After a grueling drive of about 15 minutes, we arrived at our next timeshare. Fortunately the 4:00 pm check in was able to be moved ahead to 10:00 am.
After getting settled we went off to the Disney Wildlife Preserve. Say Disney and
I think of crowds, but not so here. Very pretty, lots of birds and also lots of water after the rains. We walked a 2.6 mile trail that was under water for a lot of it. Oh well, socks and shoes will dry.
Road trip day to Tampa. When they built the power plant for Tampa, they discovered Manatee's liked the warm water outflow from the plant. Now they have a viewing center where you can watch these slow moving, gentle giants.
Then on to Tamps and the Tampa River Walk. Very nice. Larger but not as intimate as the one in San Antonio, TX. It appears hockey is a big deal in Tampa. We saw more hype for the Lightning than the NFL Buccaneers. Evan a real outdoor ice skating rink that was busy.
Next off to Clearwater Beach, the west coast of Florida on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Fine sand, lots of people and birds. There was some kind of model photo shoot going on and the photographer stopped me and we talked shop. I asked if I could snap a shot or two and got permission (hence the picture of the model).
I spent the day touring around and getting a couple last minute items for Christmas. Mistake! Traffic was (and always is) NUTS!
In the evening we headed off to Disney Springs which is a large, high end shopping district. We were told we could get some shots of the Disney fireworks over the lake but they were really too far away without my bigger lenses (which I didn't have). Oh well. We got some pretty shots anyway.
Christmas Day. A few lights (badly placed) with a stocking placed carefully below. Then a quiet day doing nothing. Except cooking a turkey dinner. Yes, even though we are basically living out of suitcases out of the car, we cook Christmas dinner.
Then, after eating waaaay too much I took a walk around the resort with the camera to walk it off. Sort of. Anyway - Merry Christmas everyone.
A quiet day. First a drive to the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve. This was a 10 mile drive through the swamp/forest. We were informed at the gate that it is hunting season so stay on the main (rough) road as some of the hunters are crazy. About half way along the road we were stopped by a couple hunters who said the same thing. So, we stayed on the main road!
Then we went to old downtown Kissimmee and walked around a bit. Finally off to a park on the shores of one of the Kissimmee lakes, Lake Tohopekaliga (say that 5 times quickly, or even once) for some sunset shots. Nice park, nice sunset, lots of birds.
Critter Day. It didn't start out that way but sometimes......... We just went for a drive. Before we even started the car, we saw the racoon. Then, while we were walking around a small park a few people suggested we go to Circle B Bar Reserve, outside of Winter Lake. Wow. More birds, gators and other things than we could shoot.
At one point we watched a Great Blue Heron catch and (eventually) eat a large fish. Too many pictures but the sequence is good.
I will try to identify the critters with each picture (click the "i") but while the ID's are thought to be accurate, they are not guaranteed to be so.
Mt. Dora is a beautiful little place about an hour north of Orlando. As with most places in Florida it borders a couple lakes and we took a boat cruise along the shores of Lake Dora, through a river/canal to Lake Eustis and back. Very pretty with some birds, Gators, Osprey and Bald Eagles.