01/30/19. Englewood, FL

DAY #102

Busy day today, which is why I was up and raring to go by 12:30 pm. First on the agenda was laundry, including sheets and mattress pad. Headed out to Grove City Laundry, in what turned out to be an uneventful, but necessary chore. While at the laundry, I walked across the road, and mailed the $2.00 I owed for having taken a toll road while coming to the State Forest campground and not paying. I didn’t have the correct change at the time. I don’t want a $2.00 charge mushrooming into $100.00 fine because I didn’t pay it, kind of like a parking ticket.

Coming back to the campsite, I stopped and filled up the containers with water. With the water from this stop, the fresh water tank should be full and I can add the bleach to sanitize. The plan is to let the bleached water sit until morning, then I’ll drain the tank and put another two containers worth of water in the tank to rinse out. Hopefully (fingers crossed) I’ll be able to have water at the next primitive campsite.

Last full day here. Looking at leaving around noon tomorrow for the next stop. I’ve enjoyed the time here. Spending time with Margaret & Ed was a highlight, and it was fun to go and see Mark & Diane’s lot. To just have had the opportunity to explore the area made it worthwhile. The area is more developed than I like, but Rural and “Old Florida” can still be found if you look, and that’s what made this stop memorable.

01/29/19. Englewood, FL.

DAY #101

Today I set off to revisit a couple places first seen last week. It was off to Myakka State Park to do the “canopy walk,” and then into Sarasota, to take a closer look at the Amish community there.

After the steady rain of a couple days ago, the campground was still very wet. It was so wet, they had closed about half the camp sites, thankfully, my site remained dry and accessible.

Campground road

Along the way, I stopped at a Chase Bank branch to use the ATM for some cash. Put the card in, answered all the questions, and waited for the transaction to be completed. Surprise…Transaction declined. Great, that’s just great, now what am I going to do without any cash? It sure is easy to be cool & calm, especially when everything goes right, not so easy when it goes wrong. As I’m sitting in the truck trying to decide my next move, the phone rings, its Chase fraud checking to see if I had tried to use my card, long story short, I was able to get it resolved and go back in and get some cash. I really remain, a work in progress.

Made it to the Park and the “canopy walk.” It was a short, and because of the recent rains, wet walk to the canopy. The main drawing point is the view at the top.

This is the canopy
And the tower.

Quite the thrill standing above the trees and looking to the horizon. It was worth coming up here. After soaking the scenery in for awhile, it was time to get back down to earth, and on my way to check out the Amish.

I set Pinecraft into google and off I went. After a series of twists and turns, Google informed me I was there, Pinecraft, the center for Amish/Mennonites winter residence in Florida. Except I wasn’t there, I found myself in the middle of a 55+ trailer park. It was a nice place but no Amish, just old retired Christians.

Fortunately, I had my tablet with me, I went online and did some search and research finding the right location. It is so amazing the internet, today we have the world at our fingertips, literally.

I was able to find where I wanted to be (sans google ), and after a few more wrong turns, I finally found myself in the heart of Pinecraft, and I wasn’t disappointed. The streets were crowded with mostly women but also a few men walking, all wearing traditional garb. Three wheel bikes were common, and I even saw one guy driving a gulf cart. While most were elderly, I did see a few younger folks sprinkled here and there. The homes were small, almost cottage like, and close together. the streets are narrow, less than two car widths wide. Something out of the ordinary are these houses have electricity and telephones, two things not found in Amish homes up north.

I didn’t take any photos. There were plenty of opportunity’s, I just felt taking their picture and pictures of their homes could make them feel like some kind of freaks. Oh look, those people are different, get their picture. I didn’t want to disrespect them, it was something this time, I would have to enjoy alone.

Took the long way back after another in an endless string of enjoyable days (even the bad ones).

Looking down from the tower and the tree tops.

01/28/19 Englewood, FL.

DAY #100

Expected the sky’s to be clear this morning but no, it remained as cloudy as yesterday, Oh well, at least it had stopped raining. I was nice and comfy under the covers so I thought, what the heck, I’ll snooze for a couple more hours, man this is a tough life I’m living isn’t it?

Waking up a second time, I could see the sun coming out, and the clouds breaking up, I could also see it was time to get up and get underway. Today was bring the truck in for a oil/filter change, and tire rotation day. Did a little research and found a Ford dealership not far away in Englewood. I went through their “Quick Lane” and $53.00 later, out the door I went, ready for the next few thousand miles. I can’t believe I’ve put nearly 8000 miles on the truck so far in the journey.

Next on the itinerary was to take a drive twenty miles south to Gasparilla Island, the State Park, and the town of Boca Grande. Crossing over the causeway to the island will set you back $6.00, at least they don’t charge you to get off the island (at least not yet). It’s a nice place. The vibes I got were similar to other coastal enclaves visited. In place of high-rise condo’s and resorts, it consisted mainly of single family homes, really nice homes. The island is definitely Section 8 free (don’t take that wrong). Looking at some ads later, you could easily start at a million dollars for a house with water views.

Not a million dollar home but it’s up there.

Cruising along the island proved to be a relaxing drive. Most of the homes were back from the road, giving a much more open, almost spacious feel driving along.

One of many side streets.
A lower end home, still out of my range.

I made it to the State Park, and did a quick walk around. The recent rain had left large sections of the park under water. While a nice place, it wasn’t the highlight of my visit.

Just outside the State Park.
A view that never gets old.

The highlight of the island was Boca Grande. It’s a small town with an “Old Florida” look and feel. The history of the area includes phosphorus being shipped by rail to be loaded onto ships just south of town. This lucrative business lasted up until the early 1970s, and you can still see remnants of the rail line as it crosses the water. It was so cool to see something historic in a area, where yesterday is considered old.

The railroad station.
You can’t recreate this.

The island was enjoyable, and charm of Boca Grande irresistible. This was a fun place to come and spend some time, I’m glad I came.

So unexpected but so cool to see.

From the ocean back to the forest, another solid day in Florida.