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Friday, March 16, 2018

DuPuis Management Area

In January, before I went to the Alafia, I camped at DuPuis Management Area's family campground.  I posted when I got camp set up and promised more later.  Later has arrived.

The campground loop goes around a good-sized pond, and is quite pretty.  I met up with several friends from one of my Facebook groups there.  If I were camping alone, there's a neat campsite on a spit of land that juts into the pond that I would want to grab!  I understand there's also an alligator - well, of course there is, it's Florida - but I did not see one.
This was the first time I used my new Connect-tent with my 10 x 10 canopy.  It made a nice stand-up-in-it space.

ISO Bicycle

I've been wishing for a bicycle for a while, but the ones I liked tended to be in the way-out-of-budget category.  So about halfway through my time at the Osceola last month, on a Walmart run, I was interested to find a bike I liked at a price I could consider.  (comfort bike, low center stuff so I can actually get on and off, luggage rack, fenders, touring handlebars...)  However, I was driving Maxine the Minivan without the trailer, so buying it was out of the question.  I had no way to carry it.

Then 2 days later, on one of my walkabouts, I found a hitch-mount bike rack, discarded at the trash.  OK, then!  Mine!  I guess I'm supposed to get a bike.

Well, usually I'm towing the trailer.  Maxine, being a Dodge Grand Caravan, is rather low to the ground and has the kind of hitch that raises the ball up to where the tongue of the trailer ought to be - so putting the bike on one of those over under hitches is not an option.

Not a problem, though.  SC Daughter's father-in-law was reinforcing the tongue of the trailer this week and while he was at it, he welded a receiver onto the tongue so the bike rack can be mounted there or removed and carried behind Maxine when the trailer is parked.

Now, I need to decide exactly which bike to get...

St. Augustine for the Weekend

When I left the Osceola NF, I went to St. Augustine, where I'd never been, to visit with some friends I hadn't seen in a couple of years. They were great tour guides.

First thing on Saturday, we went to Flagler College, because the architecture is well worth seeing. This was originally the Ponce de Leon Hotel, built by Henry Flagler in 1888.

Then we went to the fort, The Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay in St. Augustine. My Senior Pass got us inside the fort.

Sunday, after a walk in the woods (step goals exceeded), we went to the beach, out on the pier, and then to the Lighthouse. We didn't take the tour - have to save something for another visit.

Osceola National Forest

Since I usually try to post about where I've just left, rather than where I am, I kind of didn't post for a month because I stayed put for two weeks and it's a newly resurrected habit so I forgot.

Anyway - On my way to the Osceola National Forest, I had a bit of excitement. A light turned red, I hit the brake, and nothing happened. I leaned on my horn and hoped no one was going through the green light! One "house-call" by the mobile mechanic later, the offending brake line is repaired and once again Maxine stops when I tell her to.

On my way south, I stopped at Cobb Camp in the Osceola National Forest overnight, but this time I stayed two weeks, camped with old friends, met some new ones. I got to sleep in the hammock and enjoy the 10x10 canopy with the connect-tent. It was a lovely, relaxing time and furthermore the weather was great. OK, it did get cold toward the end, but that's ok. Didn't have to shovel it.

Trish and I walked every day and I usually hit my step goals.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Homosassa Springs

Thursday (February 15) Norajean and I decided to go to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. ( 

We parked her truck and rode the boat to the springs. (There is also a tram, but the boat tour is more fun to our way of thinking.) What they have here is a rehab facility for rescued wildlife and a home for wildlife that can't be released, such as eagles who have lost part of their wings.
I got to see my first MANATEES, and a couple of big cats, an otter, a (hopefully) breeding pair of red wolves, lots of alligators, snakes, lots and lots of birds.
Another neat thing was the underwater observatory, where you can watch through the windows as fish swim free in the waters of the spring.

Today's Yard, February 16, 2018 - Dade Battlefield SP

Dade Battlefield State Park. This tree is the oldest live oak in the park, and was here 200 years ago for the first battle of the 2nd Seminole War. 

I spent a few days here visiting an RVing friend who's a volunteer working at the park. In between a wonderful potluck dinner and yesterday's trip to Homosassa Springs, I did a major van rearrange and found a number of items that had slipped into the black hole that seems to be standard equipment in residential vans.
Of course, I also watched the film at the visitor's center and checked out the museum. This is a cool place - there's lots going on, from reenactments to craft classes. I wish it had worked out schedule-wise for me to take the pine needle basket weaving class, but they give it monthly and I'll probably be back.