1060 – Ray Springs
While Ray is swimming in springs with Scooter you can surrender in sweet slumber.
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- What’s snappenin’?
- College-Age Kids (CAKs)
- Slightly Brackish
- Fraggle Rock
- “You ain’t never had a friend like me”
- Supergrass, the Band
Notable Talking Points:
- Every once in a while, the Fraggles from Fraggle Rock come up
- Some sort of zoo feelings about the mermaids
- Scooter always wants to know where he can swim
Episode 1060 – Ray Springs
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time for the podcaster who…pecan just popped in my head. Pecan? Pecan. Putting the pecan…can’t figure out a way to make it sleepy. Is pill…? ‘Cause pecan pie is…or pecan pie…saying pecan sounds a little bit more snoozy than pecan. So, goodnight, patrons.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed…or alls you could do, if you like, or if it works for you, is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake. It could be thoughts on your mind, thoughts about the past, the present, or the future, it could be feelings, anything come…you’re feeling physically or feelings that are coming up for you emotionally, or physical sensations, changes in time, temperature, routine, life things, happenings, snappenings; didn’t…was that Fraggles that said what’s the snappening?
I’m already off-topic, but I said, every once in a while, Fraggles from Fraggle Rock come up. I say, can’t you get away? But actually, that would be like…I’m trying to have your worries for another day, or I’m trying to take your mind off the worries you have on a normal day. For me, that’s my job. Oh, what are Fraggles? So, Fraggles were a Jim Henson Muppet…they’re not the Muppets from the Muppet Show, so I don’t know if they’re actually…here’s a question; are Fraggles Muppets? I don’t know that they necessarily are, though I would assume they’re produced at the Muppet Workshop, or they’re a…that’s a very…yeah, I’m sorry, Fraggles. That’s a very clinical word; produced. I don’t be…you’re not birthed there, though. How about a fiery spark of creation?
That doesn’t lead me to say where you…Muppets…conceived? Oh boy, you don’t want to go there with Muppets and Fraggles. What was my point, though? I can’t even remember anymore ‘cause…oh, snappening. There was some sort of character in my brain that instead of saying what’s happening, they would say what’s snappening? I said, who says that? My brain said, probably a Fraggle. I think that’s a Fraggle saying. Then I wanted to explain to all of you that didn’t know what Fraggles were what Fraggles are; an…children’s television program in the 1980s, maybe, or the 90s, and that I’m barely familiar with. It’s somewhere in my…I was gonna say my vestigial brain, which is actually probably true. It was a part of my brain I had as a child and it’s there no more. I don’t understand it, either.
I don’t know if it’s evolution. You say Scoots, usually evolution happens between beings, and that sounds…and I say okay, fair enough. We’ll have to agree to disagree. So, I don’t have a vestigial…yeah, by definition, I don’t have a vestigial brain because…just like I don’t have vestigial wings. You’re right; I don’t have vestigial wings. Oh no, I never had; oh, so you…that’s what you’re saying. Well, if you feel like I’ve gone far afield or you’re confused, you’re in the right place, ‘cause here’s the thing; I’m gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night, I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, all to take your mind off of stuff so you can fall asleep. Those are pointless meanders that I just went on and got mixed up. Now, if you’re new, a few things to know; I’m so glad you’re here.
If you’re a regular listener, welcome back, my friends. So glad you’re all here, too. Really, now my brain is like, where am I going here? But so, if you’re new, a couple things that are important to know; the most important thing to know is that you’re important and your sleep is important, right? This podcast is here to help you fall asleep by taking your mind off of stuff and keeping you company, and I really believe that that is important, that you getting the rest you need and you deserve is one of the most important things I could be a part of if I can be, because your life will improve. It’ll be more manageable, and if you start getting a good bedtime routine and getting the rest you need, you’re gonna flourish. That means the entire world we all share will be a better place. I mean, who knows?
You might be working on the next…the Fraggle reboot. Not the Fraggle rebirth; no, Fraggles. We gotta get off this topic. A second spark of creation came deep within the earth, I think beneath an old man’s house that he shares with his dog, but I’m not positive. Somewhere, there’s a garbage heap and one of my brothers said there’s also two giants, maybe, and there’s dozers. Also, I put it on my…my way I find…that’s why I have Fraggle on the brain, because I have it on my navigation app. So, there must be…here in December 2021, there must be something happening with the Fraggles, if their proton pack and your navigation voice thing…oh, but your sleep is important, so if I can do that and help you get the rest you need and deserve, that’s important to me.
It’s also important to me ‘cause I’ve been there; tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep. I got all that covered. So, if I can help you with that, it would be my honor. So…okay. Oh, so that’s one thing to know if you’re new. The other thing is that this podcast just doesn’t work for everybody, but for the people it does work for, it does take two or three tries. Sometimes between try two and try three is years. People say, this podcast is not my thing, in stronger words than that. But give it a few tries and just see how it goes, because there is a lot of counterintuitive stuff about the show. Like, it never makes any sense and I never get to the point. I never even resolve my…I’m…I got…I’m experiencing Fraggle confusion.
I think one of the Fraggles was named Red, the one on my navigation app. I don’t know what a Gorg Castle is. My brother Googled it when I was driving and he told me what it was. I think there…that’s where the royal…there’s…turns out there’s a royal Fraggle family, maybe. Somewhere in my mind there is. Okay, so…oh, this podcast doesn’t work for everybody, so give it a few tries. If you already know you don’t like it, that’s cool, too. If you’re skeptical or doubtful, try to give it a few tries, but if you already know you don’t like it, check out sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou. There’s tons of other sleep podcasts out there and sleepy audio you could check out. So, that’s that part. A couple other things that take some getting used to is one, this is a podcast you don’t really listen to.
You kinda…it kinda happens in the background. You can listen and you can kinda tune into it or just barely listen, but it’s more here to keep you company. It’s also not here to put you to sleep. It’s a bit like watching clouds or trying to remember a show that you don’t really remember. You say well, I got these bits and pieces here, but none of it’s coming together. I’d say yeah, Sleep With Me is like a passive version of that. It doesn’t really put you to sleep. I’m here to be your bore-friend, your bore-bae, your bore-cuz, your bore-sib, your bore-bestie, your bore-bor, your neigh-bore. If you live in San Diego or some other region where…like, where…I’m here to be your bore-bruh, where people wax their surfboards. Oh, what was my point?
Oh, I’m just here to keep you company while you fall asleep, just like if you were calling a friend and you said hey, talk about nothing for a while. I’m a little…feeling a little lonely and I need a little distraction. That’s what I do. That’s my job. A few other things that take some getting used to but that are essential building blocks of the podcast is the structure of the show. The show is structured in a very specific way, but then as you become a regular listener, you can adjust how you listen. So, the show starts off with a greeting; friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, then I say…get mixed up and say something that may be barely funny. That’s so you feel seen and welcomed in, and you kinda get the nature of the show. A little bit goofy, a little bit different.
Then there’s support for the show, because my goal is to have the podcast come out twice a week, or at least twice a week. If we’re talking…this is December 2021; it would be like hey, what if we got…we did…got sponsor support…listener support and sponsor support where you could put out extra episodes? So, but the support from sponsors and patrons enable the show to be for free on all podcast apps twice a week. So, thank you everybody that participates in that. Then there’s support for communities around the show, support for you as a listener, then there’s the intro, which we’re like, ten minutes into, maybe. The intro is a separate part from the support or the housekeeping or whatever.
It’s a show within a show and it’s something that yeah, another person might be able to do in a very concise way, but I cannot. But it serves a purpose, which is…from everything I know personally and from what I’ve read about sleep is that what works for a lot of people is having a wind-down routine, or having some differentiator between when you’re awake and when you’re asleep, some transition. The intro is that transition, that wind-down, that landing strip, that twilight time, and you could listen as you’re getting ready for bed or as you’re doing something else relaxing or as you’re in bed getting comfortable or, yeah, there’s a percentage of listeners that are asleep. There’s also a small percentage of listeners that skip the intro. But for most of us and from what I’ve learned, it’s like, okay, easing into bedtime is what works, and having some patience to kinda take some tension out of that rubber band, that’s what the intro does, and I understand if you’re new or if you have some expectation of when it’s gonna get started, that can actually make the rubber band tighter.
That’s why I point that out every episode, is like, the intro is an important part of the show, but not for everybody. So, as you become a regular listener, you say eh, I’m gonna skip the intro. But what you might find out is that 80% or 90% of regular listeners…some of them only listen to the intros, or thousands of people on…support the Patreons just so they can listen to all-intro episodes. So, just see how it goes, but that’s the purpose of the intro, ‘cause I do get a lot of people that are hot under the collar, I guess, about…and I understand it, totally, about the support for the show or about the intro, but it serves the goals of the podcast, which is to service as many listeners as I can in a way that works for this podcast, which means it’s free twice a week and we ease you into bedtime. So, that’s the intro.
Then there’s support, again, so the show’s…like I said, twice a week for free, and then there’s our story. Tonight it’ll be a spring visit from my neighbor Ray, talking about springs. I guess he’ll be talking about springs in the summer…anyway, Ray will talk about some swimming, I guess, or wading that we did. Then there was thank-yous at the end. So, that’s the structure of the show. That’s why I make the show. I’m really glad you’re here. I really appreciate you checking this podcast out. I hope you give it a few tries so that I can help you. Thanks again for coming by, and here’s a couple ways I’m able to do this for free twice a week.
Hello, hello, hello everybody. This is your friend Ray, your neighbor Ray here. So good to be back in your ears. I think it’s been a while. When I’m recording this, an episode of mine is just about to come out from the holidays of 2019, but it’s coming out in 2021. I’m fascinated by the production process here, ‘cause Scooter said Ray, I need you to record a episode for the spring of 2021, and I have some notes. We did some research, he gave me an overview, and it was a episode idea we had been discussing for maybe four or five months already. I said okay, Scooter. Actually, we were supposed to record it at some other point, and we recorded one you’ll hear in June already. How about that? Future Ray comes from the past before me. There was something else about the process. I should introduce myself.
I’m Scooter’s neighbor Ray. I’m your friend Ray. I’d like to be your friend if you’re new here, and I’m…I’ve been Scooter’s neighbor two times, maybe a third time ‘cause I know Scooter’s considering moving. I said well, Scooter, I’ll…I don’t know…and, you know, I’m having strong feelings about it. Scooter’s eased me into it because probably if he was playing his cards, he would have moved already, but he said well, one transition at a time. We got a new school in August that we’re all adjusting to. Me and Scooter less so than my favorite person in the world there. Then say okay, well, it’s a little bit far, so what if we moved a little bit closer there? That’s what Scooter’s saying. I’m saying, holy moly. But this is the benefit of being a renter, so…oh boy, I guess I went off-topic.
Maybe when you’re listening to this, we moved. Also…oh, the other thing I said is Scooter, I don’t know if that’s actually the spring, ‘cause you said the episode would come out in the spring; probably March. I said, I don’t know if March is the spring, Scooter, or the winter. April showers bring May flowers. He said well, Ray, thank you. I said Scooter, you’re so funny. So, yeah. So, we’re gonna talk about some places I went swimming and wading with Scooter in Florida, of all places. Now, not in Orlando, I don’t think. I don’t think we went…we’ll do anything in Orlando, because this is about swimming in Florida, but particularly in the…a region of Florida near where his family lives, so Pasco County, Hernando County, and probably a few…sorry to the other counties there, that I don’t know your names.
I know Hernando, I know Pasco. Scooter, is there a Redondo? No, that’s…Redondo’s in LA. I know there’s other counties that I’m missing, ‘cause they all come around there. You cross over; you’re in Pasco, you’re in Hernando, and there’s another one that I just can’t remember. I’m sorry, other county. I love your area; I just don’t know the…I don’t live there, so I don’t know…I don’t even know when I’m riding…well actually, I know when I’m riding over the Pasco and Hernando County lines just ‘cause I do, because we’re on…I think we’re on County Road, which is interesting ‘cause we’re…well, maybe that’s one of the borders of the county. I didn’t even realize it. Oh, that commercial way…I don’t know.
So anyway, we’re talking about some places I went swimming with Scooter, and the idea of the episode is to talk…now, if you have any water things, you might not want to listen to this episode. Oh, I was talking about myself and how…who I am. Who, what, why, where, when, Scooter always says. Ray, cover those, please. So, I’m Scooter’s neighbor Ray, and we’re friends. He’s not an easy person to become friends with. I always talk about that. It took some persistence, and he still doesn’t…he said, how’d I end up with a friend like you? I said, you know, I laughed at that one. It was so easy. I said Scooter, you tee’d me up. You ain’t never had a friend like Ray. He said well, I…I said Scooter, you’ve…and he said no, I have not, Ray. You’re wonderful.
Scooter calls me the most well-adjusted person, which is a compliment. I say Scooter, I just look at life and I say well, isn’t that wonderful? I’m not 100%…you know, I see the…I see those other things, too, and they affect me. I talk about them in private. In the podcast, I’m here to put you to sleep, but for the most part, I say well, isn’t that nice? This is an opportunity. Those kind of things, I don’t just say them; I walk them or I swim them. So, I’m Scooter’s neighbor, Ray. Who…what we’re gonna be talking about tonight is going swimming or some swimming-based areas, because Scooter loves swimming. One, he loves water and he actually wants to expand on this, and he was listening to someone else’s conversation, too. He said holy cow, this person is doing what I dream of.
I know we covered this once a few years ago. I think we did a episode about it, but I’m not even sure about that, about one of the bodies of water we’re gonna be covering. But there’s a few different ones, two in particular we want to make sure we get to, and then we’ll see what…oh no, three, I guess. So…okay, so, we’ll try to cover them all. This was not even that ambitious because Scooter would have liked…so, we swam in four places in particular, four unique bodies of water. Who, what, where…where; in Florida. The bodies of water, which…I don’t know if we’ll cover swimming pools, but we did go in a swimming pool and a hot tub by…where his parents live. We swam in the Gulf of Mexico and then we swam in a lake…a spring-fed, manufactured lake, and then a spring, and a little miniature waterpark surrounding it.
When; this was in…this was a while back and it was in the summertime, so talk about a good time to go swimming. In Florida, you want to be by the water, of course, staying cool. It’s a good time to swim, and…but maybe there’s a better time. Maybe even the spring, when you’re listening to this, in Florida, may be a better time to swim, but I don’t know. I mean, I have swam in Florida. I’ve been to Florida in the spring; I just don’t…I didn’t do a pod…I mean, I maybe did a podcast episode about it, but I don’t remember if we did it or not, when I went on a kayak ride with Scooter and his brothers in the same spring, which was the first place we’ll cover, which is called Weeki Wachee, and it’s in…I think it’s in Weeki Wachee, Florida, but it’s on the border of Spring Hill, Florida.
It has a pretty storied, long history, which I’ll get out my iPad and kinda go over a little bit, but I want to talk about our history with it first. Well, maybe we’ll cover…yeah, Scooter said let’s cover the history at the end of the episode, so the bottom-third of the episode. So…okay, so that’s fair enough. Thank you, Scooter. So, okay, so we headed here one day. Now, I should talk about our previous history. We have a history with Weeki Wachee, and also, Scooter had a history of this trip of not being happy about some communication issues. But again, it was…you know, these things happen, and to Scooter, he needs to take care of some of these things before he goes to Florida and figure them out, because on the day of, you’re never gonna figure anything out.
Especially with him, ‘cause if he gets hot under the collar, he tends to not think straight, as we all do. Okay, so, Weeki Wachee is a place. It’s a tourist attraction. It is a roadside attraction ‘cause it’s on the side of a road there, in Florida, built around a natural spring. I don’t know any of the history off the top of my head at all, other than these things. It’s most famous for its Mermaid Show, though I would say it should be more famous for its spring, because the spring…no…I love the mermaids, and we talked to a few of them; very nice. They took pictures with Scooter’s young one and his mother, but it was…the spring at Weeki Wachee is really…that’s mother nature’s mermaid tale. This trip, we did not see the Mermaid Show. But the Mermaid Show has mermaid performers.
I think sometimes it even has mermen, and it’s been a show that’s been going on for years and years and years, and it’s human beings portraying mermaids, but in a very inventive way, in a underwater theatre on the spring. I think the shows still do very well, and when you pay to go into the Weeki Wachee park, you pay…you can get access to the Mermaid Shows, but also to the spring, which is what we’re really here to cover. I know Scooter gets confused about zoos, even though these are humans performing. I think maybe he has some sort of zoo thing with the mermaids even though it’s humans being mermaids, so maybe that’s why he didn’t want to…I mean, we didn’t go to see the show because Scooter was more interested in swimming, and I guess I was with him. It was warm in Florida.
We got there around when the park opened, ‘cause Scooter had kinda planned things out, and when he’s planning like me, I say, when the park opens, you want to be there when it opens. Okay, so, they also have a boat ride. I don’t know if it’s a glass-bottom boat ride, and I don’t think it was operating at the time we went, but these are the things we did in the past with Scooter’s family. I think they have a couple places to eat, but they also have…I think it’s called the Buccaneer Bay Waterpark built on the spring. Now, when I say waterpark, don’t get carried away; we’re theme park fans. But I would say do get carried away, and I also want to say if anybody is listening that has any professional involvement with the operations of this park when we went there, I’ve…Scooter and I had to stop a few different times because we were so impressed with the young people and the adults working, running this park, both Weeki Wachee and the Buccaneer Bay Waterpark.
The staff training was breathtaking, and when you think about how things have changed at other locations where you get service…because, you know, it’s because of the higher-ups, and then everybody down…you say hey, this is about making a good experience for the people that work here and for the guests. These were teenagers, I believe, like college-age kids, and they were doing a wonderful…holy moly, what a job. I didn’t even have that as a note, so I’m so glad I did not miss it. Again, if you’re listening to this and you say well, hopefully it’s…the same people are still managing things, because they deserve some applause, particularly at this time when there was a lot of short-staffing at other places, and I don’t know what they’re doing right, but alls I know is they’re doing something right.
Okay, so, we got to Weeki Wachee and we did go our separate ways because Scooter wanted…and his daughter and I wanted to go to the Buccaneer Bay Waterpark, and his mother and his father were gonna go to the Mermaid Show and hang around there at the…the rest of the Weeki Wachee. Now, Scooter did want to join the friends of Weeki Wachee. He wanted to get a bench made for…like, a dedicated bench to the Sleep With Me listeners that have visited the beyond, and become a member of the friends of Weeki Wachee. Now, this was the only place where there was some short-staffing, because I think that’s a volunteer program running parallel with the admission there. So, we couldn’t get a grasp of the…there was just a communications difficulty with…because Scooter said well, if I sign up, do we…we can get into the park, right?
I want to do this bench. They said, what? Yeah, fill out this form and mail a check. So, that was a little bit of troublesome for Scooter to get into the park at first. So, we just paid. So, when you go in, you go in kinda through some old-school entrance, and then people greet you. I don’t think we got a map. Maybe they didn’t have maps at this time. Then you go off to the waterpark, which is to the right, where the spring comes out from the ground, at least to me, a amateur. I’m no expert…is where you’re on the back side of the theatre, and then you go to the left to go to the theatre. So, we went our separate ways, and you go along a path there, and then you start to hear the kind of the…you know, popular music playing over the loudspeakers, and you see a beach, which is, you know, a manufactured beach.
I think the beach is raised up from the spring, but there’s a few ways to get into the spring. You could see the theatre; sometimes you could see the mermaids getting ready for a show. Even though they’re kinda hidden, they have a little tent there and you could see the bubbles. Actually, when we were doing our research, we read that at different times of low flow for the spring, people have explored it, and this may be the largest system in the United States, maybe, even. I don’t know. But so, this…oh, when I…oh, okay; so, a waterpark. Now, it’s not a grand waterpark, for those of you that are getting this idea in your head of something gigantic. It’s more like one of those ones you see with two water slides and a public area to swim. I guess it’s not public ‘cause you gotta pay to get in.
Then a lazy river that is actually just floating in the spring. They have a beach. I think they even have chairs, and then they have some grassy areas. They have one or two other water slides that look like they’ve been closed down for a little while. But so, we got our spot on a grassy area there, we put on our screen, a second layer of screen, and from what I’m remembering, I think at this time there was only one water slide operating. But maybe there was two. I don’t know. Scooter’s shrugging his shoulders as well and thinking that probably there’s only one water slide. The first time we went, there was two water slides running, and I think at one time, maybe they had three or four water slides. But the beauty is that the one water slide that was operating goes right into the spring.
Also, you do have to get a wristband to rent a tube to go tubing in the spring. The last time we went, which was a few years ago, we were unable to get wristbands. Now, you don’t get to go very far in the spring, like on our trip where we went all the way down the Weeki Wachee. This was just a short thing. Oh, also, they have a jumping platform right in the middle of the spring. Now, a few things about this water is it’s always flowing from the…deep in the earth. Because it was hot out, it was nice to have spring-fed water just because…it wasn’t freezing cold, but it was definitely a relief. There’s just something about it. Now, maybe it’s mental or maybe it’s physical where you say holy moly, this is some spring water, and you feel it on your skin. I don’t know, you feel good, you feel invigorated.
Okay, so we went there, and I don’t remember the first thing we did. I think the first thing we did do was go in the spring. So, we got out, we paid for our wristbands which was a little bit of a upcharge, but you know, no big deal. We got our wristbands and then we headed to the…so, you get your tube at one spot and again, you get exposed to…everybody’s trying to make sure everybody had a good time and be professional, and then you head down to…there’s one part of the spring where you get in and they help you get on your tube, and then they give you a little push. But because the spring is going, you got…you can do that. Now, a couple things we learned; you’re not allowed to get off your tube.
So, that’s one thing to remember if you’re doing it, is you gotta stay on your tube the whole time, which is tempting to want to get off and swim around. I don’t know why, but that’s the rules, so you gotta stay on your tube, usually on your tube on your back, there. Now, you’re moving at a very slow, lazy river pace, but meanwhile, when you get pushed off, on your left, if you want to picture this in your mind…so there you are, you go down on a little beachy area and you step into this water. Now, on your left is those ropes to…with the pontoons or whatever, and on the other side of that is actually the mermaid lagoon area, though at a little bit of distance, and I think that’s probably what I would consider the heart of the spring, because it looks like where you could look down and see…that looks like that’s where the spring is coming up from the earth.
So, that’s on your left. On your right is the pub…the swimming area, and so, everybody’s there swimming and wading. Then as you get in your tube, you’re going…passing the swimming area on your right. You’re also passing the platform, like a dock, that you could just jump off of into the deeper spring water. So, there’s a lot of noise of joy and swimming and families. A lot of families here. It was very busy, but not too busy. But almost too busy. But we got there at the start of the day. Just jumping into the spring water, I’ll tell you, is amazing, but I’m getting ahead of myself. So, you’re there in your spring. Now, as you pass…so, then you start to curve to the right, behind the dock. On your left is bushes and things, and the actual…the rest of the Weeki Wachee park is up on a little bit of a hill above you.
So, it’s kinda cool that there’s a little bit…now, you do have to pay attention, because you gotta…you don’t want to bump into the…whatever, the bushes and stuff, but Scooter kinda tries to let himself flow, but then he doesn’t want to have contact with strangers, you know. So, but it’s just nice; it’s nice to have a little bit of feeling of nature. Then you go along, you’re still passing the swimming area on your right, then you come…kinda come into a river flowing, where the spring starts to flow. You have more kinda natural area on your left and on your right, and I think you see a picnic area that they have. You can see fishy-poos and grasses and sandy bottoms and all those things. Then you kinda curve back to the right again, and I think there’s probably a rope, again, to keep you from flowing down the Weeki Wachee, and then there’s some helpers there, guarders of life, you know.
They say okay, come on in, and they take you to these stairs, and they help you get out of your tube, and then you take your tube, you go up the stairs, and you get out of the spring. Then you turn your tube in, and then there’s also…you could keep your tube or turn it in, and even the people taking the tubes were really friendly. Scooter even had a conversation with one of them and said something nice. I said, is this…I said, who am I with here? What in the name of the spring is…is the spring getting into your brain, Scooter? Making you friendly? So, we went on the…we probably did that three or four times over the course of the day. Now, after you get out of the spring is actually…after you turn in your tube, you’re right at the structure for the water slides.
Again, I think only one water slide was running, out of three or four possible ones, but I think one or two of them aren’t even built anymore. So, then you get in line, and this is a wooden structure. It’s got a lot of water dripping, so you gotta be expecting…these are things that are outside of Scooter’s comfort zone, like dripping water that touches other people. That’s not his thing. But he rolls with it. So, you wait in line there, and the lines were not too bad and it was moving very well, but this is the best part about it, is that you go on the water slide. This one was a curvy one with tube…no pad or anything; you’re lying down. But this water slide ends in the spring, in a…they do have people watching, so don’t worry, but you should probably have prior ability to swim, you know.
But you go right into the spring and it’s just…it’s…vigorous is not the right word, but that’s the word that came into my brain, and…just refreshing and fun. Then you could swim a little bit, and then that’s normally what you would do, is either go and get back in line or you jump off the dock for a while. It’s fun to jump off the dock because it’s deep…probably a little bit deeper, but also, you can…I don’t know. You get to swim in the spring with your eyes open, and…I don’t know. Yeah, and Scooter’s love of the water and of spring water is a bit contagious. So, that was about it. We just enjoyed kinda hanging out there. There’s not a lot of down time when you’re with Scooter. A young one, a teen or whatever, you want to go, go, go. But we ate our lunch there with Scooter’s family, and it was pretty good.
It was very theme parky-type…burgers and chicken sticks or whatever. But it was quite pleasurable, I would say. So, we did that. I’m trying to think of anything else we did there. I mean, we spent the day there and we took a couple trips. I think Scooter’s mom really wanted him and his daughter to go to the Mermaid Show, but they were like, when you’re frolicking in spring water, it’s very tough. Now, Scooter also wanted to do a twofer, which I think we did…I think we did it, because we…he had his…we all had bathing suits on. But this may have been another day, but I’ll just tell it to you now. Again, Scooter’s also location-scouting for his brother, who was coming later with his wife and his young son. Scooter said well, I gotta make sure to find another spot publicly accessible that they could swim in the spring even without going into this park.
I think that…this park, I think it had…I don’t know if it was named after someone or it was just called the County something, but I think we have it looked up, so we’ll do it in the research. But this is all the way at the end of the spring. Now, this is actually…this park, across the Weeki Wachee from the park, is where we caught our…where we caught…where we parked our car a long time ago, whatever, five years ago, where we parked our car and then got our shuttle to take our…and our kayaks, to take our kayaks down the Weeki Wachee. But across the canal, the spring river…I guess it’s a river, right? Is it the Weeki Wachee River? I don’t know. But so, across the river from that is a little park, a public park. It had a food truck, even, and we drove in there.
We did find a parking spot, but it was pretty busy, and it’s a small, small park with just a little beach. Or, Scooter doesn’t even know if there was a beach, maybe. But there’s water access for swimming and wading. Mostly wading. It has a lot of shallow water, so if you are there with a little one, perfect, but if you just need a taste of the spring…I mean, not a actual taste, you know, this is a great place to do it. We suspect, though I don’t think…I can’t find any notes that say we continued to go to the Gulf of Mexico here, but there is a park further down…I don’t know if it is down the Weeki Wachee, but further along in this area where you can swim on the Gulf of Mexico. Now, not Scooter’s favorite place to swim in the Gulf of Mexico.
He said the food place is good and his parents love eating there, and it is a county or state park, but Scooter said it’s just at the intersection of…whether it’s the Weeki Wachee or something else. So, it’s…he said it’s different than what you’d expect. It’s more of a swampy access to the Gulf than a gulf beach. So, he said it’s a little bit different swimming, ‘cause you can’t really get to…you have to wade very far out to go swimming. It’s shallow, I think, from sediment coming out of the rivers and the wetlands. So, it’s kinda like a wetlands exit to the Gulf of Mexico. Anyway, that’s near there. We did not go there on that…this trip that I remember, but Scooter has been there a few times. Though the last time he went, he said it was very windy, and they quickly left.
Now, if Scooter…even if Scooter’s without anybody, myself, even, he will force his parents or talk them into it. He could drive around looking for different places to access the Gulf of Mexico or other swimming regions or other bodies of water, and…or places to swim, and then he likes to eat, you know. So he said oh, like that…let’s eat at that beach shack there. So, that’s one thing. Now, this kinda goes along with it; now, how do I explain this without…how do I explain other people being human without it being judgemental? But so, Scooter…okay, let’s say it this way; Scooter has one vision. He likes that there’s different styles of swimming in…on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. But he, of course, prefers a beach with some wave action and beach access for swimming, ‘cause he says there’s something about that, you know?
He says okay, so, to do that, you gotta travel a bit more down to…down Tampa way or further south. Because he swam in those places, he knows…oh, okay, there’s a pretty big difference between swimming on a gulf beach and more of a wetlands…he doesn’t know what it’s called; neither do I. But his…one of his family members, they’re more…they say oh, if this is what the beach is like here, this is what it’s like at every gulf. The whole Gulf of Mexico is like it is at this one beach where…close to where I live. That’s just how it is; why would you go to another beach? Because it’s gonna be like this. Scooter said no, actually, this is different. The Gulf is not one thing. They don’t necessarily buy it. They say no, no, no, this is just what the Gulf is like. You’re thinking of the ocean.
I said no, there’s other styles of swimming you can do on the Gulf of Mexico. So, they have a back and forth, but Scooter constantly…Scooter’s more of…that person’s like, but why would we…that sounds like a…that person also occupies a lot of our brain, even that person’s. They say well, why would you go somewhere else that’s…involves uncertainty? But when Scooter’s in his adventure mode, his uncertain Scooter’s gone, so he said oh, well, we gotta find a new place to swim. I’d like to find a new place to swim this trip. Then Scooter said that his mom was listening in a conversation or having one. I think having one, and she was getting her hair cut, I think. They said…where she was getting it cut, they said oh, well, there’s a beach we all like to go to when we’re off, and it’s up Crystal River way.
I think they probably even said it or whatever, but it was kinda one of those things, like oh, up above Crystal River or something. Scooter said okay, we’re gonna find that beach. Also, Scooter’s a little bit obsessed with swimming in the Crystal River, though he’s not done it because he can’t find…he hasn’t gone full bore. But even if he gets close to something called the Crystal River, for him, that’s a win, and just driving around Florida somewhat aimlessly, even though he has a purpose. So, Scooter tracked down what he thought was the beach they were talking about. Now, I’ll be honest; I’m not 100% sure it was the beach they were talking about, but we have no evidence to the contrary.
But Scooter found it, he said okay, and then he actually talked to his parents and they said oh, well, we could stop and eat on the way there. I think they stopped in Crystal River, and they stopped…they said well, there’s this place we used to like to go to, and then it changed hands. Let’s go there. That place was definitely having a little bit of…the short-staffing was impacting that place, so we won’t talk about it or where we ate or anything, other than to say that Scooter was not…he ordered a unsweetened iced tea and he got a sweet tea. Then he said holy mackerel, these are…he didn’t say that; he just said it to me. So, we continued our drive north, and again, this is exciting stuff, especially ‘cause Scooter said, I don’t think we’ve driven north of Crystal River on some of these roads.
So, you get to see kinda some of the commercial things, and then you get off, and I think it was quite a drive through the wetlands to get from this road to where the beach was. That was exciting because you’re passing different seafood restaurants that are on these different waterways, these wetland waterways. There’s springs…we don’t even know. You’re driving and then you’re driving on one of those roads that’s just where swampy water’s on both sides and you could see the ocean in the distance, or the Gulf, in this case. Then, even, on our right-hand side, you got to see some power production facilities, and that was exciting just ‘cause I think one of them…there was a lot going on there on a grand scale, ‘cause we think one of them was either getting built or taken apart, and it was just really cool because it was far enough away, it just looked…it was a contrast, right?
It was these big power production facilities, and everything else was wetlands and gulf. But also interesting, and then we drove all the way out there, and we got there…out there, and there’s just a small parking lot. There’s a boat launch and parking, and then two beachy restrooms and a beach. Now, again, this was very…this day and the time of day we got there, not ideal for beaching or swimming. It was very windy, so…too windy to enjoy yourself. Also, again, similar to the…similar…no, not similar; in a different way, this was different swimming conditions…and again, in Scooter’s book, not ideal, because this area was also at the edge of a wetlands, and I think a different flow pattern than this other beach we were talking about. So, this one had a very vegetal floor instead of beach sand.
Again, that’s not exactly Scooter’s cup of…not everybody’s cup of tea there. Because of the wind, there was a lot of chop and murk, so it just wasn’t a perfect swimming thing. Then of course, if you have two other adults waiting for you to go swimming, that was another thing. So, we didn’t do too much swimming, but Scooter got in there, got under the water. He said it was…he said oh boy, is this salty. Good to be back in the Gulf. I got in there, his young one got in there. It was great to be in that salt and to get some Gulf in, just like getting in the spring. You say oh boy, this is the Gulf of Mexico we’re swimming in now. You can’t beat this. Even though Scooter said well, this is a little bit different and not ideal conditions, we said yes, you’re right, you’re right.
So, we swam there, then there’s a little nature walk that we did with…a boardwalk through the nature. Then it goes out on the water, I think for…I don’t know if it was for fishing. I don’t remember if we saw any people fishing. We did that and we took a picture at the boat launch with the power plant behind us, because actually, it’s just funny that it’s a similar style of power plant to where…on Lake Ontario, where Scooter likes to go. So, we enjoyed our time swimming. Well, we swam there and we enjoyed the salty…we enjoyed reconnecting with the Gulf of Mexico. Then, there was one other place that Scooter likes to go. Now, these weren’t the same days. I don’t want to give you that impression, but there’s another place Scooter likes to go right by where his parents stay.
Now, I wouldn’t say he loves it, but he always goes swimming there, and that place is called SunWest. It has a name because it’s interesting…and again, I don’t even know the facts; I only know what I’ve heard from Scooter’s family. But so, ever since we visited his parents where they live in Florida, they always…Scooter’s…this is one of the major conversations; where can Scooter go swimming that’s not a swimming pool? Going in a swimming pool’s okay, but where can we drive, eat lunch, and swim? They say oh, well, SunWest. Then we say oh, it’s interesting because it was when that plat…oil platform leaked a bunch of stuff. Some of the money got used to build SunWest. That’s what the story goes. Now, I don’t know if any of that’s true, but it used to be a mine.
Now, not a underground one, I think; just a big, open pit-type mine, because next door is still a active one that Scooter actually…we wanted to drive by and try to look over the edge, so don’t do any of that. Not that he did it in any way that was irresponsible, but that’s…I said Scooter, why you gotta do that? He said well, you’re allowed to. But so, to us, it’s interesting because you say okay, this is interesting. It’s a mine, and Scooter said maybe it’s like…I wonder how far down it goes. But more recently, we learned…well, Scooter said where’s the water come from? So, what they did, at least…again, not based on any research, is they built a beach, and there’s some sort of entry to the water that…I think it’s just a concrete swimming area, so that’s got a concrete and sandy floor that ends at a rope and things.
You’re not allowed to go beyond there. But Scooter says, I wonder what happens after that. Is that the mine? Does it go down a hundred feet? But he’s not allowed to find out, so that kinda titillates him. But also, the water, apparently, is from a spring that is there, so I don’t know if when they were using the mine if they were pumping the water out or they just redirected the spring there. It’s like a…slightly brackish, at least, my memory. I’m not 100% positive, but not a salt water but not a fresh water is what it feels like, and that is nice on the skin. It doesn’t get very deep there, but it has a very nice beach. This time, again, I think it was also windy, but it was still good for swimming because this is more of your relaxed swimming. There’s no waves, just more of hopping in, a bit like a pool. Scooter said the water’s nice.
There’s a lot of people keeping an eye on everything so that everybody can swim without worrying. They do have a office that’s…but they don’t have a food stand. Then they also…people do wakeboarding, one of those automated wakeboarding things. There’s also an inflatables water adventure thing, but we’ve never done either one of those. But you can watch people enjoying that. So, that was pleasurable, and Scooter always…we always go there, I guess ‘cause he knows it. Also, on the drive there, there’s another park Scooter likes to go to that he just discovered two trips ago. He tried to record it, and it’s just a place where you could go hiking. He tells his father, go there and go hiking; it’ll relax you.
That actually…Scooter thinks that you could walk that all the way through to the Gulf, or to the wetlands next…attached to the Gulf. Then there’s also…on that side of the Gulf, I don’t know any of the…oh no, Linda Pedersen Park, I think is the name of the park we’re thinking of. Now, we did not swim there, but there’s this Linda Pedersen Park that I think at one point had swimming, and Scooter says he may have swam there when they had swimming with his brother. But they have restrooms, they have an accessible kayak place ‘cause Scooter’s father was always like well, we could get your mother in a kayak. He says well, there’s an excessive kayak place…accessible kayak place there. But this was just a interesting time when not a lot of stuff was running.
So, the beach was closed there, and so, we didn’t see anything. Then there’s a observation tower. We went up there, we looked around, then across the road is a boat launch and more places you can hike. We didn’t go there this time. That place also has a lot of picnic pavilions. So, people in the area have probably been there for a picnic before. So, that’s just a little bit about it, but let me look up some facts here. Okay, so, let’s start with Weeki Wachee, Florida. It’s a city in Hernando County. I feel like I’ve read this on the show before, maybe for some of the facts or something. But it has manatee watching, mermaid costume shows, water rides. It was…the city of Weeki Wachee was founded to promote the mermaid attraction in 1966. Fifteen residents. Then they got rid of the city, sponsored a builder to dissolve the city.
Okay, so, I don’t know any…about that. So, this is just about the city. Let’s look up Weeki Wachee Springs. Weeki Wachee Springs is a tourist attraction. Underwater mermaid performances, Buccaneer Bay…Weeki Wachee is from a seminole, which means little spring or winding river. Now, the attraction, according to Wikipedia, was…started in 1947 by Newt Perry, who was showing off…hey, how I can breathe underwater with this thing. Eighteen-seat theatre, then expanded to fifty…embedded in the lime rock of the spring with viewing windows below the surface of the water. They did different shows, they even premiered a movie with Don Knotts. Guests have included Elvis, Don Knotts, Esther Williams, Arthur Godfrey, Kevin Smith, Larry the Cable Guy. It’s been in different movies.
The filming of Sunshine State; really? Interesting. Supergrass performed their video for 2005 there. Yeah, scenes from Kelly Clarkson include the mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs. So, that’s interesting stuff. Let’s see if we have the Weeki Wachee River, though. Weeki Wachee…Wachee River. Okay, so Weeki Wachee River is a river in Hernando County. It goes westward from Weeki Wachee to the Gulf of Mexico in the Weeki Wachee estuary. It’s best known for its spring and the attraction. Spring is a surfacing point for an underground river. Deepest naturally-occurring spring in the United States. So, I knew we had looked that up. Okay, so then we have weekiwachee.com. That’s their website. It has all the parks and attractions. I don’t know if it has any history, though, more than we…yeah.
Weeki Wachee plan…so, you could use that website to plan your visit. Then floridastateparks.org. Mermaid Shows are at 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. First come, first serve. Hours; 9:00 to 5:30. Step back in time and enjoy a quintessential old Florida. Also has abundant protected wildlife. You can splash, you could take a kayak trip, see a show, sit and…splish and splash at Buccaneer Bay. So, beautiful. Highly recommended. Then hernandocounty.us; I think this might be…well, there’s nothing here, Scooter. I think that one was just the park that I was talking about. Here’s the Linda Pedersen Park. Linda Pedersen Park is open from 8:00 AM to sunset. I don’t…I’m having trouble with some of these addresses. So, it says it’s at Shoreline Boulevard, 6300.
110 acres of open space…oh, also connected to Jenkins Creek Park across the street. That’s the other park Scooter was talking about. Forty-foot observation tower, panoramic view of the march and a look over the Gulf of Mexico. Also to the other direction is trees, trees, trees. Sit on a bank where you can fish while kids play on the playground. Oh, so you used to be able to swim there, I think. If you’re looking for a great place for a family reunion, check it out. That one is…what do we call that there? That was Linda’s…Linda Pedersen Park. Now, the place we went swimming is Fort Island Beach. Now, let’s see, we have discover Crystal River, Florida, here. Fort Island Gulf Beach includes a sandy beach, a fishing and sight-seeing pier, a boardwalk connecting the beach and the pier, and a boat ramp, just like we said.
Bathrooms, outdoor showers, covered picnic tables, and a grassy area. The Citrus County boat ramp is here for free. That’s at 1600 or 16000 West Fort Island Trail. Let’s just look at Crystal River’s things to do. They have water adventures, outdoor adventures, festivals. The warm…so, Scooter wants to do a spring tour. That’s what he had heard someone saying at Buccaneer Bay. They said oh, this is our last spring that we’re swimming in, and we’ve been doing a spring tour. So, that’s on his list, is like, wait a second, how many springs can I swim in in Florida near my parents’ house? So, let’s see; Fort Island Beach, citrus…so, maybe this is Citrus County? Citrusbocc.com. Fort Island…Fort Island Gulf Beach. Family-friendly, white sand, restrooms, ample parking. Dolphins are also often seen swimming in the Gulf waters.
So, yeah. That’s all on there. Scooter did print out a map, or he has a map, ‘cause he said Ray, you’re always good…yeah, so let’s see how we got there. We took 98 to…oh no, maybe we didn’t meet at Crystal River. I don’t know, Scooter. I remember passing this Home Depot. You take 44 all the way out there. I mean, this is definitely the one we took out there, because…to Fort Island. Oh, here’s another one, Scooter, that’s way out there. Have you ever been to this one? Ozello State Community Park and marsh walk. That’s quite far out there. He’s not been out there. No, so here’s where…Homosassa is where we had lunch, Scooter, I think, not…okay, yeah, you’re probably right, Ray, he said. Probably did have lunch in Homosassa and not Crystal River.
Homosassa Springs has a park there with a kind of a zoo, so Scooter doesn’t go there as much. But if you like zoos, Homosassa, it’s the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. We’ve also checked out the ruins of the sugar mill. That’s all at Homosassa, on one side of the Homosassa River, which probably is a spring that Scooter could swim in. When you look at this map, you really see how beautiful it is, the wetlands and the marshes. Holy mackerel. There’s Seven Sister Springs, Scooter. Maybe you could swim at that. This is all on 19. That turns into 98, which you take north. You could stay north on 98 all the way, then it becomes 19 again, then 98 again. You know, all the way up to the Panhandle, there. Eventually, you could turn to Gainesville or Ocala.
So, yeah, that’s some interesting stuff about…yeah, about where we…oh, Scooter said don’t forget about SunWest. Okay, so this is from naturecoaster.com. SunWest Park Adventures Now and Then. This is by Barrett Hardy. It was posted May 6, 2020. We’ll paraphrase. When you have lived in a place your whole life, it can be fascinating to look at the…and distressing the look at he changes. This person came to Spring Hill in 1986. Talks about the high schools, the publics, but how stuff changed since then. But one of the main, interesting…is the…in the north coast region is the transformation of a old lime rock mine to a bathing beach and waterpark. What was one…once knows…known as SunWest Mines is now the Beaches at SunWest. Seventy-acre waterpark. They acquired the land…Pasco County got the land in 2006 after dealing with the company that owned it.
Then in 2011, they leased it to a private enterprise, opened in 2015. So, I think we went there right when it opened. Yeah, there’s been some hiccups in the management of the park and they’ve tried to figure that out, but despite that and mother nature’s relentless churning, what exists today provides local families a fun place to spend the day. It’s $5 to park. There’s paddle boarding, kayaks, obstacle course, magical memories of the SunWest Mine. There’s…this person talks about Norfleet’s General Store, the Aripeka Post Office. So, these are other historical things you could check out. Fishing and swimming there when they were younger…I don’t see anything about…sheep’s head fish…oh, so it looks like it was already filled up with water before it…so maybe the spring just filled it up? I don’t know, but it’s interesting and a great place to swim. Some great places to swim in Florida; Gulf of Mexico, SunWest, and Weeki Wachee. Goodnight, everybody.
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(Transcribed by Leah Hervoly)