First Timers at Wal-Mart

first night at walmart


We are home!  And, for the very first time, we spent the night at walmart, something that I have been very hesitant to do!  I’ve been just plain ole chicken, worried that something unpleasant would happen.  In retrospect, we would not have chosen a Saturday night as there was quite a bit of noise with kids partying and engines racing but I never felt threatened.  And all was quiet after a while.

It was difficult to leave paradise….as some of our northern neighbors called Salt Springs…but it was time.  Thought that we could miss the rain if we left Saturday because showers were predicted for FL on Sunday and Tennessee on Monday but I forgot about middle Georgia where it poured buckets on us.

Our last days in FL have been pleasant with beautiful weather and I got involved with something that I never, ever imagined myself doing.  I have said before that I do not do crafts!


 Yes, I made a pine needle basket!  Thanks to Margaret and Nancy and their patience with me!

Unfortunately it took a lot of 3 or 4 days and my blogging and internet time took a back seat.  But you can tell that I am very pleased with myself and got in touch with my (imagined) Cherokee roots.


We had a blue sky and bright sun for our travel today…arrived home at 11:30 AM with enough energy to get most of the important unpacking done.

Searched the yard this afternoon for signs of spring!  I love to see my old plant friends return.  Can’t wait for the warm weather to come and stay.




lenten roses



grape hyacinth

A Florida trip wrap up will be coming soon with accounting on gas and camping fees….just need to get some rest and a little TV time.


Spring is Coming: Life is Good!


Today is a perfect warm breezed day at Salt Springs campground!  It’s around 75 degrees and the balmy air is inspiring me to do absolutely nothing!

Here in the northern half of Florida signs of spring are all around.  This dogwood in bloom is a great reminder of the coming April display at home.  The red maples that were budding here in January now have their new leaves and little wildflowers are peaking through the pine needles.  Purple azaleas are displaying full blooms in many of the quaint old neighborhoods.


For the past week we have been in the primitive section of Salt Spring cg roughing it without hookups.  There was no room in the electric section and, surprisingly, the waiting list for electric sites was 3 pages long!

The price is right at $9.25 with the senior pass and the privacy and quiet during the week is excellent!  Surviving the past 3 day holiday weekend is another story!  The campground was full of children screaming, dogs barking, and youngsters partying. 

But they are all gone now and serenity has returned.DSC_4848

This is our last week.  The trek home will start soon…still trying to decide whether just to stay here and enjoy this special place or to leave early enough to explore some places on the way home.

With our current state of mind, we will probably do like the sunbathers above and just stay here.




Resurrection fern and lichens


More Springs and thoughts of home


Is it time to go home?  That’s the question that I’m asking today.  The clues are there….I’m tired, impatient and feel deprived.  Two nights ago my husband and I got drawn to a Chinese buffet and gorged like heathens. 

I am missing the news…even though the online stuff looks like nothing has changed except a big blizzard and the pope resigning.  And missing some of my mindless tv programs like Revenge and Nashville.  And missing a good, solid internet connection.

So today finds me in Chiefland, FL’s library….on a perfectly beautiful Tuesday afternoon!  If I am very truthful…I could do what I am doing online in the Casita, but I need a little break from my sweetie….maybe hours more than I have!

So sad that I need my space….he just bought me an early Valentine present, a tiny box of chocolates from Walmart as who knows how far we will be from a store come 2/14?  (Tiny at my request.)

Sunday we left our great little campground at Lake Dorr driving across the state to Manatee Springs State Park joining two other Casita owners camping here.  It has been fun helping one of them get introduced to her new trailer as this is her first outing.

The spring is also beautiful and the short run winds up at the Suwanee River.  But, we are just about springed out and have no interest in kayaking.


The water here is deeper than Salt Springs, our normal swimming place, but it does not entice me to get wet.

Suwanee River at Manatee Springs run

The Suwanee River from the Manatee Springs boardwalk.

Backing up a little…..our week at Lake Dorr was wonderful.  The privacy soothed me after camping with neighbors too close!

These guys were our neighbors last week.


graceful Sandhill crane

Clyde the beggar catbird beggar catbird

We named him Clyde, the Beggar Catbird!

Every meal had him at our side with his piercing eyes wanting a handout.  We don’t feed the wildlife but he was hard to resist!

Another Spring!

Also took a short paddle on Alexander Springs which was less than 10 miles from Lake Dorr…..the pictures are beginning to all look alike.


Tomorrow we return to the Ocala NF…hoping to get back into Salt Springs cg, but it may be full.  Not really ready to head back home…the 4 letter “s” word is in the forecast!

Maybe another meal out will make everything better!




Lake Dorr and a new battery


After having a great week at Myakka River SP we wondered where do we want to be for the last part of our winter get away?

Don’t quite understand the pull but here we are back in the Ocala National Forest, dry camping at Lake Dorr.  I felt like I had entered another paradise when we drove in on Sunday afternoon.  The camping loop was so quiet, a welcome change from the weekend chaos at the  state parks.  There’s not much here….a campground with about 30 sites, less than third full, and a boat launch with a few picnic tables.  And the big beautiful Lake Dorr.




And the price was right!


We looked for a site to accommodate our solar panels….the sites all had sun filtering through the tall pines.


The pines were interspersed with palmettos….the sites were spacious and private and the bathhouse looked new.



This was the first time in a long while that we could leave the blinds up at night….no neighbors!  Above is our back yard.


Our solar system had been living in the back of the truck for weeks.  I had wanted to use it but we had electric hookups everywhere that we had been.

We jumped right in and got it set up, but, wait, something was not right!  Last year I always saw a 13.1 V or more coming up on the monitor.  It was reading 11.6! I unhooked everything and checked my wiring…tried again and got the same results. Gave up as the sun went down. 

It was cloudy the next morning and I was through fooling with that cursed battery.  It had been overheating for the past three weeks…once got so hot that my pillow was warm on the bottom!  (Yes, the battery was in a ventilated enclosed area accessed from the outside like most Casitas.)  So off to Umatilla where we found a NAPA store….so far I am pleased.




Wish I had bought a new battery weeks ago! 

Update on the refrigerator problem….

It seems that the propane regulator was not applying enough pressure.  We have had great cooling since Gist RV adjusted it.

Currently doing laundry in Umatilla just so I can finish this post!  It really had been a long time since we had washed but a depleted laptop prompted this laundry visit.

Enjoying being close to a few stores after being way out in the boonies for weeks.   Treated ourselves last night and drove five miles into town for a McDonald’s ice cream!  Simple pleasures that we always take for granted, like ice cream and long hot showers, are so much more appreciated after their absence!