My internet has been super flaky here, I am tucked back in the hammock under towering trees with intermittent cloud cover and drips drops. This lot came with hammock poles too. Hammock has two meanings, one being that wonderful bed made of string or canvas or rope, strung between two trees or poles, the other being an elevated tract of land rising above the general level of a marshy region. (A good place to string a hammock too, but that's also on my long wishful list somewhere towards the bottom, as I am sure I will never get anymore work done, if I ever get one.)
Came for a night, stayed three at Faver Dykes State Park in Florida, south of St Augustine.
I guess I travel at about the same speed I walk these days, about 1 mile per hour. I left Georgia to go to Florida 28 days ago. So far I've done 700+ miles with a detour through South Carolina, just to arrive in St Augustine, Florida. I still have 150 miles to go to my workamping destination. My latest adventure works out to about a mile an hour for 24 hours, 28 days. Maybe next time to save gas, I'll just walk with a backpack to Florida. Oh but wait, that won't work, they require a self-contained RV to be a workamper. I could sleep out under the stars, but Harley wants his 28 foot roving doghouse to sleep inside at night.
Wild animals often hunt at night. Harley would make a lovely hors d'oeuvre. So I can see his point.
I wish I had four hands, so I could play with Harley while making a video. He has these little super bouncy balls. We've invented yet a new game of bouncing the rubber ball off the side of the wheel estate. Puppy runs towards the RV then the ball bounces the other way, so he races back to catch it mid-air, but often misses. The 9x12 woven patio mat was laid outside on the super soft sandy dirt. Harley was occasionally dribbling the ball on the mat, like practicing for basketball. Indeed one of the rubber balls is a miniature basketball. Wouldn't that make a hilarious video?
For some insane reason, he has bitten off chunks on some of his balls. Luckily he spits these out. But the bitten balls bounce erratically, making the game more comical. (Now that I re-read this paragraph, it sounds very strange...)
The world is so fast, and I am so slow. I surely can't figure out what happens at the Florida border. Friday I woke up with errands to do. I decided Brunswick, Georgia would be a good place to try to do them all. Well, I managed to do 4 out of 7 errands. I became lost again, it started raining, so I decided 4 errands was a good hit, the other 3 would just have to wait. No need to stress myself.
I decided to get on I-95 to see how many miles I could make. I had a few campgrounds in mind, but wasn't sure how far I could drive. I was elated when I passed the Florida state line. The temperature soared up another 8 degrees but incredibly the traffic suddenly became 10 times worse. Where do all these cars, trucks and RV's come from? I've noticed this phenonmenon before when passing the state line into Florida. It's mind boggling.
I watched a guy pulling a fifth wheel going 80 miles an hour, lose control of it a few times, fishtailing around the interstate, yet incredibly he never slowed down, until traffic forced him to. At that point I saw a repo sticker on the window of the fifth wheel. If he was the reposessor, then I guess he was in a huge hurry to get it far away from the prior owners. Or perhaps the prior owners had stolen it back from the repo guy and they were in the big hurry to run and hide it somewhere new. Either way, the repo sticker was still stuck on the window.
On the back ladder of the fifth wheel was two beach style adult sized bicycles. I secretly coveted one of them, wishing for the day when I finally have enough money to buy my own bicycle. It looks like he didn't give the prior owners a chance to remove their personal articles. I entertained myself with various scenarios about what could have happened here. Perhaps the prior owners left their fifth wheel in a campground, then went grocery shopping in their pickup truck. Imagine their shock to come back with their groceries and their fifth wheel was gone. Bicycles too.
Down the interstate I sped past exits that would take me to various campgrounds, then around St Augustine, I was feeling very tired and hungry. Although Harley had done a few one minute walks at our various stops, he was looking a bit weary. We had a close call, that upset us both.
We were doing about 70mph, something rare for me. But the engine seemed fine, the ride was good, so I figured it wouldn't hurt. Traffic was flying at much faster rates all around us. Up ahead the van in front of us, suddenly swerved violently to the right hand shoulder. Then I saw it. A huge tire lay right in the middle of the lane. I had no choice but to swerve off to the shoulder too. It had that awful bumpy pavement that I call "driving by braille" because it makes a horrible sound when you hit it, so you naturally want to get back in your lane quickly, before your teeth are ground to nibbles.
I gently applied the brakes, while swerving, I didn't want to do anything drastic that might cause a wreck but I didn't want to hit that tire either. I muttered some unprintable words, Harley woke up, leaning into the back of his seat, while whimpering and giving me alarmed looks. We drove over the braille strips which jarred us both, the sound reverberating throughout the coach.
Watch the driving lady, that wild maneuver interrupted my nap and gave me a nightmare!
That's it, I've had enough. I'm ready to call it a day. My adrenaline is running at high speed, making my heart race. When I swerved, I had no idea if we would survive the sudden direction change or not. Thankfully we did. I tried to reach over to pet Harley to calm us both down. His eyes literally looked shook up.
I saw a sign for Anastatia State Park, so I followed it off the interstate and down 10 miles of roads hoping and praying they might have a walk-in sight available. I had totally forgotten that it is on the beach. I've never been there, but I remembered the name from reading about Florida State Parks. The ranger looked at me like I was crazy when I inquired about a walk-in spot. She answered my question with a question "Do you have a tent?" I did not.
Knowing that I had read about but never visited Faver-Dykes State Park (south of St Augustine) I asked her if they might have availability. She wrote down the phone number and passed it to me with a shrug. Back in the RV, I made a quick call, grateful my cell phone was working. I was informed there were two walk-in spots left, for first come, first serve. I asked her if I could get there by coming south down US-1. She assured me there would be plenty of signs, but that it was about 20 miles or so from Anastatia State Park. Traffic was maddeningly heavy.
It was crush hour.
Usually I drive sedately, like a little old lady, trying to avoid accidents at all costs. But this time, due to my sudden tiredness, I just got back in traffic, with my heightened senses from the adrenaline still flowing from the swerving, I battled crush hour traffic for 5 miles to get back on US-1. I flew down the highway as fast as I could, making it to Faver Dykes in less than 40 minutes from my phone call. This seemed astounding to both me and the park ranger I spoke with on the phone, who was closing up when I arrived. (There is an iron ranger to pay on the honor system for after hours.) It seemed like 50 traffic lights I went through with a ton of commuters. The numerous signs she promised were not in evidence. Indeed all I ever saw was a tiny brown sign "Faver-Dykes, Next Left". Somehow I was able to cut over 3 lanes of traffic, then slow down enough to keep all six wheels grounded, to make the turn in time.
Harley gave me another strange look as if to say "You drive like crazy person!"
Has Florida simply made me a wild beast behind the wheel? I felt like I had just competed in some sort of awful race. I was a bit miffed at myself for forgetting it was Friday. Finding a weekend spot at a campground or RV park in Florida on the weekend without advance reservations is like searching for a needle in a haystack.
The pavement ran out, I was driving on dirt down a lumpy road. Ah, this must be why I remembered that in the past, I wanted to visit Faver Dykes State Park, it's definately off the beaten track. Anytime my next campground is down a dirt road, I am pretty happy. Matter of fact, the last campground I stayed at, McIntosh Lake Campground and RV Park, was down a dirt road too. My kind of place for sure.
Like last year, when I discovered Altamaha Regional Park west of Brunswick, Georgia. I was rambling down a small highway in the countryside, when a sign announced "Pavement Ends". I thought to myself, great! I am going to love this place. Indeed I did enjoy my stay there.It was another place where I stayed longer than planned. I am not sure why I bother making plans. Maybe it's just to pretend I am organized.
At Faver Dykes State Park, I was delighted to find out that the nightly rate with tax was only $19.80. Two spots were available. I leashed up Harley, who had cried and protested mightily when we left Anastatia, as he too was ready to camp and couldn't understand why we were leaving instead of parking. He was thrilled to go for a walk as we quickly toured the campground, selecting our camp site. One was small and the other smaller, but both had loads of privacy and a tropical feel. Plus very fine powdery sandy dirt. It stuck to everything!
We went back to our wheel estate, where I am sure we carted a pound of sandy dirt back inside with us. I drove to our new spot, backed in, shoved a few boards under the front right tire to level us up nicely, then I quickly pulled up all the carpets.
That sounds so grand, but after two years, all the rubber fell off my old carpet runners. I have now learned that laundry detergent eats the rubber! So now when I wash a rubber backed carpet in the washer, I use mild dish soap. Mostly I shake the rugs out thoroughly from time to time, only washing them when they get really dirty. Maybe I overwashed my rugs in the past, in my haste to keep germs and allergens out of the rig. Through a stroke of sheer magic, I recently found 4 various sized rubber backed carpet rugs in coordinating colors, deeply discounted at Dollar General. I had bought them on their $5 coupon day at two different stores, over the course of several weeks and coupons. So the end result was I ended up with new carpets for the motorhome for a ridiculously low price. I just love it that the colors work perfectly with my existing decor.
Easy care vinyl tile, done with the loving help of friends in Michigan, while camping in their driveway.
I may be in an old motorhome living on a shoestring budget, but that's no reason not to make things aesthetically appealing. I was deeply flattered recently when I saw old friends who had not seen me and my rig in a year. They complimented me on the new upholstery and decor, saying the place looked beautiful. But wait, I don't have new upholstery! I have the 17 year old version. But I have cleaned, vacuumed and decorated carefully around it. This is not easy, because the valances over the windows have beautiful printed material. Patience is on my side. It took me nearly a year of window shopping to finally find a cotton comforter, I could afford, in a color that was perfect for my bed. Then I had the guest loft to do. The motorhome came with the original bedspread which was the same printed fabric of the valances. But it had a big hole in it, the prior owners were carefully hiding behind a big pillow. When I washed it, more holes appeared.
The new throw rugs to warm us up when it's cold. Harley chimed in with his own design flair by immediately decorating the carpets with assorted toys.
Decorators and designers change colors every year, so shopping on today's market for colors popular 17 years ago, can be very challenging. Add to that, a shoestring budget, and the task becomes one of the hunter in search of the elusive.
Lately, it's been so c-c-c-cold, that the new carpets were laid out, to help keep Harley and I warmer.
I guess you are wondering why I ripped out the 17 year old carpet to lay vinyl tile, then cover it up with throw rugs again. But when it is cold outside, having the throw rugs out, really helps to warm up the coach considerably. When the weather is hot, the rugs are rolled up and put away. So in this manner, I have carpet when I want it and easy care vinyl tile when I don't.
I feel very spoiled. Matter of fact, my adrenaline rush must be good for something, the propane furnace is now fixed! I am so excited beyond description. Don't ask me how I fixed it, because I have no idea what worked, but it's working now. I had given up on my efforts, but forgot to turn the thermostat off.
Back in the motorhome, I smelled something funny. I rapidly checked around to see if all was OK. That is when I realized the smell was my furnace blowing out dusty hot air! I checked each and every duct, marveling at the wonders of central heat. Wow! I won't freeze this winter, and yes it can and has dropped to freezing in Florida. My ceramic electric heater can't keep up when temps drop below 40F, at that point I really need the aid of the central propane furnace to stay warm. So having it fixed and running, made me want to dance with the puppy.
I just learned that the mid Atlantic states and northeast has been treated to a very early snowfall as of yesterday. Simply amazing for October! Windsor, Massachusettes received 26 inches of snow. In October! I was reading about all the power outages, thanking myself for fixing my furnace, which runs off propane and 12volt battery, meaning I can have heat without 110 electricity.
I probably worry about lack of electricity more than most folks. Having spent decades on boats and tiny Caribbean islands, with erratic power, I am accustomed to planning for life without electric.
I bet plenty of RV folks up north, are packing to head south quickly. I know many wait until December, but I bet they are having second thoughts. The private RV parks in Florida, must be rubbing their hands in sheer delight.
Now this morning it is pouring down rain. I feel so sorry for the tent campers. There are only 6 motorhomes camping, the other 24 spots are full of tent campers with a few pop-up campers thrown in the mix. I was reading about Faver Dykes State Park, when I noticed they are limited to 30 foot maximun campers. I've run into this before, I am so grateful I am only 28 feet long. Although, there is one Class A RV here that looks well beyond the 30 foot length, but he has somehow managed to squeeze into his site.