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Monday, November 27, 2017

Camper Trip To Gainesville - Weeki Wachee - Cedar Key - Suwannee - The Seminoles Beat the Gators for the Fifth Time in a Row

Lulu and Harry wrestling the Gators

Weeki Wachee Show - really fantastic

11/27/17 - Monday - 2 PM - I am in the back of the camper - just leaving Suwannee FL. It is a small fishing town at the mouth of the famous river. Stephen Foster never visited the Suwannee River when he wrote his famous song - Old Folks At Home. It is not a tourist destination at all - it is 25 miles off the main highway on the West Florida Coast. We had lunch on the banks of the river - there were few services there - we had no ATT cellphone - no digital TV signals - no places open to eat. There was just a small market there catering to the roughly 300 permanent residents. There were lots of neat rustic homes - homes on stilts - car ports - trailers - and boats. The signs called it the Gateway to the Gulf. We walked around and then headed home. We are about 2 hours from home now.

Our trip started Saturday at 7 AM. We left Tallahassee to travel straight to the Florida State and Florida game in Gainesville. We got into Hogtown at 9:30 PM. Places were asking $20 to $50 to park. We were lucky to find a street slot about 1/4 miles from Steve Spurrier Field. We were pretty proud of ourselves and took a little nap. At about 11 AM we went to the stadium and scouted out tickets. 

Regardless the rivalry with the Gators - the University is very nice. The town has lots of nice things too. It is truly Florida's flagship college. Unfortunately - their sports teams are not doing too well against FSU. We really like Tallahassee and FSU - Nancy's alma mater. But I could see us being happy in Gainesville. It is 150 miles closer to Disneyworld and South Florida - but it is much busier too. There are also many many more scooters there. 

This is our third game trip to The Swamp. We saw Tim Tebow beat the Noles bad once - and then we went back for Jameis Winston to return the favor. This time was a toss up with both teams sporting losing records. The Seminole are in a trough - possibly having their first losing season in 40 years. They could be out in the cold come bowl season after 35 bowls in a row. Minor bowl games lose money - but they give you an extra month of practice to work the team. 

Normally tickets are not cheap in Gainesville - but this time - with losing records - we got $125 tickets for $20. We were happy and went in early. 

FSU shot out to an early lead and the game was over by half. It ended 38-22 - with a mop up touchdown for the Gators. At the end of the third quarter - the crowd sings - The Boys of Old Florida - and also Tom Petty's - I Won't Back Down. There is something nice about a big crowd singing in unison - even though they were being pummeled. We heard very little swagger. Gator fans were much nicer without all the bravado. We were nice - after all - I had a camper sitting on their streets for free.

After the game - we walked around town - and had supper at Amelia's Restaurant. One homeless guy did tell me my old lady had a nice a--. I asked her if that was sexual harassment - she said at 63 it was a compliment. Then we drove to Walmart and parked for the night. 

Sunday we woke - cleaned up - and drove to Weeki Wachee. It is a very nice old Florida attraction. It was private but now the state owns it. It costs $16 for the day. It includes swimming in the spring - seeing the Mermaid Show - a river cruise - and an animal show. The college age girls train for over a year to do the underwater show. The water slows down their motions to make a beautiful underwater ballet. During the whole show - they are underwater - taking air from hoses. That show is worth the admission alone. Everything is performed inside the 74 degree spring. 

We drove to Cedar Key for our Sunday supper at Steamers - and our camp site on the bridge over the Gulf in downtown Cedar Key. At one time Cedar Key was the hub of the cedar lumber industry - used for making pencils - among other things. The Chalet that Lulu and I built in Tamaqua PA was all cedar lumber. We had a wonderful supper at Steamers on Dock Street. We sacked out in the camper at a bridge in downtown at 8 PM. It was a very quiet - the furnace only came on 3 or 4 times all night. We had good TV reception - but cellphone service was spotty. In the morning we walked the historic little city on the island in the Gulf. It is like Key West - but without the long car ride. 

Finally we drove to the town of Suwannee on the Suwannee River. The little town  of 300 is at the river mouth. This is not a touristy town - most of the residents enjoy fishing boats and golf carts. Insurance companies have required them to put their homes up on stilts to insure them. There are lots of carports - boats - covered boat docks - trailers - and golf carts. It is 25 miles off the main highway - both TV and phone did not work there for us. We had lunch in the camper because nothing was open. Lulu took over the driving - and now we are tooling up US Route 19 home. When the trip is over - we will have gone 540 miles. 

The highlights of trip were - beating the Gators badly keeping 3 streaks alive - staying 2 nights in the camper for free - the lovely mermaid show - exploring Cedar Key - enjoying the comforts of traveling with our home on our back. 

Free parking before the game in Gainesville.

Two tickets for $20 each ($125 face)

Seminole Band in the Swamp

FSU sidelines

FSU 38 Gators 22 - 5 straight wins

Camp Walmart in Gainesville FL

Part of a wonderful show at Weeki Wachee

Parked at the front door of Weeki Wachee

Supper at Steamers on Cedar Key - Dock Street

Monday morning wakeup at Cedar Key

Cedar Key - old shipping port
off the beaten track

We spent 15 hours in that spot on the bridge at Cedar Key

The Library at Cedar Key

Downtown Cedar Key - right on the water

Cedar Key Beach on the Gulf of Mexico 

Cedar Key homes

Lulu's Dad used to deliver Tasty Cakes -
how about these caramel apple donuts

Downtown Cedar Key - a Winnebago camper

We just spent our 8th night in the camper.
312 more to break even

We had lunch in the camper at Suwannee.
Monday the restaurant was closed.

The mouth of the famous Suwannee River.

The Steve Spurrier Field runs north and south.
We sat in the south end zone - in the shade. 

1 comment:

Rick H. said...

Great blog posts. I particularly enjoyed this one as I have two graduate degrees from FSU, and I'm a big Noles football fan. As a Pennsylvania resident, I also enjoy your posts about PA. Keep them coming!