Florida Eustis DeLeon Springs Melbourne
Florida: Eustis, DeLeon Sprins SP, Blue Springs SP, Melbourne

Home ** Travel Adventures by Year ** Travel Adventures by State

** Plants ** Marine-Boats ** Geology ** Exciting Drives ** Cute Signs ** RV Subjects ** Miscellaneous Subjects

Some Key West Adventures ** More Florida Adventures ** 2003 Travel Adventures


Florida: Eustis, DeLeon Sprins SP, Blue Springs SP, Melbourne

Places Visited:

Florida: Eustis, DeLeon Sprins State Park, Blue Springs State Park, Melbourne.

Monday, February 10, 2003 We traveled 73-miles today. Southern Palms RV-Resort Eustis, FL. 1-800-227-9131

On the way out of Payne's Prairie State Park my diesel engine just died. No sputtering, no nothing it just quit in the middle of the road leading out of the park. It would have been a good time to panic. I tried to restart it but it never hit. After taking a few deep breaths I decided that the only thing it could be is a fuel problem. While still in the middle of the road I went back and changed my fuel filter. Fuel filters on diesels are not like fuel filters on gasoline engines. My filter sits in a bowl on top of the engine. After removing the filter I could see debris in the fuel remaining in the bowl. I used a turkey baster to remove the fuel and debris then installed a new filter, yes I had a spare. Within a few minutes and much anxiety I was on my way. I am not certain exactly what the problem was. I did not see any water in the system. I am not sure what the debris was. I did put some diesel fuel additive in the tank so if it was water the additive may have absorbed the water and stabilized the fuel.

On the way to Southern Palms in Eustis we passed a community called "The Villages" on highway 27 north of Leesburg. It appears to be an upscale community with a lot going on. Does anyone know anything about it? From what I could see golfers would love it as well as "shoppers". Is there an RV-Park associated with the place?

We are staying in Southern Palms because we have been in State Parks for the past 4-nights and have not been able to download e-mail. We needed a modem connection (phone line). Southern Palms RV-Resort has over 1,000 full hookup sites and is nearly full. Snowbirds are taking advantage of all of the facilities (3-clubhouses, 18 shuffleboard courts, 2-heated pools & hot tubs, exercise equipment, library, pool tables and much more). Most of the snowbirds appear to be in their 70s and active. As we pulled into the park a group of musicians was having a jam session with many residents in lawn chairs gathered around. Groups gather at night to eat together, play pool, cards and other games. It is like a big family, these folks are having fun. Just imagine over 1,000 RV's all with awnings extended. Everyone is ready to "party"!

Tuesday, February 11 2003 Southern Palms RV-Resort Eustis, Florida. 1-800-227-9131

My private tour director scheduled two State Parks for us today. The first on our schedule was DeLeon Springs State Recreation Area near the US highway 17 town of DeLeon Springs. We were visiting DeLeon Springs for two reasons. First it is home to one of the nations largest bald cypress trees affectionately named "Old Methuselah". The second is to experience the "Sugar Mill Restaurant".

It is not often that you will find a recommended restaurant in a State Park but the Sugar Mill Restaurant is that exception. Their specialty is pancakes of all things. The attraction is you cook them yourself right at your own table. It is a hoot, it really is. Each table has a rectangular electric grill made into the center of the table. Your "all you can eat" breakfast comes with two pitchers of pancake batter. One is a healthy whole grain batter the other a more traditional buttermilk batter. You also have a choice of "mix-ins" (blueberries, bananas, pecans, chocolate chips__you get the idea) for a small extra charge. You can also cook your own eggs on the grill; they deliver a bowl of fresh eggs along with the pancake batter. Bacon, sausage and ham are the only thing we saw being delivered to the table cooked. It was really something fun to do. The place was packed and everyone was having fun. Those that do not know how to cook pancakes when they arrive know how to by they time they leave. Hint; don't flip pancakes until the bubbles stop. They probably serve something else but I did not notice. They serve pancakes all day, yes even into the afternoon. If you are in the area it is a fun thing to do.

"Old Methuselah" the 400 to 500 year old bald cypress was not as large as I had anticipated. The actual national champion bald cypress is located in Longwood around 20-miles south of here and very near Orlando. We have not seen it but will someday.

The park also offered a guided nature cruise on a pontoon boat but our timing was not right to catch that trip (we were eating pancakes instead).

When Joyce and I entered the park around 10:00 it was chilly. At least it was chilly to the group of us standing in line to dine (cook our own pancakes) given that we were all wearing lightweight jackets. Inside the restaurant the most popular tables were the ones nearest the fireplace with the roaring fire. From our warm seat we were witnessing a major incongruity. Outside in the spring several people were swimming! The water in the spring is 72 degrees. Other "visitors" were walking around in shorts and T-shirts. We are in Florida where you can see anything.

Our next stop was Blue Springs State Park located near Orange City on US highway 17 (30-miles north of Orlando). We were not expecting much but Blue Springs turned out to be a great park. Hundreds of visitors were enjoying the park on a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the mid-70s. It was cool earlier in the day but the afternoon is nice. Huge manatees were crowded into several hundred yards of the spring run. The state has constructed a walkway along the edge of the spring run (from the spring itself down to where it connects with the St. Johns River). The walkway was filled with visitors walking up and down while viewing different groups of manatees. Large tarpon and alligator gar were sharing the spring run with the 30 or more manatees. Blue Springs also offers a 2-hour nature and ecological cruise on the St. Johns River.

If you want to see manatees this would be a good park to visit during cold weather. In January and February when the river temperature is cooler than the 72-degree water coming out of the spring manatee crowd into the "warm water" of the spring. They venture out into the St. Johns River to eat then return to the warm water. The spring water is crystal clear and you are able to view the manatee from this elevated boardwalk. The state has really provided a nice facility to view these gentle giants. Don't come here in the summer or hot weather expecting manatee to be crowded into the spring run for easy viewing. As soon as the weather gets warm manatee spread out up and down the river. They are only congregated around the spring now because the river is cold and the springs are warm in comparison.

Blue Springs State Park has 50 to 60 RV sites with water & 30-amps. Nothing special but it could be a good place to spend some time near the St. Johns River.

Wednesday, February 12 2003 We drove 104-miles from Eustis to Melbourne Land Yacht Harbor (A private Air stream RV-Resort) Melbourne, FL. $25 per-night 50amps full hookup concrete pads, a real "snowbird" park _. No pets!

Several things amused us on our short jaunt to Melbourne. Signs such as "Live Bait" and "Jungle Cruise" become as commonplace as the proverbial Circle K store. A bumper sticker said something about "fishing 5-days and working 2-days".

In Melbourne and Land Yacht Harbor we are in familiar surroundings. Land Yacht Harbor is the quintessential "snowbird" park. It is an Air Stream park with individuals owning each of the over 300 sites. The park is geared to individuals who like to hibernate near civilization, shops, flea markets, restaurants, cultural events and the beach, not hidden in a remote forest. Snowbirds may not be accurate since many of the owners are from southern states like Georgia and the Carolinas. Possibly they should be classified as "heat seekers" instead of "snow birds". When a site owner is not using their site it is leased out to visitors like us. We were lucky to get a site as we only see 3 or 4 vacant sites in the entire park.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday February 13, 14, 15 and 16 2003 Land Yacht Harbor (A private Air stream RV-Resort) Melbourne, FL. $25 per-night 50amps full hookup concrete pads, a real "snowbird" park _. No pets!

We spent each day with Joyce's Father who is 89 years old. He is able to go to lunch with us but is capable of very little more. Even the lunch outing requires a nap to recuperate. We usually returned to the motorhome after lunch and strolled Pop's around the RV-park in his special lightweight wheel chair or sat next to the motorhome watching resident's come and go. The Park has a pair of resident sand hill cranes. These wild birds have become fairly tame since the park is fenced and no pets are allowed. When sitting in the yard these birds will come within 3 to 5 feet of you if you do not make a sudden move.

The temperature was nice every day but it got into the mid-80s on Saturday. The talk around the park was of the best stories residents could tell after talking with their children back in the frozen northland. My children said they were digging out from under 2-feet of snow! Mine said it had not been above freezing since Moses crossed the river! Then they all break out into a wicked laugh.

The residents of this park are active. They all walk or ride bicycles around the park stopping to talk to everyone they meet. Several have mopeds or electric scooters they use in the park to visit friends, get mail, take the garbage bag to the central dumpster and things like that. At night the clubhouse has over 70 individuals playing pool, cards and an assortment of other games. Like I said, these are active individuals enjoying themselves to the fullest.

We are leaving in the morning (17 February) for Highland Hammock State Park near Sebring. That is all until next week

Mike & Joyce Hendrix

Click here for more Florida travellogs

Until next time remember how good life is.

Mike & Joyce Hendrix

More Florida Adventures

Adventures by State ** 2003 Travel Adventures


Mike & Joyce Hendrix

Mike & Joyce Hendrix




Mike & Joyce Hendrix who we are

We hope you liked this page. If you do you might be interested in some of our other Travel Adventures:

Mike & Joyce Hendrix's home page

Travel Adventures by Year ** Travel Adventures by State ** Plants ** Marine-Boats ** Geology ** Exciting Drives ** Cute Signs ** RV Subjects ** Miscellaneous Subjects


We would love to hear from you......just put "info" in the place of "FAKE" in this address: FAKE@travellogs.us

Until next time remember how good life is.