Scenic drives close to home…


This past weekend, we decided to drive out into the wilds. No more walking outside until September! So, on Saturday, we went to Titusville and drove the road out toward Playalinda Beach. I grew up in Titusville and have fond memories of Playalinda. Of course, back then, it was just a little road out to the coast, then another little road north along the dunes. No restrooms, no lifeguards, no amenities beyond the horizon and the sand. We walked over the dunes on trails that are now boardwalks. And back in the day, rumor was if you went far enough north on that road, you’d come to…the NUDE BEACH! 

I never went to the nude beach. Frankly, I never saw the appeal.

Playalinda means beautiful beach. And it certainly is. Recently, there was a post on a Titusville Facebook page asking us if we called it Playa or Play back in the day. My family called it Play-linda.

Anyway, on the way out toward the beach, there are roads that meander through the scrub. One of them is Black Point Wildlife Drive. It’s part of the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, which is really sad, because that means that Titusville’s beach is really on Merritt Island.

You have to pay ten bucks to drive on it, but we’ve seen people stop at the payment board, hesitate, and drive on without putting any money in an envelope. We finally went to the Visitor Center and purchased an annual pass. (We’re so proud.)

Little Blue Heron

Black Point Wildlife Drive will make you feel like you are in the real Florida. Water that is sometimes black, sometimes brown–with what looks like brown pine forests growing beneath the surface. Scrub and palm.

Huge spiders. Birds, alligators. Bugs will fly into your open windows as you ride along, sometimes they’ll smack into your face. Dragonflies buzz along with the car as if they see you as a rhino and they’re considering a landing. [Hubs: Those dragonflies have never seen a rhino! They don’t even know what that is.] And we often see wild boar!

So completely unfazed by my presence they wouldn’t even look up.

There’s some really weird stuff growing in Florida.

On Sunday, we drove along the canal in St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park. This park is huge and has various entry points. We typically enter the northern section at the southern Brevard County line.

Loggerhead Shrike with a grasshopper

The canal here is hidden by a huge levee until you get to the end of the road where there’s a dam, and a really dirty portable toilet. But there’s a lot to see on this drive. Lots of birds, even wild turkeys. Raccoons, armadillos, deer. There are trails you can walk, but as I said, it’s just too hot right now to get out of the car. (And, yeah, we run the AC even with the windows open!)

There wasn’t much to see that day, though. It’s just too hot, even for the wildlife. Soon the temperatures will dip just enough for us to regain some sense of sanity and we can, once again, leave the car…

What’s that?
Right there…
The weeds?
Is that weeds?
I think it’s weeds…
Pretty though.
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