Sunny and dry this morning, yay! We drove over to Dade City, in the city center, which is still operating with many businesses. We were wandering the streets and found Lanky Lassie's Shortbread bakery. We chatted with the woman who owns and runs it and she was really full of information for us. She's even won prizes in Scotland for her shortbread! We picked out 4 kinds to take with us: Belgian milk chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, pecan-chocolate-caramel and kumquat. It is deserving of prizes!
We walked over to "Lunch on Limoges", a landmark restaurant nearby. It was a fun lunch stop, very popular with the luncheon ladies crowd. Food was excellent. Instead of a bread basket, every table got a muffin basket. Bob loved these mini freshly baked blueberrry muffins, they had that little bit of crunchy edge around the top that he loves! And blueberry pineapple butter.
Next, we took a short trip to a kumquat farm, and learned all about them! The owner told us about his orchard's history. Prior to 2014, he had big groves of large kumquat trees. Then a nasty insect invaded the area causing greening disease and killing all his trees along with most other citrus groves. They uprooted and removed all the trees possible to try to eliminate it, but there was too much damage. But he has replanted a new type of kumquat plant more disease resistant. He has nursed along the new trees through other disease and weather crises, which are yielding a much smaller crop. They have an organic treatment for that insect now, so he's hopeful the orchard will continue to grow. He kindly taught us how to eat a kumquat, which is about the size of a large grape and eaten with the skin on. It's very tart on first bite but sweetens as you chew the center citrus portion. He had a number of kumquat products to sell, from jam to vinaigrette, to chutney and lotion. Click on the link to find out more about the fruit and how to use it. It's a whole new world of kumquats!
This morning we did some walking, there is a nice paved trail around the perimeter of the park, and a tall observation tower. Also a boardwalk across a low-lying area. After lunch we stopped at the Dade City Brew House to find out what was brewing. Bob liked the Citra City IPA, and I liked the Kumquat Wine. While there, we enjoyed watching the Olympics, since we haven't really been following that. I most enjoy learning about the stories and backgrounds of the participants.
We left the park this morning, and I was happy for that. This was a park that I would not return to. I don't want to share all my complaints, but this park fell far short of what I consider to be minimal standards. It's not at all what we expected. So if you are ever on the road and see Ellie Ray's RV Resort, just keep looking!
It was a beautiful sunny day, nice for driving. We had to go about 100 miles south to Dade City, FL, to Withlacoochee River Park. This is a county park, nicely maintained. Once you get used to saying the name, it's a little gem of a campground for RV's and tenters. It covers some good acreage, and has playgrounds and kayak/canoe access to the river. There are some big parking lots for day use. It's mostly thick with trees and shrubs and vines, but also some open meadow areas. The campsites for RV's are limited, and they are scattered among the trees so there is some privacy. One step off the trail and it's a jungle out there!
We needed to pick up a few things, so after parking and setting up the trailer, we took a drive. We wanted some firewood, and it's not sold in the park but they do send people to a guy nearby who cuts and sells wood. So we followed the GPS down some twists and turns and found the wood. Then we turned our attention to groceries, and found a Publix market to pick up some provisions. Tonight we played Rummikub, which isn't ideal with only 2 players, but we still make it work. It's a game much better played with a group of 4 or more.
It was raining this morning, so we took some extra time to sleep and be lazy! Something weird was going on with the furnace. It had been running occasionally during the night, but we keep it at 60 for sleeping so it was not overworked. It ran when we first woke up and set the thermostat higher, but then we noticed it wasn't keeping up to that. We could hear it start to run but then shut off before producing any heat. We checked for propane flow by lighting the stovetop burners, and that was fine. Bob did need some time to "research" the problem, which means time spent on YouTube and Airstreamers Anonymous (Facebook group full of information) and lastly, look at the instruction book. Because, guys don't need instructions, even if they have never seen that appliance before. Don't get me started!
I was ready to go outside and hold an umbrella while he opened the furnace compartment. He had also checked the propane tanks (we have 2) and found that one propane tank was empty. When that happens it is supposed to automatically start pulling from the other tank. It was apparently pulling enough for the stove, or burning gas in the line, but not enough for the furnace. Bob flipped the valve to the full tank and the furnace started working normally. Good thing, since it's a cooler day with highs in the 50's. We'll need to get that valve checked out. For today, Bob gets the gold star for repair man!
Bob walked around the park in the rain and I politely declined his offer to accompany him. I stayed in and worked on some sewing and cleaning and a supper that's one of our favorites. Fettuccine with chicken chunks(from a roasted chicken), cherry tomatoes, pesto (from our own garden), kalamata olives and a bit of shredded parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper and dig in!
This morning we took a drive into Branford, less than 10 miles from the campground. It's a small town with the usual small-town stores. Definitely a grocery store (Piggly Wiggly?), auto repair, gas station and at least one dollar store. I use the term "dollar store" as a generic name for any of those stores that have dollar in the name. And that seems to be what keeps some of these small towns going. There was also a great little library that allowed us to use their wi-fi. We have had little success with even getting a cell signal at the campground. And even though they advertise "Free Wi-fi", as do most campgrounds, it's very limited and more frustrating than just going without! A lot of places just have such outdated systems that they are useless. If I could build my own campground, the first thing I would do is install a state-of-the-art cellular and wifi system. People generally rely on that for many things, and it seems to be OK for the owners to not provide what they advertise. Because, I guess, campers are assumed to be nature lovers who like to live without electronics. Wrong! We've set up our WeBoost antenna this afternoon and seen an improved cell signal with that, although still sketchy at times.
It was drizzly part of the day, so even though Bob's back to puzzling, and has to work inside, he worked out a system to use the bed instead of the picnic table.
I worked on some of my sewing, and thanks to my trusty old crockpot, we had a nice pork loin with potatoes and vegetables for supper. This was the day for our Hansen family Zoom call (every other Sunday) and we were able to join it for only a short time due to the poor reception on our end. That call system was started in 2020 because of the limits on travel then. Bob's family is large and spread out, so we haven't been able to have our regular family events. So now we get people from several states to tune in and keep us updated about what's happening in their world. Bob has 7 siblings and they are the regulars, but sometimes we get the next generation and the next generation dropping in to say hello.
We've started watching a TV series named White Collar, which ran for a few seasons. We often watch a couple episodes at night and we don't watch much else on TV. It's great to have the commercials deleted!
A funny thing happened during the night - we were both woken up at about 3:30 when the trailer gave a little lurch. Not an aggressive lurch, just a gentle lurch, but enough to wake us. No sounds, no movement outside that we could detect by peeking around the edges of the window shades. We weighed the possibilities of a freak gust of wind from a tornado, an earthquake, a bear running into the side of the trailer and an explosion. We ended up just going back to sleep!
This morning, I looked at the local news to see if I could find anything reported that might explain our experience. I saw a story about a fertilizer plant fire in Winston-Salem, NC, that was expected to explode last night. That’s pretty far from us, so I reasoned that was not the likely cause. Although maybe an aftershock? Never been near a huge explosion! I eliminated tornadoes and bears from my choices because that didn’t seem likely now that I was fully awake! So that left an earthquake, but I couldn’t see any reports about that in my online news, and have there ever been earthquakes in Florida?
So, it looked like a nice day to eat my breakfast outside. When I opened the door, I found the problem! The cellular antenna that we are using, attached to the trailer by 2 large suction gadgets when we are stationery, had loosened. The pole fell down and that must have caused the lurch that we felt! It wasn’t broken, so Bob put it back up after some more cleaning of the suction pads and trailer wall. And it has stayed put and there have been no more earthquakes, explosions, tornadoes nor bears. I know you are as relieved as I am!
We had talked about checking out the Okeefenokee Swamp but realized it was a 2 hour drive from here, so we nixed that idea. Instead, we took our time walking around this large park area and learning everything we ever need to know about Stephen Foster! There are a couple beautiful big buildings here that are open to the public and are elegantly built and decorated.
There is a “craft village” of 7 or 8 cottages, but they are just starting to reopen after being closed for about 2 years. We talked with the folks in 2 of the cottages demonstrating weaving, knitting, woodworking and pottery making. They are all volunteers, and are able to sell their own products. I hope this coming spring and summer are good for them.
It was a comfortable day, about 70 and no wind, so after lunch Bob went outside to the picnic table to get some puzzling done! He’s starting a large puzzle that is a Glacier Park photo. He got quite a bit done before rolling it up for the day.
The day of the 2’s! Otherwise, not a notable day for us, the only events were going to Live Oak for groceries and gas. More puzzle for Bob in the afternoon and more stitching for me. Proof that we mostly live a pretty routine life! Oh- we did have pancakes and bacon for breakfast, that’s alway a highlight!
We had to pack up and leave our plantationesque surroundings on the Suwannee River this morning. We had a short drive to the south to our next spot at Ellie Ray’s RV Resort on the Santa Fe River. On the way, I got to stop at a Hobby Lobby store to purchase some iron cleaner. I know, not a normal travel supply! But I have been working on English paper piecing and have to iron some things that have touches of glue on them. It’s starting to gunk up my little iron. Need to take care of my equipment!
I searched for an actual locally owned quilt shop, but found none that looked like they would be open for business. I do prefer to shop local when I can, but sometimes I have to go with what I can find.
Today it was warm! Up to 80! Pretty comfortable with a slight breeze, but not enough to keep away the darn gnats hanging around here! We are really away from any major cities, and a lot of the area here is agricultural. And very flat. There are pecan and fruit groves near, but mostly too early to be be producing anything now. We did see one logging truck on the road, and many tree farms. Not Christmas tree farms, but trees to be harvested for lumber.
The circled locations on the map are where we where we have been staying/visiting in this general location, north central Florida.
We needed to search out a laundromat, since the one that’s here in the “resort” does not meet my criteria for laundry. Mostly, it just has to be clean, and this one isn’t. So, we made a little trip to Lake City and found a decent coin laundromat to use. Some RV’s and trailers are big enough that they do have a washer/dryer. Not ours! I wouldn’t say our trailer is petite but it is on the small side of the rigs that we see all around us. I promise I will be extra thankful when I get back home and use my own appliances!
It had been cold (25) overnight but promised to warm up more today. We started out with a treat for breakfast - croissants with huckleberry jam! These are those mini croissants from Trader Joe's, which kind of boggle my mind. They come straight from the freezer, looking like flat rocks that would be good for skipping, into the oven and then emerge like beautiful buttery puffed up pastries! For us, this is a special start to the day!
We visited for awhile with the lady camped next to us, maybe a little younger than ourselves but not by much. Her trailer is her home, and she handles everything that goes with it on her own. Cheers for her! I'm pretty sure I could learn to tow, park, set-up and take down, along with the maintenance required, but she has mastered that already! I think she said that she had been living this way for 4 years, and spends some time each year with family in different locations. Have you read or watched Nomadland?
It's a fairly recent book and documentary-ish film about the population of Americans that live in their RV fulltime, either by choice or circumstances. The movie version follows a main character (Francis McDormand) as she found herself faced with choices between housing and life's necessities at retirement age. I'm reading the book right now, and I'm finding it more and more thought provoking. We do meet quite a few people who no longer have a sticks-and-bricks home, for reasons of their own, and mostly by choice. We also meet a lot of people who, like us, live in our trailer part of the year and maintain a home somewhere for the remainder of the time. We are doing what works best for us, and hope to continue that and re-evaluating our choices for our best life as we go.
We did a little wandering and exploring today. We walked a bit to an area below the dam that is frequented by fishermen. There was a sign posted that stated that a horn will blow as a warning for impending rapidly rising waters. And later I found a news photo that showed that the day prior to this, all the sluice gates (is that the correct term?) were opened due to high water in the reservoir, and the area we stood in to talk with one of the fishermen today was far underwater yesterday. We did not hear any horns blowing today! By the way, the fisherman was looking to catch striped bass and catfish, but was skunked so far.
We also took a drive to a local park to find the half-bridge that we had heard about. It was an old decommisioned bridge replaced by a new, larger model, but still standing the partial distance. Next to it were some displays about the Indian mound located there and the history of the area in the war of 1812. I think it was the Creek Native Americans that had lived in this area.
Today was departure day for us, and we set out on the road traveling further east to Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in Whitesprings FL. Last week we were back and forth repeatedly over the time zone line, and as you might know, the automatic time zone adjustment on our electronic devices don't just change on a dime! So we had one clock permanently set to Eastern Time Zone and the rest of the clocks pretty much stayed on Central Time Zone.
We took the scenic route (off interstates) again and had a nice drive, mostly in Georgia and then into Florida. Some easy comparisons between the states that we made: rural Florida counties seemed to not be flourishing and the major industry seemed to be logging. Rural Georgia counties seemed to be more agricultural and developed. Maybe it has something to do with the lay of the land, or other factors I'm not aware of. Just a casual observation.
This campground is part of the grounds of a memorial to Stephen Foster, the musician, and an annual folk music festival here. We spent some time walking around the campground loops, after all, it was a balmy 60 degrees this evening! There are a number of very nice looking buildings on the grounds here, even the bathrooms look fancy! Between the Spanish moss and the colonnades, I'm feeling plantation-like!
Today we drove back to Tallahassee to go to the History and Science Museum. It's mostly open air, part living history, part indoor displays and part open air zoo. They also have a ropes course in the trees, but we did not go there! My fear of heights is improving, but not to that degree yet! The museum is very kid friendly, while still engaging us oldsters. There's even a daycare in the museum, lucky kids!
One section is built around a plantation house, which we could walk through and read about the history. This was not an elegant "Gone With The Wind" house, but home to an average plantation owner and slaves. There was some good information about the life of the slaves as part of the house and grounds.
This large painted quilt block was outside the house, and I've seen a lot of these before and have one of my own. This one was a little unique in the coloring and design that was added. So this is for my quilty friends' inspiration, you know who you are!
Back at the ranch, so to speak, Bob prepared for a predicted cold night, (below 32 for most of the night) and added water to our fresh water tank and then disconnected the hoses and filter so we won't run the risk of damaging our filter. The tanks under our trailer are heated as long as we are running the furnace, which we do most nights. It's been a windy day with white caps on the lake and the wind blowing right at us.
It was 33 when we got ourselves up and going this morning, but sunny. We didn't have anything special planned for today, so it was mostly spent indoors. We did do some walking around the campground, there aren't any easily accessible trails here, so we walk the loops mostly. Not very many people out and about. Bob did find the little laundry room they have here, and even though it didn't look very clean and neat, we are stuck with that while we travel. Some campgrounds have surprisingly nice laundry facilities, some have none at all, and some are questionable.
I spent part of the day putting together what I need for my next YouTube Home Improvement video, mixed with working on some stitching. I'm enjoying this "slow stitching" that I'm engaged with now. Bob went to the Piggly Wiggly in the town of Sneads for a short list of groceries. And that's the highlights for today!
Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate the time you have taken to look for and read my story. I hope you find something that you like!
Hi! I'm Pam! Join me on this journey through the next steps of life!