discovered a small park called Falling Creek Falls.  Imagine a Falls In Florida.  The park has a couple historical buildings and a boardwalk to the falls.  The water pouring over the falls looked just like root-beer.  Kind of made me thirsty for some.  Even visited an old country church that has two doors out front.  One for men and one for women to enter separately.

Later, I stopped in one of the few stores in town, the local hardware and thrift shop.  It has a new owner.  The guys a full time fire fighter and this is like a second job owning the hardware store.  He’s stocking more supplies for the local farmers including live chickens and turkeys.  Imagine.  Three deer heads were over the poultry corner and he told me he had shot two of them right on his own property just outside of town.

Wild flowers are in full bloom all along US 41.  Wonder if this is a left over from the Lady Bird Johnson beautification era?  That was way back in 1965.   Wouldn’t it be nice to expand that idea all over again.  Maybe get our minds off of all the problems going on in the world.   I’m always thrilled to drive on any part of US 41, as it is the same highway that goes through my hometown of Houghton Mich.  And eventually ends in Miami Fl.  It’s always been my physical link to my home in Mich.

I’ve had more time to read lately, what with only one Tv station to watch.  One book I recently picked up and have started to read is:  THE JOY OF NOT WORKING, by Emie J Zelinski.  A most thought provoking book.  I remember years back when I first got a Gov. job back in Orlando Fla.  I was only a temp and my hours would sometimes be cut back from 38 hours a week down to 30 hours.  I was always eager to work less hours, even with the effect of a much smaller paycheck.  Even back then, I realized that I could not make more time.  So having a few extra hours of leisure was like giving me extra hours in a day to enjoy life.  Reading this book is like taking a refresher course in how to use my leisure time most effectively and bring more joy and fulfillment into my life.

I may quote a few passages in my next blog to spur your thought waves.

The dog to old to learn
new tricks, always has been

Monday, May 10, 2010

2010-12 Otter Springs Florida

Otter Springs Florida


Otter Springs.  Full hookups, $17 per night (wkly rate).  Gorgeous grassy sites with huge oak trees draped in Spanish moss.  Natural springs, indoor swimming pool.

I’m here to join in a N Fla Great Outdoors group campout.  John found this spring last year and set up the campout for the group.  It’s one of those gems that you pretty much have to hear about by word of mouth.  It’s not even on most maps.

Otter Springs was originally a Baptist retreat, eventually sold to a conservancy and now is owned by the Suwanee Water Management District and managed by Gilchrist county.  The springs are small and nestled around sloping grassy banks, oak and palm trees.  The old camp has a couple of nice rental cabins, one on stilts.  A large indoor swimming pool and a couple of activity buildings.

This is the only campground that I’ve ever been in that has  “people” corrals.  They’re actually fenced off areas between campsites for placing your chairs, picnic table and fire pits.  Since the sites are pretty loosely defined, it keeps the cars and vehicles out of the area.

The Next day a couple of us went to Hart Springs, another of the many natural springs in the area to put in for a kayak trip.  We were assured that we could find the entrance to Otter springs on down the river.  Just look for the sign between two large cypress trees.

I rented my kayak, $15 for 4 hours, and joined the others on the banks of the springs.  We all got our bearings and headed out to the Suwannee River.  The Suwannee widened out and we began paddling west towards the Gulf of Mexico.  What a joy to be back out on the water.  Feeling the rhythmic sway of the water as larger boats passed us by.  The waves lifting our kayaks up and over each crest and then back down.  The river heavily bordered by cypress and pines.  Occasional boat ramps and cabins line the river which can flood up to 10 feet so many are either on the higher banks along the river or on stilts.

After traveling the 3 or 4 miles, we began to looking for the two cypress trees and the sign for Otter springs.  We were told that if we missed the entrance to the springs, we’d see the old boat dock and know we‘d gone too far.  Did I mention the river is lined with cypress trees and old docks and boats?  Did I also mention the river is fast moving and to paddle upstream would be near to impossible?? So if we missed the entrance we’d be up a creek so to speak.   Having felt like we’d already traveled 5 or 6 miles down river, our group was intent of finding those twin cypress trees and sign.  Wait, I see two big cypress trees up ahead and there are three nails in the tree but no sign.  John said, “looks like the entrance”, as he began paddling deep within, the dark stained waters,  cypress knees poking up through the still black waters.  A dead end.

We turned around and continued our paddling down river, a bit slower, looking intently at each pair of cypress trees.  Finally two large cypress stood opposite a small inlet.  No sign, but we decided to paddle up the inlet anyway.  The further we got, the clearer the water became, indicating a spring.  The canopy of trees hung low over the slow moving stream, creating a green shaded tunnel for paddling.  A silent world except for the occasional bird chirping in the distance or the splash of water as a fish broke the surface or other unseen creatures plunged into the dark water.  We were no longer eager to reach our destination, as the scenery was so other worldly and we all knew it would be a while before we got to travel a route like this again.

Back at camp plans were made to visit more springs in the area.  Hart, Fanning, Manatee, Troy, Peacock and so many more.  Which ones would we make it too next.  All were different in their own way and each one perfect for us photographers and John the painter.  Eager to get out there and take pictures along their boardwalks, trails and headwaters of the springs.

Each evening enjoying a campfire.  For those in the city environments, it really is cooler out in the country.  Watching the flames lap up the sides of the logs.  Listening to the night owls hooting in the distance.  Stars twinkling through the canopy of trees against a black sky.  A stillness in the air. Not wanting to disturb the silence, until someone tells a joke or pokes fun and laughter fills the air.

On the last day or the official campout (being a fulltimer I get to stay a few more days before moving on), John and I went for a morning hike from Otter springs to the Suwannee River.  The trails are easy to follow and well marked.  The red and orange trails that we would be hiking on.   They’re actually old dirt roads, which make for great trails through this dense river forest.  Nice to enjoy a hike with an old friend, sometimes just enjoying the silence as we walked along.  Snapping pictures, commenting on the native palm trees and awesome old gnarled oak trees.

My friends have left and I enjoy the early morning sun and coolness.  I do my one chore a day, Laundry today, then head out to explore the small town of Trenton Fla.  I have lunch in a restaurant and quilt shop that are in the old Coke-a-Cola bottling plant.  Beautifully restored.  The food was marginal but as I walked around the shops and the adjoining buildings containing pricey antiques, I thought of my dear friend Laurel.  The shops contained a full classroom facility for making the quilts in a group setting.  And since they had all the supplies a quilter would ever want, I just know she’d love the place.

It’s going to be another quiet evening so I’ll send this out till next time….

Ps, the picture of the red dragon fly was quite a shot to get.  Margie pointed him out high up on a dead branch, at least 12 feet away.  How I was able to zoom in and focus on such a small creature, I’ll never know.

Note: some of the pictures presented were taken by my buddy John, as I did not bring my camera on the river.  A water mark with his name indicates which pictures are his.  See Picasa Photo's.

Monday, May 3, 2010

2010-11 Inverness, Dunnellon Florida

Another week in the Country.


Thousand Palms Rv Resort.  Nice Rv park, with pool.  Some sites have cable Tv.  Cost:  $17 Passport America.

I finished off my visit to the west coast of Fla. By revisiting Homosassa Springs.  The last time I was there, their boat ride wasn’t functioning due to low water levels.  That’s been taken care of along the 20 minute ride through the winding river by a newly installed water control gate.  Lush tropical vegetation leading to the main part of the park brings we passengers into a world of native animals and birds.  All except for the Hippo who has special privileges and has been at the park for about 20 years.  

This is one of those unique parks that was originally a private commercial park that the State of Florida has taken over.  Keeping that special layer of kitschy tourist attraction that were so prevalent back in the 60’s.  Instead of exotic animals, it now contains native animals to Florida.  Many in rehab due to accidents, like the playful manatee with their numerous scars from errant boaters.  

I had a great conversation with a volunteer Ranger who’s planning a visit to Alaska this summer.  Wildlife was everywhere, including a large black snake on one of the trails.  Ekk!  And no I didn’t go in the reptile exhibit after seeing one out in the wild.  I was really caught by the beauty of the swans in the exhibit.   And I got what I consider a really pretty shot of the Flamingos.  

Back in Lecanto, I went to the local Flea Market, within spittin distance of the park I‘m staying in, which is open only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Lordy, I thought about my Canadian friends who were surprised in AZ see guns being sold at a yard sale.  They would have had a heart attack in this rural Florida community, where there must have been at least a dozen booths selling rifles and shot guns.  Gheez Louis, I’d never in my life seen so many guns out in the open and all for sale to the first person to come up with a couple hundred dollars.  

I bought a bunch of bananas $1, two paper back books (50 cents ea.) and a cool felt cowboy hat for $3. Sorry no guns, I’d probably shoot my foot off the first time I held one.  I know, I went wild on my spending, but sometimes one has to treat oneself.    

On Thursday I drove all of 17 miles to my next destination, Inverness Fla.  After setting up next to a pond at 1,000 Palms Rv, I joined a small group going out to dinner.  It’s so easy at many parks to join others for these planned events.  And a great way to learn about the area.  

The next day I drove into town and took my bike along as well.  The Withlacoochee Bike Trail goes right through Inverness.  Had a really nice ride on this 48 mile long paved rails to trails route.  Just went a couple miles south to Fort Cooper State Park which is nothing to look at.  No fort and only a couple descriptive signs to let you know the history behind it all. It played a major role in the Seminole Indian wars.  20 military soldiers were wounded and one died.  Unknown was how many Seminoles died.  

I road around some of the unpaved paths throughout the park and then headed back on the Withlacoochee trail for a bit of lunch at Two Sisters, a restaurant housed in the old train stations right next to the trail.

I have to tell you, I am stunned by the beauty and charm of this community.  The older part of town has been well preserved and all the shops surrounding the restored County Court House are thriving.  The surrounding countryside, filled with numerous chain of lakes that are just gorgeous.  Lilly pads and aquatic weeds fill small harbors.  The shoreline is dotted with perfectly maintains homes surrounded by lush oak, magnolia and pines. The Withlacoochee River  flows through the area and again, is just stunning.  The river looks like black gold. Cypress trees line the edges of the river draped with Spanish moss.

This is an area I could see myself living in, or at least coming back to over and over again.  Wish my Niece and her family as well as Dorothy and Dave would look into this area to live.  You know I’d be visiting them all the time if they did.  And it’s a short drive to the west coast of Florida as well.  

Sunday I took a trip north to Dunnellon to the Rainbow Springs State Park.  What an awesome park.  It had been years since I had been there.  This is a magnitude 1 spring, flowing at between 530 and 550 million gallons per day of crystal clear pure spring water.

John S had organized a N Florida Great Outdoors group to go for a swim, short hiking/picture taking excursion and later a pontoon boat ride up the Withlacoochee and Rainbow Springs river. The pontoon ride even include the Capt. Singing and playing guitar.  Some really cool songs about Florida.  An eco lecture was also included.    

For those who only think Florida is ocean beaches, Gulf beaches and theme parks, your missing so much of the Real Florida.  There are something like 600 springs and over 30 magnatude 1 spring fed rivers, perfect for swimming, kayaking, canoeing and fishing.  

The colors of the springs all shades of blue, green and aqua and lush green forests surrounding them are so intense, I get the feeling someone must have enhanced the colors somehow.  The springs were a constant 72-73 degrees and felt sooooo refreshing, especially since the air temp. had reached 94.  So clear I could see 30 feet in front of me.  The numerous shade trees were a welcome relief from the sun as well.  Oh and you know how I love a bargain.  It only cost $2 to enter Rainbow Springs.  

All of my friends in Orlando should treat themselves and spend an entire weekend at one of the springs in Florida.  Go camping or rent a cabin.  Check out the pictures on Picasa and I think you’ll see why I was so taken with a part of the Real Florida.