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

Henry David Thoreau

From 26 to 82 Degrees in Florida??

Wednesday-Sunday, January 18-23, 2018                                                     Most Recent Posts:
Hillsborough River State Park                              Hiking and Biking Beside and On the Beautiful Hillsborough River
Zephyrhills, Florida                                                                                    David’s Birthday Week

IMG_9452In addition to the birds and gators in our neighborhood that I featured in my last post (link in blue above), we have some other very intersting neighbors here in Hillsborough River.

Next door this lady walks her dog around the campground in her robe and slippers every morning.  

You can tell how cold our nights have been by her hat.   It was 29 degrees here on Wednesday night and in the low 30’s several other nights.   But by early the following week it hit 82 degrees.  Better bring 4 seasons of clothing if you come to Florida these days.

And across the way we find that we have had a bear for a neighbor and didn’t know it until they were  leaving.  I guess he stayed inside all the time.  Although he did take in what little sun there was the day I got his picture.


You can imagine what fun it was when David said “look there’s a bear in the site across”.


He gets some help getting in the van.  People are so much fun to watch.  Though I suppose I shouldn’t be talking given the size of my Winnie the Pooh who travels with me.  But as you can see, he’s not THAT big.


Over the course of our ten days here, we did spend two days in Tampa doing medical appointments with David’s Myeloma doctors.  No pictures of those.  But more fun was what we did with the rest of our time at Hillsborough River.

The friends group  puts on a weekly potluck and of course David had to go.  We brought our go to vegan potluck dish of mushroom cous cous.  We bring it so that if there are left overs we’re thrilled about it.

The potluck is held in the recreation hall and on this night was pretty sparcely attended becasue of the weather.  That was a 39 degree night.


These pictures are from David’s camera which for some reason gave things a golden glow that wasn’t really there.


This is his FIRST helping.


Though there is no charge for the potluck other than bringing a dish, they have a 50/50 raffle.  5 tickets for $5 and the winner splits the take with the friends group.  There is also a table of “prizes” that those whose numbers are drawn after the winner can choose from.  With so few people the take was only $60 and we didn’t win the $30 though nearly everyone got some sort of prize and the second number drawn won two tickets to the Tampa RV show going on this week.  Wasn’t our lucky night, we didn’t win that either.   The park manager did the drawing.  That’s him at standing at the front.

Here’s proof of my low temperature claim.  Yes it’s true, at 7:26 on Thursday January 18th it was 26 degrees outside and 59 degrees inside with the heat on.   This is Florida??

David actually went out in this weather to join the friends for another of their weekly offerings.  Coffee and donuts and a chat with the rangers.   Me, I stayed in with the heater.  The coffee is held in a screened in building near the river.


They did have a fire in the fireplace and everyone was gathered around.


IMG_9628A little later in the morning after it got up to within 10 degrees of the high for the day of 55, we did go over to the Tampa RV Show. 

Outside we visited the Winnebagos and went inside all that had any sort of drapes for their front windows or overcab bunks or bunk beds.  We need to have our front window drapes replaced.  It’s a poor design that has them fastened to the rail on a strip of plastic that eventually deteriorates.  But that’s how it is and the least expensive way to deal with it is to just get new drapes that will fit the existing rails rather than try to redo the whole thing. 

We called Winnebago and they said to find a fabric we liked in a 2018 offering and give them the number and they’ll make them up for us.  We pay of course.  We did find something that will work for us.  Now to find out how much they want to gouge uhh. . charge us for them

It’s always fun to see Tampa’s St. Andrew’s Pipes and Drums.  They are here every year. They march down the main street playing and stopping at intervals to form a circle and give a short concert.  They definitely stop traffic.  Does everyone love bagpipes??



We also spend some time inside.  As you can see there were a LOT of others there.  Shopping is not my favorite thing and shopping in close quarters with so many others is even lower on my list.  We picked up the couple of things we had on our list and hit the road. 


On another day we went to visit our friends Gin and Syl at Lazy Days where they are picking up their new 5th wheel.  They’ve traded in their Class A Journey Towanda for a 44 foot Mobile Suites.   They’ve refined their full timing into Fall, Winter, Spring at their lot in Cedar Key and summers in the North Carolina Mountains.  Thus they feel they don’t drive the big diesel enough to keep it in shape.  Better it get a new home with folks who are doing more traveling.  There are as many ways to full time as there are full timers. 

As you can see, they look very happy with their new home.


It’s big and beautiful inside and out.



We had a wonderful visit with them getting caught up and are really glad they contacted us to say they were in the area and invited us over.   Thanks you two.  It was GREAT to see you.

On our last day at Hillsborough River I went out early to hike over on the other side of the river.  David slept in.

It was just after sun up when I started out on the walk at the back of the campground by the river.  As I passed by the back of several sites I smelled a yucky but familiar smell.  At this point, on the left as the trail curved in from the river there is a swampy area and there were black vultures everywhere.  On the ground, in the trees. . .    Boy I wouldn’t want to have one of those sites.   Can you see their black forms on the tree limbs and on the ground?


They are definitely an important part of our clean up crew and I don’t know what we’d do without them.  They save us a ton of money in clean up but I wouldn’t want to live next door to their roosting area which this may be.    When I came by later on my way back home they were all gone.


Still it’s a lovely trail when you get beyond the smell range.  The smell wasn’t there either on the way back.

I just love the base of cypress trees.  Not sure what makes this one so gnarled but it’s beautiful.


I passed  on by the closed stationary bridge and went on to the suspension bridge further along the trail.

It’s great being up in the tree tops on the bridge.



The trail leading down river is lovely as it weaves its way along ever closer to the banks of the water.

At this point the river swings in and the path is right on the edge of the black water there on the left.




At the spot above I see surprise a limpkin who must have been on the water’s edge just below me.  He flies straight across the river and I spend ten minutes or more watching him.  He certainly blends in to his surroundings.   I love the ruggedness of the Suwanee Limestone that lines the river banks and underlays the park.


These are but a few of the pictures I took as he went about his day.





If you read my previous post, you may recognize this bridge as the one I took from the water just before we turned around near the end of the park.  I had no idea what a great spot this was going to turn out to be.  The river is on the left here and there is a swampy area on the right and under the bridge.

As I stepped up on the bridge,  out of the corner of my eye I saw something move in the swampy area near the end of the bridge.  I froze immediately.   It was a hawk.  He was on the ground.  He didn’t seem to have any prey.



As I watched, he looked around and looked around and suddenly and silently jumped up on this light limb where he sat for some time moving his head all around nearly 360 degrees.


At times he seemed to look right at me.   I never moved a muscle.


Isn’t he handsome?  Although I don’t see his orange shoulder bands, I do think he is a red shouldered hawk.


Next he flies up higher and even closer to me.  Do you see him here?


His new position gives him an orange cast in the light.  I watched him for at least 30 minutes never moving.  Then little by little I side stepped to the right off the bridge and continued on down the trail. 


Due to my long stops with the Limpkin and the Hawk, I ran out of time and didn’t take the trail its full circle but retraced my steps to the swinging bridge which has a nice wooden entry way from the far side.  On my return trip, the hawk was not where I’d left him.


What a great morning to close off our stay here.  Next up, Oscar Scherer State Park in Nokomis, Florida near the Gulf of Mexico.  Hope to see some Scrub Jays there and visit the Nokomis Beach Drumming Down the Sun Circle if it isn’t too cold or too windy.  This is some winter in Florida.


  1. Gin and Syl! Gee I somehow lost track of them, Nice to see you all visiting. Weather....whew. We are currently planning winter in Northern Florida for 2019. I have yet to make reservations, but hoping that the state parks in the northern part of the state will wait a bit, and we do have the option of the bases. Hopefully you two will be somewhere around next year and maybe we can manage a kayak together!

  2. Your photos of that limpkin are my favourites. Quite a striking bird!

  3. Are you sure you weren't in WIsconsin, that sure sounds more like the kind of flip/flop weather we get here, especially in the spring and fall! Lovely bird pics, what luck they let you hang around and watch them. Most likely the glow in David's pictures had to do with the camera reading the light from the fixtures or the glow from the wood interior or a combination. Usually there is an indoor setting where you can adjust the light cast on almost any camera these days unless he was using his phone, those can be a little trickier. On most of my cameras it looked like a light bulb and would completely take away the yellow for indoor shots. Be careful because there is one that makes everything look blue instead! ;)

  4. What a crazy range of temps you're getting there this season! Definitely too chilly for me to want to venture out very much. I love that bridge through the trees, and the opportunity to just 'be' with the beautiful birds. It's such a different world from the west and it's so fun to spend time there with you.

  5. Yes, I too do love bagpipes & all those windows in Gin & Syl's new 5th wheel! Those are indeed handsome & beautiful shots of the limpkin & hawk. Sorry to have missed that hike.

  6. Very nice pic of the limpkin and hawk.

  7. That 44' 5th wheel is just gorgeous, but we sure wouldn't want to haul it around. They must have a huge truck!

  8. Those are some really crazy temperature swings!! I'm not looking forward to freezing in Florida, but neither am I excited about temps in the 80's this early in the season. Love your photos of the Limpkin, a bird I haven't seen since we last kayaked in Florida a couple of years ago. Really beautiful photos of the Red-shouldered Hawk, too. It's so peaceful to spend time in the company of birds. Much more peaceful to me than listening to someone playing a bagpipe (sorry, I can't say I ever enjoy the bagpipe. Hope I'm not offending anyone....) :-))

  9. Next thing you know, with those low temps, you might need a snow shovel! :cO

  10. It sure has been a roller coaster ride this winter in FL with the wild changes in temps every few days. Glad to see the low temps at the potluck did not effect his dinner appetite.

  11. It was great visiting with you two again! So glad y'all stopped by. We're still at LD waiting for warranty parts. They should finish up this week.
    Love the pics of the limpkin and hawk. I enjoy just standing still and watching nature's beautiful creatures too.

  12. Neat hawk!!! You have such patience to stay still so long! Beautiful rig, Gin & Syl! Sounds nice...a Florida key and NC mountains - beautiful places each. Fun when the parks have social activities...glad you got to enjoy :)

  13. We have a couple 'odd' guests at our park. This one guy comes out in his robe all the Time! How cool to see Gin and Syl. They seem to be settling down like so many of our RVer friends. Nice hawk picture!

  14. That lady walking her dog in robe and slippers is a hoot!! I don't think I've ever encountered that in our travels....but you never know!!
    Your walk was incredible!!! The hawk and the limpkin are fantastic...great pictures!!!
    Winter has been a beast this year but spring is coming!!

  15. Barely got that cold overnight at 5000 feet in Yarnell. Now I'm loving the 80s during the day. I used to travel with way more stuffed animals but nothing as big as either bears. I briefly visited the RV show in Quartzsite and saw nothing I couldn't live without. Well I did buy a folding shovel. I love hearing bagpipes if the player knows what they are doing. Like the idea of a bridge through the treetops. Didn't even see that black water at first with it being so still and full of reflections. You take the best bird photos. Must be that patience you have.

  16. The buzzard capital of the south is at Reed Bingham State Park in GA. Nice trails, etc, if you go by on your way north. Weather has been unpredictable here, as well. Cold doesn't seem to bother me as much as I've gotten older.

    That's one big 5th Wheeler! Beautiful. My hunch is that Rich would have gotten around to one at some point. Had we had my blue truck he would have been able to pull the biggest one he wanted. Me? I like small, though I'd rather tow than be in a Class A. I always felt too close to everything with the engine in the back. Glad you and David are doing well. Sorry I don't get on to comment often, but I do read when it hits my mail box.

  17. Glad we're out here in AZ this winter instead of FL or TX where there have been such unusually low temps. Between Quartzsite and one of the Phoenix RV Shows we've been in a lot of rv's but that Mobile Suites sure looks sweet, love the RL floorplans.

  18. Whoa your friends' new RV looks huge! I'd be scared to drive something that big! The limpkin is cool- the name sounds like he should be in Alice in Wonderland. Limpkins would fit in with a cheshire cat and rabbits. The hawk is very handsome- how nice that he hung around long enough for you to take his picture. The RV show looked so crowded that moving from one place ot the other looked difficult. Hope you get some beach weather. We have yucky cold rain today.... XXXOOO

  19. Brrr.... glad we are not there! We had been enjoying low to mid 80's here in Tucson. David has quite an appetite!
    Oh the Limpkin and the hawk, beautiful birds captured well. I can imagine you not moving for 30 minutes for I would have done the same thing!


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