Fort White Florida
Distance Traveled: 110 miles
I ended up traveling on I-75 for most of the way into Florida. The traffic was light for the first part of the journey through southern Georgia along the 6 lane highway system. But as I got further into Florida, the traffic continued to get heavier. Fortunately it was time to exit the highway and get back onto those country roads.
I’m camped at a small older park that caters to the weekend canoe/tubing crowd along the Ichetucknee Springs State Park. I thought I’d get a really great deal for an electric/water site which was only $110 for a week but they wouldn’t let me have one even though the park in empty. They wanted me to take a more expensive full hookup site. Either way, I guess it will do, though I was surprised when they also made me put down a $50 damage deposit, for what I’m not sure, as the sites are dirt between old trees. Can’t see where I could do much damage there, but they told me before they started the damage deposit, folks would break the water pipes and damage the power supply, destroy the picnic tables etc. And now they’ve added the accident waver to protect themselves from being sued for accidents in the park. I’ve never encountered the need to pay a damage deposit or sign a liability waver at any campground in over 20 years of camping. I’m just hoping it’s not a wild and crazy crowd on the weekend. Well, at least I’m close by to visit with my good friends John and Margie. So I’ll get off my soapbox and plan on a good visit.
If you’ve never paddled your way down a Florida river I highly recommend it. On the way back from the kayak trip the owner of the campground gave a bit of history on the area. How Andrew Jackson (pre-civil war ear) commissioned someone to create a road between Jacksonville and Tallahassee going south to the Tampa area. This was before the civil war. The guy found a well established Indian path, told Jackson the road had been completed and Jackson paid him for his work. That road is still used today, though of course it is now paved and passes right by here.
Only about a mile from where I’m staying was once the Ichetucknee plantation. It was established early on by a Mr. Mayer, if I have the name correct, who brought all of his slaves, cattle, family and built the 4 mile square plantation out of the Florida wilderness. He was very successful and since there weren’t any banks around, he would bury the gold he made from the farming operations on his property. His slaves were highly skilled laborers as he was keen on training them in many skills from blacksmithing, fence building, farming and all. If he put one of his slaves up for auction, he never got less than $3,000 per slave. And would take nothing less. There was usually quite a bidding war for them. After a number of years, Mayer was shot to death and having never shared his hiding place for all that gold, it is believed to remain buried somewhere on that original 4 mile square piece of property. Right down the street from where I’m staying. People are still try finding it, though it hasn’t been found yet.
|about an 8ft branch fell and I saw it coming down|
Back at the campground I was sitting out the other day and heard a crushing sound. As I looked across the way, I saw a huge branch come crashing down onto a campsite. Not often one actually sees a tree branch crash to the ground. Leaves and debris raining down as well. Then this morning as I took my walk around the park, I saw another smaller chunk of a tree come crashing down right in front of me. I had observed over the past couple of days that the park appears not to do any trimming except for what nature does on it’s own. There are a scattering of dead trees throughout the park which may have died due to some tree disease in the area recently. I mentioned to the owner that I’d seen the branches come crashing down and his only response was, I hope it didn’t damage anything. I mentioned that it appeared that there were quite a few dead trees/branches in the park and he replied “well trees get old and die, that‘s what they do”. Didn’t mention a thing about cutting them down or trimming the dead branches. As a camper, this is not good. Any place that doesn’t regularly have their trees trimmed of dead wood is a potential accident to the campers and their rigs. For that alone, I could not recommend this park.
Of course the main problem for most of us RV-ers is the campground that doesn’t trim the branches around or over a campsite. No RV-er wants to have branches scratching or scraping the top of their camper as they try to back into a site. Getting a rip in ones rubber roof or a scratch along the side of ones camper is never appreciated.
|my friend, John Sterpe, Florida Artist|
|John's Home that he built/added onto|
|wild ginger plant|
Not a bad way to spend a warm Florida evening with friends. (sorry, no bonfire photos)
So that’s what my first week back in Florida has been like.
- Special Note: I just got official word from Moss Park that my application for Camp Host has been reviewed and approved. I can start at any time. I plan on arriving there within the next two weeks.
More pictures on Picasa.
And shown below, I thought I’d do a day of just taking pictures of signs. You know they can often tell quite a story about an area, or in this case the campground I’m staying at. Take a look and see what impressions you get from reading them.
|no,no, no, no, no|
|not very inviting for a cabin door is it?|
|rather than fix the dilapidated swing set, the|
signs were added
|on a storage shed out front|