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

Henry David Thoreau

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve

Wednesday-Friday  January 2-January 4, 2013
Site 30 Kissimmee Prairie Preserve
Okeechobee, Florida
Hi 67  Lo 60


Wednesday January 2


Those little devils….grrrrrrrrrrrrr


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When we come out in the morning to pack up to leave Oscar Scherer we find 4 or 5 holes have been chewed in our patio mat.  I love our patio mat.  We’ve had it for about 2 years and it is starting to show some wear but should have been good for at least another year or so until this.  I’m not positive it was squirrels but they were the only ones around the site.  I can’t imagine what they were chewing it to get to.  There aren’t any oaks with acorns on this site but whatever, they have made me think about buying both a foldable rake to get all debris out of the way before I put down my mat and buying a new mat.


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If you have suggestions about where to get such a foldable rake and/or a longer lasting patio mat, please let me know.  


I don’t really want something that just has geometric designs.  I love my evergreen tree and would buy this mat again even though it doesn’t seem all that long lived for the cost.  But I must have thrown away the information that came with it so I have no idea who made it.


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Another question, how long has your patio mat lasted??  




On to Kissimmee Prairie. 


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We take I 75 about 5 miles north from Osprey and get off at FL 72.  Our route takes us right by Myakka River and I wish we could pull in but I really want to see the prairie.   The rest of the trip is on smaller roads and is fine.  The 119 mile trip is just the right length for me. 





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Kissimmee Prairie is WAY out in the boonies.  Just my kind of place.  It has a 5 mile unpaved entrance road to get to the campground.  It’s pretty washboardy right now.   We take it very slowly, even slower than the the 25 mph speed limit.  It takes nearly 30 minutes to get to the campground.   BUT nothing was jarred around,  so that is fine by me.






First sights of the Prairie.

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It is really hard to pick a site, sight unseen.

I originally booked site 9 since it was the only site available for the 6 days I want to be here.   But it is a very narrow site and has very close neighbors on both sides.   I ask if there is another choice and they suggest the Equine Loop.  We had horses for years and having them around is really a plus in my mind.  We are in Site 30 now and happy about it.   See “Where is Winnona Now” and the “Duckie view” on the upper side bar for a picture of the whole site.

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There are two loops at Kissimmee Prairie campground.  One is called the Family Camping Loop and has the restroom and laundry facilities in it.   The Equine Loop has only a composting toilet, no showers.  But since we are self contained and only going to be here 6 nights, that doesn’t matter to us.  Note that it is over half a mile from one loop to the other.  So it’s not a quick few steps to the flush privy from the Equine Loop.


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We get mostly set up, fix some dinner and by then it is dark.  The days sure are lengthening SLOWLY.  Clouds in the sky block the stars for which this park is famous.  So we don’t go over to the astronomer’s site and look through his telescope at 7pm.  Darn!



THURSDAY January 3


This morning we are fogged in. 

And I mean really fogged in.  Fine weather for running since I don’t need to see more than 10’ in front of me.  But all the critters seemed to be elsewhere.   Kissimmee is unique in that it is both a wet and a dry prairie so you have to be prepared for wet spots as well as very dry.   I run by some of the sloughs but the birds there high tail it when they see me coming.  I want to go back to that trail and walk it so perhaps I can be more stealthy. 

What I do see is millions – literally – of gorgeous spider webs.  With the moisture in the air they are brilliant.   But I don’t carry my camera when I run unfortunately,


Can’t put the laundry off any more.

It is a lovely day on the prairie but we have some chores that have to be taken care of after the morning exercise.   I have three loads of laundry to do at the one washer/one dryer laundry facility in the Family Loop.  Nice machines but it does take nearly 3 hours to do.   Luckily there are several interesting folks to chat with while I wait.  As I mentioned earlier, the laundry is at the other loop so I can’t just go back and forth to the coach putting laundry in and switching it to the dryers.


And what is David doing?

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While I am gone David takes care of some chores he has on his list including putting some serious hinges on the tow dolly box.   This is the worst designed lid I have ever seen.   The first one just ripped off and flew down the highway.  So $60 later we had another one and it too is tearing along the seam.  Clearly it is a design flaw but when we called the company they just said “yeah” well you can buy another lid.”   Yesterday as we prepared to put it back on the RV, I noticed it had torn some more and I’m not about to spend another $60 in less than 2 years on a lid for that box.  So I got out the handy dandy duct tape and put it all along the seam on both sides.   I guess that “fix” propelled David to actually get out the hinges he had bought and install them.  Apparently there is yet to be a strap hinge in the middle.  That top is not going to disappear down the highway again that seems certain.


Friday January 4


Let’s meet the neighbors.


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I am awakened by a whiney for the first time in 3 years.  It puts a huge grin on my face and propels me out the door to find the spokesman.
Our campsite is on the “Equine Loop” and the paddocks are directly across the road from the sites.





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Off I go on my first hike at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve.


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Weatherman says “great day, high of 71”.  In spite of how it looks, based on this forecast,  after saying good morning to my equine neighbors, I head out on the Prairie Loop Trail to see who I might meet.  It is getting even more overcast, heavily overcast.  But I say to myself,  it’s early, the sun will burn it off

You know what’s coming next.   I’m a mile and a half down the trail when it starts spitting rain. Not to worry it is just spitting.   But clearly everyone I had hoped to meet is at home where I should have been when it really starts raining.  Wish I could have checked with them rather than the weatherman before I started out.

Forget the 4.5 mile hike, I turn around and hot foot it back.  I’m a pretty sad sight by the time I return.  A change of clothes, hot chocolate and pecan pancakes for breakfast warm me right up. 



We set out on another ‘see the Prairie’ attempt.


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It looks like the weather is improving so we take the bikes out intending to bike and hike some other trails.  David later remarks that “the sun was out for 4 minutes and 30 seconds.”






Gray, cloudy winter day but success!

Here is what a gray, cloudy day in winter looks like on the prairie in Florida. Not too shabby. 


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We see lots of birds all of whom are too fast for my camera except the fabulous caracaras who politely sit and preen and pace back and forth for the camera albeit at a distance.


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Does it look like a beret?  Or a toupee??

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Aren’t they magnificent?

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The gray cloudy winter day lunch spot.


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There are a lot of things to learn from the Prairie.


We bike until nearly sundown and cover just over 10 miles with lots of stops.  The prairie is unlike any other place in Florida I have been and it takes some time to get into its groove and live at its pace but it’s definitely worth doing.  It’s amazing how varied the habitat.  My vision seems to change as I look closer and closer, stand more and more still to look out over the vast expanse with a sky so big the camera cannot capture it.


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We’re home before dark. 
It’s been an excellent afternoon.

I top it off by making hot soup for dinner.  With garlic toast and a salad, it’s the perfect thing to warm us after a fine cloudy gray winter day on the prairie.

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  1. Now those horses are my kind of neighbors :)
    Soup looks yummy!

  2. You need to wait and read tomorrows blog about patio mats. Ours are almost 2 years old, cheap and nearby our area.

    I'm glad you're enjoying the prairie. It's truly a special place and we can't wait to go back in a few weeks.

    We always went back and forth to the laundry. I'm not patient enough to wait so we just drove back and forth. Watch for green tree frogs in the washer though !

    I believe I had a bit of trouble posting there too...but at least I had internet. I'm thinking we probably need one of those Wilson's truckers antennas.

    Glad you got to see the Caracara's. Be on the lookout for Meadowlarks and and Nighthawks. We saw the nighthawks right on the CG road at dusk.

    Paul will show you where to find the cute little Burrowing owls. The best wildlife viewing we got was from the comfort of our truck.

  3. That caracaras looked to me more like a fowl Elvis. I've never seen that bird before, great pictures.

    That's a shame about your mat, it is really pretty, wish I had one like that. Our uuuggly mat is about 8 years old and is beginning to "rain" plastic fibers. I wonder how many recycled plastic milk jugs it takes to make a new mat?

    Wonderful pictures and another interesting post, I really enjoy these terrific locations you find.

    1. You may be right about fowl Elvis. Thanks for the compliments. Glad you are enjoying our locations. I'm enjoying your comments.

  4. My patio mat has lasted over ten years. Of course I didn't buy it at Camping World. I just went to Home Depot and bought some of their indoor/outdoor carpet off of a huge roll. It's got a rubber backing, and folds up quite compactly. I bought it several rigs ago, and have shortened its length with a pair of scissors to fit my present needs.

    There is no design in it, but I don't care. :)

  5. We've never had a patio mat. We're minimalists (=lazy).

    The caracara
    Wears Trump's haira.

  6. Thanks Gail it was really good and we have lots of left overs if you want to stop by.

    Can't wait to read it Karen. I'm not much of a driver. Don't care for motor vehicles unless there isn't any other choice. So I waited. I could have biked back but the company was interesting.

    Judy I am definitely checking out the indoor/outdoor carpet idea. If it will last that long, I don't care about design either. Am going to scout your blog for a picture of your rig and mat just to get a look. Any suggestions of where to find it??

    I found there's too much sand/dirt/mud all over in the spots I like to camp - read that as usually without a cement pad. So the mat helps me have to do less indoor cleaning. I hate cleaning. What an insult to the Caracara who has a lot of hair unlike Mr. Trump's comb over. You ducks better keep your eyes open for angry caracara's if you come back to Florida.

  7. HAHAaaaaaa.... Trump's hair... I'm with you angry caracaras indeed... HAHAaaa ... those birds are fascinating. I first saw them a few years back at Laguna Atascosa in South Texas.

    And what fun to wake up to a horse saying g'morning ... aw man? great pictures as always, Sherry. and yeah, see those 8 extra inches of leg you wish for woulda gotten you home faster but then ... the hot chocolate and pecan pancakes wouldn't have tasted quite so good... ;)

  8. I so love these posts of out of the way places. Reminds me that there is a whole host of beauty to explore in the lesser seen parts of Florida. :)

  9. I bought a gardening tool kit in a folding case at Home Depot ages ago for about $20. . .it has a rake, a shovel, a couple of hand trowels, some gardening shears. Everything comes apart. . .and each piece has an assigned slot in the case. . .very, very nifty thing to have. I'll send you a pic if you like!

    ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing Blog

  10. The prairie looks lovely - I hope the clouds clear so you can see the much admired stars. I laughed outloud at dad's comment on how long the sun was out - sounds just like him :) Good to see you guys out on the bikes - wearing the helmets. Lovely horse, bird and lunch pictures - happy smiles and beautiful eyes!! :) I want that soup next time I visit!

  11. We've only used our mat one time, so I'm no help. Well, you know this is our first long-term stay too, so that probably means a lot. No room to put out a mat here anyway.
    Love the interesting birds down in FL. I will be glad when we're somewhere that has more unusual birds than a sparrow!

  12. I highly recommend the mats that Karen has posted about. You can get whatever length you want but they are only about 6 feet wide. We bought two that are 16 feet long and over lap them a little. They breathe so no damage to grass and rain goes right through.
    Love the toupee on the bird.

  13. The Caracara is a very interesting bird. It doe's look like a toupee.
    Soup looks really good.

  14. Thanks Carolyn. I'm sure you are right but I'd definitely like to try out an extra 8" of leg.

    Laura, I'm really glad you are enjoying my posts of Florida. I really appreciate your comments.

    Janice thank you so much for commenting and for this suggestion. I'd love to see a picture of your tool kit. It sounds perfect for full timers. My email address is RVDreamlife@gmail.com

    Carrie dear. I love your comments, each and every word. It was SO your dad, that's why I mentioned it. Raining again tonight. Still no stars but you can request that soup anytime. Just come on down!

    Laurie, so sorry to hear you have only sparrows. Are you sure? Maybe you'll winter in Florida next winter and see them all. Who knows we might still be here and can show them to you (hope not-but who knows)

    Gin and Syl - SO good to hear from you again. Thanks for the second on Karen's suggestion. I don't need the mat right away so hopefully I can get over to
    that shop from one of our up coming Florida campgrounds. Haven't had time to check out its location yet.

    The Caracara is a very interesting looking bird and at least around here they are not too skittish. The soup was good but then soup in winter is almost always good.

  15. We'll we watching closely...we have a reservation there later this winter. I think most of Florida is in a cool, wet cycle. Starting Monday, things should clear up!! I could smell that soup when I got to the picture....HUMMMMMM:o))

  16. Those caracaras need to find another hairdresser methinks ;-)) Haven't bought an outdoor mat yet; at the moment, we have some outdoor carpet remnant from Home Depot, but we need to find something with a rubber backing.

  17. I have used and 7 years to me piece of carpet that sits outside in all weather in Yarnell. I don't move it and the critters leave it alone.

    The prairie is like a sea of grass with as many interesting things to see as shells on the shore. Hope the rain lets up so you can get out in more often.

    I've only seen the caracara in southern Texas. They are cool looking.

  18. Cool looking bird and I have not seen one near the shore. I just might have to travel inland and check out their nifty hairdo. I suspect we are having the same weather since we are so close. We never used a big mat, a 4 foot square piece of astro turf has served our needs over the years. Our dog still brought a lot of sand in anyway. So I am no help there. Monday night we check into Disney and I will think of you guys.

  19. Great photo's. Love the equine campgrounds, we used to camp with the horses at Alfia River. Our mat is the Camping World version. It has lasted a long time but we don't care for it. It does not stay down in any kind of wind- we hardly ever put it out now.

  20. That soup looks like what you so graciously served to us. If so, then we can attest to the fact that it is, indeed, delicious!

    Nice friendly neighbors you've got there.

  21. You have a poet's sensibility in terms of observing different ecosystems. I am often not patient enough to see and fully appreciate the nuances of nature. Thanks for taking me along through your eyes.


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