Cave Dwellings: January 2013
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Boat ride through Dead River Marsh…

  So, this is our next to last day here at Lake Griffin State Park, Florida.  Saturday morning we will leave by 8AM and drive North to Rocky Bayou State Park, just North of Destin and East of Ft. Walton Beach…known as The Emerald Coast.  I have a special reason for wanting to go here..My Uncle Walt (mom’s baby brother) was stationed here at Eglin Air Force Base.  He and his wife and 2 daughters lived in a trailer in Ft. Walton Beach.  We drove down when I was about 4 years a 1952 Chevy.  I slept in the back window, my sis slept on the back seat and my brother was a baby and Mom held him ….(before car seats, obviously)…Here is a photo of my Uncle and his wife on the Alaskan Highway…Uncle Walt helped build it…for donna

This was taken in 1948, the year I was born…I am anxious to just be there where he use to live..He actually lived all over the country at various stages of  his 20 year career in the Air Force…He was in Strategic Air Command, and that’s all any of us were ever told..Don't tell anyone smile

Yesterday morning, McGyver and I went out for breakfast..OMG!! OUT TO EAT!!! REALLY??? Yep. We went across the road from our park to a place we  had been eyeballing every time we went by…

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The Fruitland Park Cafe…Their parking lot is always packed…They are open everyday from 6AM to 2PM….Mon.-Thurs. they serve dinner “all you can eat and drink” specials for $9 from 4:30PM till 7:30PM…They have 7 tables, 7 counter seats and you serve your own coffee….

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You can get a $3.00 breakfast and coffee is 50 cents a cup…Den and I had breakfast for under $8.00…total! Here was mine….

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Two eggs, over easy, please…3 slices of bacon and home fries…all fresh ingredients and cooked to order…Den had eggs, with bacon and hash browns…LOVED IT!!!

  We  have been quite busy today..We signed up for a boat ride up the Dead River marshland to Lake Griffin…Unfortunately, the weather decided to go from 80 degrees yesterday to 60 degrees with a stiff wind today…This made for a really sunny and beautiful ride OUT, and a very cold and windy ride BACK.. I will include all the pics I took in a collage to prevent you from nodding off and drooling on your keyboard…I did get some pretty neat photos…


Almost all of these pics I took on the way OUT…My fingers and hands were too numb to work the camera on the ride BACK!!  You may notice we saw lots of birds, and there is a picture of a gator sunning himself…It took me almost the entire rest of the morning to warm up ….It was a really great boat ride, but instead of my hooded sweatshirt, I should have worn my parka , mittens and mukluks…Surprised smile

  Tomorrow night we are heading to the Leesburg Moose Lodge for an adult beverage…and will bring home some fish fry carry-outs for our dinner…I do love carry-outs…they allow me to eat in my very comfy ensembles…Tonight I must switch from my Summer evening wear to my Winter fashions…flannel.

“I wear my sort of clothes to save me the trouble of deciding which clothes to wear.”
~Katherine Hepburn

Monday, January 28, 2013

Good Friends From Illinois Visit Us

First of all, I would like to say “Hey!” to some new followers, Steve and Joan.  They are full-timers, currently work camping at Lake Meade Recreational Area until March…sounds like heaven to me.  They also love to ride motorcycles…Also want to get Rick Ledtje in the truck with us..Rick doesn’t seem to have a blog, but I see his logo is a huge “exclamation point”..This bodes well for you, Rick…Den’s and my life is one big continuous exclamation point!!! 

Well, we had some visitors from home…One of my 3 Ya Ya sisters from Sandwich and her hubby David,  visited McGyver and I at our site here in Lake Griffin State Park…David and Susan Ikonen have been good, GOOD friends of ours since 1970, when our first kids were born..They went to Florida with us many times. Yep, we took all of the kids, loaded the coolers and sunscreen, left at 4AM and headed South. Once we even took Den’s mother along, Grama Kate..If the Ikonens can survive that, they could survive ANYTING!!  But, that’s another whole storySurprised smile

The Ikonens , Den and I, have also  gone to Florida with one of my other YaYa sisters and her hubby, Mary and Jim Curran…We tried to follow each other…sometimes it wasn’t possible so we always had CB’s installed in our cars so we could talk to each other and listen to the truckers (who knew where the cops were hiding).  The 3 men had “handles” (CB names)..David was “handlebars”, Dennis was “froglegs” and Jim Curran was “Big Bird”…OK, …I know, but…WE WERE ON VACATION!!!! DIFFERENT RULES APPLY!

We started going to Walt Disney World the 2nd year they opened it, and I was pregnant with Kelly, who is now 42(now there’s another trip you wouldn’t believe)…Our families have been friends forever, and the state of Florida holds many fond memories for us all…I actually happen to have a few old photos, if you can just bear with me while I wax nostalgic…


Den and David enjoying a beer on our balcony….That’s also them in the catamaran, thinking they could sail..vintage…Island with a palm tree


Holy schlamoly, but we were so damn YOUNG!!!….Where does the time go?? Some things drinks never changeMug


Left, dinner at Aunt Catfish’s South Daytona Beach. Kelly was absent that trip, he was in the Navy.…Photo on right..well, I think David needed to get OUT OF THAT SUN!!!


As you can see, David and Dennis were usually relaxing, having a cocktail…while Susan and I were pulling our hair out chasing kids around…We did that trip at least …well…a LOT of times…We always went in July.  Yes, I know, but it was because David and Dennis worked for Caterpillar Tractor and we had to go the 2 weeks that the factory shut down…in July…That never bothered us..We were FLORIDAHOLICS!! ..

So….fast forward to last weekend..For the past few years, David and Susan have rented a condo in Ft. Myers for the month of February.  They called us when they crossed the Florida State line…McGyver gave them our location and they rolled in about 2:30PM on their way to Mt. Dora, FL…


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We had a great visit and took a walk around the park to show them the big tree …Looking closely, you will notice that Susan and I had our our beverages with us on the walk..I guess we weren’t illegal, cause the Park Gestapo never said a word to us…This is a first for me..Usually I am strictly disciplined, verbally spanked and royally embarrassed Sarcastic smile!

It was so nice to see friends from home and especially those with whom our Florida memories lock arms so tightly…Thanks, David and Susan, for visiting the wandering Caves ..After all, Florida is where is all started..many moons ago…And..speaking of moons….


..We had a fabulous full moon Saturday night …Life is good and McGyver and I are very blessed…

“The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from a mental illness. Look at your 3 best friends. If they're ok, then it's you .”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ~Rita Mae Brown

Friday, January 25, 2013


  The photo in our header is of our site here at Lake Griffin…since the big Allegro pulled out Monday…They were very nice neighbors, but it sure is great to have some room to breathe here..So far, no one has pulled into it, but the weekend is looming large and the local families will be in abundance..I just hope that whom ever takes the spot next to us has a camper we can at least see the tree tops over!!

  Well, yesterday I got brave, re-velcroed myself to McGyver and we took one of the trails through the woods….There hasn’t been a bear siting since before we got here, nor has there been an alligator siting…There have been no more police cars and helicopters either..But…last night we were sitting by the campfire and we heard an ambulance …and he sounded real close..Yep, you guessed it..The ambulance came rolling through our campground, lights flashing, being lead by one of the “gate keepers” in his golf cart.  They pulled in up the road around the curve..DAMN! I really wanted to wander over and see what was going on, and I couldn’t convince Dennis to peek for me, so we sat there wondering…Something about the sad prospect of someone needing an ambulance keeps me from being my nosey self…It could be the fact our son was a paramedic that keeps me from being an “ambulance chaser”..

Back to our walk on the trail…(my mind wanders like a snake in the grass Rolling on the floor laughing)…This Spanish Moss is dripping from everything here…We followed the trail back toward the Dead Swamp (the name is encouraging, no?)…I took a few pictures, letting go of Dennis long enough to snap the camera…



There were signs at certain types of plants and trees saying what kind they were…We ran into no scary critters, but in my mind I felt like there just HAD to be a snake hanging in one of those old live oaks…hissing and giving us the hairy eyeball…waiting to drop on my shoulders...With thoughts like these, WHO NEED NIGHTMARES..I CREATE DAYMARES FOR MYSELF!! I gotta relax.


I like that sign on the right…It makes the forest less scary, knowing that Walt Disney got it right…”The Circle of Life” is at work here, for sure…

When we got to the end of the trail, we came out at the playground, amphitheater, and boat launch….


Those steps on the right are intriguing…They are in the amphitheater are, middle, and lead to nowhere…Maybe there was an old building here once…


Got myself 2 birds in flight , the one on the right is just coming in for a landing…

Yesterday late afternoon, Den and I went to visit an old friend from Sandwich who has a  home 15 miles from our campground..Jerry and Janet come down here for the Winter, and go back to Illinois for the summer…We  had a great time and they live in a very nice area.  Jerry gave us a tour in his golf cart….


Notice that the garage floor is carpeted…Jerry does love his vehicles…That one on the right is a 2004 “Little E” Special Edition Monte Carlo…in premo shape, naturally!


….Not a bad ride, I’d say…So we had a full day yesterday. Tomorrow is “date night” and we might take a ride through The Villages, a well-known 55+ retirement community just a couple miles from us…This will be followed by a trip to the Leesburg Moose Lodge for an adult beverage, with a stop on the way back to the Hiker for a large Papa John’s “The Works” pizza… We are having a great time, and the weather is perfect.  Oh, yes, I’d also like to welcome Gay and Joe, our new riders in the GMC. Everyone shift and make room..They are just finishing their first year of full-timing, and I am jealous..Jump in the truck, Gay and Joe..and pardon the sand.…

Don’t think McGyver and I are busy every day…Much of our time is spent relaxing here….


…and for those who wondered…yes, I do have a few new items in my evening wardrobe…socks and fleece jacket…EAT YOUR HEART OUT MAXINE!!

“I wore a thong once.  Actually, I might still be wearing it.  Who knows?”


Sunday, January 20, 2013

“Tucked In” at Lake Griffin State Park…LITERALLY!

  Yep, that’s what we are…tucked in….



And, no, this is NOT a buddy site…Let  me just say that we very nearly didn’t find our site #16 in this park…There are not any really DEFINED campsites..What you might think is a road could be a camping site…All the sand here looks the same…road, sites, dump station…We got ourselves in a tight spot or two..OK, OK…got us in a tight spot or two!! Hey, thankfully McGyver can maneuver this Hiker pretty well…This is one of the hardest campgrounds to find your way around that we have ever been in…It isn’t that it is that big…it just all looks the same..Everywhere is sand., with an occasional post of electric and water thrown in your way for good measure…

Don’t get me wrong, it is a neat park, lots of hanging moss and Live Oak trees mixed in with Palmetto.  Oh, and did I mention that there has been a black bear wandering around digging through the dumpster..? We received the “ warning paper” from the gate guy when we checked in.."A Florida black bear has been seen in the park.  While bears usually try to avoid people, food ,”( LIAR, LIAR) “garbage left outside can easily draw them to where people are.” Just great.  This means that walking to the one and only dumpster , which is a bit of a walk, carrying said garbage bag could become very interesting if Yogi Bear sees smells you …That little tidbit of bear information, combined with this sign…




….could make for an extremely wild safari adventure…I just might have to send McGyver on the dumpster run….




To make things even more exciting, right after we got all set up we heard sirens…and Den spotted a squad car or two parked just across the road/campsite from us…


It’s amazing how many nosey people come out of their campers to peer at a police car in the campgrounds…While I was standing there, (alright, I was one of the nosey campers too), one of the campers told me that two teenage boys had wandered off one of the trails and were now lost in the jungle-like brush somewhere..unable to find their way out.  To make life at Lake Griffin even more exciting, the search helicopter was circling by now..


…The gentleman in the huge Allegro next to us, by the name of Peter, had walked over to where the police were gathered. Peter came back and asked McGyver (alright, McGyver was one of the nosey campers too!) if he knew how to convert degrees, minutes and seconds to decimal degrees…I need not tell you that OF COURSE HE DID!.   These boys had a cell phone, but their location was given only in degrees, minutes and seconds…(DO NOT ASK ME HOW THIS WORKS, I AM CLUELESS.).. Den wrote down the info Peter gave him, went online and converted it,  then gave the conversion back to Peter.  Apparently, Peter took it to the cops and about 15 minutes later the boys were located…As I said, this could be the beginning of a very interesting 2 weeks…

This morning dawned without incident…good.  We took our walk around the park…


Griffin Lake State Park is home to one the largest Live Oak in the state of Florida…



Den, you take my picture and I’ll take yours, OK?…………………………You could try to act more excited, McGyver!!

A great plus we found here at this park is the fact that they have a coin laundry on the grounds…It is at the end of the bath/shower house…


Now THIS is what I call “airing out your dirty laundry in  public”…the laundry room is open air, with  lots of folding tables,a sink, 3 washers and 3 dryers…As is usually the case in most laundries, one of the washing machines was “out of order”…Whatever…So far Den and I have not had the pleasure experience of having to go into town and to find a laundry at a “Laundromat”..Usually that trip involves meeting some very unique characters, accompanied by washers that overflow, dryers that over heat, or do not heat at all…AND… never an attendant on duty..Baring teeth smile

Soooooo…this is already been MORE than just our run of the mill campground visit…If we came here to lower our blood pressure, that idea could be compromised a bit if past experience means anything…I hope you kids in the GMC don’t wander off the trail and get lost…DON’T MAKE ME COME OUT THERE!!!…and DON’T take any food with you, for GOD’S SAKE!!…McGyver and I will be here for 2 weeks and I will continue blogging about our already memorable camping at Lake Griffin…Stay tuned…

“Someone once threw me a small, brown, hairy kiwi fruit, and I threw a wastebasket over it until it was dead.”

                                                                                                                                                                                        ~Erma Bombeck