Sunday, February 14, 2016

Florida Again

We decided to try Florida in February again. Most every time we try it, it's cold and windy, yet we keep trying. 

You have to get to Naples to have a hope of consistently decent weather. Naples RV parks are $50+. Now I could afford $500 for 10 nights. But, the thought of $50 a night to park is way over the limits of my Scotch brain. 

The day before we left some friends called us from the Everglades and said the place was flooded. The COE had been holding rain water until they had to release it in mass, which flooded parts of the campgrounds in the 'glades. Second, they told us they had never seen it so busy. Vehicles were lined up at 6am waiting for any open site. Third, all the fresh water had run off the wading birds. Where do they go? Don't know, but we have seen only a few birds.

There is nothing but swamp between Naples and the Everglades, so south Florida was closed to us. 

If the rig had not been already packed, I think we would have packed it in, right then. 

So on Thursday, February 4, we headed south.  Our first stop was Pensacola to met a friend. It was cold and breezy! We went again to Crabs restaurant in Gulf Breeze, which has delicious gumbo along with great seafood. It looks like a tourist trap, but the wait staff is above average, the food is good, the servings are large and the price is below average.

Friday, February 5 - Newport CG, Newport, FL - this was a nice county park with not too many people there. Because of the rains they have had in Florida, the park host was busy cleaning up sites that had been flooded. We had electricity to run our heater, nice as it was cold.

Saturday - We overnighted in a county park near Cedar Key. The only level spot was next to the boat ramp. We figured it would be OK as the sky looked like a storm was imminent. We did not count on air boats that make a lot of noise as they transit over the mud flat to the ramp.

Sunday - Juniper Springs CG, Ocala, FL - We had reservations, so when we pulled in we were thankful because the sign said "Campground Full". Come to find out, there was no one tending the sign and the campground is mostly empty.  Sites are spacious and private. The only problem is that there is shade and lots of it, so our solar panels did not see much sun. We moved sites on Monday where there was more sun and I love the new site. There one site where there is full sun is next to an empty field where lots of people could come to play. A potential disaster.

Tuesday - We drove into Ocala and did a little grocery shopping. Had an OK Indian lunch at Amrit Palace. We are just hanging around waiting for the weather to improve. The yaks are still dry.

Wednesday - We just hung around still impatiently waiting for good weather and discussing whether we will ever return to Florida in the winter.  I'm sure if you live in Canada or far northern areas of the country, this is better.  If you live in Montgomery, AL, not so much.

Thursday - Finally we have sunny weather and we went to the Rifle Range and did some practice shooting.  I didn't do very well, the laser didn't show up in the bright sun. We had Happy Hour outside!

Friday - The weather I like, even wore shorts all day. We did some chores and then in the afternoon walked around Fern Glen Springs.  It's lovely and worth seeing.  Again Happy Hour outside and our windows are open.  Now we are happy campers!

Every time we change beds our sleeping hours change. This trip we are sleeping 8 to 9 hours every night. A big change from home.

We plan to move to another spring Monday. A new one for us. Perhaps, the weather will be good for paddling.