Friday, February 25, 2011

Shanty Pond

Our Boondocking Rendezvous started today and we have 10  rigs here.   A very comfortable number and just about all that the area can handle so that we can have sun (for our solar panels).  Just about everyone has met everyone before, sometimes 2 to 8 years ago.   So it is good to reconnect again.

Today we were able to pick up our mail at the local post office.   The tracking number response said it was out for delivery here at Salt Springs, but it is always a guess.  Two years ago, it went to Fort McCoy first until we asked for it.  Checking on Street Atlas, we found three small towns in this area that all have the same ZIP code.   I thought the purpose of the ZIP code was so that each post office had a unique number.

The cell phone signal is marginal at best.  Or our router/air card package is  laying down on the job.  I don't think we've ever had such slow service.  But anything is better than nothing (I guess).

So we're keeping this short.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Moore Haven to Shanty Pond (Ocala N.F., FL)

We spent two nights at an RV park in Moore Haven and it was nice. Sandy made me some fresh muffins one morning, how tasty. Plus we could refill our water tank and empty the holding tanks. Then yesterday was a travel day.

The route we chose was to stay on highway 27 all the way north until it hooked up with highway 19 into Ocala National Forest. We had been on it before and it is a divided  four lane road, very good. No overpasses or modern exit ramps, but we can live with normal crossroad exits. Well, we learned that there are other factors. The first 100 miles wasn't bad, but then when we were in the heart of Florida, it became a bummer. It was still a good 4 lane road. The problem was that there was a stop light almost every mile. You don't make much time on the road when you have to slow down for the lights.

We finally got to highway 19 going north and while it was a simple 2 lane road, it only had one light per 10 miles or so. We can handle that. The drive to our destination on the north side of the forest was then uneventful. And what a joy to arrive. Five other couples are already here, so it was old home week. We had met them previously on other rendezvous. Plus we were just in time for the social hour at 4 pm, so even better.

Last night we joined the group for the after dinner  fire circle. It is a time to solve all of the worlds problems. For the most part, we sat in and listened.

Today is our day to visit the post office and pick up our mail. It will be interesting to see if it is here or elsewhere. Much to our surprise a couple of years ago, we found out that there are 2 (or maybe 3) post offices here with the same zip code. When we came through this area last fall, our mail ended up at Salt Springs, not Fort McCoy like it was addressed. Today, my guess will be that the mail will be at Fort McCoy, so we either drive there to get it or wait another day. At least, it should be closeby.

Today is to be a relaxing day  otherwise.   We hope to visit with friends we haven't seen in a year or two.


Getting soft, staying in a full service park

We left the Indian Prairie campground Monday morning and headed to a full service RV park, where we are now.  Perhaps we're getting soft.  Actually, we are here to accomphlish two missions.   We wanted to have some time with a high school friend in a park nearby and we wanted to check out another boondocking location.

The boondocking location was mentioned by someone we met a week or two ago.  He really didn't want to talk about it, so we wrote down the name.  It is about 40 miles south of here and is an ideal site for us with solar panels.  The campground has two areas, one very open and one hidden in the trees.   The campground in the trees has about 15 sites while the campground in the open could have upwards to 30 or 40 RVs.   So we looked the site over well and took a few  photos so that we can remember where and what it is.....

As we finish this off, the  weather outside looks great except for lots of fog.  The good thing for us is that we'll be on a divided highway for 150 miles.  Tonight, we'll be among our boondocking friends near Salt Springs north of here about 200 miles


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Indian Prairie Campground and yes, we're here

We checked into  the Indian Prairie Campground on Wednesday per our plan.  (They don't open the gate until Wednesday at 8:30 AM.)  There are 18 sites and about half of them were filled by Wednesday evening.

Sites one and two were occupied by a class C rig each, the same rigs that I recall being there a month ago. I'm not sure if they own the site, but obviously, they want those two sites.   They also have two boats tied up in the canal opposite the sites.

Yesterday for reasons unknown, I decided to do some exploring in the reeds and grass behind our rig.  I hadn't walked in more than 50 feet and spotted a plastic garbage container and a red can by it. Upon further inspection, the garbage container had a box with some rope in it.  The red can was a well used accessory fuel can for an outboard motor.  It also had about a gallon of liquid in it.  Since I hate to let anything of value go to waste, I uncovered it from the leaves that were nicely piled around it and carried it out of the brush.  (The gate is right behind our rig.)

I was hardly through the gate when I heard a voice from the far end of the campground yelling at me to put it back, it was his can!  I could see the fellow waving his arms etc.  So I decided to not argue and returned the fuel can to its secured location.  I thought that perhaps I'd get a visit from him later in the day, but no  luck.  I suspect that he essentially lives in the campground, moving out only to keep the county happy and is right back when they open the gate for him.  It wouldn't surprise me if he actually parks his RV in the boat launch parking lot!

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings were very quiet  around here.  But by Friday afternoon, the campground came to life in a way we'd rather not have.  One fellow not too far away ran his generator for an extended period   until 11 PM.   Plus 3 or 4 boat owners came in and pitched several tents at the far end of the campground.  They even came prepared with a "one holer tent" since there are no bathroom facilities in the campground.  But their music was not loud so no complaints.    Today, the place was alive with activity.  They obviously have lots of friends that know they are here.

Early this morning, they were up and out in the boats.  They were very considerate in the water until they cleared the last fishing boat near the campground.  They then floored the throttle and headed out to the big lake.  Needless to say, airboats make a lot of noise. They have a V-8 engine with 500 plus HP with only a 2 foot pipe on each exhaust port.  They do make a racket when running wide open.

However, tonight all is quiet.  The neighbor has not started his old generator and the party at the end of the campground might be too far away to bother us.  I'm happy.

To top our day off, the temperature was up to 82 today and is only to nose dive to about 62 tonight.  We can handle those ranges very well!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Winding Down at DuPuis Water Management District

We've been here about two weeks, relaxing and enjoying the world as it passes us by. Of course, Florida also had some cool (or cold) weather so it did curtail our outdoor activities plus caused us to use an extra couple of blankets at night.

We have a slight difference between us. When it is cool, I love piling on the blankets (weight). Sandy needs the warmth of the blankets, but detests the weight factor. I've suggested that we need one of those spreads that our daughter has for her beds. It is very light weight, fits a king sized bed (way too big) and is fantastically warm. Okay, if we could get one, the sewing machine and a scissors would make quick work of the size. I think she is concerned “where do we store the monster?”

The campground has about 8 or 10 rigs in it currently. There have been four or five horse trailers about every weekend. We also see them during the day but rarely over night. It rained a little bit three or four days ago, but hardly enough to get things wet. This sandy soil readily soaks up any moisture.

On Wednesday, we're leaving here and heading to a little county park on the NW side of Lake Okeechobee. It is only about a 40 mile trip, but hopefully we'll meet up with some of our boondocking Escapee friends.  This morning for some absent minded reason, I decided to lift the cover to the LP tank and read the tank level gauge.  OUCH. It wasn't just down to the E but below the E.  But being a bit of a gambler, we decided to stick around for this morning at least.   (I did alert Sandy that the heater might go out.)   All was still well by noon when I returned from my eagle watch, so we decided to hang tight till morning.  If the refrigerator starts beeping in the middle of the night, I'll know why!

We do most of our grocery shopping at Walmart as we travel. One of our frustrations here in Florida is that so often the Walmart grapefruit and oranges are not locally grown. So two weeks ago we bought some grapefruit at a local fruit stand. They were the pits, small and obviously old. Sunday we stopped at another fruit stand in Okeechobee and their grapefruit looked like the same age relics. So we went on. We stopped at a flea market nearby and I made a quick (very quick) walk through. (It was early enough that few people were there yet.) To make my day, at the end of the line, there was a vendor selling fruits and vegetables and they were very good quality. To top it off, his price was rock bottom. I love my grapefruit!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Eagles are nesting!

Spring is  in the air.   We haven't seen the April showers, or May flowers, but a pair of eagles have let us know that spring is  in the air.   A week ago we learned that there was an off limits area just off  a trail from the campground because of an eagle's nest.  So obviously, we took a walk to see what was available for viewing.

We found the area after walking the long way around several days ago.  Two days ago, we hiked back to it with our binoculars, sat down on the ground up against a post for an hour to wait.  It was about 30 minutes later when I spotted an eagle making a tree top level approach to the nest.  It screeched two or three times, which the eagle sitting on the nest obviously heard, as it immediately hopped up to the edge of the nest.  The new arrival caught me by surprise and I didn't even raise the binoculars for a better look.

The dinner provider then proceeded to serve dinner to the two eaglets, and it was obvious  they were hungry.  When the meal was finished, the nesting eagle flew off while the dinner provider hopped up a short ways so that the eaglets couldn't reach him.

I waited another 30 minutes, but the second eagle did not reappear.   I will say that being a naturalist does sound interesting, but to spend hours and hours waiting for something to happen is more than I want.  (You can't read a book, as you might miss some action.)

Today I went back to the roped area, taking my lawn chair for  much easier sitting.    I waited about 45 minutes until an absent eagle appeared.  It must have been feeding time,  but dinner had to be skimpy, as there wasn't much action.  I waited another 30 minutes and the second eagle did not appear.  It was apparent that both of the parent eagles had left  earlier.

While waiting, I did notice the size of the eaglets.   They appeared to be about 3/4 grown with mostly fuzz.   A couple of times, they stood up and flapped their feather-less wings.   The nest is about 10 feet from the top of the fully grown pine tree in a three-fingered fork in the trunk.

While I'm sitting there waiting and watching,  I found it is amazing what could be heard.  Mostly it was birds, but then there are the strange noises that forced me to turn around to see if something was on the road, or coming up  the path.  I don't mind seeing things, I just don't like surprises!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Relaxing, this is hard to take

I was going to write a blog on a unique tree we learned about here in south Florida last December, but the task seemed harder than I expected.   We're also going to include a couple of photos of what is called a "Strangler Tree".   Now that I've mentioned it, I'll have more motivation to finish the task.

We have really enjoyed our stay here at DuPuis WMA park.  There are about a dozen RVs here, ranging from small ones to full sized class A units.  There is lots of space, so we are well spaced out.  A very few generators have been used, but everyone seems to be using small units that don't make much noise (when they are not next door.)

For those of you in colder climates, it sure isn't taking long to get used to these temperatures, 65 at night and 78 in the day.   Just keep it coming.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Relaxing at Dupuis Water Management area

I think it was Monday when we moved here to Dupuis WMA.   How time flys when you're enjoying life.  (That was yesterday).  So today, we journeyed over to Indiantown and did our laundry.  Those little issues just have to be done to keep the family happy.    We don't have a built in washer/dryer and even if we did, we'd run out of water if we tried to do it.   So we periodically make the journey to a commerical laundry.  This one in Indiantown is clean and only one or two other people  show  up to use it.

We have run into 6  other rigs that we've met previously boondocking here in Florida.  The real surprising thing is that these folks are real professionals at using these free locations.   What I have observed is  that they are very slow at mentioning where they have been.  It is like they don't want to give away their secret locations.  That is okay, we have a few days to discuss it again later.

There was a major weather change yesterday and I sure do love the result.  The low was about 60 degrees last night and we can handle that.  (We feel for our friends in the east and midwest getting the latest blast of winter weather.  Just keep the faith, it too shall pass!