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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.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


So my friends took me to Circle B Bar Reserve / Polk Nature Discovery Center. We walked the loop out to Lake Hancock and the observation deck, and saw lots of beautiful live oaks, birds, and alligators. Most of the alligators were lurking or swimming in the lake, looking amazingly like logs. This guy was up on a mound on the other side of the path though, posing for our camera phones.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Today's Yard, February 10, 2018

This week I'm staying with friends who live on the shore of a lake near Winter Haven in Florida. So it's the same yard each day - but different, too. From the dock, we can watch quite a variety of birds, and there are alligators around. I haven't seen one yet, but of course my friends have, and even named them. The other day we did get to watch the Space Shuttle launch.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Project: knock down stand

UPDATE:  The blue looks great on it.

Inspired by the knock-down flat-packing camp furniture my Alafia neighbors had, I designed a stand for my own camp kitchen. I love the fact that this stuff packs so compactly and goes together so easily.
I used to do some woodworking, in my pre-nomadic life, but tools are bulky, heavy, and don't travel well. But I have friends, and I'm visiting - and they have a wood shop.
Fortuitously, I had with me a couple of pieces of plywood, which had been the bed platform in my now-deceased E350 van.  That plywood was just the right size for the the shelves and two uprights. My friend Doc contributed woodworking tools, labor, and another piece of plywood for the back of the piece.
Doc has a random orbital sander, too. I'd never used one before, and it is so much nicer to use than the belt sanders and pad sanders I'm used to.
By afternoon we were done!
I'm going to paint it blue and enjoy it thoroughly.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Today's Yard, Jan. 12th, 2018

Last year I was in Oklahoma at Woolaroc, camping with buffalo. I'm camping with buffalo again, at Auburndale Florida! Powwow and flea market and buffalo for neighbors.

Today's Yard Jan. 11, 2018

Stopped overnight at Cobb camp in the Osceola National Forest, where I've camped with friends the last three years. Timing was wrong this year, so those folks were elsewhere this week. I miss them.

Today's Yard Jan. 11, 2018

I spent the night at Stagger Lee Music Park, where I used to be camp host. Got to visit with Lori and Sue and the adorable current camp cats. They've put in another row of hookups, built a bunk house and a laundromat and put a roof over the audience area at the stage since I was last there.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Today's Yard January 19, 1818

Got into my Tardis Wednesday and went back a couple of centuries and put up my camp in the cold wind. It has warmed up and the weather is predicted to be mostly excellent for rendezvous.
This is my new to me light camp, for when I'm toting too much other stuff to have room for my 10x12 wall tent. (The tipi has a new home while I want blogging, and my Travois van has died.) It's a 7x7 hunter tent.  Talk about down-sizing. I've only got the ukulele in camp with me, as the guitar literally won't fit! But it is bunking in with a friend across camp so I can still play it.
Chores are done, water and wood. Dinner is on the fire. I'm home.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Today's Yard 1/13/18

It was an adventure but camp is set up. I'll post more later. Lakefront campsite. New gear in use.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Today's Yard, 1/10/18

Heading South for the winter... Flying J, Columbia SC.  Somehow everything did not fit back in the van right. That's one of GYPSY' S RULES. Stuff removed from a rolling home gets harder to fit back in, proportionally to how long it's out. I had been at my daughter's since Thanksgiving. Hypothesis proven. Again.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

How will you remember 2017?

A friend asked "how will you remember 2017?" This was my answer: "By the love shared, friends made, folks visited, adventures had, serendipities enjoyed, stuff learned." 

I could remember it as the year I had shingles, or the year circumstances screwed me over in one way or another, but why? That's not what I want to keep, what I want to pay attention to, what sparks joy. What sparked joy in 2017? This is NOT a complete list.
In the winter, I camped with van friends and Rendezvous friends and visited housey friends, avoided the snows, learned what spray Floridians use to repel gnats.(NoNatz, if you care.)

As the world turned toward spring, I drifted northwest, visiting friends along the way, some I hadn't seen in 20 years. (Yes, I'm grateful for Facebook.) I went to two Renaissance fairs, 3 or 4 Rendezvous, visited friends, visited some Very cool museums, and added 4 states to my map. Serendipitously, had a visit to a friend whom I didn't know had moved near one of those museums.  

Summer came and my focus was on getting rid of Stuff, which included my big motorhome. It had been a wonderful home when I was working, but as I retired and it got older, it had become more of a stationary house and that wasn't working for me. I did flea markets and cleaning of storage and was Productive. I spent time at my VA daughters', and picked up yet another craft (kumihimo). I went to Ohio for a visit, visited Grandfather Mountain with my family, and was able to help my SC young'uns by kid and dog sitting while they traveled.  

Fall came, and in between some more camping in both centuries, I unloaded more items (big van, tipi) which no longer "grew corn", then migrated south to spend the holidays at my SC daughter's. Finally recovered from the enervation of shingles, I brought my jewelry making supplies and made stuff, and also made some travelers notebooks. And so, that was the year that was. 

2018, the year that will be - keep in mind, as I will: What you pay attention to, you get more of. Fill your days with love , help where you can, appreciate the good stuff. Happy New Year!

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Year, New Resolutions, New Old Blog

Did you make New Years' Resolutions?  I did not.  They don't generally end well.  I did spend a lot of time yesterday setting up my BULLET JOURNAL for 2018.  I worked on my address list, which had been eaten by internet moths and was full of holes.  I wished a lot of people a happy new year on Facebook, spent time with family, and a lot of time petting grand-dogs.  And I suddenly realized it had been sooooo long since I've done a blog post that I'd almost forgotten I had a blog - but according to Google, people come here and read.  So it's not a New Years Resolution to resume blogging regularly, but a decision I'm making and it just happens to be January 1.

So here goes:

I love this size
Sometime in the last year or so, I discovered (as so many others did) Bullet Journal.  The flexibility works for me.  After trying various size notebooks I settled on this size as being small enough to carry and large enough to be useful. A leather cover, refillable with lined pads. Its the same size as my Kindle Paperwhite. Turns out it's a B6 size.  I used it through several refills, including the one my grand-dogs ate.

Converted to Travelers Notebook

Then I discovered Travelers Notebooks.  These are covers with elastics which hold inserts.  Infinitely customizable.  The internet is filled with companies and Etsy crafters selling all manner of Travelers Notebook covers and inserts and printables.  But I liked the size cover I already had.

Binder clip holds pen

I took out the insert, fitted it with elastics in the binding to hold TN inserts and a binder clip to hold my pen, put inserts in, continued to bullet journal in one, put things I wanted to keep and not have to recopy in another, experimented...

On a you-tube video - This one - I watched the maker build a Travelers Notebook using a placemat from the Dollar Tree store for a cover.  I'm a "how can I do this on no money" kind of gal, so I bought a placemat, and several composition books from WalMart that were less than $1, and built three more TN's. One large enough for the 5x7" books, and two for the mini-composition books.

Covers made
Inserts Inserted

I'm pleased with the results and expect I'll make more. Maybe with nice leather covers and cool bead charms and stuff.

Like I needed another craft.

See you next blog - I'm serious about blogging regularly again.