We spent our last week in Florida... not as planned. Our mother, staying with my oldest brother in Largo became very ill and was hospitalized for 6 days. We moved the motor home to a back parking lot at the med center which proved to be much more convenient than 3 hours of traveling every day, following a long day at bedside. The dogs enjoyed their evening romps, running free in the back 40 (so to speak) of the parking lot. Mom improved, and we brought her up to Indiana in our motor home. Today she entered a nursing home in her home town, for rehab services. We'll see how it goes.
Northern Florida roadsides were covered with carpets of pink/white/purple wildflowers. So pretty! The drive north delighted us with lovely spring time blooms. Red bud trees, Azalea in showy pink, white Dogwood in the woods, and Wisteria in full bloom was seen all through Georgia. Tennessee had jonquils and daffodils along the highways, and tender , new leaves unfolding in the trees. Kentucky was just beginning to bud, and Indiana is just now trying to wake up from a long winters' nap...at least the grass is greening up, and the tulips have poked through the soil.
Diesel prices ranged from 3.93.9 to 397.9 at the Flying J's.
Our travel days are over for a while. Helping Mom adjust, and job-hunting will fill our days for months to come.
We enjoyed our 21 months of camp-hosting, travel, and bumming around, seeing bits of America. We still have a lot to see, and to experience, but....that will be down the road for the time being.
Bon Voyage readers. Happy trails, if you're out there.
Summing it Up...
Now, that I'm way on the wrong side of sixty, I feel that being true to self is important. "I yam, what I yam." Kindness and smiles are to be given away. Women are strong. Men are more vulnerable than we believe. Husbands may come and go...but one thing I know for sure is that I will NEVAH live without a corgi or coffee in my life if I can prevent it. Come piles of dog fur or hot water!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
West of Plant City, off I-4, near exit 10 there is an unusual sight that is causing quite a stir in Florida. Frank Bates, the president of Bate's RV hopes the eight "planted" junked Airstreams will become an American roadside icon, where nearby neighbors, and Hillsbourgh county code inspectors want to shoot those hopes down. I will admit, the first time we saw it in January, our heads spun around. Art or Trash, has always been a personal point of view.
I'm always marveling at the bird life as we drive on county roads, especially on back roads, and spotted a rosetta spoonbill this week. I thought it was a flamingo, but the area was all wrong, and Kathy, one of the Winnebago gang here in Florida this winter too, identified it correctly for me.
The corgi kids had a good time at one of the Largo parks with Jim, son David, and grandsons Issac/Isaiah while I visited with Mom. We stopped at Crabby Bills for broiled grouper, salad and hushpuppies, and watched the sunset on Tampa Bay, then drove the new section of Florida Turnpike on the way home, just to see where we would end up.
This week we hope to do the Dade City Trolley Tour of their historical downtown and Jim hopes to visit the Florida Air Museum near Lakeland. We're counting down the days left in Florida, and will head home on Monday the 24th of March.
Lil' Emmy's personality shines now at 13 months old, and I stole this pic off her mama's site as I thought it was so cute. Hey, it's a grammy thing....
Don't forget to wear green tomorrow, unless you enjoy a good pinch!
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Don't you just love that term for rv'ers? I saw it in the Tampa Tribune today as we read over coffee and cokes in McDonald's, reading newspapers left by others, on a rainy afternoon. We felt guilty sitting there, watching the rain, then had to laugh that many others, with gray hair too, were doing the same thing!
We've been walking the dogs around the fenced outer perimeter of the rv park several times a day for their doo-doo run, and Jim noted the sandy piles pushed up against the fence with big holes that looked like dens. He said they looked like gopher tortoise burrows. Lo' and behold we saw one, about 10 inches in diameter, up close and personal. Jake was totally intrigued and the tortoise made his way to the black hole of his home, and slid on in, leaving us (his personal nightmare) behind. We saw a much smaller one down the row of pushed up sand. I think we counted 8 or 9 burrows today, with 4 or 5 of them being actively used.
Gopher Tortoise are the only native tortoise to the United States. They're found in the southeastern states; in north and central Florida, where there is dry, deep, sandy soil. They dig burrows up to 30 feet long, and 12 feet deep. These burrows become a haven for many other animals too. Raccoons raid the burrows for the ping pong sized eggs of the tortoise. The tortoise can have a diameter up to a foot, and weigh as much as 29 pounds! They eat grass and weeds, and have front legs that are strong, shovel-like, and perfect for digging. It's been fun to see them on our dog walks.
The squirrels chase each other round and round the base of the live oak, and acorns plunk on the rv roof. Bright red cardinals and doves grace us with their beauty. It's nice here in the very back row, and we're so happy we were able to move off the busy road with no shade, or nature near us.
Yesterday, we spent the day at Lazy Days, one of the largest RV dealers in the nation, for necessary rv repair work. The front two hydraulic jacks were leaking, and they replaced the solenoids. Our Hoosier Winnebago pals were there, and we all shared the free lunch that Lazy Days gives daily, five days a week. Jim even attended a free seminar on Cummins engines. The dogs and I sat (me on a lawn chair and they on cushy St. Augustine grass) under a shady live oak tree in the parking lot with a blue sky above, waving to all the rv'ers coming in and out. I would never do this in Indiana!!
Monday, March 03, 2008
We drive by this park as we go to Plant City, or Lakeland and finally turned into it's woodsy setting on the last day of February. You'd never know that it's 'winter' in other spots of the nation...it's so deceptive, wintering in Florida...you have to keep reminding yourself that it isn't already summer.
Anyway~Hillsborough River State Park is one of the original state parks in Florida. The CCC built it in 1936, and the park opened in 1938. The 111 campsites are roomy and woodsy. Water and electic, and plentiful shower buildings for twenty bucks a night. There are seven miles of nature trails at different levels for hikers, photographers, or middle-agers like us with corgi dogs; to enjoy the natural scenic beauty.
The Rapids Nature Trail is the most popular, running a little over a mile, is mostly on boardwalks along the Hillsborough River. Rapids, running over the carved out limestone is the perfect place to stop and oooh-ahhh, and hopefully spot a river gator. Cypress trees stain the water to a tea color, and their knees rise up from boggy areas. ( I love cypress trees with their skirt ruffles.)
Canoe/kayak people can rent both at the park if they didn't bring their own. Towards the back of the park, there is a large gift shop/cafe' which serves breakfast and lunch daily, and a large pool with bathhouses is there as well. The pool can hold 216 people. For campers, getting in is free, otherwise swimming is 2 bucks.
Fort Foster is the historical center of the park with artifacts for the history buffs. It is a replica of the 1837 fort built during pioneer times, and the 2nd Seminole Indian War.
We talked to park volunteers, one from Nova Scotia, and picked up our own application, thinking it would be a cheaper way to winter in Florida, and contribute something at the same time.