Tomorrow is Steve’s birthday, but because there’s a Chamber board meeting, we decided to celebrate today. I packed a simple picnic of wings, macaroni salad, 4 bean salad, a couple different cheeses and some cold drinks, threw a couple quilts in the trunk with some books and travel pillows and off we went.
Wildcat Lake is on State Road 40 in the Ocala National Forest, just east of State Road 19 and just inside the Lake County line. The ride out there is very nice and we’ve seen bears on SR 19 south of 40. The lake has a boat ramp and a very small swimming area, but there’s also a small grassy area that I thought would be nice for a family picnic. Admission is $3 per person to swim, but just $3 per vehicle to go boating or picnic, so it’s a bargain. Very pretty place. When we got there, there were already two families with young children swimming, but the kids were all getting along together and it felt like there was room for all of us.
So we schlepped all the picnic stuff to the grass and got settled in for our gourmet lunch (Thank you, Albertsons, for doing all the cooking for me!). Alex had her crochet, I had Pride and Prejudice, and Steve had birthday books, and I had this vision of the three of us sunning, talking a little, being quiet a little, maybe walking around a bit…but before we even opened the macaroni salad, dark clouds started moving in.
With the heavy rains we’ve had lately, none of us wanted to be in the middle of a storm in the Forest. We put the top up on the Cobra and tried to finish lunch, but it was just not to be. We were able to ignore a very light sprinkle for about 5 minutes, but we just couldn’t tough it out once it got serious. We grabbed our stuff and ran, and waited in the car for as long as we could stand it, but it was clearly going to rain hard longer than we were willing to wait.
Steve, good sport that he is, refused to let the afternoon end quite so early. We continued east on 40 instead of heading home immediately, and went through Astor and Barberville to US 17 through Deland. Then we took 44 home. It was a nice ride but both Alex and I both fell alseep at some point. Thank God Steve can be in a car without falling asleep.
The rain has caught up with us at last, and we’re watching Pam’s Pond to see if it’s going to reach the driveway again. With a little luck, the driveway will continue to dry out (both T-Birds were stuck on Friday). I am not complaining about the rain, believe me. The Beach Club is starting to look downright tropical and some of the honeysuckle I transplanted is going to live.
All in all, our picnic was a washout but the weekend was productive and even a little relaxing.
PS: If you’re a local reader and planning to visit Wildcat Lake, please be aware that the restrooms do not have flush toilets. They are more like glorified portapotties. It’s the only downside. On a weekday, you’re just about guaranteed to have the place to yourself, too.