Saturday, March 3, 2018

Little Manatee River State Park–Hikes, Friends and a Brew…

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Our last night at Imperial Bonita Estates was spent playing corn hole and capping the evening with a happy hour afterward. We have made many friends in the park over the years and it was sad saying our goodbyes while knowing it is a necessary evil in this lifestyle if we want to remain nomadic.Thank goodness for Facebook and email which ensures we will keep in touch with friends while we are away.

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The next morning we packed up our remaining gear while readying our RV and CRV  to hit the road. We left about 11:00 am for the less than 130 mile drive north to Little Manatee River State Park just southeast of Tampa. We pulled in around 1:00 pm and  set up for our three night stay.

After a quick lunch we wasted no time getting acquainted with the park. There are a lot of hiking trails in this state park and we walked a few miles of them before calling it a day. The park is mostly a flatland of interspersed grasslands amidst mostly pine trees. The Little Manatee River ambles through the park however there is little access to see much of the river. It is very peaceful though after being packed in as tight as sardines in a commercial park for the winter.

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I woke early the next morning as I typically do and made my coffee. I took my cup outside since the temperatures were so mild in the morning.. What a cacophony of sounds filled the dark morning skies. Chuck Will’s Widows and Barred Owls were trading stanzas while serenading me this wonderful morning. After sunrise I went back into the RV and whipped up some breakfast for my sleepy bride who sleeps later than I since she is more of a night owl.. Ironic she is the night owl and I am the early bird hoping to hear an owl…

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After breakfast we ventured out for another long morning hike through the wooded trails alongside Dunn Lake in the park. After lunch we planned to hop in the car to explore some of the area around us but instead we received a surprise visit from our Illinois friends who were staying in nearby Cortez. They called saying they wanted to come by for a visit so we happily postponed our car trip. What fun it was reconnecting with them all. Mike, BJ, Steve and Diane arrived around 1:00 pm and we broke out a bottle of champagne to have a small toast to our friendships. It was really good to reminisce with them and talk about all we have each done since our last encounter. A few hours passed by and then just as suddenly as they arrived they were gone… We certainly look forward to seeing them again somewhere down the road.

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To end the day I had my eye on a little dive bar I had read about not too far from the state park. We drove up the road and found the Beer Shed in Riverview, FL. It is reputed to be one of the oldest drinking establishments in the Tampa Bay area. The historic Beer Shed bar sits on the banks of the beautiful Alafia River and we found the place to be lively, inexpensive and filled with friendly locals… a true Road Treat!

Our first stay on our way out of Florida has been a huge success making us ready for our next stop in an area of Florida we have never visited before...

NOTE: We will leave Little Manatee River State Park tomorrow and move north up the coast to Keaton Beach for three nights…


  1. Have not given Florida much of a chance, but the Beer Shed is another reason to spend some time there :)

  2. It always feel so good to get back on the road again. We love nature also and that park sounds very nice.

  3. It is always hard to say "see ya" to our RV friends! However, it's also fun to catch up with them down the road somewhere and the conversation always picks up right where it left off!!
    A change of scenery is always nice!! Enjoy!!

  4. Such beautiful Florida photos and great thoughts of friends and Florida mornings. Interesting, I just updated my Feedly app, and looking at your blog on Feedly, I saw the photos in full size. On the actual website here, they were much smaller, and I wasn't able to click to make them bigger. Just thought that was interesting. And that feathery flower photo was really amazing full size.

    1. Interesting - I wonder why it won't let you enlarge them. The feathery plant is most likly a Fringe Tree but I never verified it...

  5. You two sure had a wonderful winter in Imperial Bonita Estates.
    I love the photo with John sitting on the wall. Gives me such a quiet feeling.
    Dive bars are actually are favorite. We meet the nicest people in them.