Country Oaks RV Park, Ga

Day 62

     We are taking a day of rest today, after all we are retired. I will take this opportunity to answer some of your questions on the RV lifestyle.

How do you find driving a 40 ft RV?

     Actually, it is 39′ 10 inches. I do not find it as difficult as I thought. Remember, I have driven fire engines for 28 years. The thing to remember is that when I make turns, the 5th wheel will cut into the turn. To compensate for that, I make a wider turn than I would make with my car, sort of like the tractor trailers. Our main learning curve is backing up the Sphinx into a campsite. Although we are getting better, we have not got it down just yet.

In one of your posts you indicated you had to be self sufficient. What does that entail, and how long can you do it?

     It means that we do not have to be hooked up to water, sewer, or electricity to maintain ourselves. For electricity, we have four 6 volt batteries.  Supposedly that will provide our electricity for a week or so, not using the air conditioners.  We have a 69 gallon fresh water tank, and three 40 gallon waste tanks, one for the toilet, one for the bathroom shower and sink, and the final one for the kitchen. We testing living without hookups for 3 days with no problem. At one campsite their water supply was contaminated and we used ours for 4 days with no problem. We did supplement that with bottled water. We also have a 5 KW generator to run the air conditioner and recharge our batteries. The generator runs off our propane tanks, which are two 30 pound tanks.

When you are traveling down the road, how do you keep the food in your refrigerator cold?

     For the first few weeks of our adventure the weather was so cold we had no problem, so long as the doors remain closed. Unfortunately, we did not realize that the refrigerator was not level and the doors came open during transit. The lettuce rolled around the RV. After leveling it, we also had to put tension bars to prevent items from rolling around inside the fridge. Even leveled, we have to secure the doors to prevent opening while jostling The Sphinx down the road. Now that we are in the South, and the temperatures are in the 90’s, we have an inverter that converts our battery 12 volt DC power to AC 110 volt power. This is for the fridge only, and works great.Camper (9)

The red box is the inverter, below that you can see 3 of the 4 golf cart 6 volt batteries.

How do you get your mail while traveling?

     We don’t. Prior to leaving I convert all bills and notices to electronic form. All my banking is electronic, and all my bills are paid through the bill pay of my bank. We even got our absentee ballots from Harford County electronically. We did have to mail the actual ballot in, but since they are in PDF format, I printed them out at the campsite office. All our taxes are done electronically, as well as keeping all my records. I have the laptop that I use to publish this blog, plus I have a scanner to convert all receipts that I get on the road. I then discard the paper receipts. With the exception of my credit card, all value cards, like food discount cards, have been converted on my I Phone to be electronic. The cashier can scan that electronic bar code as if I actually had the card.

What do you miss most now that you are no longer living in your house?

     Nothing. We had to make adjustments in our lifestyle, but we anticipated that. We keep in touch with my father and other relatives by phone and messaging. We keep in touch with Chip and our granddaughters through face-time. Barbara wants to look at them on her tablet. Works great. My granddaughter just had her braces taken off, and Barbara can see her new smiling face. They also have an app on their smart phone that tells them exactly where we are. The purpose of this blog is to keep our friends and family informed of our whereabouts. We have adapted well to full time RVing.

     Oh! I see by the great electronic clock on the microwave, it is time for my nap.

     Feel free to send me any other questions, I will be happy to answer them.

Silver Spring, Florida

Day 60

Since the late 1800’s Silver Springs, Floridaday 60 (1) has been a Mecca for those seeking warm climate from the harsh north and those looking for medicinal remedy in the warm Spring waters. From the 1920’s until Walt Disney showed up, it was the biggest tourist attraction in Florida.

We took a tour on a glass bottom boat. day 60 (19) day 60 (5) day 60 (6) day 60 (4) day 60 (7) day 60 (12)The tours in these vessels have been going on for the last 100 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saw turtles both below and above the waterday 60 (9) day 60 (8)

 

 

 

 

 

The depth was an average of 25 feet. With the deepest part, where the spring actually begins, 85 feet.

They say if you have your picture taken on this looped palm, you will have 5 years of good luckday 60 (11)

 

 

 

We had several pictures takenday 60 (15)

 

 

 

 

 

We then walked around the springs

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and relaxed in the beauty

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I sat with Chief Osceola. day 60 (17)He did not call himself a Native American. He called himself a Seminole Warrior. He was responsible for defying the Indian Relocation Act (not Native American Relocation Act) and keeping the Seminole’s fighting the US.  Osceola led the war of resistance until September 1837 when he went to a US fort for peace talks. While under a flag of truce he was captured. He died a short time later in captivity.

Of course, we had ice cream. I live by two maxims: Chocolate cures everything, and you must have ice cream every day.

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Back at the ranch, we watched a beautiful sunsetday 60 (2)

 

 

 

 

 

After which Barbara slaved over a hot fire making dinner

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For desert, we made s’mores

Does life get any better than this?

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Bee seeing ya.

Ocala, Florida

Day 59

History is written by the victors. – Winston Churchill

Day 59 (1)

     As we crisscross back and forth through Florida, we have stopped at some of the historical places and battlefields of the Seminole Wars. Although the statistical information varies depending on who’s side you are listening to, the general consensuses is that “white man speak with forked tongue”.

     One of the key spots of the war was Fort King, now Ocala, Florida. The only remains of the Fort is this marker:

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      The Seminoles burned the Fort down, twice.  If Major Dade had reached the Fort today (see Day 49) he would be amazed. With modern technology I hold my I-Phone up to any one of 23 markers and I get a narrative of what happened at that site and how the war, over 40 years, was progressing.

     The narrator pointed out that after the War of 1812, the United States had defeated England, twice, and was considered to have the best trained military force in the world. However, the Seminoles defeated that army over and over again.

     Nevertheless, each of the wars caused large casualties, on both sides. Many Seminoles after the 2nd war were tired and agreed to move of Oklahoma in accordance with the Indian Relocation Act issued by President Andrew Jackson.

     Finally, as stated in an earlier blog, the US decided for the few Seminoles left in Florida it was not worth the cost and declared the Wars over. According to the narrator, the US Military was not beaten as badly again until over a 100 years later in Vietnam. He pointed out that both wars were “gorilla wars” in which one side was defending it’s home in the jungle, and the other was not. 

 

 

Brooksville, Florida

Heinz Day

     The Florida Blueberry Festival is held each year in front of the County Courthouse in  Brooksville, Florida.

The Courthouse hosts a statue in tribute to the confederate soldiers.Day 57 (9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had blueberry shortcake for breakfast.

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Turkey leg and cheese steak for lunch

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Barbara had some blueberry vodka, she did not like it and chased it down with blueberry bourbon.Day 57 (7)

And then we had blueberry pie for dinner

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 Of course we had to add ice cream_DSC2147

It’s a tough life we lead.

Crystal River, Florida

Day 54

Travel

     We took a boat ride on the Crystal River through the estuary toward the Gulf of Mexico. Day 54 (7)This area was inhabited by the Indians from about 2500 years ago to 500 years ago. The changing climate, which attracted them in the first place, was also the reason they left.

     Left behind were “mounds” of their trash, from which archaeologists have been able to assemble their eating habits, religious habits, and politics. Part of this State Park is dedicated to teaching archaeology. Unfortunately that teaching section was closed today, but you could still walk the area.

     The interesting thing about this area is that the water in the Crystal River is fresh, but as you go through the estuary it begins to mix with the salt water of the Gulf of Mexico. This allowed the Indians to harvest both fresh and salt water fish. The most abundant sea life was oysters, which made up a majority of the “mounds”.Day 54 (101)

 

 

 

QUIZ  (What, you didn’t study?)

What is the difference between these two birds? (Click picture for enhanced view)

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Hint: One is an Osprey and the the other an American Eagle. Can you tell which is which?

 

 

Left: Osprey  Right: Eagle

After the boat ride, we walked the woods through the areaDay 54 (118)

and came across interesting wildlife.

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      For the first time we saw snakes. They were called Southern Black Racer, a harmless snake, but they did move so fast I could not get a picture. One was about 3 feet and the second about 5 feet. It was hard to see, since Barbara jumped into my arms blocking my view.

Technical Stuff

      Back at the Ranch, we were inundated with thousands of caterpillars. Day 54 (3)They especially like my tires. Day 54 (4)We were told they would be around for a couple more weeks. We did not come across them in any of our other travels in this area.

Withlacoochee Trail, Florida

Day 53

     The Withlacoochee State Trail is a paved walk/bike trail stretching 46 miles from the Withlacoochee River to Owensboro. We were actually taking the day off and were looking for a restaurant that was recommended in the State Park. Did not find the restaurant, and decided to hike 3 miles of the trail. Because this section was close to the highway, we saw no wildlife, and therefore no pictures. Unless you want to see our feet walking on the paved road. I didn’t think so.

      We try to walk between 1 and 5 miles every day (averaging 2 -3), as our main form of exercise. After all, we have to work off all the ice cream and pizza we are eating.

Bushnell, Florida

Day 52

     The Florida National Cemetery Day 52 (2)is a United States National Cemetery located in the Withlacoochee State Forest, approximately 50 miles north of Tampa near the city of Bushnell in Sumter County, Florida, about 3 miles from our camp site. Administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, it encompasses 512 acres, and just began interments in 1988.

     I found the most notable graveDay 52 (1) (actually a memorable marker, as most were) to be that of Major David Moniac, who fought in the 2nd Seminole War. He was in the 6th U.S. Infantry, Alabama Mounted Creek Volunteers. In 1822 he was the First Native American Graduate from the US Military Academy. My understanding of the history is that the Creek Indians were driven out of their lands in Alabama and Georgia and joined with the Seminoles in Florida. It appears this guy joined the US Army and fought with the white man against his own people.

     I am finding the Seminole Indians and the 3 Seminole Wars quite fascinating.