Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Anna Maria Island FL to Cypress Nat'l Preserve (150 Miles)

Late post from Monday, March 17th:

We peeled ourselves away from Uncle Alan & Auntie Mary’s place about 8:15 am on Monday. We were even treated (again) to a nice breakfast of frittata and toast, coffee. We were fairly spoiled the whole time we were there and really enjoyed our visit. Thanks again Alan & Mary! One quick update, we went to the St Paddy’s Day parade that was actually held on Sunday. It was really a nice little town parade.





Alan & Mary had mentioned that we should check out the Ringling Circus Museum and Art Gallery. We arrived in Sarasota to do this about 9:15 am. It’s pretty pricey to see it all, $25 each. We opted for the “free” version. That is walking bout the grounds, seeing their palatial home from the outside and checking out some of the beautiful gardens. Also on Monday’s the art gallery is free so we pretty much ran through there fast. We were sorry that we didn’t get to spend more time. I think that if you had all day, then the $25 might have been worth it. As it was, it was down time off the road on a travel day so we did what we could. Instead of paying for admission, we treated ourselves to a book on Mr. Ringling and his wife and their fabulous life. They bequeathed the mansion, all the art work and the grounds to the state of Florida. That’s pretty impressive. All  that for a key to the city and a lifetime membership at Starbucks……kidding. (Well, about the Starbucks thing anyway!!)

Hello Sarasota!!



Stunning grounds around the palatial home of Mr. Ringling.....


After wandering the castle, we headed up to the HUGE art museum building!! We basically quickly covered just one side of this. This is the building that houses just the art museum part!!!
We didn't even go through the whole thing, only one side!! 
It is a pretty easy drive. The only big mistake we made was coming all the way down Hwy 41S. It takes you through every shopping area (and I mean EVERY one) from Sarasota to Fort Myers and beyond. We estimated that it took us a lot longer than if we had gone out to the interstate. You know our theory of how we like the smaller roads and highways. We learned a very valuable lesson. The road less travelled by is great, as long as it means you are out in the country somewhere, not in a shopping mecca. We must have gone through several hundred lights (most of which seemed to be red….) I am sure we added 2 hours to our travel day. We will be sure that when we start to track up the east coast of Florida that we don’t make that same mistake. We never hardly saw a speck of sand or water after we left Sarasota so the interstate, in this case, would have been so much better and it runs a few miles east and alongside the one we took. Sheesh!!!!!
The word that is hard to see is "guns"
Anyway, we are here at Midway Lake. It is a little National Parks campground. In our opinion, it is a bit of a rip-off. $30 for a night. Yes, there is electric but no water at your site. You have to walk up to the other side of the campground for water for dishes, etc. Also, there are no showers. At the last state park, Manatee Springs, we paid $20 per night and had beautiful amenities (plus gorgeous hot showers….). We spoke with one gentleman here and he said people were quite annoyed because the parks service has priced the campsites so high, almost double of last year!!



Lots of panthers in the area!!!!


Tuesday we are heading for Key Largo. Heard lots of great things about this place. We will stay one night there and then we arrive at Sugar Loaf Key for 7 nights. We are super excited. This is the big part of the trip we have been waiting for!!
Thought for the Day: Not enough battery power today but I can tell you that last night, we saw, for the first time in our lives....FIREFLIES!!!!!!!


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