Cave Dwellings: 2014
Cave Dwellings

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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Some things can come back and “bite ya in the butt”..

We all know how sometimes we have certain things “bite us in the butt”, so to speak..Well, I think I literally save MacGyvers’ arse from just that…Look what I found when I opened his collapsible camping chair…


Me thinks that is a baby Scorpion..and he is right in the middle of Den’s chair seat…(notice the burn whole from our campfires behind him..yes, our campfires can get dangerous too!)

Not too much going on here at Ortona campground…Here are a few more photos of our space and the camping areas…

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Left is the loop at the end of our road where you can turn around and go back the other way…I gotta say that this place is kept impeccable, the sites are as clean as you can get…That gravel is great to keep from tracking grub into the camper.  We are leaving here Thursday and heading just down the road to W.P. Franklin campground located in Alva, FL…about 30 miles from here.

These two army corps campgrounds are really hard to get into during Jan and Feb…December isn’t quite as bad, but still a challenge. Like most corp campgrounds, you can only book 6 months ahead, so you have to be at your computer sitting at full attention exactly 6 months out from the first day you want..and jump on the website at exactly 9AM…AND …you gotta be “fast fingered” to book anything, as sometimes they are full up in an hour…I did find out that it doesn’t hurt to check from time to time, as they do get cancellations as the time goes on…

The very first time we were here at Ortona was August of 2005, on our way to the Keys after our daughter got married on Longboat Key, near Sarasota…


We were down in the first loop then…It was August…hotter than Hades…and we were the ONLY ones here at the park..Note our camper door was closed..One of the few times we have ever used A/C when camping…We vowed to  make it here someday in the Winter time…and we have succeeded twice ..I highly recommend it here!

After we do our 2 weeks at W.P.,(that sounds like we are doing time in prison!),  we are moving farther South to Big Cypress National Park, Midway Campground for a week.  This will be a great base camp to visit our friends Tom and Sammee King in Everglade City and explore the everglades…Tom and Dennis graduated from Sandwich High School together, class of 1960, so they are both older than dirt..Tom and Sam have a great boat and they go every year to Everglade City and rent a park model for January and February..You may remember my post of Jan. 2013 when they took us out on their boat’’


Yes, I was having some real fun…and cannot wait to visit with them again this year…Hmmm..maybe I should get a bail bondsman card..??

This last Friday, we got together with blogger Canadian friends, Rick and Elaine Cochrane. They have been spending their Winters here just up the road at an RV park called The Glades.  We visited them at their park and met lots of really nice people there too!  Thanks you two, for inviting us to your “happy HAPPY HOUR!”. I had so much fun I left my Xmas mug there…duh.

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Last night we washed behind our ears and cleaned up..(slightly)…We went into Labelle Moose Lodge for an adult beverage…I made Dennis take my picture to prove that I CAN clean up fairly decent, without even one article borrowed from my evening “ensembles”…

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And I was sporting my Oswego IL Fire Dept. "Red Friday T-Shirt"  our son Kelly got us to show support for our troops…The reason for the red color is evident in their slogan, “They bleed red, so we wear red”.  I suggest you click on the link and get one if possible…Our troops need to know we all love and support them protecting this great country!!!!

Ok, today was a beautiful 80 something degree day here. I have to pinch myself to make sure I didn’t just dream we are Florida..I do that a lot at my age..dream stuff and think it really happened..I just recently realized that I really wasn’t married to Johnny Depp many years ago..what a disappointment THAT was!!

forgetful Maxine

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas at the Cave Dwellers

  Today is Christmas Day, and we had a big ol’ thunder boomer roll through here last night, switching the winds to the North and cooling us down here from 87 to a cool 67 degrees today…I sure hope Santa had his winter fur to throw on over his red tank top!!  I did spot him here in the park a couple days ago, getting his fishing pole presents and boat sleigh ready for the trip.

101_6168I never knew Santa had a camo hat he wore backwards as his “casual Santa” look.


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  Today, to celebrate Christmas,  I have baby back ribs marinating in mustard and my rub, later to be grilled by Chef Dennis, A.K.A. Santa Clause/ retired.

  Our 3 kids and their families are spending Christmas in different places, and we called them all last night and probably will again today..

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The Wolff cubs opened our gifts last night on Skype…The Heisers are at Walt Disney World for Xmas, and Kel and Cin are with her family in Arkansas…All is well, and we are blessed.

My quest while being here in Florida this year has been to get a good photo of a Manatee.  They are frequently seen here at Ortona, arriving from the cooler Central Florida waters into the warmer South Florida rivers…Unfortunately, I DID  get a photo, albeit not exactly what I expected.  Tuesday, Den and I took a walk across the dam to the locks and we spotted something large and dark floating in the water…We were pretty sure it was a dead Manatee.  Being the shy and bashful person I am, I figured the park knew about it and we went on our way…Apparently someone else had alerted the park people to the Manatee’s demise and pretty soon we had the Florida Game and Wildlife Law here in boats…WARNING..These photos could be distressing to some…they were to me…so sad.

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He was definitely dead, and they hooked onto him and towed him up river to shore. One of the  Game and Wildlife people went to meet them there…I had no desire to see any further, and still hope to see one as I planned it…taking breathe and swimming free…boo hoo.

We have seen some really crazy birds here, and I’m pretty sure the Bird Lady of Blogland knows what all of them are…

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This guy has a face ONLY a mother could love..but his plumaaaage is maaavolous dahling!

We have also met some great “furry friends” here at the park.. I LOVE German Shepherd's, but am always intimidated by their presence.  We met two beautiful ones belonging to “Santa Clause”…

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Above left, I give you Diablo…and his sister is on the right..I cannot remember her name (mybad?), but she is what is called a “plush” German Shepherd. Notice how much fluffier her coat is than Diablos..and they came from the same litter!  Diablo was one of the best behaved dogs I have ever met and I found out why..His owner ( who WAS the Santa I took a photo of) said the dog had been trained as a police dog…He was such a beauty..made me think of our son’s Shepherd, Guinness, he rescued but had to give back when he nipped a grandchild..That’s the only thing about a rescue dog, you sometimes don’t know for sure if they have been abused or where they came from. At any rate…these two furry kids were very well behaved.

We will be here until New Year’s Day, when we go a little farther East to W.P. Franklin Army Corp park for 2 weeks.  These 2 parks are just great and W. P. is the last lock before the ocean…I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Christmas…Before I close, I want to welcome some new followers…I am very sorry I haven’t acknowledged them yet…I haven’t gotten new followers in “forever”…Thanks, Tom and Deb Duchaine for jumping in our GMC with us…By now, the back seat is cleared of the cases of Busch Lite and there is plenty of room for you two!..

As this year rolls to a close, we are feeling very blessed this year to be “on the road” and still in good health…always a PLUS at our extended  years! ;-) It wasn’t one of our better years, losing a loved one is never easy, as most of you also know that feeling that someone is missing during the holidays…We are very lucky to have the great family and friends that we love dearly..and in the words of our 91 year old Uncle Jr. “I get up every morning, look in the mirror..and say Hello Lucky!”..yes, we do!!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

“Room with a view!”

  Ok, I’m  back at the computer…but only because it is cloudy today and suppose to rain!…We are happily set up at Ortona South Campground set on one the locks on the Okeechobee Waterway .  The day we arrived we took a walk around after we got all set up.  As we were strolling along, a voice said “Is your last name Cave?”..OMG, did someone already notify the cops we were here?? We turned around and a very nice gentleman said, “We follow your blog..We are Rick and Leslie Dorr…AHA!…Now I remember Rick commenting that he and Leslie would be here the same time we were… So far we haven’t gotten together for a good chat, but hope to catch up with them before they leave…They don’t have a blog, so I can’t give you a link…We are also going to hook up with Rick and Elaine, who are camped at an RV park just down the road..It’s a small RV world out here!

OK…. Get ready…here it comes…a small, but important history lesson!! The Okeechobee Waterway is located in central and southern Florida. 

The 451,000 acre lake and 154 mile long waterway extends from the Atlantic Ocean at Stuart, to the Gulf of Mexico at Ft. Meyers. The waterway runs through Lake Okeechobee and consists of the Caloosahatchee River to the west of the lake and the St. Lucie Canal east of the lake. Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway Project is part of the complex water management system known as the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project. The projects cover 16,000 square miles starting just south of Orlando and extending southward through the Kissimmee River Basin to the Everglades National Park to Florida Bay. It was built/finished in 1937 to provide a water route across Florida, allowing boats to pass east–west across the state rather than travelling the long route around the southern end of the state.”

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There are 51 sites here in 2 loops, with water and electric…$12 a night with the “old fart’s” card..and they a small laundry. If you want to stay here in the Winter, get on your computer at exactly 6 months prior to the date at 9AM in the morning and grab your spot…it IS site specific, so if you want on the waterway side JUMP IN EARLY, the views are worth it!

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MacGyver fixed us our breakfast outside this AM…at 65 degrees about 8:30.. We have a wonderful view of the pleasure boats locking through…and they open the gate daily so you can walk across and watch “close up and personal”.

101_6149 The photo above was taken out of our back window…Talk about a “room with a view!  (FYI, that snowman wasn’t standing in the greenery, he lives on our back window!”)

You see lots of big money lock through this waterway!! I took a few photos when we walked across the dam to watch..

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This above picture was taken as they were slowly raising the water level..Note the top level just beyond the gates…They raise and lower it about 8’ every time!

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I spotted this Osprey sitting on one of the lights…and on the right is a Bald Eagle..He sits in this same tree across the waterway from our camper every morning and evening …a “sentry” watching for breakfast and dinner to swim by..I have waaay too many photos, so I am making a collage of some of the views here…


Our weather today is 80 degrees and cloudy.  We will be basking here until 2015.  Yep, New Year’s Day, we leave here and travel about 40 miles West on Rt 80 to Alva and W.P. Franklin Army Corp campground…That one is on the Caloosahatchee River at the lock and has 30 campsites, all water front…WOOT!WOOT!..

So far we haven’t had a campfire here , but you can definitely have one…We have just been having our cocktail hours outside watching the boats cruise by…I have managed to come up with a different outfit for the Christmas season..


Got my “Santa” on!! (along with Tweety pants, Maxine nightshirt, camo crocks and fabulous stripe socks…) The people next door are getting an eyefull…and this place will never let us come back here if they catch this blog and the REAL me!!! )

Monday, December 15, 2014

Salt Springs Nat’l Recreation Area…beautiful!

  OK…I will keep this brief..and that may be a first for me. I have zero cell phone service here and am not sure if this blog will even publish until we leave Thursday..We traveled over 400 miles Sunday from Pensacola Beach to here…That is hopefully not going to happen again…Waaaay to long at our extended years, and, though he didn’t complain, MacGyver was pretty tired when we arrived.  It is my fault, as I am the one who plans the route (an old travel agent doesn’t die, they just wander off point!)..Never the less, this place was well worth it. We have a nice campsite , and today we walked down to the natural springs….

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The waters of Salt Springs rise from vertical fissures (cracks) from deep within the earth. The spring gets its name from the presence of potassium, magnesium and sodium salts in the water.  Salt Springs consists of several spring vents in a large shallow spring pool, which forms the headwater of the 4-mile long Salt Springs Run. Sidewalks and concrete walls line most of the spring pool, allowing easy access to the 74° Fahrenheit water for swimming or snorkeling. Motorized boats can travel up the Salt Spring Run from Lake George, but are prohibited in the spring pool. Fishing is also prohibited in the spring pool, but is allowed along the spring run.” That will be my only Geology lesson of the day…You can go back to scribbling funny faces on your assignment.

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This water is so clear and beautiful, you can see fish …and …some of them continually JUMP out of the water and fly through the air..I believe they are Mullet, and no, I couldn’t get a photo of one…they were just too fast.

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Left…they have built beautiful steps into the spring, and you can swim there. I guess divers and snorkelers frequent this place, but this morning no one was around except Dennis and me…and some very noisy flying fish…You could see fish swimming beneath …Some of these are catfish, according to ace fisherman Dennis..Can you see the fish in this next photo?


They do warn the public of other visitors that frequent this area too…

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Yes, Black Bear apparently just LOVE this place…Check out those “bear proof” garbage cans.  When we checked in, the office person told us NOT to leave our cooler outside and keep any food things in your camper…and they warn you not to run if you see one…SAY WHAAAT???..There is a huge primitive tent area here…I cannot imagine tent camping where there are bears… This campground is very nice.  We are in the full hook up primitive stuff for this diva…(not with Yogi and BooBoo watching for us to drop a potato chip!!)  Camping where we are is $29 a night, but when you are OLDER THAN DIRT, you get half price…Also, there is a little istsy, teeny weeny “mall” across Rt. 19 that has a laundry…and a Dollar General! Even though it seems we are in “Deliverance”, I guess we aren’t!

We will be here until Thursday.  Then we drive a short 200 miles to Ortona Army Corps campground near LaBelle, FL…In the mean time, this will be my only blog from “Cell Phone Hell” surprise, I’m sure…We shall see if I can even publish it…(OK>>>I HEARD THOSE SIGHS OF RELIEF!)