DAY 40 July 3, 2009

This morning I drove the west loop down to US 319 and south to Leon Sinks. I had every intention of hiking out to at least one of the sinks, but the swarm of bugs reminded me within minutes that I had failed to pack my repellent and would be eaten alive if I tried. So I packed it in and headed to Wakulla Springs.

At Wakulla I toured the old lodge (still in operation at reasonable rates) and checked out the visitor center and dock. The boats were not running due to the impending electrical storm that cleared the beach as I was leaving.

The glass bottom boats hadn't been running due to amount of rain received recently. The rain percolates through the vegetation picking up tannins and turning the water coming from the springs into a tea like color. This coloration precludes visibility, so no glass bottom runs.

I watched the kids jumping from the 30' platform into the sink hole (over 120' deep), stuck my feet in the chilly water, and returned to my car before others were told to clear the beach. On the way back to the hotel I took the east loop and found many more commercial establishments and badly timed lights making the process much slower.

I had lunch at Crystal River Seafood, quite frankly because the parking lot was packed. I did not like the watery rubber band "chowder" (upgrade $1.50), nor did I appreciate the hostesses nonchalance when I mentioned it. Don't ask me how I liked something if you are going to ignore my response. The green tomatoes (1/2 order of 5 large slices) were great-in fact the highlight of the meal. They had good tomato flavor, in a nicely seasoned crisp batter, and topped with just enough Parmesan cheese for a salty kick. The baked potato was fresh and fluffy but I don't appreciate margarine on anything. The oysters were very good, but not as good as Boss's up in Apalachicola. The scallops however were fantastic-perfectly cooked buttery sweet-oooh yeah!

I enjoyed my stay so much last night that I booked through the holiday weekend at the Cabot Lodge. The rooms are very nice, the evening reception and breakfast are nicer than expected, and the staff is exceptional!

ROUTE: I 10 East>FL 263 South> US 319 South>FL 267 South>FL 61 North> US 319 North>I 10 West

Lodging: Cabot Lodge

Meals: Crystal River Seafood (**Food *Service)

Attractions: Leon Sinks and Wakulla Springs State Park

$$$: $52 Motel (2 more nights) $4 Park Fee $18 Food =$74

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