Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Any (mis)adventures this trip? Well...

We are home. It was a great vacation, even though it rained a lot and we didn't catch any fish. And, it was almost uneventful. A Segall-Cullipher trip wouldn't be complete without a little (mis)adventure, would it?

With rain definitely in the forecast for early evening yesterday (the forecaster did not lie), we decided to head into Live Oak, to find an auto parts store for a light bulb and to go to dinner.

The first two auto parts stores did not have the bulb, but the third one did. He came out of the NAPA store with his 69 cent light bulb, happy as a lark. He started the car, put it into reverse, and...backed into a post! At least it wasn't a palm tree.

I suppose we could blame the ding on the backup camera. The Ford Edge's camera has been screwy for some time now but currently works--sort of. Its images are in clear color but are upside down! Neither of us has quite mastered the upside-down pictures, so we do look over our shoulder and in the rearview mirror as we back up. I guess Jim didn't look closely enough. And he didn't pay attention to those annoying warning bells either. Oh, well. It's just a little owie.

Just a little ding...

We had a second (mis)adventure just as we got onto I95 in Jacksonville. All of a sudden, the engine lurched a bit and then quit working. Jim, as usual, was driving in the right-hand lane and managed to coast to a stop safely on the side of the road.

The problem? We ran out of fuel.

A couple of years ago the fuel gauge in the RV stopped working. Jim had worked on it, and it seemed to give a read out, but he didn't trust the sensors. Instead, he uses mileage to gauge when we should get more diesel. Unfortunately, we had been running the generator quite a bit since our last fill-up, and it must have used more fuel than he realized. (The generator uses the same fuel as the engine.)

Good Sam came to the rescue, however, thanks to our roadside assistance insurance. So did the Florida Road Ranger. We called our emergency road service number and told them we ran out of fuel. While we waited for the road service to come to our aid, a Florida Road Ranger pulled up and asked how he could help us. When we told him we were waiting for roadside assistance, he said he would wait until they came. He put out traffic cones to help ensure safety and even offered us water!

Roadside assistance came, provided us with five gallons of diesel, primed the fuel injector, and even made sure we made it to a filling station.
Filling up an empty Junior
The nearest filling station we could get into had a very slow diesel pump. I think it took us nearly an hour to put in 100 gallons.

So, we did have our little (mis)adventures this trip. Thank goodness they were small.

Until next time,

Your Reluctant RoVer,

Linda

Monday, June 19, 2017

Way down upon the Suwanee River...

We spent two nights at the Suwanee River Rendezvous RV Park, a great place for, well, rendezvous--meet ups--of RV groups. The new part of the park was rather run-of-the-mill, with average RV sites, few trees, and little shade.

The older part of the park, directly situated on the Suwanee River, was wooded. It would be difficult to get any big rigs in there, but there was an abundance of shade from the live oaks throughout the area.

We were disappointed, however, with the fishing facilities. The park promised fishing. Technically, there were areas to fish from the shore, but they were difficult to reach. The banks were steep, with little actual shoreline. No pier. No benches. We managed to climb over tree roots without falling into the water and find some areas to fish, but we did not catch anything. We were also disappointed that the park did not offer anything else other than the natural springs and a heated swimming pool for amenities. No pool table. No library. Nada.

In the heat of the afternoon yesterday, we became very, very bored. Too hot to fish; no desire to go to the pool. Our stay was a BOGO--buy one night, get one night free. When our BOGO deal was done this morning, we packed up and drove about 30 miles up the highway to another Suwanee River RV resort--this one called the Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park. It claims to be world class. It is not. But it is unique.
That is Jim, taking a look at the river flowing below the deck.

Peeking out among the live oaks is the Suwanee River.
 
The light area in the center of the photo is the Suwanee River meandering along the park's border. Huge live oak trees with gossamer Spanish moss grace the RV park, which approximates the size of a small state park.

This place is a private park, but has acreage to rival a small state park. It boasts more than 800 camping spots that can accommodate every type of camping from tents with no hookups to big rigs such as ours, tohorse camping. Unfortunately, although it has some full hookups, it has very few 50 amp service sites, which puts a crimp in using two air conditioners. The park, however, has hiking trails, canoeing and kayaking availability, a swimming pool and playgrounds. No community center, though, and no pool tables.

It took us more than an hour to drive through the campground to see all it offers, it is that big. Its call to fame is music, as it hosts music festivals throughout the year. Some of these festivals attract upwards of 5,000 people, and music is played in many different venues throughout the park. Most of the festivals are in the spring and fall, although there is a small one scheduled for this weekend.

Like the other park, this one is also on the Suwanee River, albeit farther north than where we were yesterday and closer to a real town (historic Live Oak) that has a number of restaurants. (The first park was near a town called Mayo, which only had two or three restaurants that were not open on Sunday.)

The river banks in this park are quite steep and sheltered by live oaks, but we found a man-made beach area where we can easily reach the river to fish.

However...it is raining. And it will probably rain tomorrow also. (There is a threat of a tropical storm, and the outlook looks very wet for the next week.) So, we probably will not be able to fish here. One nice thing: this park has excellent fast, free wifi. And, because no major festival is scheduled for this week, the park is virtually empty. And, I forgot to mention, our two days here are free.

I don't think we would return to either of these parks. The fishing is not good, and there is really nothing else to do, unless you want to hike in the woods.

Originally we had considered going up to the Panhandle to stay at Ho-Hum RV Park, directly on the Gulf of Mexico. However, because of the weather threat, we will be heading home. But, you know what? Rain or not, blistering temperatures or not, we have had a wonderful time. We spent time with family; we got away from our usual routine; we relaxed.

Until later,


Your Reluctant RoVer,

Linda



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Feeding the fish

One thing is for sure: When we go fishing, the fish don't go hungry.

Last night and then again this morning, we fished in the Intracoastal at Gamble Rogers State Park in Flagler Beach. The park is very nice, and we intend to go back, when we can get a spot directly on the beach. That is when we will do some surf fishing there. Because of the heavy rain yesterday afternoon, we did not surf fish, but we put our lines in the Intracoastal.
Jim feeding the fish at Gamble Rogers State Park


I caught a couple of oysters. (Don't ask me how. I don't know. They were on my hook when I pulled the line out of the water.) And both of us fed a lot of fish, which were especially fond of the dead shrimp we were using as bait.

After an hour of fishing this a.m., we headed to the Suwanee River, located a little west of Gainesville. Yes, this is the Suwanee River of folklore song. I didn't know it was a real river until I moved to Florida. It is real; it is wide; and it is beautiful.



It is a slow-moving river, one on which I would have no hesitancy to launch our small boat.

We are staying two nights at one RV park, then two nights at another, both on the river.

Our neighbor gave us some skinny worms, leftover from her fishing foray. I drowned a few, and I fed the fish quite a few. We'll try again tomorrow morning. (Afternoons are out; it has been raining like clockwork at 2:30 to 3:00, with heavy downpours drowning any ideas of outdoor activity.)

Although we did not catch any fish, we did see some really big sturgeon jumping in the river. The sturgeon are protected, but they are something to see as they sport in the water.

It really doesn't matter if we catch fish or not. We are having a good time, and isn't that what it is all about?

Until next time,


Your Reluctant RoVer,

Linda

Friday, June 16, 2017

Family, turkeys, and camping


On the road again…it’s so nice to be on the road again.

Yes, we are planning to sell Junior, our 40-foot Country Coach. But, until we do, we are planning to use it and do some traveling.  Even if we were to stay in Florida, we would have plenty to see and do.
We left Wednesday (June 14). Our first stop was Wekiva State Park, just a couple of miles from my brother Mike’s house in the Orlando area. We could only get two nights there (state parks fill up rapidly during the summer, especially on weekends), but we made the most of the two nights we were there by relaxing and visiting Mike and Susan and Judy and Paul. My older sister Judy actually arranged the meet-up. She and Paul had driven to Florida to help settle her daughter into her new home in Fort Lauderdale. So, on the way back to Texas, why not stop and see siblings? Good decision, Jude!



The two days were filled with talk and laughter and dining together. Our family is spread out across the country, and it is difficult to get to see everyone, so  two days were special.

Rain beat down on our campsite both days (typical in central Florida this time of year). So, we did not get to do much in the way of “recreating.” Park rangers had warned us about the presence of black bears. (Mike also told us stories of fending off bears in his back yard.) We had no bear encounters, but on the way to Mike’s house yesterday, we stopped to watch a gaggle of wild turkeys on the roadside. The group included a mama and her newborns. Unfortunately, by the time we got the camera out, the babies hid themselves within the brush. Mama wasn’t so shy; we got a picture of her.


Wekiva camping came with full hookups under a canopy of large trees. We decided to backtrack a bit and drive up to Flagler Beach on the east coast (just above Daytona) to stay a night at Gamble Rogers State Park, situated on both the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean.

Right now Jim is preparing some fishing lines, and after the afternoon storms pass, we intend to try some surf fishing and/or fishing in the Intracoastal.

Tomorrow we will head over to the Suwanee River area, about three hours from here. We will be staying at two different RV parks for four nights. We intend to do some fresh water fishing there.
Whatever we do, it will be fun and relaxing, something we are in need of. Retired people (at least this retired couple) work too hard!

Oh, before I forget…knock on wood, so far this trip has had no misadventures. Nice, for a change.
Until next time,

Your Reluctant Rover,

Linda