"It is in the wild places, where the edge of the earth meets the corners of the sky, the human spirit is fed." Art Wolf

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Of Submarines and Monkeys

Still hanging out in north central Florida where the weather isn't the same as Key West but warm enough for dog walking and kayaking between the rainy days and those days that might have been too chilly for water sports.

Walking around town gives us a chance to check out the antique shops. This would look great in my daughter's back yard.  It was made by someone locally about 2000.  Without reading the entire article, which I didn't do, I don't know if it was ever water worthy.   But it is definitely yard worthy.   There were too many 0000's after the number on the price tag or I am sure it would have followed me home or at least to Charlotte, NC.

Just realized that the blue hat at the top is Liz's. She is standing on the other side.

There might have been one cold morning here in Florida.  

"I don't care if the bed gets made or not," says Remi. "I think this is a wonderful morning to sleep in. You go ahead and do whatever."

Liz took our friend Gloria for a tour of some of the lakes nearby.  We also, coincidentally, got to check out some kayak launch possibilities. 

Some folks snorkeling in the spring.   Personally, I need more flashy fish to tempt me into my wet suit and gear.

About flashy things.....  There was a nice family out picnicking at the spring.  Really it wasn't that warm but then again if you are a kid and can play in the water and sand why worry about itchy sand in the swim suit.

And while in Florida, there are the exciting  laundry days sitting at the truck stop.  Gloria was smart enough to take the fancy chair instead of the hard metal bench.  Yes, Liz and I were sitting on the metal bench, duh.

Liz had to go for another doctor appointment so two of our neighbors went kayaking out on Orange lake with me.  Watching them take the kayaks off the roof, reminded me why I have an inflatable.

Heading out from the boat ramp. 

I was suppose to take them out through the plants to the trail that Liz and I paddled down last week all the way out to the open water on the other side of the lake.  Really, the handsome Air-boat ranger showed us the way. Unfortunately around here when the rains come and the winds blow across the lake the trails get closed off. Liz said that some kayakers got out on the lake and had to call 911 when the trail closed behind them before they could turn around and get back to their launch site.   We didn't get very far down the straight track. Maybe next week when Nan gets here it will be cleared again and ready for kayaking again.  We did get to travel down a few other trails in the water.

Yesterday, we played the car and truck shuttle so that we all could put in at the head water of the Sliver River at the springs  and take the long paddle down to the public access 5.5 miles down river.

And he was to be called the river monster but it never worked out. He smiled too much and no one was frightened.

Cameras here, binoculars there. There was a lot to see.

He was hiding and sunning all at the same time. I still wouldn't take bets on how fast he could back out of there if he wanted to.

And about the monkeys.   The monkeys are descendents from the early Tarzan films of years ago.  They escaped long, long ago and now live wild  along the river.

A little grooming time. Several of the babies were playing in the undergrowth around one of the trees. They were hard to see and didn't hold still but you could hear them crashing against the fronds and see them chasing each other.  


About half way down the river we realized that we might have to paddle if we wanted to get off the water and back to camp before dark.  So we floated for two miles and paddled with the current for the last 2.5 miles.   Next time, if we start earlier in the morning we could float more and paddle even less.  I am the best at kayaking down stream with the current doing most of the work while I can watch the scenery.

Occasionally, one even needs to do household chores while traveling. The dog rugs catch most of the sand and twigs. But when we shake them out, aren't we glad that we don't have carpeting in rigs.

So now, the puppers and I are parked at the Ocala Dog Show Ground along with another 150 plus RVs and hundreds of dogs waiting for tomorrow and the start of four days of shows.  Audrey is all clean and sleek and wearing her "blanket" to make her back look extra smooth. Not that she cares.  She does like to play and visit people at shows, so she gets her fun time.  Stuart insists that I take him to visit the vendors. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

And a Free Air Boat Ride

The days meander away here in Florida. No dramatic activities but staying warm,  opportunities to walk dogs, keep good company, opportunities to walk dogs, visiting with friends, kayaking adventures, more dog walking opportunities and a free air boat ride.

Friend JudyB, drove her RV over to McIntosh from her campground to see the large flock of Sandhill Cranes that hang out in the huge field next to McIntosh and to take the Liz "Tour" of the area.  Carol and I climbed in Liz's car and joined the tour.  Liz first drove around the historic Spanish moss draped streets of McIntosh.  I know that the dogs and I have been walking these blocks daily for the past week but we still notice new things almost every day.  Luckily, Stuart did not notice the Armadillo rushing to hide under one of the mobile homes.....  He notices the neighborhood felines well enough.

Carol examining a public access ramp on the far side of Orange Lake.  Our campground is on the other side of the lake and no longer has much open water left.

The signage as you walk towards the house that Marjorie Rawlings lived in when she wrote "The Yearling."   Judy hadn't been here before. The house and grounds are interesting.  Remembering that Marjorie was also an alcoholic that died before she should have from health issues related to her drinking just reminds you how insidious that disease is.....

Citrus time here in Florida.  Marjorie had orange groves back in the day, now the grounds just have a few trees on the main grounds and the groves are totally overgrown.

The house of the maid.   Judy and Carol in the front with Liz in the background.  

 This picture is just to share a bit of blue, blue sky with those of you out there in the middle of the grey January days of cold winter..... To remind you of what blue skies can look like and, yes, I concede that we have jackets on but our faces are not frozen beneath scarves......

From Marjorie's homestead grounds Liz drove us over to the picturesque town of Micanopy. Another town with old Victorians trying to hold on to their stateliness.  Some more successful than others. 

The main drag was soooo busy.  But the lunch was good and we wandered through the small museum and some of the antique shops.   Those shopkeepers don't know that folks traveling around in RVs or, in the case of most of our group, living full-time in their units, just don't collect the "stuff" that the typical tourist might be tempted to buy.  


This past week also had a dog bath day/s around our RV.  Bathing was just too much for Stuart after one of those long walks.  When I realized that I hadn't seen him up front for awhile, I found him snoring in the back....on the pillows, of course.  So that was his clean butt on my pillows.....not that he would have cared either way.

We didn't have any snow but we did have a little but of rain.  Liz was getting ready get her waders to make it to her car. Luckily the soil around here is mostly sand and the water soaks in quicker that those muddy or clay soils of Ohio.

Yesterday I accompanied Liz down to the point to visit her favorite campsite and so that she could check one more time if the electric had been repaired and was holding a current.  Alas and woe, what ever the gentleman who the manager had asked to repair the post did, it was not successful.  Liz was not surprised but she was disappointed. 

The potential view out what would be the RV's front door...had the site been up to grade.....  Yes, we all know how to boondock, but when you are paying for electric and like early morning coffee you like the electric to work.

The silver lining of the walk to the point was the air-boat that came up the trail and approached us. When the pilot stopped we hailed him and asked if there was a clear trail to kayak over to the more open part of the lake.  The gentleman worked for the Florida Water Management and offered to take us out on the air-boat so we could see the channels and more of the lake.  "Well, yes, we would, sir."  He even suggested we go back and get some warmer jackets (and we picked up our cameras) and off we went.    Don't worry about the ranger's hearing he had small earplugs in his ears and just happened to carry sound canceling ear phones. He probably picks up grey haired ladies all the time.

We went over open water and the plants. When we stopped we got a lesson on which plants were natural to the lake and which ones were exotics and how hard it was to maintain some of the open trails across the water in certain areas of the lake.  He also pointed out that there was generally a good eight feet of water under much of what appears from a distance as a solid mass of plants.

The air-boat chases the birds from its path.

After the air-boat ride, Liz and I looked at the clouds and decided to take a chance and get the kayaks out.  The second ride was much quieter.

Can you hear the bird calls and the splash of the fish. I swear the splashes were all fish, no alligators.  Some of the birds still flew away from us but not nearly as quickly.

There was really only one section of plants that we had to power through to reach the more open water trails.  It wasn't hard when we knew what was waiting for us on the other side.