Splendide Mobile Technician, DeSoto National Memorial and Ringling Museums

1/17/15 Saturday in Wauchula,FL (Peace River Preserve-TT)

Our day started with a 9 am appointment with the Splendide Tech, Roger. He was here promptly. You could say there was good news as well as bad news. The good news was that we didn’t have to pay for his trip out here. The bad news is that we didn’t have to pay because he couldn’t get the dryer off the washer, to see what was creating the noise. He did say that he’d never (20 years experience) heard that sound with a Splendide dryer. He was pretty sure it wasn’t caused by the fan. It was possible it was a bad bearing. If so, he said the noise will get worse. So I think we’ve learned a lot now. Once we figure out (find someone who can figure out) how to get that dryer off the washer then we’ll just replace it with a completely different model. Our technician said he hadn’t seen that model and couldn’t find it on his servicing website.

We broke our “rule” and left the campground to visit the DeSoto National Memorial (NPS)

Desoto 1

Hernando de Soto was a Spanish conquistador. At 14 he set off to make his fortune, soon becoming part of the expeditions that conquered the Aztecs and Incas. Later, not satisfied with his wealth and leisure in Spain, he set off on an ambitious quest for gold in the Americas – La Florida to be precise. In short, in 1539 he brought around 700 men, 83 horses, war dogs and pigs. Landing near Tampa Bay he scared the Indians with his harquebus muskets (they thought the Spanish had thunder and lightening from the gods). He was brutal, making his hostages carry the expedition’s goods and food. Many died from this, but many more died from the diseases his animals and men introduced. His goal was gold (King Charles wanted to spread Christianity and create colonies). At each new tribe, when de Soto asked where the gold was they always said up north (anything to get him to leave!). He never found gold after searching for 4 years, finally dying. At that point his remaining men tried to find a way to Mexico and Spanish colonies, eventually getting down the Mississippi River, then following the coast east to Mexico, thrilled to be alive.

De Soto Monument, dedicated May 30, 1939, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of De Soto’s landing. In 1948 (year I was born) it and surrounding acreage was donated to the NPS:

desoto 2

Gumbo Limbo tree: “Legend states that pirates carried the gumbo limbo limbs with them to mark the burial spots of their treasure. Some refer to the gumbo limbo as the “tourist tree” because it stands in the sun, turns red and peels.”

desoto 3

Ana Mendez boat: “…replica of a European “ship’s boat” used during the 16th century.” It’s 25 feet, used to get from the larger ship (like the Mayflower) to shore.

desoto 4

Weapons used by the Spaniards; harquebus musket and crossbow

desoto 5 desoto 6

We’d nibbled our lunch during the live presentation of elements of the culture of the conquistadors and Indians of that time, then walked the nature trail.

desoto 7 desoto 8 desoto 9 desoto 10

Neckace pods-rarely seen

Neckace pods-rarely seen

Next up, John and Mable Ringling Museums of Art and Circus. This couple owned the Ringling Brothers circus and traveled Europe extensively to get the latest circus act ideas. They fell in love with the statuary and art there, bringing much of it back to Sarasota FL where they chose to live in the winter. We didn’t have a lot of time left in our day, so we chose to wander the grounds for free. Our plan is to return on Thursday and pay ($23/senior 65) to see inside the buildings.

Visitor Center

Visitor Center

Ringling Mansion, CA D'ZAN, the Venetian Gothic Palace on Sarasota Bay

Ringling Mansion, CA D’ZAN, the Venetian Gothic Palace on Sarasota Bay

Mansion built for one of their children

Mansion built for one of their children

Burial site for John and Mable Ringling

Burial site for John and Mable Ringling

Ringling Museum of Art views from outsider 5 r 6 r 7


 Statuaryr 8 r 9 r 10

Naturer 11 r 12 r 13 r 14 r 15

What a fabulous place. We can’t wait to get back. Plus it only took an hour to get back home.

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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