Saturday, October 30, 2010

Home Again

We left Suwannee Valley Campground about noon yesterday and arrived home safely.  The weather finally cooled down Friday and we sure hated to leave. 

Al got the motor home backed into it’s home easily with no re-do’s…first shot, right in the space.  It doesn’t usually go in that easily.  I don’t know how he does it.

We unloaded the necessities, and figured the rest can wait.  The house looked so nice when we came home…so clean and neat.  It was a shame nobody came to look at it!  We’re working hard to make it look more “lived in.”

Unfortunately we had a cat ride home under the bedroom slide.  Before we left the campground, we stuffed pillows into the opening by the slide so that no kitty could get in there.  They can only get  in there when the slide is in.  By the time we got set up and ready to go, one kitty was missing.  Yes you guessed it.  Medium!  Dolly Parton stayed out and rode home just fine, just not in the cage like we prefer.  In fact she rode part way on the bedroom dresser.  She was perfectly calm until we got  home and started unloading, then she got a little nervous.  I decided to make no attempt to catch her and bring her the house, so that she could keep Medium company.

So it’s 24 hours since we’ve been home and now I have two of the little “Stinkers” under the bed.   I”m sitting up here reading blogs and killing time to see if they come out.  I know they’ve been out of their hiding spot,  but as soon as they hear someone coming,  they must run back under the bed. 

They’ve been eating and using the kitty pan, so they’re okay.  I’m getting frustrated with them!  We felt sure we had blocked off their entrance well enough, but apparently not.  Plan B, next time.  I guess the next step it to take the food away from them.  When they get hungry, maybe they’ll like me better.

Hey, at least they’re all loaded for our Christmas trip! 


The garage sale went well today. It’s the end of the month and we were hoping people had some money, but it was a little slow.     We had a slow period about 9:30 and almost quit, but then we got a few people and made a few larger sales.  Al finally got rid of his Bose speakers.   We ended up with about $115.  Not a lot, but it’s adding up.  A lot of the Christmas decorations are gone, but not the two trees. 

After we left, we stopped by a place that holds local auctions.  We talked to the auctioneer and he is going to come to the house next week and look at some of our stuff.  He can help us figure out the best way to sell it.  There is an auction tonight at 6pm.  We looked around and there was some nice  stuff.  A lot of antiques.  I think these small towns are good places to find antiques, and apparently they get some out of town buyers.   Maybe he can help us with some of the china and the furniture later on.  Al isn’t sure he wants to sell any silver now with the price of it going up.

Tomorrow we may head out and do some artifact hunting.   On a diving trip into the Suwannee River many years ago Al found a very old molar of a Mastodon. The rivers are so low, we think it would be a great time to find some treasures!  Yeah, we need more stuff!

Al’s Mastodon Tooth










They looked like this

download (9) They became extinct about 11,000 years ago.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Big Shoals State Park

White Springs, Florida

We slept in until 7am this morning, had a couple cups of coffee and got out the door by about 8:30 am.  That’s a record for us lately.  We seem to have good intentions, but manage to piddle around too long in the morning and don’t manage to get out the door until late morning.

Our goal was to explore Big Shoals State Park.  It’s a a day use park and offers no camping facilities.  

They  have one work camper site though that is very nice.  The only problem I see with the site is the sewer hook up is next door.   It appears that you have to either have a real long sewer hose, or move your Rv to dump your tanks.  It would be a wonderful place to volunteer.

Here is the description of the state park from their website:

Big Shoals State Park features the largest whitewater rapids in Florida. Limestone bluffs, towering 80 feet above the banks of the Suwannee River, afford outstanding vistas not found anywhere else in Florida. When the water level on the Suwannee River is between 59 and 61 feet above mean sea level, the Big Shoals rapids earn a Class III Whitewater classification, attracting thrill-seeking canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Over 28 miles of wooded trails provide opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing.


There is a 3.4 mile long paved trail called the Woodpecker trail.  We did a short walk on it, but it didn’t go near the river, so we headed back after about half a mile.  Al was wondering what his heart rate was since we were walking pretty fast.  Let me see now…maybe Droid knows?  Sure enough there is an App (several actually) so that you can check your heart rate!   Later we wondered how far we had gone and didn’t have our little gps with us.  I checked the Apps and found several of those as well.  Yesterday we found the compass we were looking for and today these two apps.  I think you just have to keep your mind open to the possibility of what you may want and check.  Chances are, there’s an app for it :)

This is the Woodpecker Trail.  It would be a nice bike trail.


We found a nice two mile round trip trail along the river to the shoals.  The river is very low and the shoals are more exposed than normal. 




The Big Shoals




Some White Ibis feeding in the low waters.



The Turkey Vultures have arrived. 



It’s a real nice park to spend a day. There is a nice picnic area and lots of trails for hikers, mountain bikers or the paved trail for regular bikes.

The temperature started to warm up and we headed into town to the Telford Hotel Bed and Breakfast.  They have a nice lunch buffet with pretty good southern cooking. 

We got some rain this afternoon and our bedroom slide is still leaking.  We were hoping we had fixed it, but apparently not.  Back to square one.

We’re leaving tomorrow so that we can be home for our Saturday garage sale.  We like getting rid of stuff and the money is kind of nice too :)  Still no offers on the house : (

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Peacock Springs Slough

Mayo, Florida

We changed our plans this morning and decided to take a drive over to Peacock Springs State Park.

This is a photo I borrowed from the website.  This area is a cave diver’s paradise.  There are many underwater caves to explore.  Al and I never had any desire to do any cave diving and never took any certification classes for it.  It’s a very specialized sport and you can easily die if you’re not trained properly.  People come from all over the country and world to dive in the Florida cave system.

download (8)

The park has two springs and 6 sinkholes.  Cave divers have explored and surveyed nearly 33,000 feet of underwater passages at Peacock Springs. This park features one of the longest underwater cave systems in the continental United States.

We’ve seen much prettier springs, but it was a nice day to get out and explore a little.  We talked to a couple about our age (old) who had just come up from a two hour dive.  The cave openings can be pretty small and tunnel like, and they they might open up into a large room.   A lot of cave divers have died in these caves over the years.  There is one way in and one way out and if you lose your way you’re in trouble.  If you panic and silt up the water you lose your visibility.  If your flash light quits, you lose all light.  If you run out of air, you can’t just pop up to the surface like you can in the open water. They run out of air, panic, and die deep inside the cave. Some of these caves go hundreds of feet  down and  miles and miles.  You can easily get lost.  They  have to send someone in to retrieve the dead bodies. 

This is a day use only park and mostly used by cave divers.  The springs had a covering of Duckweed  on the water which looked like green slime.  We understand that underneath that green slime was a beautiful cobalt blue water.


We talked to a female park ranger about volunteer positions.  She told us that they have river front camping all along the Suwannee and they have camp host positions.  She invited us to go down to Peacock Slough and check out the camp host site.  Was it ever nice.  The public can only access these sites by water.

We met Fred and Ann who have been volunteering there since August.  They have a real nice FHU site, with a washer/dryer, good satellite hook-up and a beautiful site right along the river.  It’s a beautiful area and they have it all to them selves except for the occasional overnighter.


Here is a view of the river.



This is a campground for people in  boats, canoes and kayaks who bring tents and just want someplace to camp for the night while paddling the Suwannee River.  There is only one campsite for rv’s and that belongs  to the camphost.  They have 6 wooden screen rooms that paddlers can stay in for free.   There is electricity, ceiling fans, grills, hooks for their clothes, water, picnic table, and a restroom and showers next door.    It’s completely free!  There is no furniture, but you can bring your sleeping bag and be pretty comfy.



A lot of the people who stay there just bring their tents right inside and spend the night.  You sure can’t beat the price!

There are also regular campsites overlooking the river, still free.


The volunteer positions fill up rather quickly and the next ones are due in November and will stay through June.  You can’t find a better campsite.

We understand there are river camps along the Suwannee River and all have host positions. 

This is a picture I took of a beautiful field of Goldenrod.  Pretty, isn’t it?


We then headed over to Madison Blue Springs State Park.  It’s another day use park and there are also underwater caves and caverns.  We saw a few divers there  there today.




It was a little late in the day so it isn’t as pretty as when the sun is right over head.  I think the photos I took last fall were better, but this is what I got today.

We headed home and hope to watch Survivor.  Our good satellite with local channels only lasted one night and  now we only get the cable channels.  We will either walk over to the clubhouse or set up our antennae for the local stations…which is my vote.

Tomorrow we plan to head over to Big Shoals State Park and explore that a little.   It’s another park on the Suwannee River.

Oh, I forgot to mention.  I had another trip and fall this morning.  I think I’m getting klutzy in my old age.  I was stepping up to go to the bathroom and m big toe got caught in my pajama leg and tripped me!  Almost hit the wall before I managed to catch myself.  Another freak accident.

Still nothing from our potential home buyer. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Way Down Upon the Suwannee River

Stephen Foster Folk Cultural Center State ParkWhite Springs, Florida

We decided to head over to Stephen Foster Folk Cultural Center State Park, here in White Springs, Florida.  It is one of the nicest state parks that we’ve ever been to.  We initially had planned on staying there, but changed our mind because we wanted sewer hook-ups, and our campground is a little cheaper and better for our budget.  Next time we’ll probably stay here.

The Suwannee River runs through the park,  but there are no campsites along the river.  The water level is extremely low now and it’s a long way down!

We took a walk along the riverbank near the kayak and canoe launch area.  It was muggy and warm, but nice otherwise.

You can see the normal water levels in some of these pictures.  What you are looking at is the river floor, which is not normally visible.  We looked for some artifacts and found what appeared to be a piece of petrified wood but we were hoping to find some arrowheads or sharks teeth.




Not all the river was quite as low as the above pictures.


We brought the kayaks but decided against attempting to paddle the river.  You’d have to carry them over the sand bars.  Not my idea of a relaxing paddle down the Suwannee. 

The campground is one of the nicest we’ve seen.  The sites are very private with heavy vegetation between them.  There are plenty of sites that are big rig friendly and we saw plenty of large rigs parked very comfortably.  The sites are $20 and the cabins are $100.  

The cabins appeared to be fairly new and nice.


Here are a few photos of some of the nicest camp sites.

IMG_0430  IMG_0432

We aren’t sure how easily it would be to pick up a satellite signal.   We were wishing we had a compass with us, then I remembered, we had the Droid phone.  Surely with all those apps, I could find a compass.   Droid didn’t fail me.   How about this for a nice compass?   I had it upside down, but it still worked :)


I have decided I much prefer the Droid’s GPS function over our brand new Garmin.  The main thing I like about the Droid GPS is it’s satellite view.  The other thing is all I have to do is tell it where I want to go and it takes me there.  No keypad necessary :)   I’ll take some pictures of both so you can see the difference of the screens.

The  camp sites were angled so that you could easily back in, not the 90 degree angle that you see at many campgrounds.  It was a very well laid out campground and the sites were plenty large and level.  There was no shortage of great sites and the  roads were all paved. 

Some of our favorite sites were, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.  I cannot guarantee getting a signal from your satellite though.  There is heavy tree cover.

After we visited the camp ground we toured the rest of the park.  It’s very large and there is a lot to do. 

They have a craft area with several building for different types of crafts.  Apparently they have demonstrations every week.  Today we saw a blacksmithing demo, which was quite interesting.




I saw one that I knew both Paulette and Karen would be interested in :)  It’s a little hard to read but it was weaving and quilting.


They had a little craft store and Al wanted to buy a t-shirt.   He was kidding.   He knows he’s never getting another t-shirt :)  

   I did find an interesting seed that I wanted to buy and see if I could get it to grow.  If we weren’t selling the house, I’d have bought these seeds and planted them next spring.


There is a museum dedicated to the composer Stephen Foster.  He made the Suwannee River from his song “Old Folks at Home” which is more often known as “Way Down upon the Suwannee River.”  


Stephen Foster, wrote Old Suzanna, Camp town Races,   along with Old Folks at home.  He wrote over 200 songs, but died in his 30’s.  He was born in Pennsylvania and it’s thought that he never even saw the Suwannee River. 

There is a very nice tribute to him in this museum though with scenes depicting some of his famous songs.


The Carillon Tower plays a bit of his music every 15 minutes.  At noon it played an entire song. 


We spent an enjoyable afternoon at this State Park and highly recommend it. 



The Bunny photo of the day.  These are not wild rabbits.  The owners of the park have a little boy who owns them. 


Tomorrow we’re off to Big Shoals State Park.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bunnies, Bunnies, Bunnies

 White Springs, Florida

I love anything furry and these guys are not only furry, but very cute.
IMG_0424 IMG_0384
We didn’t do much today.   We were kind of tired so we just messed around. 
This is our campsite. 
We brought the kayaks, but the Suwanee River is very  low right now.  I’ve never seen it so low.
This is where I was when I fell.  The ground was hard packed sand and didn’t look slippery, but that one spot was definitely a bit slippery. 
The Suwanee is a black water river and the dark water makes for some beautiful reflections. 
A few fall colors also.
We found a nice little park today called Falling Creek Park.  Its along the Suwanee River and has a pretty nice waterfall when the water is a little higher.  We took a walk down to the river, not expecting to see any water “falling”.  We were surprised there was still enough water to make somewhat of a waterfall.
The river drops from a limestone ledge down about 20 feet.  It was kind of different.
I’d like to come back when the river water is not quite so low.  This is a picture from the map of what it could look like.
The picture isn’t so clear, but maybe you can see it well enough.
The last time we were at the Suwanee River, it was much higher.  I need to post some before and after pictures.
Tomorrow we hope to get over to Big Shoals State Park.  They have a nice trail along the river.  It’s a day use park, but they have a nice work camper site.  Maybe someday we will work camp there.