Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Suwannee River SP

Another trip to the park for a 4 day, 3 night camping trip.
Arrived at park around noon. We had some trouble departing due to an electric step that would not retract. We sporadically have had problems with it since we bought the RV but haven’t known whether it’s operator error, low battery or a problem in the step. We had low house batteries but it still wouldn’t retract with the generator running.
It’s supposed to automatically retract when the motor is started…it didn’t.
Finally, I decided to move the key in the accessory location. There are several accessories locations for the RV and we have never figured out where to leave the key while we are camping or parked. As soon as I moved the key the step retracted. Unfortunately Al was under the RV trying to figure why it wouldn’t retract. He was jabbed in the chest but not too bad. Don’t know if the accessory key is the problem or not but we’ll try to remember next time and also plan to re-read the manuals. They were not clear.
We got site #20 this trip and Al thought he could get satellite here. He messed with it for a good while and still no signal. Frustrating. He had a football game he wanted to watch between FSU and USF. Missed that!
Before we left we got a new digital converter box, hooked it up to the TV at home and got a great picture on multiple channels. We thought we finally solved the no local TV issue. Got here, realized the satellite wasn’t going to work so we went to plan B. Guess what….the digital convertor box couldn’t pick up any signal here either!! Don’t know if it’s the area or we have another problem. Went to Walmart and bought an antenna you could mount outside. It looked like it had been used before as there was dirt inside the connections. Of course it didn’t work. Gotta take it back today, which is no problem since on our trip there yesterday, we ended up leaving a bag there. Left the BEER, COOKIES, and foil. A senior moment, I guess.
Today we got up at 5:30, waited for the sun to come up and went on a 2 mile hike/geo-cache hunt. We walked the beautiful lime sink trail and finally found a geo-cache that we had tried 3-4 times to find before. It was right where it was supposed to be!
Tried out out new Oxygenics shower head and it worked great! RV showers are notoriously bad. This one was recommended on RV-Net forum by a lot of members so I felt it would be worth the money. It was just under $50 but worth every penny. The pressure was much higher and it stayed the same. The temperature stayed constant instead of hot/cold like the old shower head. I took a LONG shower and loved it. Al just got out and liked it as well, although not as much as me.
We’re heading to Lee, Florida to Madison Blue Springs. I think we had been there before but can’t remember.
We went to Madison Blue Springs State Park. We had an old camping book that said they had campsites there. They don’t, but it is a beautiful spring. We’ve been to a lot of the Florida Springs but this was was unique and very pretty. It was right on the Suwanee River. There is a large hole in the limestone where the beautiful blue water flows down a rocky run and into the main part of the very dark brown/black river. There is a platform where the kids were jumping off into the spring. There is an underwater cavern there that they apparently allow cave diving. There was a sign saying not to disturb the ropes or trails. If you don’t have a rope to find your way back from a cave dive and your light fails, or you silt up the water while panicing, you won’t find your way out of the cave. A lot of divers have lost their lives in Florida caves. Al and I did a LOT of scuba diving and were very comfortable being underwater with sharks, barracudas, etc, but never had any desire to descend miles underwater into a dark narrow cave. They aren’t all that pretty to look at either. I’ve seen lots of photos and they al l basically look alike and no pretty fish, corals or sponges to look at. Only black except for what you see in front of your light. It’s worse than a night dive, at least there you see pretty colored fish when you shine your light on them. Anyway, no cave diving for us.
The kids were having a ball jumping and diving into the cool 72 degree water.
There was a kayak launch ramp there but you had to tote your boat a long way down a very narrow and winding trail to get to the water. It would have been a great part of the river to paddle, but required way too much effort.
We were looking around for other launches around the area and came upon the Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park. We’ve heard a lot about this campground. They have a lot of concerts there and it’s a very popular place to camp in this area. Willie Nelson is going to be there next month and I’d love to go see him.
The park is huge and leads all the way down to the river where there is a Canoe Outpost where you can rent canoes, or kayaks and they also have a livery service where you can float down stream and they’ll pick you up. We met a lady who’s boyfriend worked there and she said he leads guided canoe/kayak trips that start in the Okafeenokee Swamp and go along downstream. They camp out for days and feed you gourmet meals at night. Sounds kind of fun!
They had a beautiful WHITE sandy natural beach there with the softest and prettiest white sand. I have seen whiter sand on occasion but it was pretty white for a river. This photo doesn’t do it justice.
The park is nice with lots to do. They have a pool, camp store, golf cart rental, kayak and canoe rentals, ice cream shop, music hall for concerts, geo-caching sites with caches that you can find clues from a crossword puzzle and don’t need a GPS. They also have a lot of trails and horse camping sites and places to keep your horses. It’s a nice park, but a little more expensive than the State Parks we usually stay at. We might try it next time though. There was a lot to do right inside the park.
We headed back to town via Walmart. We exchanged the bad tv antennae we got yesterday for one that hopefully will work.
On the way back we spotted this Gopher Tortoise by the road having a snack. There are a lot of these endangered tortoises in this area and at this park. I thought he was kinda cute.


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