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STOP #191

Today we find ourselves at Manatee Springs State Park in Chiefland, FL. I have visited this park several times in the past but never for an overnight, that all changes tonight.

We picked a fairly large and level site for our three night visit and each morning we had a few "not so wild" visitors. We saw at least five deer come walking out of the woods behind our site and they had zero fear when it came to humans. They had obviously have be fed by previous campers and probably spent their entire life right here inside the State Park boundaries.

SATURDAY - We woke up, ate breakfast, then decided to go into town to get a decent cell signal so Tricia could find out if her latest work assignemnts were ready to begin. It seems the cell signal inside the campground isn't strong enough for her to login to the servers at work, even with our booster turned on!

Before exiting the park we went down to the spring head to check out the sights. One thing was immediately apparent, there are no drought conditions in central Florida this time of year.

Water levels around the spring head pool are way up over the concrete stairs.

The hike, bike and primitive tent camping area doesn't look like it would be much fun!

At least the boardwalk that parallels the spring run out to the Suwanee River was high and dry.

SUNDAY - It has been 15 years since my first and only visit to Cedar Key, FL and being this close made me want to go back and show Tricia what the place is like. I think of it as an "Old Key West" atmosphere, but on a much smaller scale.

The entire waterfront disctrict is only one block, about a quarter mile long, and just wide enough for a one-lane one-way street with parallel parking on both sides.

But one block seemed plenty to squeeze in more than a dozen souvenir shops (all on the ground floor) and a dozen bars with waterfront view dining rooms (mostly on the second floor) and still have room for a community boat ramp that launches you straight into the Gulf of Mexico at the end of the block.

We walked around and then selected a bar/restaurant named Steamers for our Sunday lunch and with a name like that you can guess what I ordered to eat. That's right, two dozen Cedar Key steamed clams in garlic and butter with a bowl of clam chowder for an appetizer. Tricia had the fish tacos, which she is always fond of, but in our haste to chow down we forgot to take any photos. Sorry Dewey! Sorry Vanessa!

Just before we got back to ROVER, parked several blocks inland in "Downtown" Cedar Key, we stopped at a corner store and I purchased a Chocolate Dipped Frozen Key Lime Pie on a Stick for desert. I knew in advance I was going to get one because I saw it on the way to the waterfront after we parked the truck. The only other place I have ever enjoyed one of these delights is in Key West.

When we got back to ROVER guess what was parked right behind us? This beautiful old hot rod! Does anyone know what year, make and model this is?

I was glad to see not much has changed in the last 15 years when it comes to the waterfront area of Cerdar Key. The building I stayed in was still there in front of the only sandy beach in the area. There has however been a few newly constructed vacation home rentals along the first inland street. But I guess that's just progress?

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