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

Henry David Thoreau

Big Cypress to Myakka River

Thursday February 6 through Saturday February 8, 2014
Site 14 Big Flats Campground
Myakka River State Park
Sarasota, Florida


Not such a blast from the past

I just realized that in telling the story of leaving Flamingo I had blocked out the ‘oh no’ episode that happened just before we pulled out to head for the dump.  It’s such a recurring irritation that apparently when I was writing the post on that day, I refused to have it in my memory.  No pictures of it right?

In any case, we are at the end of our departure lists, I turn on the accessories to raise the jacks.  The right front won’t come up.  This is the second time it has refused and the who knows how many times it has been slow or partial.  The spring has been replaced.  I’m for replacing the solenoid which has not.  It’s not that difficult a fix.  David has done the back two already.  But he wants to call HWH to see what they think before agreeing with me.  All kinds of other things it could be is his refrain. 

He forces the jack up with a crowbar.  We’re ready to leave again.  I turned Winnona off while he forced up the jack and now she won’t won’t start.   We have been having rather recurring starting glitches too.  And thus we have a second one of those don’t sweat it vs. Fix the damn thing differences of opinion.   I’ve been saying “It’s the battery”.  David’s been saying, “there are lots of things it could be”.   Well that may, be but this day it’s not just hesitant, doesn’t just require that you start it twice.  Today it will  not crank again.   The battery is nearly 7 years old.  DUH!!

We conveniently leave our jumper cables in the trunk of the car which now has the bicycles on it.   Luckily our neighbor comes to the rescue and loans us his.  We get her started but of course can’t turn her off for the dump.   We don’t turn her off for the stop in at Robert Is Here.   This idling pollution drives me crazy.   I never do that.  NEVER.   

We have to get gas so we have to turn her off and cross our fingers.  After about 60 miles of driving, she’s got enough of a charge that she comes back up so we are able to get gas on our way to Big Cypress but a new battery is now for sure in our future.   Well it’s broken right so now I guess we can fix it.   Just don’t ever do anything ahead of time.  Or maybe it’s not quite broken since it did start back up.

And that leads me back to the present.  Sort of……………..



All too soon our short stay at Big Cypress ends.



There are many more things we could do here but we have a lot of business to attend to in the 3 days prior to attending a boon docking rally with RV Dreams. So we are off to Myakka River State Park for those days. Or we hope we are.

Will the battery start?   David said he would just put the battery charger on the battery the night before we leave Big Cypress.  This will take care of it.  But instead he starts the coach every day and every day it starts including this one.  The jack however does not come up and must be forced AGAIN.  Since I’m not the one having to force it, it isn’t for me to say when it’s time to cut that out and call HWH. 

BUT, there is still a new battery in the future and we stop on the way up to Myakka and get one.   Right after we leave the auto parts place the air conditioning stops working.   Sheesh…..it couldn’t have happened before we stopped for the battery so we could get some recharge could it.   But luckily it’s not too hot and we drive on.



It’s a 175 mile drive which is pretty close to the top of my 200 mile absolute limit.  Most of it was on I 75 and even with a stop for lunch we arrive about 3:30 and get set up in site 14 in Big Flats campground.   This is a nice large site in the campground closest to the Outpost which has the Wifi.  It’s closest to most of the trails and to the birding boardwalk.  I wish we had more than 3 days here to enjoy the old Florida ambiance of this rustic campground.   But we are here on a mission to get the battery installed, get new hiking boots, get some of David’s prescriptions filled, fill up with propane and groceries for the boondocking rally and do the laundry.   Whew………….makes me tired just thinking about it.




I’d sure rather be with Carrie celebrating her birthday. 

Being in the Everglades this year made it tough to get her presents to her so first thing on our list of errands is to get it in the mail so it will arrive on Monday and she can just have a week rather than just a day celebrating such an important event.  We were able to mail a birthday card to her from Everglades City.  Hope that gets there today. 

What a shame for me to spend the day I became a mother SHOPPING.  Being Carrie’s mother – TWO THUMBS UP!   Shopping – 10 THUMBS DOWN.  But we do spend the ENTIRE day on Friday trying to get around in the Winter Snowbird traffic of Sarasota to do all of the errands including a stop at Detweiler’s Farmer’s stand and at Sarasota’s Whole Foods.  




Never begin your errands if you are hungry.  Enter Millie’s.



We are unable, despite looking all over, to find the truck stop with propane on Rt 72 that the camp host in big flats has assured us is there.  But David is a very happy camper when we stop at Millie’s for breakfast.  Millie’s is a great restaurant.  We have the non vegan omelet special for what has become his monthly breakfast out. The restaurant has a lovely atmosphere and our breakfast was delicious.







What is the answer on this camera for back lighting?  Can you even see the big smile on his face?




This is all made more difficult because on the way out the door this morning I dropped my cell phone which is what we use for mapping and now the GPS is not working properly.  I see a visit to the Verizon store in my future.  But not today.  There are few things I hate more than dealing with broken technology and there is no room in the schedule for this last minute problem.   We still haven’t figured out the jack thing.




Things start looking up a bit after the breakfast, other than the traffic battles.  David finds a new pair of Italian hiking boots that he really likes at Environeers, a very nice sporting goods store.  They are 50% off.  Now that’s a cheerful note to an expensive day.   Especially given that if we’d remembered LL Bean’s return policy they would have been free.

His nurse at Moffitt gets his prescriptions called into a nearby CVS so we can get them today and don’t have to drive back to town tomorrow. 

Whole Foods is not out of any of the things we stock up on when we are there.





AND we score a discounted copy of Season 4 of Downton Abbey which we can now watch at our pace whenever we like.  Right AFTER the boondocking rally of course.   We don’t have a full solar system YET or a decent inverter so there is no boondocking TV for us.  

Temperatures have dropped from the mid to upper 80’s of the Everglades.  Today’s high is 70 and the low a very nice for sleeping 57.   BUT of course it rains.








Shopping day accomplished, today is chores day.



Today is install the battery and clean up the battery box day.   What a job. There is a quarter inch of white corrosion and peeling paint and rust and dirt under the old battery. All has to be cleaned up before the new one can be installed.  And I didn’t think to get a picture of how perfect it looked once it was done.  Those 3 batteries have never looked so fine I am sure.

It’s also laundry day.  Big Flats,  where we are this visit to Myakka, has no machines but its campers are allowed to use the machines in either or both Old Prairie and

So after spending the morning on the battery and trying to get caught up on the writing of blogs before the rally, we spend the afternoon doing 3 loads of laundry at the other two campgrounds in the park.  That’s a bit tricky having two loads in  one campground and one in another.  But we manage and it starts raining.   Rain has become a daily thing.  Only the temperatures don’t feel like summer.   But they are fine.  No need for AC, no need for heat.  Now that’s perfect.

Finally the day ends, we haven’t had any time at all to enjoy this lovely park and we’re especially sad not to have had time to kayak the river since the water is UP and it would be GREAT.   Wish being in Florida’s state parks in the winter was a more flexible, we’d return here after the rally for a few more days so we could hike the Deep Hole trail again and kayak the river once or twice.  But…………that’s not the reality. 

I’ve been too busy to take many pictures of all our chores but after so many of my picture heavy posts, I’m sure you appreciate the break.

We’re off to Fort Ogden to join friends in a big Boondocking circle.  We think we’re prepared.  Wish us luck.


  1. There are few things I hate more than dealing with Verizon! A few years ago their customer service was sterling - now it's just awful. Good luck.

  2. Whew! sounds like a lot of 'stuff' to deal with all at once. Ish. I also am not looking forward to getting into that part of Florida, even though there is no other way around it if I want to follow the route I chose and to see Ding Darling NWR. For the time being, we are in lazy, quiet, no traffic, incredibly peaceful Manatee Springs. I tried almost a year ago to get reservations at Myakka...no luck. Tomorrow back to Ocala and then on to Fort DeSoto for a week. Hope you enjoy the rally.

  3. Oh, oh! Where did you score that Downtown Abbey!!??

  4. I have never had a bad time with Verizon. Sure sorry that Gypsy has.

    Your story / stories today had John and I feeling your pain, but laughing at the same time. Hope you enjoy the rally. Eager to hear your take on ?.....the leader.

    Dif you find the link to the dinner we had the other night? If not, it is right under the photo.

  5. What is HWH? I had to chuckle about your frustration(?) with David. I can only get frustrated with myself now, but I remember wanting to choke my ex sometimes. ;) I probably should have sent this comment in a private email. Ha Ha!

  6. I have one sticky jack that won't always go up all the way. I use a shot of WD-40 on it and it slides in like new. HWH now does recommend a wipe down with WD-40 on their jacks. Might be worth a try.

    And we scored Downton Abbey season 4, too. We'd already been watching it on PBS and now we're debating if we should watch the DVDs or catch it on TV. It's such a great show and we don't want to rush thru too quickly and be dying for season 5! ;c)

  7. Can't wait to read your stories of the boondocking rally. Have fun! And thanks for the reminder to git 'er done NOW. :)

  8. Happy Belated Birthday to CARRIE:o))

    Really glad you got all the chores finished so you can enjoy the Boondocking Rally!!

  9. Fill light is the solution to backlit photos ... dial down the flash strength first and try out different settings. Easy to do; your camera manual should have the instructions ... I sometimes go all the way down to -2 on my little camera ... the closer you are, the less light you need to fill in the shadows and get a more natural look. Or sometimes it's easier to just get up and shoot from one side or the other instead of straight on.

  10. Whew, I got tired just reading this post! But glad you got all these things done and I bet you are having a blast at the rally. Can't wait to hear about it. And Happy Birthday to Carrie. Such a delightful young lady with a beautiful smile! You did good!

  11. Looks like a good breakfast place to try out. Another thing I like about our breeze is - no jacks. It has air leveling. It does not keep you as stable as jacks but you get used to the feel of moving a little. Enjoy the boon docking.

  12. Sharon stated my thoughts exactly. Whew.

  13. Wow, got tired just reading about your busy days. My Dave is a procrastinator getting some things done too. Enjoy the rally.

  14. We've been through the jack and battery issues, also. Not fun times. It feels much better to have those new batteries. Hope you get the jack problem worked out.

    Trying to drive anywhere in FL this time of year takes a lot of patience. That's why we love this park in Cortez. We can ride our bikes everywhere and just look at all those people sitting in the long lines of traffic trying to get over to the island.

    Love Whole Foods. Too bad you didn't stop at the new Trader Joe's. It is a very nice store.

    Have a wonderful time at the rally. Tell Linda and Howard we said hello. We went on their cruise this past Dec. to celebrate their birthdays. They are wonderful people and tons of fun.

  15. With apologies to you and David, I got a kick out of hearing your frustration about his sense of urgency. I am more like David about waiting on things vs. being pro-active. We had jack issues too and finally had HWH agree to replace them all. No more problems with the newer ones.

    We were not too far from where you are now until Monday of this week. I was surprised to learn you were part of the boondocking rally. We have never participated in a rally. The best part for me would be the nightly campfires. Enjoy!

  16. Doesn't it stink when everything breaks at once? Beek is more like David (oh we'll just jam a stick in it and it'll be fine) and I am more like you (could we just fix the damn thing properly?!?) Hope there are no more hassles!

  17. I feel your frustrations for having so many things go wrong all at once. At least you now have new batteries, so hopefully that will end one problem. I've heard a lot of people having problems with their jacks. I believe ours are HWH, but so far we haven't had any problems with them.

    David got some snappy new boots. How would that have worked if you would have saved the old pair? Isn't LL Bean an online store?

  18. A post for my birthday! :) I read this on the train and didn't finish it - now I can comment :) Thanks for the well wishes - xoxoxox. Some kind comments in this list too :) It sounds like I had a better day on my birthday than you did, but, those boots are snazzy and Downton was a good find! Are all men 'put it off' types when it comes to fixing things? I'm sensing a trend...


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