New Island Plants & Tiny Campers

Fresh water marsh

Fresh water marsh

I would not have expected to find a fresh water marsh on a skinny strip of land between two bodies of salt water.

The Scamp 5th wheel we toured today

The Scamp 5th wheel we toured today

We took the nature walk trail today.  For something so mundane, it turned into an adventure (of sorts) for us.  Somehow, between my concentrating on learning new plants and Ron trying to keep Sheba from chasing irresistible scents off the side of the trail, we missed the signs — and went around the loop twice.  Then we got turned around on the way back and ended up in Loop A instead of our loop.

Homemade truck camper

Homemade truck camper

It worked out for us, though.  We stopped at the camp host’s site in Loop A and had a delightful conversation with them.  They breed Shih Tzus and had two of them with them.  They have 6 at home, with a new litter due soon.  At one time they traveled with 10 dogs!  They were some of the warmest, most hospitable people I’ve met in a while.

We must have looked pretty bedraggled because they offered to make us a pot of coffee or get us something to drink… and

Margie and her husband in front of their homemade camper.  I didn't catch her husband's name.

Margie and her husband in front of their homemade camper. I didn’t catch her husband’s name.

insisted we sit in their comfortable chairs instead of at the picnic table.  We declined and just enjoyed their company while we caught a second wind.

I got pretty badly sunburned.  I had applied sunscreen to my face and arms and was wearing a ball cap.  But apparently I didn’t apply the sunscreen thickly enough.  And I forgot the back of my neck.  It really burned, and I imagine it will be peeling soon.  In any case, I

The interior of the homemade camper.  In addition to the space over the cabover, the big board at top folds down to make a big bed.

The interior of the homemade camper. In addition to the space over the cabover, the big board at top folds down to make a big bed.

learned why some guys wear their baseball caps backwards!

We got our first tour of a Scamp 5th wheel today.  That was what we thought we wanted when we started looking for a molded fiberglass trailer because we thought it would give us a lot more room.  I was surprised when I got inside.  It felt smaller and more cramped than our Casita.  I think it’s because of the small windows mostly.  And I thought I would love the counters on both sides, but the aisle between them was much narrower than I expected.  The bathroom is so tiny you would have to sit on the toilet to shower.

Conradina -- a new plant to me.

Conradina — a new plant to me. The flowers look like little lavender owls to me!

I do think I would like the way a 5th wheel would tow.  But I left with a new appreciation for the huge windows and the open feeling of our Casita.

The 5th wheel was their third Scamp.  They started with a 13′, then went to a deluxe model without a bathroom.  But the wood interior of the deluxe model made it heavier to tow,  and they decided they wanted a bathroom, so they bought a new standard 5th wheel.  But now it is starting to feel too small for them, so they are looking at moving up to a Class B+ with a slideout.

I'm not sure what this is.  It might be yaupon holly.

I’m not sure what this is. It might be yaupon holly.

We met another couple who built their own homemade truck camper.  It’s tiny, but there is a bed in the cabover, plus another large fold-down section that makes a wide, comfortable bed.  They use the bottom area beneath the folded out bed mainly for storage.  They have a large screen room that they do their actual camping in.  They’ve been to Colorado in it and plan to take it to California soon.

A huge thistle flower

A huge thistle flower

Later this afternoon, the Scamp owners came down for a tour of our Casita.  They were very surprised at how open it looks and feels with our twin bed arrangement. They remarked it looked larger than their 5th wheel.

We gave one more tour while they were here, so at one point we had 5 people inside our Casita.

Sunny got a bath in our shower this evening.  We are taking Sheba into town tomorrow to get her bathed.  That will serve two purposes… a nice clean doggie in our camper — and a few hours of FREEDOM!  We can leave Sunny in the Casita and then we’ll be able to tour the Fort.

Ron and Sheba

Ron and Sheba

Vet bills and getting Sheba bathed have wiped out any hope of dinner out this trip, but that’s just the way it goes when you are on a budget.  In a more private campground, we’d probably risk bathing Sheba ourselves outside.  But here it’s not possible.

Sunny’s meds are working a doggie miracle.  He is feeling great.  I would never have taken him walking with us

I'm guessing this is some kind of sedum

I’m guessing this is some kind of sedum

today if we had known how long we would end up going.  But he did great.

Both dogs are really zonked tonight.  Ron took Sheba for a couple of other fairly long walks today, so she was ready to collapse this evening.

Even the blackberries struggle in this hostile environment.  The leaves and berries are tiny.

Even the blackberries struggle in this hostile environment. The leaves and berries are tiny.

Cute little bird hopping around our fire pit.

Cute little bird hopping around our fire pit.

Dead live oak.  (That's fun to say!)  :)

Dead live oak. (That’s fun to say!) 🙂

Fetterbush -- another new plant for me!

Fetterbush — another new plant for me!

Florida rosemary.  I had never seen this plant before, either.

Florida rosemary. I had never seen this plant before, either.

Gulf of Mexico at Ft. Pickens

Osprey on nest

Osprey on nest

This place is indescribably beautiful.  I took 229 photos today and will do my best to share only the ones I think you would most enjoy.

Turquoise water, white waves, white sand

Turquoise water, white waves, white sand

I grew up on the Atlantic coast and am used to beige sand and murky greenish ocean water.  I am always enthralled by the difference on the Gulf side of Florida.  The sand is pure white, and the water a beautiful, clear turquoise.

It’s been hot, but with the constant ocean breezes, it is chilly in the shade.  We’ve worn windbreakers with our shorts several times today.  We haven’t run the air conditioner at all.  We just open all the windows and bask in perfect temperatures.  It gets chilly at night, so we do close them at night.  Except mine stays cracked open.  I like to sleep cooler than Ron.  🙂

More of that incredibly turquoise water

More of that incredibly turquoise water

The beach goes on forever.

The beach goes on forever.

In addition to the glorious beach, I’ve found beautiful flowers blooming here in the most inhospitable places.  I’ve also found lots of wild edible plants, but since they are everywhere, I’ll skip them today.

We did have a scare this morning.  Sunny woke up sick, in pain and lethargtic.  So we spent the morning at the Gulf Island Animal Hospital.  They aren’t sure what’s wrong with him, but gave him a shot for pain and inflammation, more meds to help settle his stomach and relax him, and special food to eat for a week.  He is doing a lot better this afternoon, so I think he will be okay until we can get to our vet at home.

Wild lantana at our campground

Wild lantana at our campground

Spiderwort flowers on the edge of the woods in our loop

Spiderwort flowers on the edge of the woods in our loop.

More beautiful wildflowers

More beautiful wildflowers

These exquisite beauties were growing in the dunes.

These exquisite beauties were growing in the dunes.

Rugged dune life

Rugged dune life

This tree on the dunes looks like it barely survived the last hurricane.

This tree on the dunes looks like it barely survived the last hurricane.

There are many birds here.  Sitting outside listening to them is a pleasure.  This photo shows two of them in one tree.

There are many birds here. Sitting outside listening to them is a pleasure. This photo shows two of them in one tree.

We got such a kick out of watching the birds trying to get Sheba's food.  Every time they would get brave enough to try, Sheba would move and they would take off.  I don't know if they ever succeeded in snitching a bite!

We got such a kick out of watching the birds trying to get Sheba’s food. Every time they would get brave enough to try, Sheba would move and they would take off. I don’t know if they ever succeeded in snitching a bite!

Since Sunny wasn't feeling well, we left him in the trailer when we took our walk.  Here he is welcoming us back home.

Since Sunny wasn’t feeling well, we left him in the trailer when we took our walk. Here he is welcoming us back home.

Ft. Pickens

On Ft. Pickens Road - taken through truck windshield

On Ft. Pickens Road – taken through truck windshield

I learned something new about making reservations today.  Normally when I reserve a site online, I list my equipment as a 17′ trailer.  Every campsite I’ve done that with before has included space for the tow vehicle.

Our campsite

Our campsite

Not this time.  We’re in Loop D — the tent/popup camper section.  I chose this site because the photo on the net showed it as being large and private – which it is.  But the driveway is just long enough for the Casita.  The truck extends over halfway across the street when hitched!  So we had to move the truck across the loop to an overflow parking area.  Next time I’ll say I have a 30′ rig.

Behind our campsite

Behind our campsite

And for the second time in a row, I chose a site that faces directly into the setting sun, rendering our awning useless in late afternoon.  Very fortunately, there is a dense stand of shrubs on the west side of our site that gives plenty of shade to sit in, though.

I was just crushed that I wasn’t able to get out and see more today.  But 4 hours riding in the truck with a 40 pound dog in my lap aggravated my hips to the point that I am hobbling.

My 40 pound lapful!  :)

My 40 pound lapful! 🙂

I tried to walk a short trail this afternoon, and had only gotten a few yards out of our loop when I had to turn back.  It was just a little too painful.  I expect that a good night’s sleep on a comfortable bed will go a long way toward easing that situation.

Our site apparently has a resident armadillo.  I am not thrilled with the situation.  It drives the dogs crazy, and the armadillo is so accustomed to people and pets that he has no fear of them.  I just hope he continues to keep his distance.

The resident armadillo in front of our hedge.

The resident armadillo in front of our hedge.

I’m hoping I will have a lot more to share with you tomorrow.  🙂

 

 

 

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