Today was a bitter-sweet day for us. We are leaving the Clearwater / Tarpon Spings RV Park in Palm Harbor, Florida where we spent most of the last five months. We hadn’t planned to spend the winter here, but we fell in love with the area and the people. We even seriously considered making this area our “home base”.
The people here at the park became our family.
We celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day and birthdays together. We did water aerobics with a group every Monday and Wednesday in the sparkling clean camp swimming pool. There were lots of organized things to do as well as area attractions like beautiful beaches, miles and miles of biking and walking trails, beautiful parks and quaint little towns (Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor). We learned of the treasures to be found at the Flea Market and saw musical performances by BB King, Judy Collins and Arlo Guthrie, and Susan Tedeschi and The Derek Trucks Band at the Ruth Eckerd Hall The Richard B. Baumgardner Center for the Performing Arts, Clearwater, FL.
We were thrilled when our RI neighbor, Pat, came down to visit and was our guide for our first trip to Disney World! We later returned to Orlando to meet up with my niece, Janet and her family, that time we also visited Universal. Between the two trips I overcame my life long fear of roller coasters and ended up loving them!
I was able spend great times with Deb, a high school friend from Montana who lives in the area and shared insights of this wonderful area with us.
We also became close friends with Marie and her husband Bob from Canada who were in the motor home next to us. They took care of Cabo when we took the quick trip to Orlando. Marie and I made a commitment to exercise everyday, either working-out at Curves or walking through surrounding neighborhoods.
This winter felt like five months at a summer camp for adults! We met people from all over the US and Canada as well as a few from other countries. We’ll miss our new friends and hope to one day see them again. Most of them will be back to this same camp again next year. Not sure if we will be, but hope to come back again some day.
Jerry made-up some very nice travel cards for us to give to people we meet along the way. They have a picture he took here and include our email and Blog addresses. Right away he got requests from fellow campers to make cards for them! Hmmm maybe a source of future income?
We’ve decided to continue our trip West, so today is the first day of the next chapter in our travel adventure.
Leaving our temporary home in Palm Harbor was made easier by a special treat, my friend and fellow retired principal from South Kingstown, Michelle, was in town to spend time in their nearby condo and we met for breakfast. So great to catch up with friends!
Today we moved to Cedar Key about 3 hours north of Palm Harbor. We heard about it from fellow campers.
The trip to Cedar Key was uneventful, except for the close call of running out of gas in my car.
I hadn’t realized how low I was on gas until the icon of the gas pump caught my eye, it said I had a range of nine miles! I now know that I can go 6 miles after the gauge says zero. I never plan to cut it that close again!
For the record, traveling on US Highway 19 N, from Palm Harbor to Cedar Key, there is a 24 mile stretch of road south of Otter Creek with no gas stations. This is a remote area with no towns, and very few houses, so make sure your gas gauge is not on empty. The last gas station before Otter Creek is in Inglis, Florida which is north of Crystal River.
Otter Creek is a wide spot in the road at the junction of State Road 24 (SR-24) and Highway US 19 N. To get to Cedar Key, you will turn west onto SR-24 at Otter Creek. Thankfully, Otter Creek does have 1 gas station, and an ‘Everything Store’ with beer, burgers, bait, and alligator meat – what more can you ask for?!!
For anyone wondering what smoked mullet is; it’s a greasy, bony junk fish they catch in the gulf. About all you can do with it is smoke it (not literally). It reminds me of the smoked whitefish we used to eat when growing up in Montana. They also make a wonderful smoked mullet dip, yum! (An acquired taste for sure). I think the live shrimp is used for bait.
So after gassing up and grabbing some alligator meat, we are off ~ the adventure continues!