Camping Heaven

Our Casita at Pine Island Campground

Our Casita at Pine Island Campground

Today is a glorious, breezy, sunshiny day with a high in the low 80’s. Weather like this makes us high, too! 🙂

There are many hugepines here.  Unfortunately, they show evidence of pine bark beetle damage.  I had Ron pose in front of one for scale.

There are many hugepines here. Unfortunately, they show evidence of pine bark beetle damage. I had Ron pose in front of one for scale.

Sunny is sleeping hard enough now that if we leave the trailer when he is napping, we can get nice walks in before he wakes up. That’s another good news, bad news situation. We love being able to get out for walks together, but are sad that he sleeps like the old dog that he is.

For several days rowing teams have been practicing for a competition (we suppose). There are 4 long boats with several rowers each, accompanied be an instructor in a motor boat with a bullhorn that sounds like a Parris Island drill instructor! It’s been fun to watch.

This afternoon the sun is sparkling on the lake like a million diamonds. The breeze is steady and cool — keeping the 83 degrees from feeling hot. It couldn’t possibly be more perfect.

I’m still phone blogging and editing my photos on the phone, so I have no idea how they look on a screen. Hope you can enjoy them.

p.s. I had a whole lot of photos to post, but my signal has dropped to 1x, so I can’t upload more.

Bummer!  🙂





Phone Blogging?

Tinycamper's laundromat at Pine Island Campground

Tinycamper’s laundromat at Pine Island Campground

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Since I can’t blog on my computer, I decided to see how it would work on my phone.

The view from our awning last evening.

The view from our awning last evening.

The answer is, slow.  And I can’t see it the way it looks on a computer screen

But it works!

We are at the Cottonhill COE Park, Pine Island Campground, on Walter F. George Lake, on the southern part of the Georgia/Alabama border.  We have not camped in this particular campground before.  It is so much prettier than the other two.

I’m still loving my Wonder Wash and spin dryer.  I’m using it mostly for small things like wash cloths, dish cloths, socks and underwear.  It would work fine on jeans, shirts and sheets, but as long as Ron is willing to do the rest of the laundry, I keep it at play level.

My new Camping World treasures -- a mud and sand scraping mat and stair cover.  Love them!

My new Camping World treasures — a mud and sand scraping mat and step cover. Love them!

What is funny is that a big 5th wheel pulled in next to us this morning — and set up a laundry rack just like mine.

We stayed at Eagle’s Roost RV Park just over the FL/GA line for 4 days before coming here.  That’s our favorite place to change gears from going to Florida to leaving Florida.  There’s a lot of interstate noise there, but we like the park well enough that it doesn’t bother us.

We did notice that it’s not being maintained as well as it used to be.  Someone told me it’s because Camping World (across the interstate) bought it out.  I don’t know if it’s true.

Eagles Roost

Eagles Roost

I’ll close with a picture of Sunny’s eyes. They looked good when we left home in November. But my vet would only give me 2 bottles at a time of his eye drops, so he ran out. The insides of his eyelids looked like hamburger and the whites of his eyes looked bloody.  Scariest of all his pupils are red.  I have only seen that years ago before we got his medicine right.

I took him to a young know-it-all vet in Apopka who wouldn’t listen when I told her what we needed.

So she prescribed something different, and his condition continued to worsen. I finally found a wonderful vet near Newport who took us as walkins on a very busy day. He gave us what we needed, and Sunny is slowly improving. I will be so glad when his pupils are no longer red.

And I’m going to have words with my vet when we get home and make sure this never happens again!

Sunny's eye disease.

Sunny’s eye disease.

Meandering North & Computer Problems

I can’t upload photos tonight because my laptop died. I think it’s due to malware, but I’m not sure. My antivirus program won’t run and my download folder is empty — and I’m unable to download the antivirus program.

Also, the computer was very hot when I picked it up and something was running on it. There were transparent bubbles and vertical dashes flashing on the screen. And I’ve been seeing a translucent download arrow appear whenever I connected to the computer the last few days.

So I’m typing on my phone, and it is slow going.

We’re at Eagles Roost in Lake Park, Georgia for a few days. Then we plan to camp our way north for a couple of weeks on our way home.

It’s been the best winter of my life, except for the stress of rehoming Sheba.

Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, this is our plan for future winters.

Thanks so much for following along with us. 🙂

Last Sheba Post :)

I took my posts down about Sheba’s new home because I thought they smacked of hypocrisy — like they were presenting me as the saint/martyr who painfully gave up her dog solely for the dog’s own good.

I hate hypocrisy in anyone, and especially hate it in myself.

The fact is, Ron and I tried for 3 years to be good dog parents to Sheba.  We do very well with small lap dogs.  But we always knew we weren’t providing Sheba with the exercise and stimulation she needs.  And it was wearing us out in the process.

We finally reached the end of our ability to keep giving.  We kept her for 3 years because we truly do love her and want the best for her.  But the overriding consideration in our giving her up was our own well-being.

Ron is in his 70’s, I am in my late 60’s, and caring for Sheba was exhausting us.

Since she is in her new home, Ron and I are almost giddy with the freedom.  We are so much more relaxed.  The Casita feels huge.  And little Sunny is happier than we have seen him in a long time.  We have time to spend with him now, and he is petted and indulged and made to feel like a little king.  He’s our baby boy again.  🙂

And Sheba — she is truly in doggie paradise.

I got a text today from the new owner and Sheba is sleeping with her daughter in bed now!

And I’ll repost the email I got from her the day after they adopted her:

Sheba was understandably confused when she got here and other than some hand treats, did not want to eat last night. We introduced her around and walked her all over the farm as well. She spent the night in the house although settled in an out of the way spot to sleep.

Today was much better for her and she played, ran, jumped, ate, drank, and was petted all day. She has barked at strange happenings appropriately and stopped as soon as she saw that we were there to investigate.

She loves the goats! But we have not allowed them free time in the same pen as yet. She longs to be at the stable with all the animals and activity with us and begs to go back when we get back to the house…lol.

I believe that she will settle in our little farm with no problems and that she will be happy here with us. I know she made each of us happy and we are very grateful to you for trusting us with her.

One more little tidbit…the puppy loves her and wants to play but she is not so sure about him as yet. To be safe with all of the animals (cats and chicken in particular) when she is with us in that part of the farm, we put a long line on her to be able to stop a chase if necessary, the pup has figured out that Sheba is attached to the line and he (about 9 weeks old) leads her around. In time, I believe those two will be the best of friends!

Have no concern for your sweet girl, she will be loved and well cared for.

I have experienced a couple of nights of deep depression at giving Sheba up.  But the overriding sense of freedom and knowing that Sheba is in doggie heaven is my overriding emotion.

And that’s the whole truth — no hypocrisy!  And I will be able to enjoy our new freedom even more since my sense of deception is off my chest!  I thought about it and realized I had originally posted fact, but I had not presented truth.  🙂


The Pinta and the Nina

The Pinta's rigging

The Pinta’s rigging

I love boats and ships.  In fact, the white noise that I use to help me fall asleep most night is an app that has a boat sounds selection.  The creaking of the ropes and the lapping of the water against the hull make me feel like I am being rocked to sleep.

Entrance to the Nina's Captain's cabin

Entrance to the Nina’s Captain’s cabin

So I was really looking forward to touring replicas of the Nina and the Pinta.  (Drives me crazy not having the proper key for the Spanish character in Nina).  🙂

But the crowds were too large and moved too fast for me to get the feel of life aboard the ships.  I learned how the crew hoisted the heavy anchor.  I learned how they steered without a wheel.  And I learned that, with the available instruments in the 1490’s, they could determine longitude but not latitude.  Their time pieces weren’t accurate enough.  For instance, if the sand in your hour glass got damp and started clumping, you were out of luck.

View through the grate covering the Nina's cargo hold.

View through the grate covering the Nina’s cargo hold.

But I couldn’t go down into the cargo hold and see where horses (must have been small Spanish horses) were hoisted down into and kept with slings around their bellies for support so they wouldn’t break their legs on one of the Nina’s voyages.  I couldn’t go into the captain’s cabin with a 4′ high ceiling and no ventilation except the grate over the entrance.  And although they told us where the crews slept, I don’t remember because I didn’t experience the spaces.

Provisions cask

Provisions cask

So I’m glad I went.  I saw both ships, but I still don’t know them.

There was a sign saying they needed crew members.  Ron told me I should sign on as ship’s cook.  If I were younger and healthier, I would probably do just that.  At least I would KNOW how Columbus and his crews felt on their long voyages into the unknown.

Well, I wouldn’t know the unknown part, but I would know the ships!

The tiller attached to the rudder was used to steer the ship.

The tiller attached to the rudder was used to steer the ship.

BTW, the smaller Nina was my favorite of the two ships.  It was Columbus’s favorite, too.

Rope that was too worn to use for rigging was used to make bumpers.

Rope that was too worn to use for rigging was used to make bumpers.

Model showing the ships' structure.

Model showing the ships’ structure.

Here's your chance, wannabe sailors!

Here’s your chance, wannabe sailors!


Stephen Foster State Park

Campground at Stephen Foster Cultural Center

Campground at Stephen Foster Cultural Center

It was cool and overcast today, but after I got out walking, it felt crisp and invigorating.

Lights strung on the huge live oak trees are a magical site at Christmas.

Lights strung on the huge live oak trees are a magical site at Christmas.

Workmen have been busy here since September stringing the lights for the Christmas Light Extravaganza.  If you would like to see a picture of how it will look when it’s finished, here are photos I took when we visited December 21, 2011.

Our campsite here is not that great.  It’s way in the back and is surrounded by dense scrub.  It’s almost too private because we can’t people watch back here!  But it’s a great place to cocoon in the chilly weather.

Sheba has amazed me this trip.  She has been so good!  Mom’s husband, Jean, remarked that she sure is a well-behaved dog.  She listens to commands, doesn’t get upset by having to be tied up between walks, and has only barked a few times.

Here's our campsite.

Here’s our campsite.

I am SO glad we survived puppyhood with her and did not adopt her out.  Everyone she meets loves her, and I often hear people say, “I used to have a dog like that….”

I missed being able to visit the museum and craft demonstrations today.  I just assumed they would be open.  Will have to check my paperwork and hope they are open on the weekend.

Anyway, we are relaxed and happy!  We have reservations at a county park at Mt. Dora Monday-Wednesday.  That’s all that was available on such short notice.  After that, we’ll probably hit one of the Ocala National Forest campsites for a few days, then head back to Ocean Pond to camp with Gail and Mike again.

Craft shops being readied for Christmas

Craft shops being readied for Christmas

Gift shop

Gift shop



Sunset on moss

Sunset on moss

My girl Sheba

My girl Sheba

Carillon tower (sp).  We have enjoyed the songs of the bells.

Carillon tower (sp). We have enjoyed the songs of the bells.


Still at Ocean Pond

boat launch area

The boat launch area at Ocean Pond

Last night was our night to celebrate several occasions at once.  Mike’s retirement, Mike and Ron’s birthdays, Gail and Mike’s anniversary and Ron and I getting out of debt (except for the mortgage).

We went to Red Lobster.  I’ve had disappointing meals there in the past, but last night was a glorious exception.  Ron and I had a grilled salmon, lobster tail and shrimp platter, and it was superb.  Especially the salmon.  I must find out how they made it so melt-in-your-mouth scrumptious.  Gail and Mike said their dinners were also superb.

Down toward the primitive camping area

Down toward the primitive camping area

I also am thrilled with my Allstays app.  I have found several very inexpensive campgrounds farther south that have great reviews at

We are planning to stay another night here (after tonight), then Gail and Mike and Ron and I plan to caravan to Mom’s place.  Mom’s new husband wants the guys to go fishing in his ponds, so Gail and I are planning some quality girl time with Mom.

You-know-who in the water.

You-know-who in the water.

After the family visit, Ron and I plan to head South for a week, then come back and camp with Gail and Mike again.  By that time we’ll have new things to talk about which should be fun for all of us.

We are so loving having no plans and knowing it will be a long time before we have to think of heading back home.

Cypress swamp near primitive camping area

Cypress swamp near primitive camping area

Nights have been chilly. My favorite spot — under the afghan!




Around Ocean Pond

pavilion at swimming beach

It’s even more beautiful than I remembered it here at Ocean Pond.  It’s spacious, clean, and well-maintained.  The picnic pavilion at the swimming beach is new since I was here last.

water only site

A water only site

I met the other Casita owners today.  They just bought their 2003 Casita a month ago and are doing a great job of breaking it in.  They’ve been to the Blue Ridge Mountains, camped at Cherokee (not knowing there was a Casita Rally there), so lucked into the last couple of days of that.  Then they went to South Carolina, and are now here in Florida.

The weather has been perfect.  Sunny and warm.  Today got up to 81, tomorrow might reach 70, then a few more days in the 70’s before it drops into the 60’s.

White paintbrush-like blossoms on a tree

White paintbrush-like blossoms on a tree

The whole campground is attractive, but the water-only sites  are the most beautiful.  They are huge and each site is well screened with vegetation for privacy.

There’s a little store nearby with a deli.  I haven’t seen it, but the guys bring back chicken, burgers and biscuits from it.  Today Ron brought me a huge 1/2 pound burger!  I ate half and the other half will be lunch tomorrow!

I took these photos with my phone camera.  They all come out under  saturated, so I have to edit them all.  And low light (indoor) photos turn out way too soft.  The reviews and customer ratings all raved about this camera.  So I’m trying to determine whether my disappointment is due to the camera or the operator!  🙂

Ron digging into his 1/2 pound burger

Ron digging into his 1/2 pound burger


The Cutest Teardrop


We saw this adorable, apparently home-built teardrop today at Walmart.  The other side was just as cute.  It reminds me a bit of a gypsy vardo the way it is embellished.  I wonder if the mirrored doors are see-through from the inside.  I would have loved to see the interior!

Our plan is to leave for Florida Sunday.

Can’t wait!  🙂

Out of the Stone Age

lg g3

The LG G3 (web photo)

In a stubborn effort to hold on to my unlimited Verizon Data Plan, I have resisted upgrading to a smartphone.  However, my Verizon agent was able to upgrade the phone plan and leave the data plan untouched since they are separate contracts.

So tonight I am the very happy owner of a new LG G3 with 5.5 inch display–and my grandfathered unlimited data plan!  I did have to buy the 2 GB data plan for the phone.  But it’s still cheaper than the new tiered data plans.

I imagine I will be taking most of my travel photos with the phone’s camera, and using my other camera when I feel like taking the time for special, macro shots.

As soon as it finishes charging, I’ll add the Allstays and Passport America apps.  It comes with Google Maps, so I will use it unless I decide I want to upgrade to something with more features.  It should make our trip south a lot more easily organized than relying on printed maps as in the past.

The back of the case is a screaming pink.

The back of the case is a screaming pink.

I wanted the pretty blue Otterbox phone case, but all they had in the Symmetry model was hot pink.  I am not a hot pink person, but that’s what I ended up with!  I also got the tempered glass screen protector because it is crystal clear and I can’t tell it from the original glass screen.

We’re still dealing with a crazy round of appointments and last minute things to do.

I plan to turn off the water while we are gone, but do not know how to drain the water system.  If anyone has some tips, I’d appreciate them.  I guess we need to drain the water heater, too.  Clean out the fridge.  Still more doctor and vet visits.

otterbox purple sides

Fortunately the front of the case that I see when I am using it is a nice, subdued purple.

I don’t know if we will make it the full three months in the Casita with two dogs.  But if we don’t get a terminal case of claustrophobia living that close together for that long, that’s our plan.



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