Cave Dwellings: 2015
Cave Dwellings

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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Eve from Ortona South Campground in Florida

I know for a fact it is warmer than normal for most of the nation, and believe it or not, it is warmer in Florida too. We have been hovering around 86-88 humid degrees, and for the first time on the road, we turned on our A/C in the Hiker..I get ya..”aaaawwwee, poor babies”…



We are having a great time, enjoying the warmth and relaxation…much needed. Our site is on the Ortona Locks and today when I saw this beauty coming through the locks, I was SURE it was my Christmas present from Dennis..


MacGyver and I scurried over to see it, and I had it all figured out  how I was going to act surprised…The gentlemen told us that yes,this was a brand spankin’ new Sea Ray, and they were delivering it to it’s new owner…Alas…it wasn’t me..What we have here is the 2015 Sea Ray, 60’ long, 3 engines with 2 props each..and the stearing isn’t done thrusters, but done with the props that swivel..It could have been mine for only a cool $2 Million. OH SHOOT!



This is one of the nicest parks in Florida …and there are only 3 Army Corps parks in this state..We will be staying 2 weeks and returning here Feb 3rd for another 2..Yep, we do love it here.


Some people bring their heavy duty telescopes ( I THINK that is a telescope)..I’ll be HE saw that Eagle across the river “up close and personal”!!


Some of the campers are really decked out for Christmas!!!


……and some us cannot even compete…Hey, don’t you see the Santa cap on the mirror of the GMC?..and I will just bet that NONE of you noticed the black and white checked winter cap on the other mirror..That is about as good as I get with outside stuff..(I do have a lighted wreath on our ladder!)

Donna and Santa

Yep, me and Santa about 1952…I was very suspicious of him…and…what was my Mother thinking when she put that hat on me?????

I want to wish every one of you, no matter where you are or where you roam, a wonderful and Merry Christmas!!



Friday, December 18, 2015

“We’ll Be Baaaack”

Today is our last day here at Salt Springs campground until we stop on our way back in February. This is a beautiful spot and the springs are fabulous. We have yet to see a Manatee here, but it is a tad too early. Our weather has been in the 80’s all week, much warmer than when we were here last year at the same time…


I love this dripping mossy stuff…You don’t see much of that in the deeper South of Florida…


They say some use it for crafts…after they de-bug it..Soooo, why am I trying to touch it?..duh.


Notice those “bear proof” trash containers!! I saw a neat T-shirt that said “ I Live in Salt Springs, Florida…and yes, that IS a bear in my backyard.” it!..So far we haven’t seen one, but they warn you NOT to leave your coolers sitting outside your camper..even if there is no food in it..Those sneeky bears will tear it up to make sure!!


This spring flows from 7 large and 2 small vertical fissures in the rock floor of the pool, and is nearly 110ft in diameter. The water travels 4.2 miles from Salt Springs to Lake George, the 2nd largest lake in Florida.


You can swim in this springs too…They say the gators rarely come into it..(key word here, RARELY)…NO, thanks anyway.

We took a ride 24 miles North of here to Patalka, FL…FYI, if you ever come here, there is no cell phone service within 20 or more miles..Our cell phones are AT&T…Our internet is Verizon and that is no problem. At least we  have a way to communicate with friends and family!

On our way to Patalka for groceries, we crossed the Cross Florida Barge Canal..


“Hauling things overland was slow and uncertain, so ships were the quickest way to move cargo. Yet navigating around Florida's capes, keys and reefs was time-consuming and sometimes deadly. Florida was not yet a state. Much of its interior was terra incognita. Federal surveyors dispatched to plot the canal route reported back that the terrain was too rough and the ports too shallow. Branded as impractical, canal fever faded for a century. The Depression revived it. By the 1930s,canal-boosters persuaded President Franklin Roosevelt the canal was needed but because the project would create jobs. 6,000 workers assaulted the land, quickly clearing 4,000 acres -- knocking down ancient oaks and longleaf pines, ripping out saw palmetto, driving out bears and other wildlife, digging up 13,000 cubic yards of soil. Then Congress, to teach FDR a lesson about who controlled the government purse, halted funding, idling construction for 30 years.

Contractors set to work creating dirt-pile hills and backhoe-bucket valleys where none had existed. Florida's fledgling environmental movement dithered about what to do until ecologist Marjorie Harris Carr realized the threat to the wild Ocklawaha River.Pushed by Carr, environmental groups tried to halt the canal. They were sneered at and snubbed by state and federal officials, who contended that the land they wanted to save was worthless scrub. But in 1971 they won a federal court injunction and persuaded President Richard Nixon to halt construction. Canal-boosters were never able to get the crusher-crawler started again.The taxpayers had spent more than $70-million for a ragged scar in the landscape. The state has turned the rest of the old canal route into a 110-mile-long greenway named after Carr. There are trails for horses and hiking. Mountain bikers love the old limestone quarries..

Built in the wrong century for the wrong reasons with the wrong numbers to justify it, the Cross Florida Barge Canal will forever stand as one of the biggest blunders in Florida history, one that permanently altered the state's landscape.”

Never underestimate me..I will usually find some kind of lesson in places I visit!!


I’m hoping "the birdlady of blogland", Judy, will appreciate this photo of the Pileated Woodpecker..Hey, Judy..see that square hole above him???Did he do that??Does he live there?? Inquiring minds want to know!

Tomorrow we are leaving here for Ortona Campgrounds East of LaBelle FL. We have been there a lot and find it one of our favorite places to spend Christmas and New Year’s. Tonight Den and I are venturing out for date night..Going into downtown Salt Springs ( there are a few homes, hardware store, a couple joints and a VFW…that works for us!)..Thanks for reading…and thanks to Al and Kelly, also Sam and Donna for putting the info about using Open Live Writer..Den uninstalled the old version and after a few tries, he successfully downloaded the new version, Open Live Writer..and I figured it out!!SCORE!!!!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Evacutated from Pensacola Beach..and our granddaughter the Court Jester!

Dennis and I were lovin’ life at Ft. Pickins Campground on Pensacola Beach..Our site was great, weather was fantastic, the fort unbelievable, and the ocean hypnotizing…

Above is Battery Worth, where one of the big guns of the Union was defending our coast. Just across the bay is the Pensacola Naval Air Station.
We also had a couple visitors here at Ft. Pickins…Randy and Pam Warner, of The Roadrunner Chronicles, came to visit us! We had a cup of coffee and a great talk..and of course, Randy had to bring out his “selfie stick” for a photo op!!
 Thanks for stopping by you kids!!! Hope to see you down the road again sometime!
Last year, when we toured the Naval Air Museum, they told us that the Blue Angels were usually not in town during December…Well, imagine our surprise when we were buzzed by 4 Blue Angels right over our campsite late one afternoon!! It shook the Hiker. Of course, by the time I could get my camera, all that was left was their smoke stream…

 One gentleman climbed up on top his camper to hope they would come by again..Alas, they didn’t..but WHAT a THRILL!!
So , we were relaxing Friday evening by our camper about 4PM, making plans to go into town on Saturday. We weren’t due to leave there until Wednesday, Dec. 16th. All of a sudden we see two “Ranger Ricks” coming down the line of RV’s and talking to people. One came by us and said,”You may have heard by now, but we are evacuating the campground due to bad weather coming in Sunday or Monday”…SAY WHAAAAAT?? He continued, “All campers have to be out of here by 5PM Saturday”..OK, that is 24 hours. Needless to say, our quiet relaxing evening turned into a frenzied “clean up and put away” job. We quickly decided to just go on ahead to our next reservation at Salt Springs Recreation Area, near Ocala. Den was a bit worried about how crowded the dump station may be the next morning..So..on Saturday we got up at 5:30AM, tucked and plucked everything in it’s place and hooked on. We were the first at the dump station and on the road by 6:45AM..WHEW!!
My one and only day at the ocean sunning myself…I love this beach…hated to leave early, but,…hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do!!  
It is a 7 hour drive, and we don’t like to do that long , especially when we hadn’t planned on it for 5 more days. When we got here, we talked to the nice park people and told them our story.  The site we were suppose to have 5 days from then was filled…But she quickly gave us a list of 7 available sites, and said to pick one out, “drop our Hiker” and come back to let  her know which site we chose..Oh, and she told us we didn’t  have to move..We could stay there the whole 7 nights!! YAY!! And here is our site we chose…

Yep, pretty darn nice..full hook up and $14 a night with the old person’s card…Weather is 82 degrees, and yes, the mosquitoes ARE out!!
OK…time for a little family bragging…yet again. This past weekend our granddaughter, Taylor Heiser, was in the Kaneland Performing Arts Madrigal Dinner…and she was outstanding as the Jester..Bear with me..I just have to post a few pictures. I sure wish we could have seen it…

 “What is a Madrigal Dinner?”, you ask..(You DID ask, right?) Well…….A Madrigal Dinner is:
 “Twelve or more singers dress in 16th century, English costumes herald in the Christmas season with a harmonious concert of traditional, acappella carols. The ten members of the royal court join the King and Queen as they sit on stage in a semi-circle that opens to the audience. The guests are seated at festively decorated tables ready to enjoy a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings: the Wassail, (hot apple cider) the "boar's head" (prime rib) and Figgie Pudding (bread pudding.) The King's Jester serves as the "Master of Ceremonies" for the evening, as he delights and surprises the audience with toasts, jokes, and comic asides. “ You just knew I was going to go into “education mode” here, right???

Of course, Terrie and Tim weren’t proud of her at ALL!!..and her brothers love it too!
A very proud moment for the family!!

And here is the entire Madrigal cast…What a group of talented kids!!
Soooo...MacGyver and I are safely ensconced here in our Hiker at Salt Springs..Meanwhile Pensacola Beach is having "high surf warnings, blowing sand and rip currents"...Me thinks me likey it here just fine!! Thanks for putting up with my braggadocio self. (I couldn't resist that medieval word.)


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Yay Florida!!!!!!

We finally made it into Florida..We have a great spot here at Ft. Pickins campground, Pensacola Beach, FL. I would kiss the white sand if I could…hmmmm…maybe not.

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Above, we had to drive right into Mobile to get to the tunnel under part of the bay..THIS is NOT one of my favorite things to do..I just feel a little clostrophobic, knowing how much water weighs… and the pressure it puts on those walls in the tunnel. I am extremely happy when I can literally see “the light at the end”…whew!

12308321_1129926907017786_5976106095149742110_n On the Eastern side of the bay, we drove past the USS Alabama battleship and museum…This is where. last year,  Dennis had a “close encounter” with a B-52 bomber, and almost ended up with stitches in his hard head.  (Luckily for him, he had his cap on, or we might have been at the ER with a concussion….ahh the memories..)

Driving through Pensacola is a challenge at best, let alone pulling a behemoth RV behind you. If it were just me driving..well, it never would be…but if it WERE me driving, I would need earplugs to keep out the screams of MacGyver riding shotgun. Needless to say, I was extremely thrilled when we were over the 2 bridges and Den  made a right on Ft. Pickins Drive.

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We arrived about noon and found our reserved spot in loop A of the campground..

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Lots of sand at these sights…See that little blue lantern? That’s how I show support for all of the Police Officers in our country..It is run on batteries and lights up for any 6 hours you set it it!

Monday morning, Den and I took a walk into the other loops of the campground..This takes us on a sandy trail through the scrub brush and trees…

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….and snakes….This dude was very still..Den spotted him first and pointed him out to me..If I had seen him by surprise, I would have wet myself.  Photo on right…maybe they knew ahead of time about the snakes…?

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No, I am not cold in that photo above..I hate bras and don’t wear one often…forgot I might want my photo taken..Hey, that’s how I roll.! That’s my “date” in the photo on the left..I am constantly amazed how he can tolerate my shenanigans.

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That white sand is just like snow. They have to actually plow it off the roads to keep them open. “Why are those beaches so white?” you ask..OK, get ready for a Science lesson..

You can thank the Apalachicola River, 130 miles east of Ft. Walton Beach, for the type of sand found here. The quartz-sand material, delivered to the Gulf of Mexico from the Appalachian mountains via the river, was deposited along the shores when Santa Rosa Island began to extend like an arm from Destin. This extension continues today as these small, white grains of quartz sand move to the west before reaching their final destination at the Pensacola Pass.”

If you read my blog much (if so, I apologize for any offensive behavior..), as I was saying, if you read my blog on ocassion then you know how much I love history and am a frustrated teacher…Hence, the seque into lesson-like rantings. Soooo, thank you for jumping in the back seat of the GMC with us for our Winter trip this year..I know that the GMC is getting old (12 years old to be exact), but she still hauls our Hiker (another old lady, 8 years old) really well!   As for all of the cases of beer in the back seat, those take priority, so adjust and overcome…See ya later..and thanks again for checking in on this drivel!!!