Old Diary

Gainesville on the fly


These horse farms / ranches are quite a big deal and represent huge investments in the Ocala area.


One of many fields just for the horses…

Thursday we had planned to hang out at the park but I got a little antsy so we drove to Gainesville in search of The Recycled Bicycle — a bike store that … duh … recycles bicycles.  It’s a great idea.  But upon arrival we found the doors locked, the lights out, and no one home.  There was stock in the store but no open hours on the door.  So, I guess for the time being we aren’t going to buy used bikes.  Later in the season we may try again — phoning first.


Lovely Live Oaks all over the area, with their branches arching over the road and creating fantasy scenes.


What an absolutely amazing example of a Live Oak!

You know that we aren’t city people.  So we spent as little time in Gainesville as possible. Our choice instead was to spend a bunch of time driving around the area and taking in the sights.  I’m a lover of large trees and Live Oaks are among the most picturesque on North America. With overcast skies Thursday it wasn’t the best weather for tree portraits but these are nice enough for iPhone snapshots.


One more field scene.

Part of me is wanting to hop in the car and go exploring; and part of me is quite happy not doing a lot at all.  I’m currently reading a John Irving book that is, frankly, not holding my attention.  So when not reading I’ve been puttering around with little chores and Peg’s been getting caught up on laundry.

The park recently replaced their laundromat machines with brand new washers.  They’re even more advanced than the ones we’ve been using at commercial washaterias — including a new feature that makes it impossible to open the lid after you’ve put in your money and turned it on.  And a surprise for Peg!


Cell / Data signal booster by WeBoost

I finally got around to hooking up my new WeBoost signal booster.  These new 4G & LTE boosters now require a registration with your cell/data carrier.  That I had done in Milwaukee a month ago, and I bookmarked the registration page.  Verizon has given blanket use permission when they were introduced but you do need to define where you’re using the booster in event your booster is interfering with other customers use of the network.  I updated our location and mounted the external antenna (atop a 16’ pool-skimmer pole) that I mount at to the rear ladder on the coach.

The new booster takes me from a barely 2 bar (dipping down to 1 bar) signal to a full 4 bars.  The internal antenna signal is also stronger than the one I got with my old 3G booster.  After using it only a couple days I’m quite happy with it.

The park here has marginal WiFi and according to their Terms of Use indicate that they throttle each user.  Their system is quite limited and I know that in the a.m. they can have 40 users logged onto a 5gigabit data stream it’s pretty pokey — so I’m still using my booster or my iPhone as a hotspot most of the time.

There you have another day in Northern Florida.  We’re settling in and content for the most part. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Old Diary

Getting the Lay of the Land

Our second full day at Ocala North and we’re getting a little feel for the territory.

The park manager hosted a residents meeting today (coffee & donuts) and there were a couple takeaways from the meeting.

  • It appears there was an ownership change in September of ’15 — the old owners lost the property to the bank and the bank is not operating the campground with a manager hired by them (I think the same one that had been managing before).
  • Residents still here from before the changeover feel the bank is doing a better job than the old owners but at some point there is likely to be another change in ownership when the bank manages to sell the property to a new buyer.
  • We were surprised that in a park with about 160 sites (RV and Park Model) that only about 40 people were present for the meeting.  I asked about that and found that a fair number of residents are:
    • Equestrian owners who’s horses are boarded here during the winter
    • Local workers who find it’s cheaper to live in the RV park than in an apartment
  • There does seem to be some park ’spirit’; the meeting organized a few activities — several associated with food and playing games.
  • Having met more of the residents now it’s a nice quiet kind of park.  I think we’ll be quite comfortable here.
  • The pool heater is to be installed sometime this week — which depending on the forecast may mean that no one will still be using the pool — we may be in the 60’s for a good part of the week.

The Environs

We did a little driving around on both Monday and today (Tuesday).  Yesterday we were mostly just snooping around the area.  We drove through the Ocala National Forest, around the Ocala and Silver Springs area,  checked out some of the smaller communities on Monday.

Today we went investigating the groceries. If there is one reality we aren’t all that happy about it’s that we’re 14+ miles from the nearest ‘real’ grocery.  And similar distances for other services.  We checked out one Winn Dixie “Marketplace” — a very disheartening experience.  The ‘regular’ Winn Dixie store was a little better.  The Publix grocery has a nicer produce and meat section as well as ample variety but their costs are significantly higher than the local Walmart which we also visited.

Between the prices and the distance I think we’ll learn to be very judicious about our trips to the grocery.  We found the local Lowes and Home Depots — they’re right there in the same range of distance.  We’ll want to be smarter about ‘going to town’;  Milwaukee spoiled us in the sense that we knew were everything was and we could maximize our impact in single trips.  Here we’ll need to think about what we’re doing.

After two days of exploring we’ll probably spend the next two days laying low and hanging out in the park.  Florida is a big place and we don’t have to see it all, or see it all quickly.

One thing for sure — now that we have gotten into the Ocala area any temporary illusions about traffic evaporated.  No matter how fast you are driving there’s someone who thinks you’re going to slow, and there aren’t enough lanes for the traffic provided to fill them.  In this regard, South Texas beats North Central Florida.  You do have room to breathe in Texas.  But three months from now we may feel very differently. 🙂  These are strictly initial impressions.

Lena’s Restaurant

2016010413071718We usually try to hold our dining out frequency to once or twice a week.  This week our exploring had us out and about at lunch time and we checked out two of the semi-local joints.

Lena’s Restaurant is on Florida 19 East of Ocala and Silver Spring.  This little hole-in-the-wall place has roots in Massachusetts and prides itself on New England Clam Chowder.  The restaurant has been around for 30 years so it’s doing something right.  The prices are reasonable. The Seafood is fresh (what we had anyway).  The waitresses are quirky with ample attitude.  It’s a small place — I don’t think you could sit 30 people inside — but you won’t kill your budget and you’ll leave feeling good.  I would not bother with the burgers (and such) they looked pretty mundane and fast-food-ish. The seafood though is worth a stop.  It gets rated #3 out of 18 restos in the Silver Springs area.  I never know how much to trust Trip Advisor because sometimes chains seem to get rated way higher than they deserve but this is definitely an interesting lunch stop

Ocean Buffet

Ocean BuffetTuesday I had to give into my addiction to Chinese Hot & Sour Soup.  So we checked out Ocean Buffet in Ocala.  Rated 58 out of 382 restos it’s a Chinese buffet — ’nuf said.  The actual buffet is about average for a Chinese buffet.  In addition to the usual offerings there’s also a pretty decent sushi selection, and a hibachi grill to get your selections cooked to order in front of you.  The Hot & Sour Soup is loaded with lots of good stuff and for a change is has some HEAT!  Very nice.  I’m not sure how often we’ll return.  Unless we are in the area it’s too far to drive just for an average Chinese buffet.

I suspect that as we explore further out from our home base that we’ll find other equally interesting places for luncheons.  I can’t wait to return Tarpon Springs and St Augustine and a few other places.

So, there you have our Tuesday recollections.  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll chat with you tomorrow.

Old Diary

What’s that bright ball in the Sky?


Our site from the South

What do you know! We saw the sun… almost all day long. Yes!  Monday in Reddick was quite the treat after clouds and rain for pretty much three straight weeks. We checked in on Monday.  Met the park manager (Marylou) and the desk jockey (Pam), met a few residents too.  Everyone is quite nice


Our site from the north

I did some adjusting to the DISH satellite today and we now have our own signal, as well as local stations for Orlando. All the comforts of home.  We aren’t sure what will happen in heavily overcast skies.  The dish is still ‘looking’ through trees but it’s fine right now.


One of two clubhouses. This one has the laundry

Tomorrow at the manager’s meeting we’ll hear about activities in the park.  Not sure if that will be for the week or the month — but it will be interesting to see some of the other residents.  We don’t see very many residents walking about.  Actually, we don’t see many of the residents at all.


There’s a decent amount of space between sites and the roads are in decent shape, if a little bit narrow.

A pleasant walk through the park yielded these pictures.  Our site being up from the lowest elevation in the park but not at the top of the ridge means that noise from the Interstate is pretty much a non-factor.  That’s not true for those who’s sites are at the top of the hill and I’m glad we are sited here!


I really like how spaced out the park feels. Perception is better than reality! It feels more wide open than it actually is — thanks to the design.

Maybe on of the biggest drawbacks we have noticed thus far has nothing to do with the park.  Our neighbor to the South has a new-ish three axle coach with an aqua-hot heating unit.  We’ve never been parked next to one before — at least not on the exhaust discharge side.  While I’m not concerned about the fumes I am a little concerned about the noise that bugger makes.  Not sure if the sound level is typical of all aqua-hot units (this is the first time we’ve been parked next to one) but the level is as loud or louder than a lot of RV furnaces and those have been loud enough to wake us on an otherwise quiet evening.


I really wonder… does Spanish Moss ever get GREEN? Or is it always gray-green? There’s Spanish Moss hanging from almost everything.

The campground does seem to have specific rules about campfires.  I don’t see any fire rings here. I’ll have to inquire at the office to see what those restrictions might be.  Just in case Kathryn comes to visit — she loves a good fire.


This is a view from the property line into the neighbor’s field … no neighbors on the North OR the South.


One view of the pool

There are a lot of lovely live oaks here.  Every once in a while we’ll find ourselves on a road with overhanging live oak branches.  That is something we don’t have in Wisconsin.  The Spanish Moss that is.  We do still have a few roads with cathedral arched trees.  Milwaukee used to have a lot of those avenues with over-arching trees — but Dutch Elm Disease changed the entire flavor of the city 50 years ago and now those cathedral like streets are just a memory.  Here’s hoping that never happens with oaks or some of the other stately old trees around this country.

I’m hoping it won’t be long before the pool heater shows up. Admittedly the forecast isn’t for pool friendly temps for a week or so, but one can always hope, can’t they?


And another view of the pool

Well, that’s enough about the campground.  Let’s talk again tomorrow.  And thanks for stopping by and spending some of your day with me.

Old Diary

Peter & His Stealth RV

It looks nice and idyllic, doesn’t it?  Somehow horse farms have that effect on me.  I’m not an equestrian; I don’t ride and I don’t bet on ‘em,  but those long fences and open grassy fields sure do look inviting.  Sunday, as we drove into horse country I was feeling pretty mellow.  Mellow and stealthy.   Yup.  Stealthy — and that’s not a term used easily with a guy my size.  I tend NOT to be very stealthy.  But Sunday’s drive over to Reddick had me feeling as if we snuck into Florida without having been caught!


Sometimes it’s more than perception that we travel under a rain cloud… the only significant rain today is where we’re driving!

In my lifetime I have probably spent less time in Florida & Alabama than any other of the 48 contiguous states — but I have experienced Florida traffic, most recently in ’12 when we did a month long auto trip to the state. There were cars to spare on that trip and traffic to make you pull your hair out.

Sunday — well, on Sunday for our last 120 mile drive in the coach for what we’re planning to be three months — the roads were practically empty, we didn’t go through any significant cities, and it really was as if we were driving some stealth RV and sneaking into the populated part of the state!  I like.  I like.

I fueled up for the last time in the next 3 months in Perry. We were down to almost 1/2 a tank from our last top off @ $1.98, and I won’t complain about $2.05 for diesel.

The continuing, nagging rain stopped just before we pulled from the campground over to the convenience store adjacent to fill our tankJan 3 16.  And we stayed dry all the way to Reddick.  The threatening radar capture failed to drench us and for that we were thankful.  However the roads were wet and by the time we pulled in the car looked like it had been through a mud storm.

Initial impression?

I guess it’s more of a thing for RV park offices to be closed on Sunday’s here than it is in S Texas, but upon arrival we found instructions for where to camp, etc., taped to the office door.  We don’t normally spend much time at commercial RV parks (this last few months being the exception) and closed-office-Sundays are not a big part of our experience.

Plus the fact that we rarely travel on a Sunday — so checking in on a Sunday is even rarer. That we have traveled each of the last three Sundays is completely unheard of for us.  In 4 years of fulltiming those are the only Sundays we have traveled to the best of my recollection.

After unhooking our tow in the arrivals lane we found our site, and started settling in for the winter. About 10 minutes after arriving it started raining again.  Our neighbor to the North is friendly — or he’s lonely.  He sent his wife back home to Upstate NY before Christmas, wifey’s mother had a stroke and I think he’s pining for his partner because as soon as we drove in he was outside to chat with  us even while we were still setting up.

close to the interstate

From the back of the property it’s only about 400 yards to the Interstate — yet it’s surprisingly quiet.

Our site has a concrete pad, but the park has to be 20 or 30 years old as all of the concrete pads that I have seen are getting pretty well broken up.  There are a lot of mature trees with Spanish moss hanging from them.  It’s really quite a picturesque place I guess.  Nice enough that I think I’ll like being here.  We are literally adjacent to the Interstate (I-75).

With the trees and the intervening RV’s between us and the county road that runs alongside the property for access to the park I have to look hard between other RV’s to even see the light traffic on the county road.  We can’t see the Interstate, and we only get glimpses of the sky to the North.  I’m not sure what it is with us and campgrounds that inhibit views of the Sunrise but we seem to find them without trying.  Highland Ridge is like that, and our entire 10 months on the Oregon Coast were like that.  All the campgrounds on the Mississippi have impediments to the East. And even the campground we stayed at in Frisco CO kept us from seeing the sunrise.  Sheesh…. gimme a break.  I’m going to have to start asking about sunrises when we look for RV parks!

I don’t think we make it much over 50º Sunday but hey, it’s a lot better than back home and I don’t have shovel rain.  We are also on an incline — and about 1/2 way up a gradual hill — so I doubt we’d have to worry about flooding unless they had a Noah-esque deluge.

I had been told that this is horse country.  I had no idea what to expect and with the presence of the horse farms I really do feel like we snuck into Florida.  About 12 miles before our arrival we turned off the US Highway onto a country road; narrow and a little twisty.  We quickly transitioned from flat terrain to lightly rolling hills and suddenly we were IN horse country.  The change was really quite dramatic;  like turning a page from a lower class rural neighborhood to a decidedly upper class world of genteel horses and owners.  Moreover, we drew closer to the campground we didn’t pass through any towns. Suddenly after turning onto yet another country road we had arrived.  This was so antithetic to the clichéd Florida people talk about that I was quite taken aback — pleasantly.

Ocala North MapThere are about 130 RV sites here, as well as another +30 park models.  Considering how little we knew about this place when we made our reservation I’m quite happy with what we found.  I was really uncomfortable about the fact that there were few photos on their website — I like to SEE where I’m going.  But reality is OK too, and I can see it just fine now.  🙂

Not so happy about not being able to find a DISH signal at this writing.  And the Verizon cell signal is only 1 bar.  There’s LTE here but the park WiFi is exceedingly slow and even my hot spot (without being boosted) is pretty kludgy.  Overall? Generally content.

On the positive side, we aren’t cheek by jowl with our neighbors.  I’ve got about 15’ on one side and about 12’ on the other to the extended awnings of our neighbors.  Compared to some RV parks where you can get your coffee cupped filled by your neighbor in his kitchen without even leaving your lounge — this is really nice.  Perhaps, it is not quite as roomy as Palmdale but it’s definitely a comfortable spacing.

For another thing, it’s not a strict grid layout.  That’s partly due to the geography of the property.  A grid would not work here without having hacked some wonderful old trees — so there’s a reasonable amount of tree cover throughout the park.  We had asked for and understood ours would be a site open to the southern sky — we aren’t tree covered but there’s a gorgeous few tall trees obstructing our satellite view.  Is it enough to make us fuss over it?  I don’t know;  I doubt it. We may just be satisfied with the local TV channels, ignore the slight misrepresentation, and get out our signal booster — particularly because it would be hard to find an alternative campground at this late date and I don’t want to go through that.  I’m ready to relax for a while.

Upon arrival I noticed that this park like every one has it’s maintenance issues.  There was a sign posted on the office door that the pool heater is currently broken and that a new heater is on order — you know how those things go — sometimes it can take a long time to get ordered parts. 😳  I remember last winter at Palmdale the same thing happened and the residents got mighty upset in short order!

We didn’t go snooping Sunday.  The weather will be nicer tomorrow and it will be more fun to look around on a semi-sunny day (so we are promised).

bicycleI found a place in Gainesville called the Recycled Bicycle — we might go looking for bikes while we’re here.  We’ve been talking about that for a while.  Not sure if we’ll break down and do it, but it’s under consideration.  So many RV’ers we know carry their bikes along, and it always looks so much fun, but we need to find a simple one for Peg who doesn’t want to have to think about changing gears.  Then again, this place is a little bit hilly and any kind of bike path will be a long way away.  From here we go to Highland Ridge where the whole campground is hilly and there aren’t aEasy Does Itny bike paths for quite a distance — so maybe this isn’t the right year to add more weight and ‘stuff’ to be carried about.  We’ll see.  I sure do envy bikers when I seem them pedaling past.  Bad Peter!  Bad Peter!  Thou shalt not envy.

Now that we’re here there are things we want to do, but we aren’t going to go crazy about always DOING. I have a library of books I can read, projects I can undertake, places to see and go, and we’re going to tackle as many of them as the moment suggests.  Easy Does It.  (That might be an AA slogan but hey, we all have our addictions and sometimes being busy is my drug of choice.)

Adventure Zone

Without setting an arbitrary limit this is about our exploration zone for the winter. Far enough to explore in a day…. And by the way — I doubt we’ll do ANYTHING in Orlando or Kissimmee — we’ll let the Disney-ites have that!

It took us three weeks to get here.  That’s about what we’ll have in the Spring when we head back North again.  It was a comfortable pace that we might have done a little differently had we left earlier in the season.  (different route) With three months ahead of us I have no idea how we’ll return, but we have a long time to think about that.  Something different would be nice.

Thanks for stopping by.  I’ll try to get photos of the new campground as soon as the weather dries and we get some sun.  I also want to drive that road we took to get here and show you some of the horse farms/ranches.  But we can talk about that and other things tomorrow.

Old Diary

Getting our Southern Groove On

Sweet Tea.

We all have items that become associated with certain cuisines.Now that we’ve finally hit the Gulf Coast it’s time to readjust our menu to what we is most available in the local markets.  Or that used to be the way I did things.  Nowadays the population is so cosmopolitan and the food system so advanced that not only is it not necessary to do that, it can be difficult when visiting the local grocery to know what is actually regional fare & what isn’t.

When faced with this dilemma I fall back on cliche!  (Typical Northerner!)

Yesterday we made grits and eggs on our new two burner induction hob.

They were good.  Really good.  But, the funny thing is I was less impressed by the grits and eggs than I was about the luxurious sensation of cooking with two pots simultaneously! I felt like a KING!

We have had our new 2 burner unit for the better part of a month now.  But, after 4 years of cooking on the single burner Max Burton unit I have hardly used the second burner.  Habits die hard I guess.

As I write this Christmas is 2 days away. I’m sure I’ll use both burners then.  And the crockpot.  And the microwave! But,  I’m supposed to be losing weight — so pigging out on a big meal doesn’t sounds like the best plan in the world.  Maybe I’d best trim back my menu!

Menu changes notwithstanding, I’m still making more cranberry relish to go with our frozen turkey breast for Christmas.  Gotta have me some more cranberries!

Flooded Road Update

As I mentioned in our posts about the last two days of travel, our stay at Gulf Islands National Seashore is a curiosity stop.  We aren’t big beach people. However, we heard so many people talking about this place over the last four years that we had to stop and check it out.

I mentioned previously that the Recreation.gov website provides a 24 hour flooded road hotline. I have to say I have been wondering about that for a few days.

I called Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and kept getting a recording dated 7 days earlier saying the road is open.  This morning, Wednesday, the day of our trip I call the number and the recording is now current and they are warning of water on the road and the exercise of caution while on the road.  There’s more rain in the forecast today.

My question — unasked and unanswered is — what happens to people who have reservations and who, upon arrival, discover the road closed?  I’m hopeful that won’t be us.  I’ll let you know when we arrive.

It turns out that people who are in the campground when it floods get asked to leave until the campground is reopened!  We met a couple from about 1 hour away from Service (where we just came from) to whom that happened last week.  There was flooding and the NPS closed the park for 2 days.  Wondering if we’ll have to leave during our stay?

One final comment on Service Campground. We spent 3 nights there. For the entire time there were 3 volunteer couples (2 couples as fee collectors and 1 couple doing maintenance), and two camper sites.  With 37 sites in the campground.  I walked in on a staff meeting on Monday morning (actually I believe they were all sitting around chewing the fat, but it looked like a meeting).  They said that after Christmas the activity picks up and they have quite a number of snowbirds on hand but for the month of December this is a wonderful place for solitude!  I think on average we only saw 3 barges a day — not sure if that’s a function of the time of year, or more specifically the Christmas/New Year holiday season — perhaps workboats get off the water as it were for the holiday.  I don’t know.

Old Diary, Travel

Travel day times two

Let’s lump two more travel days together into one post!

On Sunday we drove from Grenada MS to Silas AL — a trip of about 220 miles.  A little 4 lane, a little 2 lane — some narrow Mississippi country lanes and we arrive at another Corps of Engineer campground.

Service Campground

December 20 The Service Campground is located between Silas AL and Coffeeville AL.  Considering that we had just left Coffeeville MS — just outside of Grenada — even a caffeine addict like me ca get confused with all the coffee’s they have around here. The drive was quite nice — mostly on Mississippi state highways, narrow two lanes with rather steep  drop offs on either side — but the roads were quite smooth and certainly comfortable at 55 mph.

We had reserved a 97 foot back-in site on the edge of the water. (site #19)  But upon arriving and checking in with the hosts we were offered an alternative — seeing as I had inquired about the direction of South for our Satellite reception.  Having inquired we were offered site #9 which has a much better sight line and is right on the edge of the waterway.

Fog on the Tombigbee

Fog on the Tombigbee — it’s amazing how peaceful fog can be.  The older I get the more I love it (specially when I’m not driving in it)

I should comment on the header photo.  A couple hours after arriving we heard our first boat on the river — the river being part of the Timbigbee / Black Warrior Waterway operated by the Corps of Engineers.  I guess the owner of that fancy speedboat that you see on the water about 1/3 of the way from the left edge of the photo was out to burn out the flues of his speedboat.  He made about a mile and a half circuit up the and down the river way — 10 times — and then he left.  Go figure.  I’m not sure whether he and his co-pilot had much fun but they made a lot of noise and burned up a whale of a lot of fuel at breakneck speed.

The campground is one of the smaller Corps locations we’ve been to.  It’s nicely cared for.  And — Peggy says to include — there’s a small laundry facility available to the campers right in the campground!  The two nearest towns are nothing more than a blink of the eye — really.  There’s nothing there.


AT the Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge (BTW, “Choctaw” supposedly comes from a word meaning coffin maker.)

Nearby the campground is the Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge.  This is not one of those wide open to the public refuges with a beautiful visitors center and lots of programs.  There really isn’t a visitors center at all and there aren’t any ‘real’ auto routes to drive through the refuge.  Yet there are a lot of critters here and you might be quite happen to while away some time enjoying them like we did.


We both love watching the workboats moving up and down the river. Mostly 2 x 2 barges and smaller tugs than on the Mississippi

If you love workboats and barges this is a great place to spend some time.  The campground is right ON the waterway.  We woke at 4:30 (due to no fault of the boats) to see the first tow of the day going by (very quietly) and we watched a few more as the day proceeded.  It’s a lovely little respite from the world.

Fort Pickens Campground

December 23We wanted to spend both Christmas and New Years days on the Gulf so we left Service Campground (after only three nights) on the 23rd for a leisurely 130 mile drive to Gulf Islands National Seashore — the Fort Pickens Campground.  I’ve heard a number of RV’ers talk at great length about this campground and I wanted to check it out.  So we’re here for a little under 2 weeks.

2015122309071402 2015122309110004The short 160 mile trip is easy enough, in spite of first running into a downpour and then into contrary winds.  But we’re used to weather and it didn’t bother us.  We found a Murphy Oil (Walmart) on US-98 with diesel below $2.00 / gallon; so a fill-up was obvious.  And in a little over three hours we were on site.


The site we were supposed to occupy.

We reserved a site for a 43 foot RV, but upon arrival we found that our site was flooded.  (They’ve already had almost a week of rain — and one of the couples down the row from us had water 18” deep outside their entry way a day ago.  so we don’t have quite the room we did at Service but it’s plenty for our coach — but we have to park the car in the overflowed parking area — not really our thing, but for a week we can do anything.

Our resting spot in Circle E

Our resting spot in Circle E

Prior to our arrival I saw the cautionary note on Recreation dot gov advising that the road to the campground can be flooded.  Considering that all we have in the forecast for the next 8 days is rain, rain, and more rain I was a bit concerned with that.  It turns out that there were spots with water & sand on the pavement to a depth of about 6” but we went through with caution and were none the worse for wear.


views around the campground


views around the campground

The biggest drawback is that every time we tow in the rain the car needs a car wash — so I need to find a place to get that done.

Usually we take time the first afternoon in a new campground to do some reconnoitering but we didn’t get far today.  On the positive side, it IS warm.  Mid 70’s now and mid 60’s overnight.  Should be about that way most of our stay.  The one thing we will have to get used to is the high humidity again.

So — we’re settled in at Gulf Islands National Seashore.  We have one more longish day’s drive to Ocala. We’ve driven 4 days and been stationary for 7 days (counting our trip to Pensacola but not the stationary days we’ll be enjoying.  Never count them before you’ve enjoyed them — the couple down the road had to leave for two days because of flooding the week before — so no matter what we might plan the reality has first to be experienced.)

We’re still on Central Standard Time.  No change until we head East from here.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with  you tomorrow.

Old Diary

A Florida White Christmas

In all my years as a Northerner there are some things I’ve never considered.  Among them is the possibility of experiencing a WHITE Christmas in Florida.  But such is a possibility and I’m here to prove it.


Have a blessed day and in the spirit of Christmas give someone a kiss today.  Talk to you tomorrow.

Images, Old Diary, Travel

Mrs P, This One’s For You

One of my readers offered some comments on that travel plan map I posted yesterday and in responding I got to thinking about the wonderful Live Oak in St. Augustine Florida.  It’s called the Old Senator and has been core tested to be at least 600 years old.  It was around when Ponce de Leon discovered the so-called Fountain of Youth in 1513

The Old Senator, St Augustine, FL

The Old Senator, St Augustine, FL

Anyway… I just wanted to share this big old monster with y’all. Someone built a motel around it and The Old Senator has survived the infringement on its territory.  Last I knew the motel was owned by Howard Johnson’s but that may have changed since last I saw it.

And as long as I’m posting tree pictures, here’s another one of mine from a couple years ago.



We’re getting rained on with a forecast to change to snow — so I think I’m staying home today.