We packed up yesterday morning and drove down to Sue’s parents’ house in Port Charlotte. A couple of days planned for visiting and trailer updates before meeting Jean and Craig in Naples Thursday afternoon.
Our last two days at Scherer were great. Sunday we finally took advantage of the park’s canoe rental and went for a paddle. A small river bisects the mile wide property and no gas powered boats are permitted so it is a quiet, pristine natural channel. Lots of birds and scenery floating under moss draped oaks.
After lunch we were just puttering around the campsite when we heard music coming from the nature center just a few hundred feet away. We wandered over to find an ice cream social provided by The Friends of Oscar Scherer. Two bucks a scoop and an open air stage with The Dunn Deal, Caroline and Jim Dunn playing folkish, countryish fiftyish music. Fun to listen and tap your foot to.
After intermission, during which I went back to our trailer and installed a mirror in the bathroom, Hungrytown took the stage. Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson are a charming young (at least a lot younger than us) couple from Vermont playing sixties style folk music but all modern songs written by Rebecca.
We chatted with them a bit after the performance and learned they bailed out of the rat race nine years ago to perform full time playing the Northeast and Midwest in the summer and traveling through the South in the winter, most of the time living in their VW camper van. They decided they wanted this life style and would just figure out how to live on whatever money this life style could provide. Good for them!
We found out there will be a folk music fair here at the park 3/23 and 3/24. Tried to book a site for that weekend but the park is sold out. We were able to reserve a site at Myakka SP, maybe ten miles away, so we definitely will be back for more folk music.
Monday we went for a bike ride and then decided to try paddle boarding. The rental facility SUP Englewood was only a trailer in the parking lot at Nokomis Beach but the young woman, Nicole, who got us going could not have been nicer, even offering Sue her sun glasses and lending me her floaty strap for mine. Sue wrote about this in detail a few days ago.
I was thinking for sure I would fall in a few times while I learned to balance but the water was calm and neither of us ever did fall off. It was fun as it sort of feels like you are walking on water, not as fast as paddling a kayak though.
After a short (too much sun) beach walk we went back to the trailer and I spent a couple of hours on the Internet and phone setting up campsite reservations for the rest of the winter. We had hoped to just sort of drift around but the reality is Florida state parks are mostly sold out well in advance. Several people told they make their reservations as soon as the booking window opens, eleven months in advance. We were able to fill all the time from now until March 31 by finding parks that had a few open days here, a few there. We were able to stay here at Scherer eleven days only by moving to different sites twice. There are lots of private campgrounds of course but our short experience is that the state parks are half the price and twice as nice. For instance at Cedar Key we had giant RVs maybe 20’ away on both sides, here we can barely see our neighbors through the dense foliage separating the sites.
Another thing we really enjoyed here is walking at night. Once you get more than a few hundred feet from the actual campsites it is pitch dark black. There hasn’t been a moon but the loom in the sky from the lights along US 41, about a mile away, provides just enough light to see the white sand trails once your eyes get adjusted. Almost every night has been crystal clear making for a beautiful night sky with Orion prominent in the south and Jupiter shining brightly directly overhead. Interestingly we are too far south to see the whole of the Big Dipper. The two end stars on the handle are below the horizon.