Monday, February 26, 2018

Old Town–cruisin’ cars and music

Old Town

OK, so I’ve gotten way behind on the blog again!  We haven’t been all that busy, but the weather has been so beautiful, we’ve been spending most of our free time at the pool.  Then in the evenings there’s music jam nights, and card nights, and I spent a few nights working on our taxes . . . before you know it, our month here is almost over!

So, getting back to what we’ve been doing . . . in one of our many afternoons in the pool, we heard about Old Town. 

Old Town clock

It’s a small older touristy area in Kissimmee – a cobblestone street lined with gift shops and bars . . . they even sell beer at the Aunt Annie’s Pretzel hut!

Beer and a pretzel?

Adjacent to Old Town is the Fun Spot Amusement Park, with lots of fair-type rides, the classic bungie cord ride and the Vomitron (that one sounds lovely!), as well as an awesome multi-level go-cart track.  Tom was wishing the boys were with us – they would have loved that go-cart track!

Fun Spot

On weekend nights they have a band and a car cruise (which has been happening continuously since 1994) – Friday nights are Muscle Cars and Saturday nights are Classic Cars.

The weekend before last, we made plans to go to the cruise with Henry & Yvonne (from Woodstock, Ontario), and Yvonne’s cousin Darlene and her husband Bill.


The cars gather in the parking lots around Old Town, where they wait for cruise time.  We walked through the lots, looking at all of the cars.  Muscle Car Night included a wide range of model years – all the way back to the 50s and 60s classic muscle cars, up to the current re-makes of those old great cars.




Older Mustang

There were a bunch of Mustangs – I had to text a few pictures to Nicolas!

Boss 302

After we walked through the cars, we walked through the shops and waited for the cruise to get started.  We found  a few more cars parked on the street – pretty cool paint jobs and lights!

Lots of lights


We met up with the others to watch the cruise  -- right in front of the Haunted House.

Haunted House

Tom tried to get Henry to go in the Haunted House with him, but this was as close as they got . . .


I wasn’t going, either!


The four of them headed back to the RV Park after the cruise, but Tom and I decided to stay a while and listen to the band – they were pretty good.


Friday night at Old Town, especially after most of the cruisers left, was a pretty good for people watching . . . where Walmartians go at night!


We had a good time, and stayed until the band finished at 11pm.  It was a nice evening!

Tom enjoyed it so much, he wanted to go back again on Saturday, to see more older cars.  We weren’t going to be able to go the following Saturday, so we went ahead and returned the next night.  Another couple from the RV Park, Jim & Laura (from Lansing, MI) met us there after we went to church.

There were a LOT more cars!  Many of the older muscle cars from Friday were back, but there were many more older cars gathered for Saturday’s cruise. 

Tom and I walked through the area where the cars were on Friday night,




Bright Blue Ford

and then we met up with Jim & Laura.  Laura and I stayed to listen to the band, while Tom and Jim continued to walk around, and found another whole parking lot full of cars lined up for the cruise.

It was definitely more crowded on Saturday!

We watched the cruise from the same location, although with the greater number of cars, they kept them moving through at a lot faster pace!  It was hard to get good pictures as they drove past.


It was a little easier to catch them driving away from us!



There were several VW Bugs . . . including Herbie!



After the cruise, we stayed and listened to the music a little longer, but didn’t stay until the end.  They were a good band, but I preferred the one on Friday night.


It was a good weekend – lots of fun . . . cars . . . and music!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lake Louisa State Park and Florida Roadside Oddities

Lake Louisa

After our busy day on Friday, we weren’t sure what we had planned for Saturday, but then we heard back from our friends who live up in the Villages, and made plans to meet them for an early dinner in Clermont.

It was a beautiful day and we took advantage of having the roof open on the Jeep as we travelled north on US-27 towards Clermont.  Lake Louisa State Park was on our way, so we stopped to check out the campground and do a little hiking.  There were 3 small camping loops, with water and electric, and a handful of sites that had full hookup, including several host sites.  The sites were large and open, and most would fit any size RV.  It looked like a very nice campground, and we were surprised to see several open sites on a Saturday.

It’s a very large state park, with many miles of multi-use trails – open to hiking, biking, and even horseback riding.  There are even some back country campsites on some of the trails.

We decided to check out the “beach” first, and really weren’t expecting much. 

We parked in the parking lot, and followed a boardwalk through the cypress swamp to the beach.

Cypress Swamp

Lake Louisa is a very large pretty lake, though, and there actually was a beach!

Lake Louisa

There were people laying in the sun, and even a kid swimming in the water!  It looked inviting, but I don’t think I’d get in the water . . . you know what they say about bodies of water in Florida . . . there are gators in there somewhere!

The main trailhead was in the parking lot, but the map looked like we might be able to connect to it from the beach.  We followed what we thought looked like a trail along the edge of the water.

Trail along the beach

There were lots of cypress trees along the edge of the lake, giving the water a tannic color.  It was actually very beautiful.

Cypress Trees along the beach

Lake Louisa

Lake Louisa

Tom kept an eye out for alligators!

Looking for gators!

We reached a boardwalk at the end of the trail, and though we were going to connect to the main trail,

Where does the boardwalk go?

but it just took us to another parking lot.  So . . . we turned around and went back to the beach, and then back to the trailhead in the main parking lot.

Now we were in the right place!

Found the trail!

The entire nature trail was 3.5 miles, one way, but we only had one hour until we needed to continue on to Clermont to meet Mark & Janie.  There was a point on the trail, not quite halfway, where we could take a cutoff to the road and follow that back to the parking lot, so that was our plan.

We started out in the shade, and it felt pretty good.

The shady areas felt good

We gradually were in the sun more,

Getting warmer!

and it was getting warmer.  The last part of the trail was in full sun, and it was downright HOT!

Full sun -- now it's hot!

We passed on the fitness stations

There were a variety of fitness stations along the trail . . . but we passed on those!

We made it to the cutoff, and back to the road, and from there it was an easy walk back to the parking lot. 

The trail was nice and wide, and would be great for bikes, although there were a few areas where the sand was soft and might be troublesome.

Altogether, we walked about 3 miles, which wasn’t too bad considering how hot it was and how much time we had available.

We got back to the Jeep, and continued north to Clermont.  We were meeting at the Citrus Tower . . . a landmark in Clermont that was built back in the 50s to provide tourists a bird-eye view of the surrounding orange groves of central Florida.

What it looked like years ago

It used to be quite a tourist attraction!

The Citrus Tower

At that time, it was a very popular attraction, and drew visitors from all over the world.  Although it’s still pretty cool, and you can ride an elevator to the top for $4/person, the view isn’t quite the same.  No longer surrounded by orange groves, now you just get a view of Clermont – houses and businesses.  We passed on the elevator ride.

Just across the parking lot is another roadside attraction . . . the Museum of Presidents.

House of Presidents

LincolnPresident Lincoln occupies a prominent location just outside the front door, and inside the gift shop you can get the feel for dining in the White House.

Dinner at the White House

We checked out the lunch and dinner menus, but didn’t see much that appealed to most of us.  We passed on the museum, but took a walk through the gift shop – they had some interesting stuff in there!

Not too hard to figure out who his favorite President is!

The museum is privately owned by one man, and he makes no secret of his political tendencies – showcasing his favorite President!


OK, we did the touristy thing, and we were ready for dinner.  Somebody had recommended Bubba Catfish, which was just down the road.  We checked the menu online, and it looked pretty good . . . unfortunately the food didn’t live up to expectations . . . we won’t be going there again!

We had a nice time catching up with Mark & Janie, though, and look forward to seeing them again when we’re in the area!

On the way home, we made one more stop at one more roadside attraction – Citrus World.

Citrus World

Not too many oranges available, but there were photo ops,

Big Shark

and we bought some Orange Blossom Honey and Orange BBQ sauce.

Honey House

On Sunday, we just went to church and did some grocery shopping, and spent the rest of the day just hanging out at the RV park and getting some laundry done. 

We finished our busy weekend with a beautiful sunset!

Sunset_Feb 11th

Reflection on the pond

Meanwhile up in Michigan, they were getting buried in snow!

Snow at MSU

We’re so glad to be in Florida!!