The River Sink

Right past the river sink

Right past the river sink

First, I’ve heard from several people asking about my dead water heater.  Just want you all to know it resurrected and I’m enjoying steaming showers in my little Casita again!

A tiny cypress island surrounded by rushing water.

A tiny cypress island surrounded by rushing water.

I don’t know what the problem was.  Earlier I had noticed the stove burning erratically with a lot of yellow in it.  I told Ron, “We’re running out of propane.”  Then I noticed that the red light on the water heater was on, meaning it was not operating.

So I switched propane tanks and the stove lighted beautifully… but the water heater still wouldn’t come on.   Ron insisted there was plenty of propane still in the first tank.  He was right.  It was way too heavy to be empty.  I shook it and it felt like it was just shy of half full.  So we put the original tank back on.  And the stove still lit beautifully.  But the water heater still wouldn’t.

The little museum for the town of Leno.  I'll check it out tomorrow.

The little museum for the town of Leno. I’ll check it out tomorrow.

I punched (or tried to punch) the reset button outside to no avail.

I knew there was a temperature regulator that prevents the heater from coming back on until it reaches a certain threshold.  So I waited.  Then I checked the water temperature at the overflow valve, and it was very comfortable on my skin.  I figured the heater had to be below the temperature it needed to relight itself.  But still no luck.  So I waited a couple more hours, ran a little warm water, then turned the water heater switch on just to see if it had miraculously healed itself — and it lit!

The Nature Center, open Fri - Sun.

The Nature Center, open Fri – Sun.

It’s been purring away the past two days.  Maybe there was water in the propane line?  Anyway it has recovered from whatever ailment or condition that was bothering it!

Today Sheba and I took the River Trail to the sink while Ron napped.  The weather was perfect for a walk — sunny and cool, but warm and breezy while we were walking.

The river current is really fast.  Swimming is only permitted in a carefully roped off area, with big Swim at Your Own Risk sign.  So we followed the river toward the sinkhole where it disappears.  There were occasionally big black rocks in the river.  Interpretive signs said they had been dams to regulate the speed of the river for the mill that was once here.  But over the years the dams have washed away, leaving the scattered rocks we saw today.

Rocks remaining from the old mill dams.

Rocks remaining from the old mill dams.

More signs informed us that the 3-1/2 mile land bridge between where the river goes underground and reemerges was crossed by Florida’s first federal highway, the Old Bellamy Road.

In the 1990’s another sinkhole area opened, but I can’t remember where.  It did make me hope that yet another one didn’t open up while Sheba and I were on the trail!

Anyway, the Santa Fe River flows 44 miles from Santa Fe Lake to here, 900 million gallons of water per day flow underground from this sink, and the river reapppears 3-1/2 miles away at Santa Fe River Rise.  Then it continues 35  more miles until it merges with the Suwannee River.  I photographed that merger when we were staying at Suwannee River State Park before Christmas.

Natural levies built up by repeated river floods.

Natural levies built up by repeated river floods.

It sounded so exciting!  I pictured the sink would look like a big whirlpool — kind of like flushing a giant toilet, especially since the current was so rapid upstream.

So I was a little puzzled and underwhelmed to see perfectly-looking calm water, that looked like a big peaceful pond.  Nearby there was another much smaller round sink with clear water, and next to it another one of green scum.

The Nature Information Office  is only open Friday-Sunday, so I guess I’ll have to wait until then to ask how it can look so calm when 900 million gallons a day are disappearing there.  The water level can’t be dropping or we could hear it falling.

Our underwhelming destination.  This calm pool is where 900 million gallons a day disappear underground... without a whimper, I might add!

Our underwhelming destination. This calm pool is where 900 million gallons a day disappear underground… without a whimper, I might add!

That means there must not be a very thick layer of limestone over the water.


I missed visiting the museum for the town of Leno today.  It will be open tomorrow, so I’ll look forward to seeing it then.

One of my readers commented that big ugly gall I photographed yesterday was a burl that would make the most beautifully colored and patterned bowl.  So I’m posting another photo for you today, Ron.

This photo is for woodworker Ron.  :)

This photo is for woodworker Ron. 🙂

And the Lazy Daze picture is for Judie.  🙂

This Lazy Daze picture is  for Judie!

This Lazy Daze picture is for Judie!

And if you ever wondered how we fit 2 dogs in a Casita....

And if you ever wondered how we fit 2 dogs in a Casita….


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  1. Sunny and Sheba spooning! Love that photo. Don’tcha just love it when problems fix themselves? And wish it would happen more often?


    • I figured that picture was too sweet to not share. Glad you enjoyed it.

      And it was such a relief when the water heater fixed itself. I guess it knew better than to mess with my hot showers!


  2. Snuggy doggies! Have you met the Lazy Daze owners? If you do, tell them “hello” from me! ;->


    • Judie, I haven’t seen them outdoors, but when I do I will! Sorry I didn’t get a better picture, but I felt funny pointing the camera at their rig. 🙂


  3. When you want to take a picture like that just walk around and point your camera at a lot of things. You don’t have to push the shutter control – just look like you are taking pictures of all sorts of things nearby. Focus near a chosen subject, but not directly on, and then quickly take the desired shot, and continue to “pretend shoot” other things nearby. Look at your screen, and then take a few more “shots” nearby, and walk away. Just look casual.


    • Thank you, Judie. Don’t know why I didn’t think of that. I just felt “guilty” taking a photo of their rig without permission with full intention of posting it on my blog! 🙂

      However, nothing personally identifiable appears in the picture, so I might as well have worked at getting a good one!

      And I just thought, it sure is funny I didn’t feel that way about the tiny rigs I photographed at Ocean Pond. I guess it’s that venerable name… Lazy Daze!


  4. The pups look so cozy together. I have seen some beautiful bowls made from burls, smooth as silk and the patterns are just so pretty.

    Can’t wait to read what you learn about the water dropping


    • The babies are so sweet. Sunny is almost deaf and blind, so he sniffs around until he finds Sheba. 🙂

      That disappearing water is curious! Will let you know what I find out!


  5. Bummer for you that you thought you were hiking around a giant toilet bowl, and it turned out to be a quiet pond. For most of your readers (I hope), that would be a huge bonus! Different strokes…..;-))

    May all your other issues go so well as a self-healing water heater.



    • Here I go finally seeking a little excitement, and you tell me that normal folks wouldn’t want to see a giant toilet bowl. I am crushed! 😀 😀 😀

      Wouldn’t it be great if everything was always self-healing. It would sure save me a lot of projects!


  6. Man that sounds like a really cool place. Adding to our list for the future travels along the East coast and FL in winter in a couple years (plan). Thank you.


    • Be sure you read yesterday’s post about the rustic campground so you aren’t disappointed. Hint: it’s all dirt! 🙂


  7. Marcia GB in MA

     /  January 7, 2015

    Isn’t it wonderful when things heal themselves? That hot water must be feeling pretty good.
    Love the pic of Sunny and Sheba curled up together on the Casita floor. Our Tanya who is about the same size as Sheba, took up most of the floor space and we had to ask her to move her head so we could open the bathroom door for those night time trips 🙂

    The terrain at O’Leno certainly looks interesting. We’ll check it out one of these times.


    • Marcia, I think hot running water is one of the greatest discoveries ever! I even thank God for it sometimes. I’m very conscious of what a great blessing it is.

      We are constantly having to disturb the poor dogs at night when we have to go to the bathroom or need a drink of water. They are reluctantly gracious about it. Or just resigned. 🙂

      Sometimes I wonder if posting highlights of a place spoils it for people. I know I’Ve seen so many pictures on blogs of places out West that I almost feel like I’ve been there.

      Oh, well, that’s what bloggers do. And that’s why I read them.


  8. Marcia GB in MA

     /  January 8, 2015

    I love the pics and descriptions that bloggers post. They often point me to a new destination and never spoil it for me. Pictures can only tell part of the story but they draw me in.


    • Same with me for the most part. The only place I am tired of that I’ve never visited personally is Elephant Butte, NM. 🙂


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