The Sun Finally Came Out!

 

This photo was taken last week at Trimble Park, but I loved it in the evening sun so am posting it here.

This photo was taken last week at Trimble Park, but I loved the Spanish moss in the late afternoon sun so much that I am posting it here today.

We made it okay Saturday without hookups.  But we were getting tired of having to watch every light, use of the fan, use of the furnace, and use of our computers during the nonstop rain.  Our solar panel did charge a little under the leaden skies, but not enough to keep up with our usage.  It was muggy inside the Casita and we felt miserable and sticky.  So we decided to try to get a water and electric site.

A water only site

A water only site

Mike and Gail called us early Sunday to say, “One is leaving!  Get down here as fast as you can!”

So I threw everything off the TV shelf and counter onto the beds and we got the trailer hitched in record time.

It was good that we got that slot because we were in for two more days of nonstop rain.  I felt sorry for people who were parked in the water only sites.  They cruised through our loop several times a day hoping for an opening with power.  But not one other rig left.  All the people are here through Thanksgiving.

Our site

Our site

Many of the campers are local who have been coming here for years.  Apparently it used to be a primitive hunt camp.  But in 2001, they ran electricity and improved the campsites.  (Or so we were told.)

It amazes me that the spaces here are so huge.  They could easily get 4 or 5 times as many rigs in here.  But they have elected to keep it spacious and beautiful.  So the lucky people who do get sites here have beautiful vacation settings.

Our front yard is nicely screened from the road.

Our front yard is nicely screened from the road.

Gail, Mike, Ron and I are planning to barbeque huge slabs of ribs tomorrow for Thanksgiving.  They put up their screen room this evening.  They are planning to put plastic panels over it so we can run a heater in it tomorrow because it’s going to be cool.

But next week it’s supposed to warm up and we’ll have days in the 70’s again.

A cool mushroom --  Spongipellis pachyodon

A cool mushroom — Spongipellis pachyodon

We plan to leave here Dec. 2 and go camp down south again.  Then we’ll come back and camp with Mike and Gail again.  They should be able to move into their new house the middle of January.

I did have to break one of my cardinal rules — no cooking in the Casita.  The weather has been too raw to cook outside.  Tonight I was able to grill pork chops outside, but since I broke my rule during the rainy days, it was just easier to warm green beans and cook pan cornbread inside this evening.

I do hold the stove cover straight up to the hood with magnets and run the exhaust fan.  I figure that will keep steam and any grease off the carpeted walls.  I hope!

A primitive site

A primitive site

Sheba checking out flooded ditches

Sheba checking out flooded ditches

The lighting on this picture is awful.  But it's Sheba in the cypress swamp by the primitive section.

The lighting on this picture is awful. But it’s Sheba in the cypress swamp by the primitive section.

Cooking inside the Casita

Cooking inside the Casita

sunset magic

Golden sunset magic

 

 

 

Juniper Springs, Florida

Juniper Springs Pool

Juniper Springs Pool

Juniper Springs seaweed

Juniper Springs seaweed

We arrived at beautiful Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest on March 18th.

When I first saw the spring’s swimming pool, I thought that it needed to be cleaned because there was a lot of “seaweed” on the bottom.  Then, as Ron and I walked toward the concession area we passed a sign that explained the “weeds.” (See below.)  And after I took these photos, several whooping teenagers cannonballed into the water.  (By the way, the “stuff” on the surface that looks like flotsam is actually rippled reflections.  The water is pristine.)

Juniper Springs Information

Juniper Springs Information

Old mill by spring

Old mill by spring

When we arrived at the campground, I had expected to have electric and water hookups — but I hadn’t read the description closely enough.  There were no hookups, and we were booked for 4 days.

It wasn’t a big deal.  We needed some practice camping without hookups since I dream of doing extensive boondocking someday. We had replaced the lights with superbright LED’s, so they used only a miniscule amount of power.  There was plenty of battery power for lights, the water pump, fan, and most of the essentials.  We could charge the laptop and cell phones from the house batteries. If I had thought there was a chance we would be without hookups, I would have brought the solar panel along, though.

The only things we couldn’t use were the air conditioner, microwave and electric heater.  The air conditioner was no problem.  The weather was chilly!  No microwave was a minor inconvenience.  But no electric heat was a problem, because Ron had forgotten to bring our catalytic heater!  So we made a run into Silver Springs to look for another one.

Juniper Springs concession area

Juniper Springs concession area

Since winter was past we doubted that we would be able to find one anywhere in stock.  But Walmart had one lone Coleman Blackcat heater left.  It had obviously been returned and was missing some of the packing.  But when we took it back to the camper and fired it up, the gentle heat it produced was heavenly!

We were originally assigned a campsite in the oldest section of the campground.  Our site was spacious and I was happy with it.  But there were a couple of big rigs in that loop that ran their generators nonstop.  It really detracted from the ambiance of quiet camping in the woods!

On our second day a ranger came by and said we would have to move.  A tree in front of our site was leaning and was subject to fall at any moment.

I wasn’t thrilled about having to move.  But it worked out well, because the second site was much larger, more private, and there were no generators back there!

My blog header photo of Ron was taken in the second site.

New catalytic heater

New catalytic heater

We spent our days walking the trails, picnicking at the concession area, and visiting with other campers.  One of the guys had a 1969 Corvair motor home and gave us a tour.  He said their national rallies draw around 15 units.  We also met another Aliner owner–a very nice couple from New Jersey.  And we met a former Aliner owner at the dump station!  They had moved up to a motor home.

We also chatted with another couple in a tent that we thought might have been homeless.  But we didn’t want to pry.

And we endured a couple more days of cold and rain that made us feel like we were back home again!

We saw several canoers.  We were tempted to rent a canoe, but were on a fairly tight budget.  With Ron’s Senior Pass, we were only paying $10.00 a night to camp.  It cost $33 to rent a canoe.  So we stuck to walking and taking photos!

One of the most interesting features in the little creeks around the spring are numerous “boils.”  The sand roils, scouring out white circular clearings on the bottom.  It’s caused by water erupting through cracks in the underlying limestone.  Somewhere we read a sign saying that acid rain is causing the limestone to break down at an increased rate.  I imagine that would mean that the number of sinkholes in Florida will increase, too.

Juniper Springs canoers

Juniper Springs canoers

Juniper Springs boil

Juniper Springs boil

This old stone bridge was built by the CCC back in the 30’s.  A nearby sign states that the bridge itself is still structurally sound.

Since this post is getting way too long, I’ll post the rest of my photos without comment.

I apologize for the photo layout.  I’m just learning how to use the software and the photos don’t appear where I think they will.

Trail entrance

Trail entrance

Blue skies!

Blue skies!

Juniper Springs Trail

Much of the trail around the camp is boardwalk

Intriguing old stump

Intriguing old stump

Pantry overflow

Pantry overflow!

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