On Saturday, March 11, we left Thousand Trails Orlando (TTO) at 10:40 with 96,907.2 miles on Acey and 113,998 on Thor. For a change, Linda was at the wheel as we headed to Zephyrhills where we stayed for 2 weeks.
We stopped at a rest area off I-4 to make lunch since we weren’t supposed to check in until 1pm. By 1:15 we were parked in our site; #207 – the same site we parked in when we were at Forest Lake Village in February of 2021.
Our friend Patti invited us to join her and some friends to go to Lettuce Lake Park for a hike and birdwatching. The park gets its name from the “lettuce” floating in the water – an invasive species found here.
We saw scattered small patches of the water lettuce.
And some larger patches as well.
There was a nice boardwalk leading to the river where we saw several birds! This Great Blue Heron was close by.
So was this female Northern Cardinal.
Lettuce Lake is a bend in the Hillsborough River that creates a swampy area. The observation tower along the boardwalk gave a great view of the river.
Across the river we saw a Little Blue Heron – they are bluer than the Great Blue Heron… good to have a camera with a zoom lens!
And an Anhinga
Back along the boardwalk, we saw a Black-crowned Night Heron.
A stunning surprise was this Barred Owl!
We also saw a Swallow-tailed Kite circling overhead, an osprey hiding up in a tree, a catbird, some White Ibis, Mourning Doves, a Red-bellied woodpecker and a Great Egret that we didn’t get photos of. Other wildlife spotted along the way – this squirrel grooming itself…
… some gators
and this turtle, sneaking its way across the swamp with water lettuce on its shell; like camouflage!
We brought a picnic lunch to eat after the hike!
It was a beautiful day to explore Lettuce Lake Park!
Patti joined us as we went to Parkesdale Farm in Plant City to indulge in their “World Famous Strawberry Shortcake”.
LOTS of strawberries here!
Patti had the Strawberry Boat with ice cream at the bottom rather than cake!
We had the traditional Strawberry Shortcake – DE-licious!
On St. Patrick’s Day we cooked up some Corned Beef and Cabbage.
We drove over to Polk City and rode on the Van Fleet Trail where it starts. This part of the trail is a bit rougher than the section we rode from the Green Pond Trail head. It was another nice day to be out and about!
2 other days we rode on the Withlacoochee State Trail, another paved rail-trail that we have been on several times.
There is some shade along the way.
“Hunting is prohibited” but it is recommended that you wear fluorescent orange?!
On our second ride, we rode up and over the bridge that spans State Route 50.
Along the trail are several birdhouses like this one.
While we stayed at Forest Lake Village, we rode a total of 51 miles. On Thursday March 23, we left Zephyrhills and headed to Hudson at 2:15. (Acey 96,207.2 miles, Thor 114,296) One of our windows leaks when it rains. Suncoast Designers had “defogged” all of our windows two years ago and they give a lifetime guarantee on their work. One of the windows has been leaking. After dinner, we set off to Hudson Beach to watch the sun set. We got to the beach a few minutes before the “show”.
What a great way to close the day; thank You Lord for painting the sky with a beautiful sunset!
Apparently, when Suncoast reinstalled the window two years ago, something went wrong; so, they fixed it Friday morning and we set off for our return to TTO at 10am. We will only be there 7 nights before we head to Tennessee on March 31.