TBT: Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall

Last year the Disabled American Veterans sponsored the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall in Lady Lake for three days. The purpose of the traveling exhibit is to allow people to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives during the Vietnam War in locations near their home. With over 20,000 veterans living nearby in The Villages, Lady Lake is a popular location for this exhibit.

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The Traveling Wall is a 3/5 scale of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., standing six feet tall at the midpoint and stretching almost 300 feet from end to end. We were among the thousands of people who took time to visit during its stay in Lady Lake last November. Just as in D.C., volunteers assisted visitors in locating the names of family and friends listed on the panels of the wall so they could pay their respects.

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Flags, flowers, pictures, letters, and other mementos lined the base of the wall by the third day when we visited, many providing stories of those lost so many years ago.

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The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is making another stop in north central Florida this weekend, this time in Dunnellon. It will be located at Ernie Mills Park, 11899 Bostick Street, arriving today and on display until October 2nd. Don’t miss it!

A Day Fishing

A day fishing, even if few are caught, is a good way to spend a morning. Last Saturday only three fish made it in the boat, but it was a good day nevertheless.

I can’t say I was enthusiastic when the alarm sounded at 5:30 on a weekend morning, but by the time we were in the car driving to Dunnellon, I was ready for a morning on the water. We made our first casts before sunrise and by 7:30, I reeled in the first bass of the day.

After some time out for sunrise pictures, I brought in bass number two.

A few more pictures. This time of clouds, and then the third bass of the day made its way on the boat.

Only three fish. No big ones. No problem. A day fishing is a good day.

First Day Walk: 2015

Year three of the first walk tradition! This year’s walk on January 1st, was a repeat of last year…only better, thanks to the weather!

January 1st, 2014 we and a handful of brave souls bundled up in raincoats, hats, gloves, and scarves to walk at Rainbow Springs State Park. This year with the temperature in the 50s, I counted more than three dozen cars in the the parking lot, quite a bit better than the three there last year. Visitors walked, canoed, and surprisingly swam on the first day of the year at the park.

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The idea of a first walk is promoted by the state parks as a way to start the new year being active while enjoying the outdoors, and hopefully getting acquainted with one of Florida’s state parks.

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Rainbow Springs is a perfect place for us to start the year since it also gave us an excuse to drop in on my parents to wish them a happy new year. A 45 minute walk following a picnic lunch, not a bad way to usher in 2015, and we even stopped by the Dunnellon Bridge Trail for a short bike ride after leaving Rainbow Springs to check out the recently built connector to Blue Run Park.

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Thursday was a good day for the first walk of 2015 and a good opportunity to take a first selfie of the year as well.

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Dunnellon Bike Riding

An extension of the Withlocoochee State Trail has come to Dunnellon. The trailhead, located on Citrus County Road 39 which is off US 41, is just south of Dunnellon. The extension closes one of the gaps in what’s known at “The Heart of Central Florida” bike loop, a nearly 1000 mile long trail.

A stop on the newly opened bridge provides an excellent view of the river.

The trail runs along the Withlacoochee River for much of the four mile section ending near the Rainbow River Club. Trail users enjoy a shaded path through cypress lowlands with frequent views of the Withlacoochee and Rainbow Rivers.

The city of Dunnellon hopes to have a paved extension from its current end to the bridge on County Road 484 providing a safe bike route into downtown Dunnellon.

Wildflowers border much of this flat trail which is perfect for walkers as well as bicyclists of all ages.

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Additional work is underway to connect the Dunnellon Extension to the current trail to the south and will eventually allow bicyclists to ride to Citrus Springs, Inverness, Floral City, Nobleton, ending east of I-75 at the Owensboro Junction Trailhead on Highway 301. Quite a ride!