West Central Florida

West Central Florida

March 30th through April 19th

We spent some extra weeks in New Orleans, so that meant we'd hustle our way through to stay in west central Florida. We spent one night in the panhandle and when we got to our site, we found we couldn't level the coach. The hydraulic slide had gone out just fine, but then the hydraulics stopped when it came time to get level. Margot figured out how to hotwire it to make the pump work, but we were stumped. It took a call with a technician to find yet another place where a power switch existed. We turned that on and we were back in business. Problem solved!

This was our first time in Florida for any length of time. We didn't really know what to expect, but we weren't particularly excited about it before we got there. It didn't take long for us to start talking about moving there in the future. We're sold on it!

We moved on to stay midway between Orlando and the Gulf, in Bushnell. It was in the country, in the woods, and it was gorgeous. We were surrounded by big oak trees covered in Spanish Moss, greenery, cows, chickens, egrets, and loads of birds and lizards. We knew it was going to be a nice, relaxing trip -- especially after the craziness of New Orleans. Margot set up the canopy and screen room, and we were good to go.

Our first adventure was a brand-new one. We were going to spend some time in the lovely town of Clermont northwest of Orlando and east of where we were staying. We met at a small marina to get on our catboats. They were small, two-person pontoon boats with an outboard motor that let it move pretty quickly just above the water. We had a guide and there was a small group of our boats zipping across lakes and down channels. They gave us a tour over two-way radios, and it was a blast. 10/10!

We really loved the town of Clermont, too, and we walked around a bit before we reluctantly left the waterfront town. It was a gem we didn't even know about. We were finding a lot of those lately.

The next day, we headed west to the Gulf at Crystal River. We took a pontoon boat out to the water and the only place people are allowed to swim with manatees. The group put on wet suits and took their pool noodles out to float and snorkel out with the "sea potatoes." Monica sat that part of it out, choosing to just hang out on the boat in the sunshine. Margot really loved the experience.

Our weekdays were just spent relaxing. We cooked dinners at home and walked the dog around the campground. It was so nice just to hang out and not have somewhere to be every day.

Our final weekend would be spent in the Tampa area. We went to the De Soto National Memorial to watch a reenactment of the battle on the beach when De Soto and his men took over. It was a scheduled event on the NPS website, but when we got there we were an hour late. The website was wrong, and we were really disappointed. But we made the best of it.

First, we walked out onto sand that looked and felt as soft as sugar. And we walked into the Gulf on that soft sand, and it was glorious. It was the first time Monica had been in an ocean in a long, long time. It was so pretty.

There was a walking path that took us around the outside of the peninsula, and it was a very nice trek. The scenery was beautiful. We also found a beach that had a lot of people and boats just out enjoying the gorgeous weather. It was pretty perfect.

We were so comfortable in west Florida, and we almost didn't want to leave. But the next stop was the Keys, and we couldn't wait to see more of Florida. If we liked central Florida that much, we would definitely fall in love with south Florida. Onward!

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