Turtle Traffic Jam

Monday March 12th 2018

The cold front arrived as rain with the dawn. It remained cloudy and windy most of the day. Late in the day the sun broke through, but the temperature peaked around seventy.

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Quiet water on a tributary of the Myakka River.

I got the day started with a Walmart run after breakfast. This was an older Walmart that had things in different places. It was a challenge to find things. This goes against the very reason I shop at Walmart. I like being able to find things in familiar places in the store. There is something comforting about the similarity between a store in the middle of Utah and a store in Florida. I don’t want to have to wander up and down every aisle just to find the things I want.

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Great Blue Heron with the tree above reflected in the water.

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Great Blue Heron standing still watching the water for lunch.

This afternoon I explored the state park on my bicycle again. I doubled my travel distance on the bike today even though a few of my muscles are complaining. I traveled out to the lake and checked out the services offered by the concessions. There is a boat tour of the lake and a tram tour of the inland areas. The boat tour is one of two “worlds larges covered air boats”. One had left the boarding area shortly before I arrived. It was very loud and it was having a hard time making headway against the wind. It might be an interesting tour on a better day.

I met the tram tour on my bicycle. It didn’t look impressive. A pickup truck driven by a guide with a headphone mounted microphone pulled two trailers full of people. They moved slower than my bicycle pace and about six cars were stuck behind the tram on the park road. I don’t anticipate taking the tram tour. Neither the boat or tram were very expensive. Either one was only $14 per person with both going for $21. Of course, you have to pay to get into the park too. The daily rate is $6 per car.

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Gator conserving energy on the riverbank.

There weren’t as many alligators visible today. The cooler temperature and lack of a visible warm sun was probably keeping them in the water. It was nice to see the Great Blue Herons were still out looking for food. They are a very proud looking bird as they stand with their neck at full extension watching the water ahead.

The new animal on today’s exploration was a Florida Soft Shell Turtle. This one was thinking about crossing the road. Many cars and people had stopped to watch the turtle cross the road. It was located right around a sharp bend in the park road. A park ranger was on the scene either to direct traffic or protect the turtle. I’m not sure which. Mostly he was just talking about the park.

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Florida Softshell Turtle thinking about crossing the road.  I don’t understand why it’s out of the water.  

Today’s bike ride was around 10 miles round trip. Some of the pedaling was into the wind so I got a good workout. I still haven’t reached the areas at the north end of the park. Maybe I’ll get there tomorrow if I don’t have to many aches from today’s ride. Of course, I could always drive out there.

 

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