Last week my husband and I set off on another adventure. We took an unplanned road trip through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Unplanned trips are great because there's no schedule to keep and no expectations. We didn't book any accommodations, we made no reservations and did no research into museums or activities. We just got in the car and drove.
Our first stop was right here in our own town at the Port Saint Lucie Botanical Garden where they were having their annual free tree giveaway.
First you had to register and get your ticket. Then you had to go to 5 out of 7 educational booths in order to get your tree. The booths were manned by volunteer Master Gardeners who were there to teach us how to take care of our new trees.
The topics covered information about each type of tree, climate, soil, planting, pruning, watering, pests, fertilizing and more.
I have to say that I learned a lot of useful information from each Master Gardener because this New York native is really not great when it comes to living green things. Once our ticket was punched from all 5 booths we were allowed to select a tree.
We chose the Southern Live Oak. This is a picture of it in the back of our car. We had to fold down the back seats and lay it down in the trunk. It reached all the way to the front.
Eventually this tree will grow to be 40 to 60 feet tall and will have a spread of 60 to 100 feet. We planted it next to our hammock so that in 30 years we'll have shade!
Once we adopted our tree we were back on the road and drove north to Lake City, Florida. This area of Florida is about as country as it gets. You know you're in the country when you have a store that sells thousands of cowboy boots in every size, design and color imaginable.
There's not much to do in this area except for the boot store and the Florida Welcome Center where you can get discounted theme park tickets, free orange juice and see a 14 foot stuffed alligator. The reason for this stop was because it's located near Ichetucknee Springs State Park. (Click this link for address and hours of operation information)
The Ichetucknee river is the best place for tubing in Florida. It costs just $6 per car to enter the state park and you can rent tubes at various stands located along the road outside the park. The river is 6 miles long and stunningly beautiful. It was one of the most relaxing activities I've ever done. We got there early and so there was only a few other people in the river. As the current took us down the river we watched the morning fog rise off the water. We listened to the birds wake up and start to sing while we gently floated by. I only wish that I still had my GoPro camera so I could share pictures but it's just more incentive for you to go and see for yourself. I know that I can't wait to go back again.
Please come back next week to read all about the next leg of our adventure in Alabama.