A Trip To Alachua & High Springs ~ The First Few Days

10 11 2009

Thursday, November 5th, 2009 ~

Time to head south! Steve and I hopped on a plane for Orlando, with a stop at Washington Dulles airport, where I stopped for a pose with the President and the First Lady.

We hung about for a few hours, then were on our way. When we landed, we took a shuttle train to the luggage merry go round, where all four of our suitcases were waiting for us. Sweet! Down to the rental car place… oi… Of course, the place we chose to prearrange our rental from, happened to be the same one everyone else chose as well. While I guarded our bags, Steve stood in line for over an hour and a half. I had visions of a Seinfeld episode going through my head…

“You know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to hold the reservation…”

We did receive a nice Ford Explorer, and our total came out to alot more than was quoted on… I guess that’s par for the course. We packed up and were Alachua bound. We arrived at about 8:45pm, and met up with Guy and Ray, who were gearing up for the next few day’s events.

Friday, November 6th, 2009 ~

Steve had to be at EE early, so I was going to drop him off, then find something to do. We met up with a few more of the gang, and everyone was alot of fun.

Karim and Steven M….

Ray, Guy, and Steve…

I figured I would be productive, and do some work. I went in to say hello to our GUE friends next door, and ended up sticking around for the day. I actually did get quite a bit of work done, and with most amazing company. 🙂 Thank you!!

When all was done, a few groups of us went to The Great Outdoors for some dinner and laughs.

EE has the coolest door handles!

 

Saturday, November 7th, 2009 ~

Today, I met Sheila and Steve (another Steve!) at EE, and they were going to take me out for a real adventure!! We drove out to Ocala, where we went to the Silver River, for some kayaking goodness. I had never been in a kayak before, and I was looking forward to trying it!

Steve set me all up and helped to launch me, followed by Sheila, then Steve. We paddled upstream, and saw alot of wildlife. There were Egrets, Cormorants, Herons (small and great; blue and white), Snake Birds (I can’t remember the name of them, but they were really cool), a Vulture, Kingfisher, a bunch of Alligators, and… Monkeys! We saw Monkeys!! There are rumours of how they got there – One of them being that they were left over from filming the Tarzan movies. Pretty cool to see them in the wild! We saw those guys on the way back.

We stopped at the half way point, where we got out and enjoyed the scenery for a while. We got back into the kayaks, and continued upstream. I think I made a bit of progress in steering the kayak! We reached our destination, Silver Springs Park. We couldn’t get out of the boats, but we did admire the beginning of the spring, and tried to focus on the statues in the water, left over from previous movie shoots. The water was so very clear, but it was hard to see them through the ripples of the water. They did have glass bottom boats for tourists to see them. We did a bit of admiring, then started back. We had paddled for 5 miles, and still had 5 miles back! At least we would have the current helping us out.

This is where we saw the monkeys. Sheila had told me about them, but that she hadn’t seen them close to the water. What a treat! Once we got back, both Sheila and Steve helped me get the boat in, loaded up, and off to find food!

Sheila!

Steve’s boat…

Sheila and Steve…

Steve suggested a Mexican restaurant, by the name of El Toreo. Two words.. Freakin’ Amazing! I think this is my new favourite…ever… The service was fantastic, the food was incredible, and I really wanted to finish everything on my plate! The bottomless chips and salsa were really good too! The salsa had just enough bite!

Thank you so much to Sheila and Steve, for including me in their day, and for alot of fun!!

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