Contentment

Evening coming on.

Evening coming on.

As lovely as Ocean Pond is, I think it is the mix of people here that make it so special to me.  It’s a mix of all ages, but everyone I speak to is friendly and laid back.  No Type A’s here that I can tell!  🙂

I just fell in love with a little guy around 4 or 5 years old today.  He walked up to Sheba while we were out for a walk and started petting here.  He said, “I know this dog, and she won’t hurt me.”  Sheba was as calm as I’ve ever seen her, instead of her usual rambunctious inclination to jump on people who pay her attention.

I asked him his name and he said, “Zayton.”  “I’m Mrs. Sharon,” I replied.  He solemnly stuck out his little left hand and said, “It’s good to meet you.”  I was stunned at his poise and good manners.  And very, very impressed with him. Someone is doing an amazing job of parenting him.

One of the things I love best here is taking a walk a while before sunset.  Then on the way back, I get to walk toward the sunset and see all the people finishing their bike rides and walks before dark… and I usually find several campers with their backs to the road, just lost in the splendor of the unfailingly gorgeous sunsets over the lake.

Serenity

Serenity

One of our neighbors is a couple we met at Eastbank.  They are the ones with the self-built motor home.  Sheba is crazy about them because they always have a dog biscuit in their pockets for her.  What a sweet, fun way to make friends with dogs and their owners, too!

So we don’t have any exciting news, but we are so happy and content.  Next week it’s supposed to be chilly when we are at O’Leno State Park.  So I hope we can find available sites farther south after that.

I have had to cancel two sets of reservations on this trip due to our changing our plans.  We really hate to tie ourselves down to being at a certain place at a certain time.  As a result, we do miss out on some of the places we’d like to stay when they are booked solid.

There are still a few wildflowers blooming.

There are still a few wildflowers blooming.

I’ve noticed something about availability in state parks during winter in Florida.  Central and East Florida are usually booked solid.  However, sites on Florida’s west coast usually have sites available (except for the most popular parks).  I don’t understand why that is because the west coast is a lot more beautiful to me than the east.  But they also are usually more expensive, which might explain some of it.  Also there are stretches that don’t have any big cities, which makes a difference for people looking for attractions to visit.

Anyway, all of the places I wanted to see there are out of our budget, so we’ll just go where and when we can find spots.

 

Back at our “Home” Campground

Sunset reflecting off the Spanish moss in our "front yard."

Sunset reflecting off the Spanish moss in our “front yard.”

We spent a wonderful week at Gail’s new house.  And Gail invited everyone over for Christmas… even though she does not have her furniture in yet.  However, we did fine by improving with camp chairs, using the van beds as sofas!

To my delight, Gail's new yard sprouted several earthstars!

To my delight, Gail’s new yard sprouted several earthstars!

And it was the happiest, most relaxed Christmas I can remember.  Mom and her new husband Jean were there.  And between a spiral ham and a smoked turkey, we really feasted!

I’m getting my days mixed up a bit.  Can’t remember if my baby sister and her husband showed up Christmas or the day after along with their granddaughter Mikala.

We are back at Ocean Pond for a week.  After that, we’ll head to O’Leno State Park.  And I’m not sure where we’ll head after that.

I was sitting in the truck while Ron went into Walmart for a few items.  I watched the crows gather on the only two red vehicles in that area of the parking lot.  It struck me odd that they preferred red to all the other colors.

I was sitting in the truck while Ron went into Walmart for a few items. I watched the crows gather on the only two red vehicles in that area of the parking lot. It struck me odd that they preferred red to all the other colors.

I was praying that we could get an electric site here, which is tricky since you can’t make reservations.  But we scored the last one available!

We are happy and content, and after two months camping, we still don’t want to even think of going back home.

I doubt that you can see him, but a biker is standing watching the sunset, totally lost in the splendor.  He was still there when I walked back by him around 15 minutes later.

I doubt that you can see him, but a biker is standing watching the sunset, totally lost in the splendor. He was still there when I walked back by him around 15 minutes later.

Fishermen

Fishermen

Another shot of our beautiful campsite.

Another shot of our beautiful campsite.

 

Visiting Family at Ocean Pond

our site

Our huge site at Ocean Pond

We got to Ocean Pond Campground in the Osceola National Forest Monday.  Since then we have spent 100% of our time catching up on the last four years with my sister Gail and BIL Mike.  It is so wonderful to spend time with family we love and have missed for so long!

Gail and Mike are camped across the street from us.

Gail and Mike are camped across the street from us.

Gail has drawn up plans for the house she wants and they are negotiating for land right now.  What an exciting prospect! She had drawn plans for the beautiful Victorian home that they had before they moved to Texas.  But this time she wants something small and simple — country style.

How wonderful it must be to know exactly what you want and be able to draw the plans yourself!  She also has the gift of looking at bare land and visualizing how the finished home will look on it.  And she’s a financial whiz.  I think she got most of Daddy’s genes!  🙂

They are camping in the van that Gail remodeled into a camper.  If you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to what she did.

Photo taken at Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park

Photo taken at Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park

Before we got here, we overnighted at Veteran’s Memorial State Park, as we often do on our way to Florida.  This time it’s under new management and the rate is $35 a night.  With our senior  and annual park passes, it was still $28 a night.  But the campground is in even greater need of repairs than it was last time we visited.  It struck us as kind of seedy.  So we’ll opt for a nearby Passport America park for $20 a night on future Florida trip stopovers.

Sheba is being so good this trip.  So far!  As long as she gets 3 good walks a day, she handles being tied up per campground rules pretty well.  I’m proud of her.

Ron and sheba at Veterans Memorial

Ron and sheba at Veterans Memorial

Little Sunny is failing fast.  He is almost blind, almost deaf, and has trouble walking.  So walks with him consist of a short stroll, then my carrying him the rest of the way.  I suppose I should get him a stroller, but I’m not quite ready for that.

I am not at all happy with the photos my new phone takes.  So I will probably start hauling around my Lumix when I want some decent shots.

There was one other Casita here, owned by people from Seattle.  Then after dark another Casita pulled in and is parked on the street behind us.  We’ll say hello to them tomorrow!

At least the leaf color was first rate!

At least the leaf color was first rate!

 

 

 

Ocean Pond

front of campsite

Our HUGE front yard

Yay!  WordPress will let me insert large photos again!

We got to Ocean Pond Campground late this afternoon.  Ocean Pond is not an ocean, and it’s not a pond.  It’s a lake in the middle of the Osceola National Forest in northeast Florida.

Our back yard

Our back yard

It’s a beautiful campground.  Nicer than I expected.  It has a self-pay station and you choose your own campsite, then go back and put your money and registration envelope in the iron ranger.  All of the waterfront sites were taken, but that actually worked out better for us.

We have a HUGE campsite.  Behind us is a memorial plaque to a ranger who was killed in WWII, so there isn’t a campsite there.  And we’re on a curve across the street from the lake with a HUGE front yard, too.  Plenty of room to keep the dogs on long leads without bothering the neighbors.

Summer temperatures; fall colors

Summer temperatures; fall colors

All this space with water and electric is only $12 a night with our senior pass!

It was really hot today.  I was so grateful that our site is in deep shade during late afternoon.

This evening the mosquitoes are bad.  The camp host told Ron they’ve been bad for the past three days.  They aren’t sure why.

Sunset reflecting from Spanish moss

Sunset reflecting from Spanish moss

Sure glad I brought bug spray and mosquito repellant!

Boat ramp

Boat ramp

 

 

 

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