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

Henry David Thoreau

Cold and Windy Start to 2018

January 1- January 6, 2018                                                                    Most Recent Posts:
Sebastian Inlet State Park                                                                   
It’s a Wrap: 2017 Year Review
Vero Beach, Florida                                                                                Ending 2017 – Before and After Our Trip


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We’ve spent many winters in Florida and determined early on that if you want to avoid temperatures in the 30’s for winter you have to be south of Tampa in January and February.  So that’s what we do including this year.   But for January 2018 that didn’t work. 

Here we are in Vero Beach Florida latitude definitely south of Tampa and for our first week here, with the wind chill factor, we’ve been down to 29 degrees.   The temperatures were unusually low and the winds  HIGH as in up to 30 mph.

We didn’t been spend a lot of time outside.  The wind just made it too cold.  The opportuniaty to be outside in the winter is THE reason we come to Florida so I have serious envy of fellow bloggers in Desert Hot Springs California and Mesa, Arizona.  I learned that even folks in  Ouray Colorado are sporting shorts.   What IS going on here?


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On New Year’s day we leave Gamble Rogers and drive 149 miles south on  I –95 in wind and rain from Flagler Beach to Sebastian Inlet in Vero Beach.  We think we are escaping the 25 mph winds only to find ourselves in 27 mph winds.   It’s a gray day and takes 4 hoss pads on each of the passenger wheels to level up in site 24.

We are very lucky that just when we arrived there was a dry window and the rain didn’t come back until we had done a very minimal set up.  Thanks to the weather gods for that.

But over the next week there are very few breaks in the bad weather.  Of course north of us they are seeing single digits and minus numbers so we’re mindful of how much worse it could be. 


One day I stepped outside to get a picture of the white caps on Indian Inlet.  You can see the rain drops on the picture.  The winds were 27 or 28 mph and there was a kite surfer out.  I figure he must have been 16 or so to be that stupid.


IMG_8964We spent two full days with our slides in due to the winds and not wanting to take any chance of having them twisted.  We put them back out when the winds got to 20 mph or less.

Our Progressive Industries EMS kept cutting off when we tried to do almost anything.  I assume that everyone in the park, being inside, was trying to run electric heaters and use their hot water heaters and microwaves.   We just bundled up during the day and used electric blankets at night.. Yes, that’s 39 at 8:30am and a low of 37 overnight and that’s without the wind chill factor IN SOUTH FLORIDA.



We did get a big kick out of these guys in a site behind us trying to set up tents in this wind.   I think they must be related to the kite surfer.




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I really wanted to go out and see what the ocean was doing in this weather so when the rain took a short break and it was only the wind, we hustled out to walk over to the ocean.  David didn’t think it was warm enough.  He didn’t bring gloves, I did!

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I guess I should not have been surprised to see the fishermen out on the pier but boy they must have been freezing standing around in this wind over the water.


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Skimmers and terns were hunkered down on the shore.

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I’m not sure if you are allowed to surf on this side of the bridge but no one was out today except the  crazy dedicated fishermen.

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The strong winds were blowing the spray back off of the waves.  We walked straight out, took these pictures and hustled back to Winnona and out of the wind.

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We were actually able to keep the coach warm just by doing some cooking.  What’s better than soup on a cold day?  So I made a big pot of sweet potato and black bean soup one day and we warmed some of that up when David used our cast iron tortilla press to make fresh tortilla chips to go with it.  We were glad to have all of our boondocking tools like our cast iron griddle for the gas stove available given the low electricity problems.

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I forgot to take the picture until David was on his second bowl and I was nearly finished with my first.  It was a delicious soup.

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The weather did make for some beautiful sunsets and after color.

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Other ways to occupy your time in bad weather.  Play board games like Sequence and The Birding Game which we are playing here.  If you can’t go birding outside then go birding inside.

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We also took advantage of the down time to do a thorough inside house cleaning. Nothing like bad weather to force you into chores .  Look carefully, you are actually seeing David with a broom in his hand.  HA!


Over our second week, the weather began to clear and we actually did get out on the beach.  We also celebrated David’s birthday but more on that next time.

One last sunset over the Indian River.  It was wonderful that the sunset was literally right out our back door since there were no sunrises visible this week over the ocean due to all the cloudy weather.

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It’s a Wrap: 2017 Year Review

From Florida to Maine and Back                                                   Most Recent  Posts:
January 1 to December 31, 2017                                                  Ending 2017 – Before and After our Trip
                                                                                                     Our Real Holiday Joy


YEAR 7 FACTS


Jan to June 2017In this our 7th year on the road we traveled 4801 miles from Florida to Maine and back.  We spent our longest stay ever in one place with over 12 weeks in Acadia National Park.

We stayed in 23 parks and spent a total of  $5566 in camping fees for the year as well as $1569 in gasoline to get around to all those places.  That’s a monthly average for camping of  $464 and a monthly gasoline cost of $130.75.   We’ve gravitated over the years to preferring 2 weeks at least in one place but our average this year would be seriously skewed if I averaged our two months at Narrows Too into that.



Jan to April FLAWinnona had a big year.  She got a new TAC Module to start off the year in January, a new starter along with a new shuttle valve for the jacks in February,  a knock sensor replacement,  a new rear air conditioner a dump valve replacement during the summer.    She also got 6 new tires in the spring while we were in Charlottesville and a set of EEZ Tire Pressure monitors which we are happy to have.  She got her smoke alarm replaced, her propane alarm replaced and 4 new fire extinguishers.  She should be set to go for some time. 



 YEAR 7 FUN


JANUARY

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January of 2017 found us at Hillsborough River State Park where we celebrated David’s birthday David style – pizza, movies with popcorn, ice cream. Brusters of course.

Hillsborough is our park for the annual Moffitt Cancer Center doctor visits and the RV Supershow in Tampa.   We hiked and kayaked the Hillsborough River as well walking right from our campsite to both

I won the raffle at the campground potluck which turned out to be $55 for our $5 investment

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Drum sundown Jan

From Hillsborough River we move further South to Oscar Scherer State Park. where we have wonderfully warm weather and a hawk, and an armadillo for neighbors and an Eagle’s nest nearby to watch..   We visit our favorite nearby beach, Nakomis, often and once to drum down the sun.

We go birding at the park with the Venice Audubon Society and see a wide variety of birds including the red headed woodpecker and the scrub jay.  We visit Yoder’s for breakfast and bike down the Legacy Trail 5.3 miles to the Venice Train Depot.  There we pick up the Venetian Waterway Trail for 3.5 miles to Casperson Beach to hunt for Sharks teeth.  A really nice round trip ride of nearly 18 miles.

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FEBRUARY

Picking citrus

February finds us at Lake Louisa picking citrus and David installed a new starter for Winnona.
We celebrate Carrie’s birthday week in Disney World and wish she was with us.    We meet up with Friends Paul and Marti Dahl while we are there.  So good to see them after such a long time


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We move from Disney to Rainbow Springs State Park where at the end of our first week David comes down with a cold that turns into Pneumonia and lands him in the hospital.  I take him into Tampa to Moffitt 90 miles and drive round trip each day to visit until I too get the virus.  Our two week limit goes by and the wonderful folks at Rainbow Springs allow me to move Winnona into a walk in site and stay as long as I need to.   After 7 days in the hospital I pick him up but he’s still not well.  They felt he was well enough to leave since hospitals are probably more dangerous places than Winnona for him.  But he’s not well enough to move on to our next reservation.  Thank you thank you to the people at Rainbow Springs for letting us outstay our reservation.  


Rainbow cormorant

Thanks also to the springs and the beautiful wood ducks and birds in breeding attire that I saw on my nearly daily early morning kayaking up the Rainbow River before visiting the hospital

Rainbow wood ducks



MARCH

St geo appal oysters

In March we finally are able to move to what’s left of our reservation at St. George Island State Park.  We have missed our reservations at St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge all together. At St. George we enjoy the gorgeous beach, sunrise and sunset as well as delicious Appalachicola Oysters.

ST Geo sunset


We move on to O’Leno State Park where we hike from River Sink where the Sante Fe goes underground to River Rise where it reappears 3.5 miles away.   We kayak the Sante Fe River though not underground !  <grin>

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 Oleno river rise


rodman campground

Next we visit Rodman Campground for the first time in honor of Marjorie Harris Carr  and saw the Rodman Dam which she vigorously opposed and camped across from the only part of the Cross Florida Canal built before she was able to stop it.  I  celebrate Spring Equinox by hiking a section of the Cross Florida Trail.  We visited nearby Ravine Gardens State Park where sadly what must be an amazing display of Azaleas was finished.  We paddled the Oklawaha River which she devoted her life to saving.  She’s a real Heroine in my opinion.

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wekiwa bball

At  Wekiwa Springs  we watch the NCAA Basketball tournament where our teams win, both the women coached by our favorite Dawn Staley and the UNC Tar Heel men.   Yes we’re from Virginia where Staley was a standout but before that our hearts belonged to Carolina.  Once a Tar Heel, always a Tar Heel.   Of course we made time to enjoy the springs, the trails and paddling the Rock Spring run before April sent us on our way.



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APRIL

Our last stop in Florida before heading north to Virginia mid month was at Faver Dykes State Park.  It’s a small old timey park that isn’t for those who don’t like dirt roads and sand sites.  We manage to finish waxing Winnona there and enjoy several wonderful paddles on beautiful Pellicier Creek.. 

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MAY

Celia is one

The main goals for Virginia are to do all the medical appointments – dentist, annual check ups, optomitrist etc, to visit with our friends and enjoy the sweet little town of Charlottesville, our home town, before it became notorious. and of course, most importantly to see Carrie and Celia.   We celebrate Celia’s first birthday.  How can she be a year old already??  Early in our stay, I go to DC where my friend Lynda and I meet up with Carrie to march in the People’s Climate March.  Late in our stay I take a Nature Journaling Workshop at Shenandoah National Park.


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Shen N PSNP workshop




JUNE – JULY – AUGUST – SEPTEMBER

Our Travels in Maine


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After 6 weeks, we head north for the summer.  First stop Seawall Campground in Acadia National park where we spend a week boondocking and enjoying being inside the park and how close we are to the ocean.  We start our quest to taste test as much lobster as possible. 

We then move to Narrows Too for the two months of  rare for us Full Hook Ups.  It’s wonderful having Bill and Nancy Mills as our next door neighbors. 


Nancy and I watch the sunrise from the top of Acadia’s tallest peak on the Summer Solstice.


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We do a lot of hiking and a LOT of blueberry picking with them resulting in blueberry pancakes, at least 2 blueberry pies and 2 freezers full of bags of berries.  YUM!

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Due to the many foggy mornings, I am shut out of the gorgeous views on at least two hikes I take hoping the fog will burn off.    David and I hike to all 17 of the carriage bridges and summit most of the 31 peaks in Acadia.  We kayak most of the lakes on the island as well always hoping and often succeeding to see and hear the loons.  At Jordan pond we’re lucky to come upon a nesting loon.

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David’s brother and his wife Carol come for a visit and we all splurge with a lobster dinner overlooking the harbor in Bar Harbor.   FANtastic!


Maine Roger & CarolMaine Roger & lobster


Of course on the coast of Maine there are lighthouses everywhere.  We see more than half a dozen of them up and down the coast including the iconic Bass Harbor Light, Egg Rock Light, Winter Harbor Light and Prospect Harbor light to name a few.

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schoodic hiking
At the end of our reservations at Narrows Too, we just aren’t ready to head south so we move over to the Schoodic Woods Campground and enjoy the fantastic Schoodic Point.  There is great hiking right from the campground and the sweet little towns like Winter Harbor with its wonderful library.  We take trips to both Lubec for the Annual Pirate Festival and Eastport Maine to visit the family owned Raye’s Stone Ground Mustard Mill.



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While the rest of the country seems to swelter in unbelievable heat this summer, we’re comfortably cool and it’s just a fantastic summer.  Acadia National Park is stunningly beautiful and I took SO many pictures of the beauty we saw in every direction no matter where we went.

It’s seriously hard to leave Acadia but after three months, it’s time.



Schoodic gives us a great send off.


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SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER


Celia & NanaWe spend a last few days in Seawall Campground before heading south to Virginia in Mid September.

We thought by arriving in mid September that surely we would get to enjoy the wonderful Blue Ridge fall colors.  They always show up in October.  But not this year.  It wasn’t until after we had moved on South the last week of October that things turned colorful finally in November.

   But we did  get some chores crossed off our list, see friends and family and have several great visits with  Carrie and Celia  including a fun halloween/birthday party.


Celia Halloween


Celila & Carrie



NOVEMBER

Back in Florida after a 7 month absence, we hang out near the East Coast to enjoy the Atlantic.
One of these years we hope to be out west for the Winter, say Arizona or Desert Hot Spring?  Turns out, it should have been this year.


Travel Map November through December

Nov to December zoom in 2017

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The First of November found us at Fort Clinch state park where I was able to walk right out to the ocean for sunrise every morning.   LOVE IT!   After two weeks, we move south to Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine where the ocean is a bit further walk but the lighthouse is nearby and a farmer’s market is almost in the park.


St aug lighthouse


Gamble view

From there we go to my very favorite spot, an ocean front site at Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area.   While we’re there David takes a flight to Texas to visit his brother and his family including a trip to Terlingua to the Javalina Hide Out and to Big Bend National Park.  He has a wonderful time.  I have my first ever solo Thanksgiving.



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DECEMBER

Birthday Disney

December finds us headed yet again for Disney World for my birthday. We stage up at Lake Louisa for the week end before our 5 day stay at Fort Wilderness.  Of course the actual birthday has to include bubbles and No Way Jose.

Birthday No way Jose



Leaving Disney, we move to Wekiwa Springs State Park where we come down with the Disney Crud from which we still suffer a month later.  The coughing is made some what more tolerable by a birthday gift of 60 glitter pens that Carrie sends. But we didn’t get to do any kayaking at this park which is a great place for it.  That’s a bummer.

birthday pens

We close out the year back at Gamble Rogers State Recreation area and with a flight to Baltimore to visit with Carrie’s Family for the holidays.  


Baltimore Celia and Nana


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It’s been another busy and wonderful year on the road.  David’s disease appears to still be under control for which we are beyond grateful to all his medical support team who make our travels possible.  Our darling granddaughter gets cuter each time we visit her and even 12 weeks and 4 days in Acadia National Park was not enough.  It’s the longest we’ve stayed anywhere since going on the road in 2010 and we’d do it again in a heart beat.

Who knows what’s up for 2018?  Thus far we have no plans past April so we’ll just have to wait and see.   But I do hope it includes scenes like this.

Fort Clinch sunset