Mystery Plant Update

imageSo that marvelous flowering cactus from my last post so long ago (yet the very last one on my blog) is a night blooming cereus or Queen of the Night cactus.  Except that the flowers on these last through the day.

I spotted several potted plants in front of an RV in the park so stopped to ask what they were.  As it turns out, not only did this couple know the plant – they claimed responsibility for planting them around the park!

Why the flowers bloom during the day I have no idea..but they do.  Maybe they like the Florida weather too.

What is This?

This awesome plant (orchid?) has bloomed about three times this summer.  It, and several like it, are growing only from the bark of the cabbage palm trees…I can’t find this plant anywhere else in this park.  The flowers bloom for about a day and rapidly close and fall off.

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The pics aren’t the best for lighting and such, but were taken on a cloudy day with my iPhone.  And a small miracle happened a few moments ago..I figured out that I could log on to my blog from my phone and upload the pictures! What wondrous technology.  But I digress…

At first I thought this was a cactus because of the leaves, but now I’m not so sure.  An orchid maybe?  If anyone knows what this is, I’d love for you to let me know.  No one I’ve asked seems to know…..

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Waiting for Fall

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The first day of fall in a couple of days, and I’m fully expecting to wake up to a brisk, 60-degree morning!  Yeah well, one can fantasize.  More likely it will be a moment of high 70s, high humidity, and rapid increase to the mid 90s. I’m not complaining, mind you…when I moved out of the NJ winters to sunny FL,  I promised never to complain about the heat again.  I’m just making observations.  I’ll still take this over snow any day.

Private Beach and Dolphins

Spent three days at E.G.Simmons Park in Ruskin.  Another favorite to add to the growing list – but not surprising. This IS Florida, afterall.

Simmons is a county park.  While there are RV sites available, I chose to visit first on a $2.00 day pass and liked it so much later opted to dry camp overnight.

For most of the day, Mia and I enjoyed our own private beach.  I watched three ospreys fishing the bay, and off shore, a flock of what looked like mergansers.  Mullet were jumping, Mia settled in for a nap…and before too long I heard the blowing of dolphins. A pair came cruising by, right off our beach..went around the strip of island, and circled back out to the bay.

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When we’d had enough beach…well, that’s not really possible so let me re-phrase that.  When we decided to take a walk and see other areas of the park (that’s better) we came upon this black vulture picking at a very old carcass…probably raccoon or possum but I didn’t get close enough to really see. Some things are better observed from a distance.

 

 

Boondocking at Cracker Barrel

Boondocking is an RV term that means dry camping…camping overnight with no water, sewer, or electric hookups.  Some folks actually prefer to camp this way, as it’s a no-brainer for saving money.  For most RVs that are self-contained, dry camping is seldom an inconvenience, and a great way to camp while traveling or when in-between parks.

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So there I was, a few nights ago, unable to secure a park reservation for a couple more days.  Perfect time to experience boondocking.

There are several sites that offer dry camp information..that is, where it’s permitted and where you are taking a chance of being asked to leave in the middle of the night.  Walmart parking lots are probably the most common place..but not all Walmarts are officially OK for overnight parking.  It usually depends on the local ordinance..and on whether said ordinance is actually enforced.

Since being ticketed, routed out in the wee hours of the morning, or just making unnecessary poor choices are not among my favorite things, I opted for making a list, checking it twice, and then calling ahead to be sure.

Cracker Barrel restaurants seem to be very RV friendly, and I found one just off I-75 in Bradenton that said “Sure, come on down!”  They even have a separate parking area for RVs, right next to this retention pond and the resident mergansers, whistling ducks, and white ibis.  Peaceful enough – except for highway noise but what the heck, it’s a free spot..safe, and  three other RVs there too.

And then of course there are those Cracker Barrel breakfasts.

 

 

Zorro in Space

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Well OK, maybe not THE Zorro, but pretty darn close as far as the Z goes.  This is actually the contrail from the Atlas V rocket, launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex this morning.

Having witnessed Shuttle launches from Florida in the past, which were awesomely impressive – I made sure I was down by the lake at 8:30 in the morning for a clear view straight across the flatlands to Canaveral, less than 60 miles away.

Launch time approached, the winds died down, and the three people (including me) who showed up to watch were all eyes to the sky.  I anticipated lots of contrail, orange engine glow, a good view of the rocket, and maybe even a rumble.

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And there it was!  What?  That’s it?  That skinny silver speck with that little jet-trail behind it?   It was over in a minute..and the wind picked up the contrail, creating that Zorro Z in the sky.

What I learned today….Atlas rockets are never to be compared in awesomeness to the Shuttle launches…but the whole concept is still amazing.  That rocket was in space before I arrived back home, just a short walk away.

 

Heading to the Mountains of Orlando

Actually I’m now just south of Clermont, FL, in a park called Thousand Trails Orlando.  The WiFi service is unavailable at the site, so it’s been a bit between posts.

The elevation here is about 128 feet – and in Florida, that’s a mountain. I could tell especially when I got my bike out of the RV basement and went for a ride.  What the heck???

I am in love with this park.  The sites are spacious, there’s a lovely lake and a hiking trail through the pine woods.  Mia is loving it as well.  Apparently we are very close to Disney, as we can hear the fireworks every night and I’m told if I go down to the lake, we can see them as well.  Haven’t done that yet…

There’s a small dog park with a resident gopher tortoise, which I haven’t figured out just yet.  Does the tortoise make it out of the very small park?  And if not, how does he survive on the minimal grass present?

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The tortoise hole is in the small dog area..which also has me wondering, once again but for different reasons..what the heck?  I had to discourage Mia from popping down the hole for a visit, and she is just an oblivious, non-hunting Chihuahua lap dog.  What do the terrier do with this easily accessible turtle hole?  I can only assume it is actually abandoned and the fencing and sign is an attempt at public education.  No tortoise in his right mind would want to live in a dog park!

 

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