Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012-6 Back on the Road, Inverness to Destin Florida



Campground: Econfina River Resort: 4705 Econfina River Road, Lamont FL, 32336
Local: (850) 584-2135,PA rate: $12.50, Normal Price: $25.00.  Full hookups, couple of pull-thrus for short timers.  8 over air TV stations.  Great location for fishing.

Campground: Geronimo RV Resort, 75 Arnett Lane, Destin / Miramar Beach , Florida - 32550 Local: (850) 424-6801, PA rate: $22.00 - $24.50, Normal Price: $44.00 - $49.00  Full hookups w/cable Tv approx. 75 channels.  I was put in the overflow/pull thru sites which are kind of on the edge of the Rv park, but for half off I can’t complain.  One and a half blocks to the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.
I’d like to say I’ve been running around in a flurry getting ready to head out, but truth be told, I’m so organized that I’m ready to leave without hardly any effort what so ever.  I’ve even had time to order a new sign for my camper since I have officially christened it The Dream Catcher.  I’m sure most of you know what a dream catcher is.  Indians create these webbed designs out of string, usually with feathers and beads around the outside boarders.  They are then hung overhead to catch bad dreams and only let good ones through.  Since my camper is affording me the ability to make my dreams come true, it’s like I’m catching all those dreams of travel and adventure throughout the years and making them come to life.  I think it’s a pretty good name for the camper.

We had our last Travel Adventure club meeting yesterday, sharing tips and thoughts about traveling all over the U.S.  Jumping all over the map from  Washington to Wyoming, Colorado and Montana to Pennsylvania.  Everyone sharing their favorite places to visit.   It’s been a fun club to create and I’m hoping for the chance to refine the format and do it again at another park next year.  My maps are now highlighted and covered with lots of new places to explore.

Retirement is as much fun as a person decides to make it and I’ve found that learning and doing something new each day really adds to the experience.  The second component is being able to share all those things I’ve learned along the way with others, the travel club being a good example.  And of course writing this Blog is part of sharing those experiences and having you along on the adventure for another year of travel is all the more fun.

And during my last few days at 1,000 Palms, it’s been eventful with lots of snake sightings… including a large striped rat snake near my truck today.  Got one of the workers to come over and carry it off into the woods.  The park is bordered by swamp land and the Withlacoochee River so I’d have to say it’s a pretty good breeding ground for snakes.

The rest of my time has been spent at the swimming pool, where they’ve added a nice shade cabana… table and chairs have been added so far though the owners are concentrating more on the new fun park they’re installing for the summer months. From what I gather a bunch of blow up slides and oversized games will be installed along with a large store up front.

So my last day finally arrived in the park and I was able to get the park staff to bring more firewood to the bonfire for one last night around the campfire with some of the park residences.  Originally I’d mentioned my desire for one last campfire to Carol and Don.  Carol works the front office and manages the park and their just two of the nicest people in the whole park.  They thought it a wonderful idea and said they would make it happen and even suggested Wed., my last day in the park for the campfire.  But alas, wouldn’t you know it, they changed their plans and went out to dinner instead.  I was still able to have a wonderful campfire with the other park residences and we all enjoyed one last evening together.  As I reflected on the way things turned out, I realized it was just another indication of the way the personnel handle things around the park.  Going part way, but usually not showing up “metaphorically speaking” in the end.

Thursday morning found me packed up and ready to go.  I checked my tires and filled them with air as needed then had to go next door to a big motor home that had moved in the previous day and ask them to move their coach forward so I could hook up my truck and pull out of my campsite.  They seemed a bit miffed that I was knocking on their door, even though I’d ask them the previous day if they would mind moving their camper in the morning, even providing them with the time frame of when I planned to leave.  Initially they said it was no problem, but when morning came around they were barely out of bed at 9:15am… a bit grumpy I might add, but they did move their coach and within minutes I was out on the road again.

And what a great feeling it is, heading over to the west coast of Florida and up hwy 19/98.  A great ride along one of the least traveled roads in Florida. The camper being towed behind my Chevy truck, rolling mile after mile down the smooth black pavement.  Miles of straight as an arrow roadway boardered by tall pine trees and a mix of native Palms.  Occasionally hitting a one or two light town along the way.  All is right with the world.

My first stop is at Ecofina Rv Resort for a couple of days and then onto Destin Florida where I’ll dip my toes in the Gulf of Mexico’s waters and walk along pristine white beaches.

St Marks is just a hop and a skip down the road from Ecofina, so I drove down to take a few more pictures of the St Marks lighthouse.  Well ok about 75 pictures.  Wish I could have gotten up early enough to catch the sunrise, but early morning light turned out really well for picture taking.  Then it was off to the small hamlet of St Marks for lunch at The Riverside CafĂ© where I had an awesome blackened grouper and some really great coleslaw.  A Miller Light and the meal was perfection.  Oh and St Marks is the start of one of the rails to trails for bikes.  It heads north to Tallahassee and is approx. 16 miles long of perfectly paved blacktop through rustic country settings.

St Marks Lighthouse

Miramar/Destin Florida.

It took me about 4 hours to drive to Miramar/Destin area for my week at the beach.  I’ve got a great location that’s only about a block from the beach.  The weather appears to be spring perfect with temps in the low 80’s and 60’s at night.  I’ll be driving into Pensacola tomorrow and doing a bit of site seeing along the way.  The gulf coast is crowed with people and cars so I’ll need a little bit of patients to handle it all.  But how cool to say I’m living at the beach for a week.  Walking along the beach today sure felt good.  The breeze, the sun, the sound of the surf washing on shore.  Well before I get sand all over this report I’ll send it on out.

More photo's on Picasa...

Till next weeks adventure…. Enjoy life

Saturday, March 10, 2012

2012-5 Moving on.... Florida

Old Florida

How exciting, I’m counting down the days till I head back out on the open road.  Doing all those things required before heading out.  Checking tires, oil levels, fluids to make sure their in good condition.  Added a second battery to my camper for those dry camping excursions.

along roadside to Floral City

And I’ve been working on my Blog, cleaning it up and making a few changes.  The most noticeable one will be when a person does a search on my blog (in the upper left hand corner of the blog page).  Now if you do a search by “state”, it will show all the blog articles I’ve written about that state.  I went back through hundreds of postings and edited the Titles to include the State so the search would be more effective.  I’ve also added a favorite new link to a site called Roadside America.  It lists all those really quirky and fun places to visit in each state.  Check it out if your one of those folks that like to see the unusual and fun site seeing places.  It’s very comprehensive and I just know I’ll be using it a lot this year.

As of today, March 3rd, it’s been 3 weeks since I had my hernia surgery and I feel great.  It’s nice to finally get back into the groove and not have to be concerned about what exercise I do, how much I walk or worry about over straining myself.  And of course with my impending travels, I’ll be able to enjoy exploring our country all that much more.

At a clubhouse meeting the other day, the owner of the park introduced some new campers to the group and then reminded them to make their reservations if they were planning on coming back for next years winter season.  The wife responded, “when your over 70 you don’t buy green bananas and you definitely don’t make reservations 6 months out”.  They got a whooping response from the rest of the crowd.

Best strawberry shortcake I've ever had
Today I went to the Floral City Strawberry Festival and had the best strawberry shortcake I’ve ever had.  Homemade shortcake, real whipped cream and of course the very freshest strawberries.  They shuttle people in on school busses and it only cost $1 round trip.  Saves having to put up with heavy traffic and limited parking.

We all do projects to keep busy each day.  I have a policy of trying to do only one project a day…. That adds up to 365 projects a year. Whew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  My friend Ron decided to update his carpeting and mats in his older car.  He filled a spray bottle with a mixture of RIT dye and sprayed the carpeting and mats to bring back the color.  His car doors were wide open and the mats were sitting on the back hood drying.  Hope it works Ron.
What's in style in Florida

I’m in my final 11 days before heading back out on the open road.  My first two stops will be in North Florida.  Lamont Florida and Destin Florida.  With a 5 day stay in the Destin area, I’ll be able to enjoy the beaches before exiting Florida.

The Journey begins:  22 March 2012.