The shades on the widows in the camper work very well. I woke up Sunday morning in the darkness of the camper feeling for my phone. I wanted to check the time. Holy Cow! It was 9:45. When have I ever slept that late in the morning? We wanted to check out around noon and thought we might have time to do a little morning exploring before we left. But now we were going to just have some breakfast before heading out.
Today we head to the second stop of our maiden voyage and is what we hope to be one of many travel days. A day when we pack up at one campground and move to another. My goal for travel days is to keep the drive time between sites to around four hours. I know this will not always work the way we want, but hopefully it can most of the time. The GPS says our next campsite is one hour and thirty-five minutes away. Of course she don’t know I’m towing a twenty-five foot trailer, nor does she know of my plans to stop at Walmart in Eustis, so I’m estimating a two and a half hour trip.
We checked in at Colt Creek State Park campground for a three night stay. This is a new campground so all the facilities are new and clean. The grounds are well manicured. The loop road is paved. The gravel sites are level with a picnic table and fire ring. There is electric and water hook-ups at the sites and a conveniently located dump station. There aren’t many trees at this campground which is an obvious contrast to the forest we just left. We have site 34. There are two other areas is the park for camping, a primitive area for tent camping and an equestrian site. The park is popular for horseback riding with its many miles of trails.
The reason we choose this campground was the location. It’s only a short twenty minute drive to grammi’s parents house. Grammi’s father, Marvin, was celebrating his eightieth birthday with a party at the clubhouse in the retirement community where they live. When we arrived, the parking lot was filled with golf carts forcing us to park on the street. Inside was an over fifty-five crowd emerged in conversation while eating cake and ice cream. We were able to squeeze into seats next to grammi’s parents. Grammi and I were happy we could be there to share this time with them.
While back at the camper that evening, thoughts went through my head about retirement living and whether an over fifty-five community would ever be in my future. Grammi’s parents are quite happy there as an abundance of social activities keep them busy. But for me, even though I am soon to be sixty-five years old, I don’t see myself sitting around playing cards or bingo. I like being outside seeking adventures, enjoying nature and exploring all the beautiful places in this world.
I woke up Monday morning around 7:00 AM. In a groggy state I fumbled around and found the coffee pot, filled it with water, scooped in some Folger’s dark roast and placed it on top the stove. I turned on the gas, pushed the spark ignitor and lite the stove. I sat down in the recliner rubbing my eyes while waiting for the coffee to percolate. Grammi got out of bed and realized what I was doing and started hollering. At that moment I had no idea what she was having such a fit about but I was soon to find out. I had not lifted the glass top off the stove before putting the coffee pot on it. She quickly turned off the gas and lifted the coffee pot up just before the glass top exploded into hundreds of little pieces. She stood there motionless with the coffee pot in her hand staring at our new camper with its first mishap. I could see she was fighting back tears. She wanted to strangle me. There was nothing I could say. I felt so incredibly stupid. I knew you couldn’t cook on that glass top. We had talked about it and made jokes about it. I just wasn’t paying attention. So I got up and started cleaning up the mess.
I set up the Coleman camp stove outside and finished making coffee. After about an hour we started putting the incident behind us. We realized there was no since dwelling over something that can be fixed after paying the stupid tax. Stupid tax is the money you owe for doing something stupid. It’s not the first stupid tax I’ve had to pay and I’m sure not the last.
Our plan this morning was to go to the Webster Flea Market. So with a little later start than we would have liked we started in that direction. The flea market in Webster, Florida is believed to be the oldest and one of the largest in the state. It is open every Monday of the year. We’ve been there before and enjoy looking around and checking out what the many venders have brought in. This time we bought some D-rings and hairpin clips to keep in the camper. We also bought some fresh fruits and vegetables then returned back to the camper for lunch.
In the afternoon, we went on a hike on one of the many trails in the state park. We took the map provided by the ranger when we checked in. We walked around a lake and into an area of pine and palmetto scrubs where we saw a lot of tilled up ground from the wild hogs rooting. We followed along Colt Creek where we saw an alligator motionlessly submerged under the water. His eyes and snout were peeking above the water’s surface like little periscopes. As we walked along, we soon realized the map we had was not right. A section of the trail we planned on taking to the main road was not there. It had grown over. We had to backtrack a little to avoid adding five more miles to the hike. It was just the two of us out there. We didn’t see another soul for the entire hike. It clouded up and a light rain started for the final half mile of our six mike hike. This was an adventure and I really like getting out and seeing all that nature has.
The next morning was quiet and peaceful. We sat outside, cup of hot coffee in hand, enjoying the refreshing coolness in the morning air. Because this campground was fairly wide open with very few trees, we could see nearly half the sites from where we sat. We saw campers emerged from their RV’s to make the trek to the bathhouse. There was someone cooking breakfast at their outdoor kitchen and at another site someone was sitting next to their fire ring stirring the coals from last nights fire. I’m sure they were hoping for a hot ember to start up a new flame. Everyone seems to keep to themselves. There was nothing more than an obligatory nod or wave when someone passed by. I can’t help but wonder if this is the norm everywhere. I’m hoping to meet and connect with people while on this adventure. This may prove to be a challenge for an introvert like myself though.
We took off in the truck to do some exploring. We stumbled on a county park that has campsites. Withlacoochee River Park is located in the West tract of the Green Swamp Wilderness Presseve. The park has a lot to offer with picnic pavilions, playgrounds, hiking trails, fishing, canoeing and an open area for large events. Campsites are tucked back in a wooded section of the park and have water and electric sites. I’ll make an effort to remember this place for future camping consideration.
We made our way to beautiful downtown Dade City where we walked among the many antique and speciality shops. We stopped in at Kafe Kokopelli for lunch where they have a vegan/vegetarian menu. I had the impossible burger which is a splurge item for me. It was so darn good I was tempted to order another one, but of course, I didn’t. After lunch I topped off the fuel tank in the truck and we headed back to the campsite.
That evening we took a short three mile hike through an oak hammock. I have always been in awe of the beauty of mature live oaks adorned with Spanish moss, their branches overhanging creating a shady canopy. This trail snaked back and forth along the bank of a slow creek to a small wooden bridge where it looped back on the other side.
We cooked dinner outside. The silhouette of distant pine trees against the deep red painted by the setting sun was a spectacular backdrop as grammi and I talked and reminisced about our week. We head home in the morning. We have a list of things to do and items to get as we prepare to leave out for the summer. I can’t wait to Let the Adventures Begin.