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2019 - Florida - Day 7

This time in addition to another beautiful sunrise over the Lake, I also had the company of a large crane sitting on the fence next to me whilst I ate my breakfast. This place just gets better and better.

After a slow start, we got ready to go to Myakka River State Park which was about 20 miles south. This was somewhere that had been recommended to us on more than one occasion and looked like the type of place we would enjoy.

Our drive there was made more enjoyable by spotting a number of TubeDudes along the road. These ‘creations’ were started by a War Veteran based in Sarasota and have now been purchased by people around the world. They are colourful and fun to spot. They are also expensive and probably look better with the blue skies of Florida rather than the grey skies of the UK.

The admission to the State Park was only $6 for the car. Looking back my suspicions should have been raised by the very slow and inefficient handing over of cash and getting the park guide back, but I just thought it was a slightly dotty lady on the gate. This just turned out to be indicative of the whole place. Don’t get me wrong, it was a really nice park and in places quite beautiful. It’s just that the overall management needs a big overhaul.

Our first stop was the Canopy Walk. This was described as one of the highlights and certainly the guide gave it a big buildup. It was a lovely short walk along a trail to it. En route we could hear some pecking and to our delight spotted a woodpecker on a tree directly above us. By now you think they would have evolved to have their beaks shaped like a drill bit and then learnt to fly around in circles really fast to make the holes though.

We arrived at the Canopy Walk and I had to persuade Karen that she would be fine on it. Well it did wobble a bit, but it was only 70ft long and was of no real height off the ground. There was another tower at the end that I climbed alone. For some reason that was stupidly high and took me almost twice as high as the Canopy itself. The view was good but not that interesting.

From here we drove on to where they operate Boat Tours. We were unsure whether to bother, but when we saw the price it made up our mind. $20 plus tax each seemed excessive to us and so instead we headed into the cafe overlooking the Lake instead.

It was a cafe/shop and it stank of food. The food on offer were things like Gator Stew or Gumbo. The things for sale were all tackiness personified. I ordered Karen a coffee. She was not impressed and said it tasted like the old Camp Coffee. Some of the people working in the shop seemed to have their own teeth but not necessarily in the right places.

There was a lovely balcony outside the cafe where Karen tried unsuccessfully to drink her coffee. It was such a shame as the place had a great location and great potential. It just seemed that it needed a complete management overhaul and brought forward from the 80’s when it was probably built. We sat there comparing it to some of the National Parks we have visited and it was just not in the same league. It has all the facilities (apart from the portable toilets that probably haven’t been emptied for several weeks) but just not making good use of them.

We drove along to the BirdWalk which was essentially just a boardwalk across part of the Lake. This was very undersold in their guide. It was lovely. I’m no birdwatcher but there were some lovely birds in and around us. What fascinated us the most though were the number of Gators we spotted gliding by. Some of them were really big and looked like they would do some real damage if they headed in your direction. Karen declined my offer to hold her shoes, to enable her to paddle.

By now, the weather was really hot and sticky. The temperature hit 91f and it felt more like summer rather than late October. The forecast is that the temperature will drop by the time the boys arrive and it will feel much more comfortable which we will need for the Disney Parks.

We headed back to the Villa for a late lunch. A very lazy afternoon then followed by and in the pool. We both read a bit and listened to the 5 Live coverage of Parliament deciding whether and when there would be an election at home. Thank goodness they finally made a decision. Whichever side of the debate you sit, Parliament in its current form was a mess. The country needs a strong Government and a strong Opposition. Currently it has neither. Hopefully this will get both.

Tonight Karen fancied Pasta and so we headed out to The Olive Garden. It was OK. The food was tasty but quite expensive. I was then allowed a quick look round the ‘Books a Million’ store opposite before heading back to the Villa where we decided we had earned a glass of wine today. We watched some more Shark Tank before retiring.

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