Thursday December 22nd 2016
The weather forecasters fooled me again today. I thought the forecast was similar to yesterday and it started out that way. The day began very cloudy and cool. Yesterdays pattern had the sun breaking through late in the afternoon. My interpretation of the forecast for today was a slightly earlier clearing resulting in a few degrees warmer afternoon. Well, it cleared by 10am and got rather hot. It was a great day; just not what I thought it would be.
I went area exploring again today. So far every time I’ve departed the State Park I’ve turned right toward the gulf coast. Today I turned left at the main road followed by a right about a mile down the road. I passed through cattle land, a few citrus groves and a whole lot of nothing. Eventually I arrived at the outskirts of Port Charlotte. It wasn’t my destination, but it was my guess for my return to civilization based on the compass direction I was traveling.
I found the Tamiami Trail, route 41, and pointed the car to the north. This road was the complete opposite of my outbound trip. I passed strip mall after strip mall interspersed with new and old housing developments. In Venice I drove through the old downtown out to the gulf coast.
The South Jetty of the Venice inlet was filled with people enjoying the December day. Some folks were fishing from the jetty, but the majority of the people were sitting along the inlet waiting for a boat to go by. There was not a lot of traffic in the inlet. Out in the gulf a few boats were visible, but it didn’t look like it was a big boating day. Christmas is probably on peoples to do lists rather than boating. The parking lots for all of the retail business were full and other commercial business had empty parking lots. The holiday vacation has begun for many people.
From Venice I continued back north on the trail until I found major road heading inland to Interstate 75. The interstate was slow but steady. I got back to camp around 3pm. I had time for another walk around the state park before dark.
On my walk I finally got a good view of one of the gopher tortoises that I’ve heard in the brush and even saw the back end of during one of my earlier walks. This one was taking the sun in the day use area about 20 feet from the cover of the brush. It wasn’t real happy to see me taking pictures. It seemed to freeze as I got close. I took a few pictures than moved away to let it continue sun bathing or whatever it was up to.