Friday, January 25, 2013

This Was a Bad Idea


Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park (high 75, low 50)


We didn’t get a very early start yesterday leaving Tampa.  We had been sitting in the same location for about 6 weeks, so we had really settled in.  It took a while to remember how to get ready to get on the road, and of course we had to wait for Baxter to do his morning business and poop out a rubber band!

We planned to top off our propane tank on the way out.  We wanted to be sure we had plenty of propane if it should be cold enough that we’d need to run our furnace.  We never quite believe the gauges telling us how empty or full the tank is and I don’t think we ever even checked the gauge.

Quail Run has a gated entrance where you have a garage door style clicker to open the gate.

They have a propane refill station right outside the entrance gate, but it’s on the wrong side….unless you go out the in gate.  There is a big oak tree that makes it difficult to exit the correct side and move left to the fill station.

We spoke to a lady at the office and asked if we could exit the entrance side.  She said ok but to let us know so that they could have someone to help us so that no one tried to enter the park when we were there.  After we hooked up, we called her and told her we were coming. Long story short, the automatic gate started closing before the motor home had gotten through.  I was standing outside and got the pleasure of watching the gate close into the side of the MH.  Ugh!!  I grabbed it trying to pull it away before it banged against it again.  About that time one of the owners came by and opened it again. 

This was not a good plan.

Fortunately, the gate hit the trim piece on the side that acts like body side molding on a car.  It left some white paint on that piece, but it didn’t do any other damage.  We may be able to rub it out.   All that trouble to find out we only needed 1.4 gallons!  


The rest of our 150 mile drive to Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park was uneventful.

I guess we got lucky, because the 5 mile campground road was nice and smooth.  Sherry and David had mentioned that it was in terrible shape when they were here a few weeks ago.  As it turned out, one of the camp hosts just re did it on Wednesday! 

We were here last June, and chose the same site.  It took our satellite dish a little while to lock on and for a while we didn’t think we would have satellite. It finally locked on and we have satellite, and even internet,  although it’s only 1x.  Other than being out of level, we’re good.  We’ll work on that today.

We couldn’t wait to get outside and explore, so we took a walk on a trail by the campground.

It didn’t take long until we started seeing wildlife, although so far not as much as we did in June.

This Red Shouldered Hawk seemed to want his picture taken as he kept flying right in front of us and landing.


I believe this next bird is an American Kestrel.  He was high up in the top of a tree and I had some trouble holding the camera still enough to zoom in enough.


We saw quite a few deer.


and of course, an alligator.


I believe this bird is a Savannah Sparrow.  Maybe Judy can verify.


Here in the prairie we have found the best place to see wildlife is along the 5 mile campground trail.   Last night right before sunset, we took a drive up the road in search of wildlife.  We saw some strange bird we couldn’t identify and some rabbits, but not much else.


  1. You are right on with all of your bird IDs. :)

  2. Oppps... those little accidents happen, good thing not too much damage.

  3. Whew you dodged a little bullet and all for 1.25 gallons. Glad it was a minor scratch.

    Lucky you on the campground road. The washboard kept us at 5mph on the road in but I just love that it is so far in.

    Sound like you are doing great on wildlife on your first day. I was pretty sure you'd find fewer than you did during the summer. But I'm anxious to hear about your next days to see what you come up with. We saw the kestral but never close enough to get a picture like that. Well done!

  4. Sorry about the gate damage. Great pictures of the animals and birds!

  5. Glad there wasn't any major damage. I had some people problems the last time we filled up on propane at a park. I had waited for three residents to get portable bottles filled while Craig sat in the rig in position to pull into the filling area. A guy ulled his pickup in front of Craig. I got upset and told him we were next in line. He got in a huff because he said he was a long time resident in the park and only had a portable tank to fill. We wil our "huge" RV should have to wait. The park attendant stayed above it all, but just told Craig to pull on in too. The hose could reach past the pickup! The whole scene made me upset!

  6. WOW....I love your photos! The hawk on the fence post is magnificent. Went you a little up close and personal with the alligator? I might have been a little scared.....but probably would have snapped the picture too....thank goodness for the vibration control that fixes my shaky hands!

    I am so looking forward to more photos...

    Have a great day.

  7. Some days are just not fun when things like that happen. Believe me, I can so relate. But you have gotten some incredible pictures.

  8. You dodged a bullet for sure. A little white paint should buff out. It could have been much worse.

    Glad the day turned out well, great pictures of the birds and gator. :c)

  9. Happy to hear you didn't have any more damage than a paint scrape.

    I hear you on taking photos of American kestrels sitting in the very top of a tree. I took one like that too at the Audubon Wetlands a couple of weeks ago. I don't know if my camera has a vibration control or not, but the picture turned out really good. Yours did too.

  10. Looks like a happy ending to a bumpy start. Enjoy the rest of your stay.

  11. Great photos, Karen. Makes me want to get back to a more rural setting once again...Seeing all that wildlife makes up for the bar hitting the rig, well, maybe! :-)

  12. I always worry about those darned gates when we have to go through one of them. Glad you only had a light scrape.

    Beautiful photos of all the wildlife - even the gator!!


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