Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Around Jonathan Dickinson

Sunday  February 26, 2012
Don’t forget - MYMO


Sunday was an overcast, gray, cloudy day.

David slept in and I slipped out to see Hobe Mountain. 
That’s right, Mountain. 
Made me laugh. 
But they are serious. 
Read the information sign.


Mountain???  86 feet!

I walked up the boardwalk to take  in the view. 
No nose bleed from the height though.



Good views of the park to the North, South, and West.  


To the South


To the West 

See the little Intercoastal water way in the distance? 


Looking out to the east you could see the inland waterway and just past that the ocean.






Here it is closer and the ocean behind it.  TOUGH LIFE!



When I zoomed in, I found this little house facing the inland water way.





Later in the day we went to Jupiter Beach where the streets for miles are
lined with multi million dollar homes.  Looks like lots of folks aren’t having any recession woes.


Coming back down I had to take this shot of a father and son spending some close time together.  Did you ever have moments like this with your dad?  I sure didn’t.  But wish I had.

Lucky boy, lucky Dad.

What great memories! 

After coming down off the “Mountain” I thought I’d check out the other things in the park which are all down by the River Campground. 


tours go to Trapper Nelson's 

So I hiked around and saw the Boat dock where the park’s tour boat leaves for its $18.86 per person tour.  And where they rent canoes, kayaks, and motor boats.




No swimmers today




the swimming area in the Loxahatchee River





very scenic spot for programs




The amphitheater also on the river





There are numerous trails and paths between each of these.  I took this one over to the River Campground

Sandy path


Good thing this is a slash pine forest so you can see over most
of the vegetation to figure out which way to go.

take your choice


I just love this little campground and all the interesting “campers”


Notice the steps in the back


Too cute vintage trailer

VW van still at it 


this one even has a GARAGE

The camp hosts have everything all set up.  What do you want to bet
they travel with dogs??

these folks have a LOT of STUFF


From there I took the short path over to the campground boat
put in which is where I hope we’ll launch for a paddle on the Loxahatchee perhaps tomorrow.

Loxahatchee launch


By this time it is nearly 11AM and I’m assuming David is up although he
hasn’t called.  Time to get back and make some late breakfast. brunch? 

On the trail back along the River to the car, I saw this amazing tree.

Still alive, tall  and healthy.   Standing on its tiptoes.


How does it do this??


David was up and feeling rested. 

After some food thought we decided to go over to the ocean.
Haven’t seen the ocean in FAR too long.
So we drove over to Hobe Sound public Beach.

Ruby in the background waiting by the sea 


Hobe Sound and its neighbor Juniper Island
are seriously beautiful and wealthy communities.
The road leading to the beach is lined with
gorgeous banyan trees.


Banyans in a row


WOW so big you can't hug it


lovely drive


It was a red flag day at the beach

There were only a few people out.

Red flag means extreme caution but you can swim

Even these folks had come in and were sitting on the railings to get out of the wind.

Too cute!


But the water was warm and wonderful.  I could have walked for miles
down the beach but it wasn’t a good place for David to sit.  Too windy.  Maybe another day.

Long time no see Atlantic


My happiest place

We drove around on North and South Beach roads being amazed at how lovely all the landscaping was and how hidden the houses.  Miles and miles of oceanfront multi million dollar mansions.  The recession had no effect on these folks that seems apparent.  How is that I wonder?  Don’t they have their money “invested”?  How did SO many people make themselves recession proof??


We stop by the grocery on our way home. 
Fix hummus and spinach sandwiches for lunch.  
David takes a nap and I work on the blog.


We hike the Kitching Creek Trail

When he gets up, he wants to go out on the Nature Trail so we drive back to the main park area in the more interior part of the park where I had been this morning and hike the Kitching Creek Trail.


We did them both


It’s more of a very nice walk actually through the Pine Flatwoods.

Original South Florida


Aren’t the Slash Pines beautiful against the sky?



there is an amazing variety of vegetation


The trail takes us, of course,  to Kitching Creek.  It comes off of the Loxahatchee and looks like a fine place to kayak.  Very slow and serene.  There are some nice benches here where we sit and wait for a family with exuberant children to hike on down the trail.
We are quiet observant hikers.  That’s pretty difficult for most children.


Lovely Kitching Creek


I love the long elegant needles of these not so elegantly named pines.

Those are some LONG needles


They really are beautiful trees.  Look at this bark.

Beautiful bark


Nature's mosaic 


It was a very relaxing 90 minute stroll after which we went back for dinner.  
We really made the very best of a marginal weather day.

Days Go By

Saturday February 26, 2012

We’ve been having our ups and downs.

Thursday morning was David’s 4th treatment of Velcade.  
We have moved his appointments out of the Tampa office to the Brandon office
which is much closer to where we are staying and thus much easier for us.
Color this UP.

The appointment began as always with a blood draw to determine his current counts. 
He was surprised that before they gave the velcade shot they gave him an injection of procrit. 

Procrit is a synthetic copy of Epoetin Alpha
produced in the kidney to stimulate hemoglobin
to produce red blood cells and avoid the necessity
of a blood transfusion in patients showing severe anemia. 
His blood work hemoglobin count had dropped below 10 necessitating the shot. 

He’s beginning to feel like a pin cushion
with all the blood taken and injections given twice a week. 
Within hours of this shot,
he felt more tired and run down than he has ever felt.
He had never felt anemic until now.
Color this DOWN.

Precision Auto in Brandon Florida is a Great Place
to get your car repaired.

On a more pleasant note,
Thursday afternoon was the day the car finally got fixed
thanks to David’s persistence in finding the part
and getting the Honda Dealership to order it. 
And thanks to Precision Automotive in Brandon, Florida
who had to drop our full gas tank to install it. 
We now have a leak free gas line. 
Color this UP.

Precision Auto  is terrific. 
They are honest,
VERY reasonably priced,
thorough and
very experienced
so they can charge you the minimum for labor to do your work.

We cannot recommend them highly enough. 
If you are anywhere in this area and need any auto work done,
do yourself a favor and have them do it. 
I’ll be putting out reviews of praise on all the internet sites
we used to find them including Car Talk’s Mechanics Files.

after weeks of being put on the back burner,
Ruby’s problems are fixed and that chore can be filed away.
Definitely UP

But, David found himself exhausted and went to bed early.
Color that DOWN.

We wanted to take a vacation during his “break”.

Friday we left Lithia Springs and drove across the state
166 miles to keep part of our previously made East Coast reservations. 
Since David’s treatments are two weeks on and one week off,
this was his “vacation” after round #1 and he wanted
to DO something. 

We arrived about 3:00 at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
There are two campgrounds at Jonathan Dickinson.

To Jonathan Dickinson 011

Our site is in Pine Flatwoods just a short way into the park.  It is for sure flat but has very few pines in the campground.  It does have full hook ups but zero charm in my opinion.

What it does have is lots of grackles.
To Jonathan Dickinson 025

To Jonathan Dickinson 022

Here is a picture of our site #79.
Full hook ups but not much more to write home about.

To Jonathan Dickinson 042

I would much rather have been in the River campground
4 miles into the park near all of the facilities.

Sunday at Dickinson 058

It is a much smaller campground and designed for smaller RVs although there are at least 3 sites that Winnona could get in to.  But none for a rig any bigger than she is at 34’.  
It’s a lovely little campground though
with much more of a camping feel.

Again David was surprised to find he was very tired
after the drive.  Prior to the procrit injection,
although his numbers said he was anemic,
he hadn’t felt that way.  
Now, he was exhausted from what
in the past would have been a relatively easy drive.  
We got minimally set up, had dinner and he went to bed early.

Saturday dawned, I went out running about 7:45am,
came back, did my stretching and other exercises and found that
David had slept the entire time.  
Nearly 12 hours of sleep. Very unusual for him. 
But he said he felt better.

After breakfast we just noodled around until lunch
David took another nap after lunch.  When he woke
we drove the 4 miles down to
the visitor center rather than biking down
as we usually would.

We saw the film they were showing on the
Loxahatchee River which flows through the park.
It was Florida’s first wild and scenic designated river.
We’d love to kayak on it.   But that will depend
on David’s energy and the weather.

So far the weather has been a disappointment.
It has rained, been cloudy and windy both days.
Although in a way, that’s good since it
makes David less disappointed that he doesn’t
feel as good as usual.

After the movie, we spent some time in the
extremely well done visitor’s center learning the
history of the area that is now the park and
the history of the park itself.

Sunday at Dickinson 099 
There were two books that I would love to read but at 120 and 156 pages each, $15.95 per books is
too stiff for my wallet.
But they really looked interesting.
One was a journal by Jonathan Dickinson a Quaker merchant who was shipwrecked near here in 1669
with his family and slaves.  His accounts of the  Native Peoples would have been very interesting to read.  The other book was the story of Trapper Nelson a rather eccentric man who lived up river from the early 30’s to late 60’s.   More about him on another day.

David looked around some and then uncharacteristically sat on the bench
while I finished looking at the exhibits.

Sunday at Dickinson 109

His energy was flagging so we went back for a nap for him while I made dinner.  
After eating, he again went to bed early hoping he’d have more energy tomorrow
which luckily he did.
That’s an UP!!

I walk, We paddle

Thursday February 23, 2012
Site #13  Lithia Springs
*RTMOTP – remember to mouse over the pictures

Wednesday was not a running day but I like to get out  in the morning so I took a walk down to the spring. No one was around except the leaf blower and the resident Blue Heron and Duck Trio.
It just amazes me how noisy this lovely park is with the leaf blowing machines nearly every day blowing the leaves off the gravel sites and off
Hey you missed some.
the parking lots and off the side walks– well sometimes the side walks get skipped as you can see Here.  
He actually blew the leaves off the parking lot onTO the sidewalk this time and then turned and walked away.

I have to say, I do hate noisy leaf blowers and all those little engine excessively polluting things.  I really don’t understand it here in the middle of a beautiful Live Oak Forest and spring.   There really are not that many leaves and we are camping for heaven’s sake.  Who do leaves in the site bother?  Or on the parking lots.   The wind is going to blow them all around and back anyway.  Why waste the gasoline.  Pollute the air with the fumes and the noise?

Brrrmmmmm  Brmmmmm

He sure ruined the serenity of my morning walk and everyone else’s morning solitude as well I am sure.

But I waited and finally outlasted him as he drove off to deal with an onslaught of leaves somewhere else.

Got any goodies??

Then I enjoyed the company of the  3 ducks.  Larry, Curly and Moe???
OK Ducks and duck fans, what kind of ducks are these?

The heron was at about the same place David saw him yesterday.  I wonder if this is his favorite fishing spot?

hunkered down

close up hunker

He stood in this one spot and preened and stretched and I had such a good time watching him.
Head to knee pose
One legged stand

Twist to the left
Stand nice and tall now

We even stared at each other for a bit.
What ARE you looking at??

In an attempt to distract me, the one who appears to be the head duck flew up but not quite over the fence.

roosting on the fence

name this duck

I walked on around through the lovely live oaks and the SO southern looking Spanish Moss.

Morning Walk (29)

  This is a strong childhood visual memory for me of happy times visiting my Great Aunt Carrie for whom my daughter is named when she lived at 909 Sunset Drive in Ocala Florida.  Her street was treed just like this.

I always feel her near me among these trees and their “goats beard”.

By now I’m getting hungry and start back in the direction of Winnona
thinking about a scrambled breakfast vegan style.

Guess these leaves are OK

So when I get back and David says “what’s for breakfast”, this is what I suggest.  And it was just as good as I thought it would be.  Next time tumeric to give it that yellow scrambled egg color.

scrambled tofu and many veggies

You're sure about this???
Around 1:30 David finally got his wish, we set out in the kayaks on the Alafia River.  First we headed out to wlak the kayaks over to the boat dock.  it's a short walk along the park road but David doesn't like roads even in a nearly empty park with no cars on them at all.
David knew a short cut.  Or so he said.
So the short walk became a longer walk as we backtracked to the road and on to the dock.

boot dock launch
First we went upstream where I had been earlier so he could get a look at the water sides of the few campsites on the river.  We think next time we are here we’d like to get site #40 if we can.

No pictures of the site from the water though.  Neither of us took it.
We’ll get one when we move in there.  :-)

drifting along

still no paddling

Beautiful river

We glided along within two or three feet of this cormorant who never even batted an eye at us.  I wondered if he’d just come out of the water and perhaps his wings were too wet to fly but he wasn’t sunning them when we saw him.
Almost looks black and white

looking at me
watching me pass by

We didn’t go far upstream but turned around to go back down river
past where the spring run empties into the river. 
Pretty easy to notice with all the No Trespassing signs.
This is the larger spring in which you are allowed to swim.

Main spring mouth

And this the smaller which is roped off in the park with  “habitat restoration” signs
so that you can see it in its natural state. 
There is quite  a difference between the one set up for “use”
and the one left in its natural state..

Small spring mouth

We drifted on down stream slowly

quiet and beautiful

Passing by the usual river dwellers
See the Ibis on the tree limb?

How about now?
too close for comfort

We went through several fun small “rapids”.  We were surprised by another bigger one around a bend and when we went a bit further and there was ANOTHER one we started to wonder if we wanted to paddle back up all these “riffles”.

they kept getting bigger

So we turned around and started back up. 
We definitely were working hard and getting shoved across the river.

the river between us

At this point we got grounded on opposite sides of the river and took a break before
going on with the effort.

such style

Good place for a banana break.

David shoved off and got turned around going back down the river.
It was becoming funny. This river was having its way with us.
Never taking total control but not letting us have it either.

This river was cutting no slack

I was more stuck than David but the water under me was so shallow I could have gotten out and towed the boat. 
Only problem was that with the swiftness of the water, my getting out might have sent it on down the river in a hurry without me.

So David got himself over to my side of the river right by the bank where the water was calm but not on the rock face where I was stuck.  We used my paddle to pole him up on my right hand side so he could step out with the bank for support, get his boat into the shallows and tow me out.

careful, slippery rocks
Super Hat saves the day!!

Since we decided we’d have to come back another time with a shuttle to kayak the river downstream, we paddled up the smaller riffles back up stream.  David wanted to see the little river community I’d been to.

Afafia River shore 

Looks like a "week end" place

It was another wonderful day on the water.

Can't hug this big tree

Seldom happier than on the water