Sunday, January 22, 2012

Peace River and Solomon's Castle

We spent two and a half weeks at Peace River Thousand trails park near the town of Zolfo Springs Florida.  While there we met a great couple from Washington State and among several things we decided to do was to take a 6 mile trip down the river on our inflatable kayaks.  The four of us went to the Paynes Creek Historic State Park to launch the boats.  It was late morning and the park closed at 5PM; we had lots of time, and it was all down hill.
We shared taking pictures of each other and thanks Bruce for this shot.

At one time a palm tree fell to the center of the river and then continued to grow up.  Lots of head room as Ronda and Bruce floated under it.

Same situation but this one has yet to turn back toward the sky.  Lots of Live Oak trees full of Spanish Moss along the river bank.

You may not have noticed but this river is running real sloooooow with lots of very shallow spots where we got stuck on the bottom.  Dick had to get out several times and pull us over the high spots.

He was a little concerned because he had both his camera and Android phone with him and wanted to keep them dry.  The day drifted by and it was getting late.  Our backs and arms hurt and we still had a long way to go to get back the the campground.  As we rounded the final curve to the take-out spot, Dick had to get out for the last time and pull us over another shallow spot. 

The only problem with this spot was that people have been digging in the river looking for fossils and it was full of big holes.  Dick got in a hole as the boat drifted against him and down he went.  Unfortunately he had the Droid on his belt.  As he surfaced with the phone in his hand Jackie was able to do a quick dry and it still works fine.

Our 6 mile trip turned into 10 1/2 miles and took us over 5 1/2 hours.  Dick and Bruce jumped in the jeep and were able to get back to the State Park to retrieve Bruce's truck just minutes before it closed.

Great time with a great couple but a little longer than we ever expected.

We had heard about a place called Solomon's Castle and had to visit it to see what all the hype was.  We had the pleasure of spending some time with the owner Howard Solomon and to view some of his very unique art work and facility.

This is his home and gallery; the exterior is old tintype sheets as exterior siding.  If this was grand to look at one needs to go inside to view some of his work.

On another part of the property is this building made to look like the Texas Alamo.  Good job except not sure what type of Mexican was standing in the yard.

There is a creek (swamp) running through the property so he built a "boat in the moat".  And inside is a restaurant with very good food.  We had lunch here.

We will let you read his website for some of the names he has given to his pieces.

On the property we found another huge live oak tree full of Spanish moss.  We love it...

While walking around the grounds we came upon this five foot tall plant with flowers that we had not seen before.  A very striking bloom complete with what looks like berries on the stem.  Had to shoot it for a screen saver.  Please feel free to use it, just right click and save it to your computer.

While in Nevada last year we went rock hounding and picked up a few pounds of various size of Apache Tears.  Dick finally dug them out of the basement and tried tumbling them.  It took him seven weeks but they came out beautiful shiny black and brown.  Now it's time to wire wrap some with sterling silver wire or maybe wait for another few weeks until the second batch is finished and then see what he can make from them.  Don't want to rush into anything.

To be continued...