Still on West Point Lake

Our view with the weekend campers gone

Our view with the weekend campers gone

The campground almost emptied today.  It’s such a different atmosphere when the weekenders leave.

Another Casita in the next loop

Another Casita in the next loop

The thunderstorms that we expected weren’t nearly as bad as predicted.  There was occasional thunder and sporadic light showers.  But we still had plenty of time to get out for nice walks with the dogs.

While we were out, we spotted another Casita and walked over to their loop to say hello.  Their door was open, but no one was outside, so we didn’t bother them.  Maybe we can meet them tomorrow.

The tent sites are empty now

The tent sites are empty now

I did enjoy photographing a robin who was apparently having good luck hunting worms that the rain brought to the surface.

Due to the on and off rain, I spent much of the day inside reading.  I really appreciate this chance to just veg out for a couple of days because when we get home, we have our work cut out for us.  The yard is a disaster from all the limbs

Blackbirds at the lake's edge

Blackbirds at the lake’s edge

that blew down over the winter.  And there’s a lot of other sprucing up that needs to be done.

Robin

Robin

robin3

Geese family

Geese family

Ron with Sheba and Sunny

Ron with Sheba and Sunny

 

Salt Springs

At the boat launch in the tent camping area

At the boat launch in the tent camping area

It’s summer here at Salt Springs — complete with sticky humidity and biting bugs.  We’ve already gone through a half bottle of Deep Woods Off.  But we are loving it here!

In the tent camping area

In the tent camping area

Although the campground is a Forest Service campground, it’s run by concessionaires.  So it’s actually a big RV park, complete with full hookups.  But we’re paying $16 a night with our senior pass.

During the winter, you can stay up to 180 days here.  There is an unbelievable assortment of big rigs, small rigs, popups, home built campers, a teardrop, and even several tents in the RV area because they want hookups.  The sites are all different sizes — from spacious to cramped.  It looks like they built the pads around the trees, so tree placement apparently determines the size of the individual sites.  We happened to get a really big one.

Down by the canal

Down by the canal

In addition to the main campground, there is a primitive RV area with no hookups, and a primitive tent camping area. The RV park gets pretty full on the weekends, but there are a lot of open sites during the week.

It rained yesterday, and threatened to rain all of this morning.  But it cleared up early this afternoon and is beautiful now.

Ron took Sheba with him when he did laundry this morning.  So Sunny and I had a leisurely walk through the tent camping area to the canal.  The management keeps that area beautifully manicured, so it’s a

Turtle in the canal

Turtle in the canal

pleasure to linger there.  We gave the water a wide berth, though, because there are alligators there, and I’d bet some of them are probably big.  Big enough to be a danger to a small dog, anyway.

We haven’t made it to the springs yet this trip.  Dogs aren’t allowed down there so it takes some planning for us.  🙂

Alligator warning sign

Alligator warning sign

Verizon data service is spotty and sporadic here.  Sometimes I can get a good enough signal to surf a bit.  Other times I can barely send text email.  And other times, all I get is “server not found.”  But there isn’t a good enough signal for a phone call.  You might connect if you are lucky, but you will certainly drop the call.

At first, we were disappointed when we arrived, with comparisons of Ocean Pond fresh in our minds.  However, Salt Springs is wonderful in a different way.  There are a

Our Casita at Salt Springs

Our Casita at Salt Springs

lot of snowbirds who spend the winter here.  The club house has lots of activities — we got asked if we were on our way to Bingo twice.

And best of all, one of the Palatka churches is doing a Christmas cantata here Saturday night.  We’re to bring finger foods and they’ll supply the beverages.

I am REALLY looking forward to the cantata!

Campers built from cargo trailers

Campers built from cargo trailers

Long term popup camper

Long term popup camper

Van in the primitive RV camping area

Van in the primitive RV camping area

Primitive tent camping area

Primitive tent camping area

Salt Springs RV camping area

Salt Springs RV camping area

The canal area

The canal area

Teardrop camper

Teardrop camper

A woman is solo camping in this little trailer

A woman is solo camping in this little trailer

This little Scamp stayed just one night

This little Scamp stayed just one night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park

Foot bridge at FDR State Park

On the way up on 27 south of Columbus, a big, shiny red motorcycle pulled up and yelled something and pointed at the trailer.  Afraid something was wrong, we rolled down the window.

Stream flowing into and through an old hollowed out stump

“Did you wax that trailer?” He called.

“Yes,” Ron replied.

The biker gave us a thumbs up and a huge smile, then sped off.

It makes me feel so good when people comment on the Poliglow.  My favorite so far was when the guy at Cotton Hill asked me if my 2005 Casita was a new trailer!

The Casita at FDR State Park

We are only two hours from home tonight.  When I bought a Friends of Georgia State Parks membership, I got a coupon for one free night’s camping.  So we decided to enjoy our freebie at FDR instead of going home.

I love this park.  It’s an old park.  We don’t see many big rigs here.  It just has water and electric — no sewer.  And some of the sites would be difficult for a big rig to get into.  So it’s mostly moderate sized

Tent campers

RVs, along with a few popups, a hybrid or two, and tents.  Maybe it’s just my perception, but this group seems to be friendlier campers than the big rig crowd.

There are a tremendous amount of things to do and see in this area.  There’s Calloway Gardens, FDR’s Little White House, Warm Springs, the Pine Mountain tourist area, and 24 miles of hiking trails.  The brochure says that some of the trails have panoramic views from Pine Mountain along with several small waterfalls.

Sunny looks like we feel this evening!

The last time Ron and I hiked here, we got lost and had a LONG road walk back.

This trip, we have both come down with a stomach bug, so don’t have energy to do anything but relax and just enjoy being here in these peaceful, rustic surroundings.

Slow Day at Cotton Hill

Another view of the Casita from the water, taken yesterday.

This morning was the hot, sultry kind of day that saps all of your energy and ambition.  There was a bright side, though.  It also sapped some of Sheba’s overabundant puppy energy!

A nice alternative to staying penned up

Then this afternoon clouds rolled in and thunder rumbled for a couple of hours.  We got a short little shower, then the storm moved on.  But it left cooler temperatures and a nice breeze in its wake.

While Ron visited other campers, I worked on a counted crosstitch project.  Every two hours I walked the dogs.

It is a real trip walking Sheba and Sunny together.  Sheba races out the full extension of her retractable leash, lunges for butterflies and wasps, picks up pine cones, hickory nuts and sticks, tosses them in the air and catches them, sits to examine bugs and leaves and whatever, then races madly toward Sunny, attacks him with fearsome dog fight noises, then tears off in another zig zag direction at full speed until the leash yanks her, then repeats the process the entire walk.

Bags on board. The greatest solution for carrying poop bags!

I have resisted the idea of a pinch collar, but I think when she is a little older I might consider one, primarily to avoid injury to myself!

Geese families

I’m tired today.  It felt good to just hang around camp and simply enjoy being here.

A Day for Surprises

Today has been a day for people surprises!  I’ve given three tours of the Casita, met some wonderful local women (one gave me a beautiful coffee cup), and — Ron met a long-lost cousin!

Winter color

Ron had gone to the bath house to do laundry.  While he was there a guy came up and they started talking,  “Where are you from?”  The talked of places and people they knew, then the guy asked Ron if he knew a certain woman.

“That’s my Mom’s sister,”  Ron replied.

“That’s my mother-in-law!”  the guy exclaimed.

So soon he and his wife were at our campsite catching up on family news.  They are camping here because

More color

they have a new grandchild in Augusta.  Since there are tons of family visiting the new baby, they decided to bring their camper here so everyone would have more breathing room.

Today has been chilly.  Not that cold, but a brisk wind makes campfires and jackets feel good.  And the campground is starting to fill up today with weekend campers.

I normally don’t like to go to the same campground twice, as there are so many new places that I haven’t seen yet.  But this is one that we will

The Casita hidden in the trees

Picnic pavilion

Playground

View from our rear window

definitely plan to return to.

We’re planning to go into town for dinner tonight.  I am hankering for Chinese.  🙂

Embarrassed to Post

I am truly embarrassed to admit that yes, after saying I was going replace the floor and rebuild the Aliner, then saying I was not going to rebuild it, then saying I was, then stating emphatically I wasn’t… several times…. I am now gutting it and planning to rebuild it.

Bathroom out, refrigerator is next to go.

The economy is the reason.  I don’t DARE go into debt with the US on the verge of default.  And even if they don’t default, the debt is so unsustainable no matter what they do that we will eventually crash.

Also, I prayed about it and asked God for specific direction on whether to rebuild it or not.  The next day I was looking at campers on the net and studying floorplans when I got that awful feeling that I can only relate to the extreme mental warning I get when I am thinking about camping someplace unsafe for the night.  I have learned when I feel that warning not to try to rationalize it away, but to get out of there as quickly as I can.

Later, I walked out into the Aliner and felt the most profound sense of peace.  All of the sudden the idea of gutting it and rebuilding it didn’t seem overwhelming.  I analyzed what I actually need in a camper, and the answers are a safe place to sleep, a bathroom, a refrigerator, and a place to fix coffee and cook light meals.  And the Aliner really can have everything I need.  I had just wanted bling.

So, due to the extreme heat, I am only working on the camper for two hours a day.  I do whatever I can get done in those two hours, then call it a day.  It’s going to take a while, but I’m not on a schedule.  The only deadline I have is our trip home for Thanksgiving.  And I’m sure I’ll have it redone by then.

 

 

Heading Home Tomorrow

1923 Ford owned by one of the campers here

Our lovely vacation is drawing to a close.  Tonight’s our last night camping here at Indian Springs State Park.  We left winter weather behind and enjoyed seeing spring arrive during our month-long escape.

We feel as though the camp host, Dick, has become a dear friend.  And we met some wonderful campers.  Kathryn and Albert helped me search for a lost wallet —

Rear view of the 1923 Ford

which Ron later found in my jacket pocket after I had called the bank and canceled my debit cards and was on hold to cancel my credit cards.  So glad I had a long wait on hold.  🙂

And we really enjoyed meeting Virginia and Danny who were on their first outing in their new-to-them Shadow Cruiser.  They weren’t aware of the America the Beautiful Senior Pass that gives a 50% discount on camping fees at federal campgrounds, so it was our joy to share that

Beautiful proof that spring has really arrived!

information with them.

So now we will head home.  I’ll do some maintenance on the Aliner and probably put in my square foot vegetable garden and some flowers, and settle back into everyday home life.

But we will still plan on getting out for a week long camping trip each month.  Maybe we can make it to the Blue Ridge Mountains to cool off  in July or August when the weather is  really hot this year.

Sparkly rocks found down by the lake.

Hopefully I’ll get the Aliner paid off in July and start saving for a nice down payment on a Scamp 5th wheel, which is the larger camper Ron and I have decided would work best for us and our 6 cylinder truck.

We did go fishing this afternoon.  We didn’t even get a bite, but did enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery from the fishing dock.

And tonight there is a bright moon and beautiful stars in a clear sky.  So it’s the perfect ending to a very good trip.

Redbud trees are bursting into bloom all through the woods.

Last Day at FDR State Park

This is my favorite photo of our Aliner here at FDR State Park

The campground emptied out this morning.  Now our little Aliner is among the small handful of campers left.

It is absolutely glorious here.  Quiet and serene, and achingly beautiful.

Ron and I went on a two hour walk around the campground and cabin areas this afternoon to check out the scenery.  I’ll let the photos and captions tell the story.

Beautiful grounds on the cabin side of the lake

Cabin side of lake

Deserted campground

Deserted tent campsite

Yet another shot of this beautiful campground

Love these hills!

Looking toward the campground from the cabin side of the lake.

Looking from the camping area toward the cabin area

A little scary trying to back the trailer in with deep ditches on each side of the road.

On the bottom is stonework done by the CCC in the 30's. On top of the original stonework are rocks enclosed in anchor chain fencing. I found it a very telling commentary on the difference in craftsmanship.

Rental cabins

This was my favorite cabin. It's a lot smaller than most, and I found its appearance charming.

I remembered seeing steps from the cabin area to the camping area, but couldn't remember where they were. So after we gingerly descended this hill, leaning on our hiking poles for support, I looked up and there were the steps we had missed!

I'm including this photo just because I thought the tree roots undercut by the stream were cool.

 

 

Back to High Falls

The Aliner at High Falls

The Aliner tucked into a private site of the Lake Campground at High Falls.

We stopped by Mom’s for a couple of days after we left Salt Springs, then headed north toward home.

Our stopover point was High Falls State Park.  We loved the Lake Campground when we were here earlier and wanted time to explore the river trails.

The River Campground is huge and accommodates large and small rigs.  The Lake Campground only accommodates rigs up to 25 feet, so you mostly get the campers instead of the

window view

View out of our (very dirty) front window. The peace was pervasive here.

RVers here.  And the campers are our kind of people.

We were shocked when we saw the Falls.   They were a raging torrent when we were here before.  But the weather had been very dry and now they were a fraction of what they had been.  Where there had been white water rapids before, now there was a lot of bare rock exposed.

We took the River Trail to see if there were more interesting sights downstream.  Hiking in temperatures in the 90’s was

Two weeks difference in view of the Falls

The Falls during our visit two weeks ago and this visit.

not a lot of fun, but the scenery made it worthwhile.   Even though a lot of the rock riverbed was exposed, there were still a series of smaller, scenic waterfalls to enjoy.

One nice surprise on our walk was seeing a mother waterbird (heron?) and her two little brown babies.

Lower falls

Lower falls downstream

We also met a very friendly couple, Barbara and Butch, who had bought an ’84 34′ motor home in great condition.  They preferred the Lake Campground to the River Campground, and the office told them if they could get the motorhome into a site, they could stay there.  By backing onto their picnic table/fire ring pad, they made it!  Grandkids joined them for an overnight visit.

There was something so special about our time here.  A timeless sense of peace and well-being enveloped us.  We never wanted to leave.

Heron and babies

Heron (?) and her two little brown babies

But budgets are budgets, and after three nights, we had to pack up and head home.

And now, we are anticipating our October trip to North Carolina.

Downstream

Downstream

river rocks

River rocks

End of our walk

This is where we ended our walk and turned around.

river trail

A view from the trail

Ron and Sunny

Ron and Sunny on the River Trail

The West Point Lake Area

Ron checks out West Point Lake

Ron checks out West Point Lake

We picked the wrong campground!  I had originally planned to book a site at R. Schaefer Heard campground, but a friend of Ron’s had highly recommended Whitetail Ridge.

I can’t imagine why!  There is a reason R. Schaefer Heard is so popular.  It has some gorgeous water vistas… and the water is clean!

Roadside fishing area

Roadside area set aside for fishing

Maybe we can switch campgrounds after the weekend campers leave.

We drove across the dam today and discovered some beautiful recreation sites.   One is simply a place to park and fish.  Another is the trailhead area.  And we didn’t even make it to the large day use area.  We’ll check it out tomorrow.

Another view of the roadside fishing area

Another view of the roadside fishing area

We watched several people fishing from the bank.  No one appeared to be catching anything.  Maybe it is because the wind was brisk and the water was choppy again today?  Wish I knew more about those things!  Surely fish have to eat on windy days!  This area has a reputation for excellent bass fishing.

We took a short walk down the Lakeside Trail, but my energy isn’t back to normal yet, so we didn’t go far.  Maybe we can tackle it again in a couple of days.

Lakeside Trail

Lakeside Trail

We were pretty tired when we got back to our campsite.  But my immediate impression when I saw the little Aliner was, “That is the cutest little camper in the world!”  Glad I still feel that way about it.

 

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