Home Is Where We Park It: Dade Battlefield Historical State Park
Date: March 12, 2019
Top Gun Air boat Ride and The Crab Plant
Today was a day we had been looking forward to for some time. Today we were going on an air boat ride – yipee! The weather, though, did not look too promising when we got up. It was overcast, drizzling, and cool. What gives? The past few days have been picture perfect. Ah well nothing we could do about it.
First order of business was to drop Marti off at day care and then go catch a quick breakfast at McDonald’s. We had no idea how late we would be or if it would get as hot as it had been the last few days so we felt it would be better to leave Marti where he would be comfortable and taken care of.
Back home we waited for Steve and Patti to come down since they were going with us today. Our turn to drive. Once they arrived it was in the car and off we went. We had about a 45 minute ride to the our first stop which would be the Air Boat ride.
Barbara had done her usual research and decided we would go with an Air Boat tour
boat company called Top Gun. This is the boat that would take us on our magic carpet
ride. Being a gear head I of course had questions about the engine. I discovered it was a big block Chevy engine with a few go fast goodies that enabled it to make about 500 HP.
The Air Boat leaves from the Chassahowitzka River Boat Ramp in Homosassa, FL. Our
ride today would take us through the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Refuge. The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1941, is comprised of over 31,000 acres of saltwater bays, estuaries and brackish marshes at the mouth of the Chassahowitzka River. The refuge was established primarily to protect waterfowl habitat and is home to over 250 species of birds, over 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, and at least 25 different species of mammals, including the endangered West Indian Manatee.
This was the view looking down the river in the direction in which we would be going.
Once underway the first thing we spotted was a bald eagle high in a tree.
We also saw several West Indian Manatees – difficult to see in the picture, it’s the big brown blob just below the water – look real close.
Moving further out into the bay we encountered several dolphins.
We also found Texas – sort of it’s about 100 miles in front of us in this picture!
We spent about an hour on the Air Boat tour and despite the bleak, wet weather we had an absolutely wonderful time. We would go again in a heartbeat. It’s just that much fun ripping across the water, wind in your hair!
Next stop on our morning sight-seeing trip was the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park. This site was once part of a thriving sugar plantation owned by David Levy Yulee. Yulee was a member of the Territorial Legislative Council, and served in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate after Florida statehood.
The park contains the remnants of the once-thriving 5,100-acre sugar plantation: a forty-foot limestone masonry chimney, iron gears and a cane press. The steam-driven mill operated from 1851 to 1864 and served as a supplier of sugar products for southern troops during the Civil War.
Our visit to the park finished the four of us decided to have lunch at a restaurant in the area that had been recommended by a friend.
We all decided the food was good but not good enough that we would return in the future. Ah well, we gave it a shot. It was worth the time to find out. The best thing though was as always the time spent with good friends. That in itself is priceless!
The view out the window, however, was great. Take a look, this is what we saw.
Lunch finished it was time to head for home. It had been a wonderful day of sight-seeing with great friends. That in my book made this day a real winner in all ways.
That was our day from beginning to end on The Road of Retirement. We had a wonderful time traveling along, hand in hand, singing our song. Today along with us we had the company of some really great friends who we will miss when we leave here at the end of March. They’ve already invited us to visit them at their farm in Wisconsin anytime we are in the area. It will definitely be a stop for us in the future. Time to go, supper is waiting. Have a great night.
These are the voyages of Graybeard and it’s occupants, four paws and two humans. Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before
See you on down the road