Saturday, February 7, 2015

Manatee Springs

Things did not work out as we had planned for our brief stay at Manatee Springs.

After we got settled in our space on Monday afternoon, we took a walk over to the Springs area of the park. It was not far and a trail led from the campground right there.

Even though it was only about fifty miles north of Silver Springs it was quite a bit colder. I guess the edge of the cold storm front that was pummeling the Northeast was affecting the area. There were very few people at the springs area and the concession and boat rental counter was closed. 

We noticed this bird on a dock at the edge of the springs. We also noticed what looked like an upwelling of water, and Craig thought it was the action of a spring, but then two divers emerged. It was a surprise! 

It seemed to me the water was not as clear and shallow as it was at Silver Springs. In fact it looked black except for a few places where the springs were pumping out a steady flow of fresh water.

The channel the water takes from the spring to the river is called its "run".

There was a nice boardwalk that paralleled the run with trees standing in the water on one side, and a view of the run on the other. 

The water looked very dark, almost opaque.  It also looked like there was a bit of current running. I was surprised at how short it was, and how quickly it reached the Suwannee River. The river itself was also very dark, and I decided I did not want to try canoeing there. When we canoed at Wekiwa we stayed in the run and it was quite long and had almost no current. 

Craig may have been a little disappointed, but accepted my reluctance.  We will canoe again, just not here. 

Scary river

When we were standing at the lookout platform at the end of the boardwalk, we noticed hundreds of vultures in the sky.

They were also roosting in the trees along the river's edge.

Waiting for a canoe to tip over?

On Tuesday we decided to take our trip down to Weeki Wachee Springs to see the mermaid show. But we didn't quite make it.

A few days before we had the tires rotated on the Jeep at a dealership in Orlando. As we drove toward Weeki Wachee we began hearing a road noise. It kept getting louder and Craig pulled up to a Tire King store in Crystal River. All four tires looked good. 

While we were waiting for a Craig checked his phone and discovered there was a Jeep dealership a few miles away so we went there instead.

We drove there with the noise getting worse by the block!

The dealership mechanic said we were lucky to have made it, because the wheel was about to fall off.  It seems the guy who rotated the tires did not tighten the lug nuts on one tire, and thus the problem. 

Oh My!

We felt lucky we had not had an accident, and the fix was an easy one.  It did cost over $200, but I talked with the Orlando dealership service manager, and expect a full reimbursement check ASAP!

By the time we were back on the road it was too late to get to a show and we returned to the campground.

On Wednesday, we took another stab at it. This time we had a nice drive, but as we pulled into the Mermaid Show's parking area there were people coming out and leaving. We were told there was some sort of "technical problem" so the shows had been canceled for the day.  

We did have a really great lunch though at a funny little roadside
place called Becky Jacks. I had a fantastic fish sandwich, and Craig had some fish tacos. The portions were so large that we skipped dinner that evening because we were both still full.

We have often found very interesting food by using Google on our Android phone. Technology makes travel so much easier than it was years ago. 

If we were on vacation, these things might have seemed to spoil our time, but I think as I remember these days I will feel the luck in not losing a wheel and the pleasure of finding a great meal in a crazy little place.

Life is good. Enjoy what you can.


  1. ahh such a bummer that things weren't as you hoped, but also quite lovely that you see the good in everything and keep you spirits up. I think what I loved about Manatee the most is that is seemed a bit wilder than Silver Springs. But you are right, 200 feet into that gorgeous blue is pretty amazing. And after swimming over Alexander Springs last year my love for Manatee was just a bit dimmed. Each spring has it's own personality, and I have photos of Manatee in her most gorgeous clear aqua self, but that was on a sunny day. We did kayak on the Suwanee from there but it is not anywhere near as charming as kayaking a clear spring run. I still think that Manatee Springs water was pretty amazing, but check out my story of it and see if you agree. Was it not sunny at all when you were there so you didn't see it this way?

  2. Okay, all those vultures in one spot is a little scarey. Wow, between your explanation of the water and the vultures looking on, I wouldn't have gone out in that water, either. Bummer about the tire - I just had mine rotated yesterday, too, and heard a weird noise coming from the front tire area. I pulled off the road and got under the car, checked all around the front of the truck and the tire area and found nothing. I guess it's okay, because I made it back to camp okay. I'm glad you got yours fixed before you had a problem. :)

  3. Hi Merikay and Craig! Mike and I spent time chatting with you on the boardwalk at Manitee Springs and are enjoying your blog!

  4. I love your positive outlook! It makes life so much better when you can keep it up (although I know full well it isn't always possible). Now you have a reason to return back to the area! Lunch sounded good.

  5. Wow, gotta love the technicians these days. How can they let that go with lug nuts not tightened properly? Glad it didn't cause a huge issue.


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