Last week Francesca, Pi, and I headed up the west coast of Florida hoping to see a few new things like,
In Tampa, we visited our friend, Cheryl Davidson. She lives in an older part of town called Hyde Park.
The restored houses were amazing, the kind the Grove used to have many more of.
Cheryl's house and garden were works of art as well. I'll be writing about them next week.
She told us the world's longest sidewalk separates her neighborhood from Tampa Bay.
It's unfortunate that more cities don't preserve water views like Tampa has.
At the sidewalk's southern end the three of us posed for our next album cover in Jules Verne Park. Why the peculiar name?
Back in 1865, the French science fiction writer launched a manned rocket from "Tampa town" in his novel, "From the Earth To the Moon". The are many similarities between the Verne's version of the moon shot and the real thing that happened a hundred miles away, 104 years later, at Cape Canaveral.
Our next stop was Manatee Springs. We took to the clear, cool water just like the sea cows we saw in the distance.
Francesca and I think Florida's fifty springs are the best part of the Sunshine State. We visit them often.
Imagine Key West without its ten-thousand tourists or t-shirt shops.
That's Cedar Key, ninety miles north of Jules Verne's launch pad.
When we asked Cedar Key Police Officer McMillan for a good place to camp he suggested the lot in front of his police station. We felt safe there and unlike our recent camping experience in the southernmost city, drunks and loud music did not keep us up.
(Sunrise at the Cedar Key dock, a half a block from the police station)
After the sun popped up we drove an hour NE to Gainesville. There, we saw more friends and the University of Florida's terrific museums.
It was easy to imagine dancing with this Senegalese costume or being eaten by what's left of this prehistoric Megaloden shark.
Pi spied Rainbow Springs before the rest of us.
It used to be a tourist attraction featuring not only the beautiful springs but the longest fake waterfall
in Florida. It falls an impressive fifty- feet off a man-made hill.
Now it is a state park and a wonderful place to visit.
If they had let us, we would have camped on the water's edge. There's something enchanting about those four million gallons of water bubbling up everyday.
RAPTURE OF THE DEEP
You probably know that manatees can't read.
This one paid no attention to the "No Diving" sign in the distance.
It's hard to top an experience like that so after our swim in the springs we happily headed home.