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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Cracker Trail

After a breakfast of cereal (without blueberries) at the blueberry farm we headed south to Sarasota. The fastest route would have been I4 west to I75 South, but fastest isn't much fun. We decided on route 27 down the middle of the state. The tallest attraction on the highway was the Citrus Tower in Clermont. Built in 1956, it stands 226 feet tall and offers an elevator ride and observation deck for $6 per person. Once offering an expansive view of citrus groves, the view is now of subdivisions. As we moved south of the tower, development finally gave way to citrus orchards and cattle ranches.

Reaching Zolfo Springs around noon, we stopped at the Cracker Trail Museum and Village. The museum receptionist was getting ready to close for lunch, but let us look around for 5 minutes without charging us the $2 admission. She said we should come back for the Antique Tractors & Steam Engine Show.
A few native american artifacts and lots of local history is on display under glass cases and on the walls.
Outside, a 1914 Baldwin 2-6-2 locomotive has been on static display since 1967.

We have a Baldwin 2-6-0 Mogul on our garden railway at home that is very similar to this, so I took some detail photos.
A few buildings are preserved, including this old post office...
and this "Cracker Style" cabin.

The park also has camping and a little animal refuge. Sites are between $15 and $23 per night with discounts for longer stays. A few rigs were camped in the full service sites, but primitive sites were only populated by vultures and feral cats. The animal refuge wasn't open, so we didn't check it out.

After eating lunch in the van we started on the final leg to Sarasota. In less than an hour and with more than a little trepidation we drove the last mile down Fruitville Road to Sun-N-Fun. Both of us breathed better after passing the site of last year's mechanical breakdown without incident. For those that don't know, our parking brake cable and rear wiring harness wrapped around the drive shaft of our Sprinter just before entering the park last year! With a new front wheel drive vehicle we understood that couldn't happen, but we were nervous anyway. Check our next post for more on the Pleasure-Way Rally.

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