Friday, April 29, 2011

Departing Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park

Hellooo Hellooo Helloooo.......That's me calling you from the great blogging abyss.  I'm struggling to come up with an impressive excuse for neglecting my duties but I'm coming up short.  We did go to South Carolina for 6 days.  We stayed busy there with doctor appointments, a stop at the vet, several meals with friends and checking on the houses.  We then returned to Florida.  After returning we "worked" 6 of the past 8 days. (That's my last  pitiful attempt to offer another excuse for not blogging)  Anyway, we got back to Florida and returned to our volunteer duties, continued to enjoy the area and prepared to depart.  One little side trip was to see Dudley Farm Historic State Park.  The park is located about 25 miles west of Gainesville.  It's a working farm that dates back to the mid 1800's.  The last member of the founding family left the farm, after donating it to the state to be used as a state park, in 1983.  There's a collection of about a dozen buildings, which includes the original farm house.

They farm 325 of the original 640 acres.  Additionally, there's a great gathering of livestock which includes some sweet horses and an ENORMOUS turkey

The result is a genuine step back in time.  The setting is so authentic, because it is authentic, that it takes a small step to imagine the farm as the original occupants experienced the place.  Well worth the trip!

A significant task related to departing was buying new tires for the camper. For those unfamiliar with the fine points of full timing, tire failure is critical.  A blow out on the camper often includes much more than the loss of a tire. Way too often it includes, let's say, thousands of dollars of damage to the camper, stranded on the road, towing, aggravation etc.  The problem, from our point of view, is that the tires that come with the camper have an outrageous reputation for blowing out!  The new tires are load range G and are rated for 3700 pounds per tire. (700 pounds more than the current tires)   They come with an impressive price tag so it wasn't a decision we took lightly.  But the bottom line was to error greatly on the side of caution.  We did sell the "old" tires on Craigslist for $200  (significantly less than the cost of one new tire)!

Related to departing tasks, we also bought a "trucker" gps.  This gps will treat us like a big rig and advise us of the best big rig routes, low clearance hazards, truck stops, rest stops and other neat traveling stuff.  So Debbie uses the older car Garmin gps in the car and I use the truck Garmin gps in, you guessed it, the truck. Debbie also purchased  "Streets and Trips."  For those in the dark (like me!), it's routing software for planning our travels.  For those who know me, you know I just told you ALL that I know of the product.  But I am sure that the product and Debbie will serve us well.  We really are trying to do all that we can to be safe and  minimize any anxiety.

Now let's return to our volunteer life.  Wednesday was our last day.   Imagine, we've been winding down, finishing our little projects and starting to say our good-byes.  And lo and behold we get a little surprise.  Tuesday, our park ranger shows up with a stray Jack Russell dog that had been abandoned in the county park adjacent to the state park.  We love dogs.  Debbie REALLY LOVES dogs!  So her first impulse is, let's keep her.  She (not Debbie) is a precious dog.  Unlike many Jack Russell's, she's very calm and we never heard her bark.  I recognize that one of us must dig in our practical heels and resist all compulsion to keep the dog.  Please remember we currently travel with two dogs.  Believe me when I say it required my best powers of persuasion.  Debbie's not happy about "our" decision, but she ultimately "agreed".  My suggestion was that we foot the vet bills to get "Jackie" (Debbie's temporary name for the dog) squared away so that she would be more adoptable.  We did, and Sheila, our park ranger, took her to the vet.  Things are already looking better.  Jackie had been micro-chipped and the vet has known the local breeder for the past 20 years. Jackie is 5-6 years old.  She was likely sold by the breeder and some subsequent owner lost or abandoned the little creature.  We now are confident that Jackie will quickly find a good home.  Sheila, or maybe her sister,  may keep her.  Or maybe the local breeder will find, within the local Jack Russell community, a new home for the sweet girl.  The result of this little surprise was that Debbie spent her last two days at the park loving this great little dog!  I hope the outcome is that Debbie's love, as well as the wonderful love of others, eased Jackie's anxiety resulting from being abandoned.

So as I said, Wednesday was our last day at the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. We were there for two months and it was a great experience!  The camping location was sublime (new word for me).  Sheila is the best!  She did a terrific job of making us feel so appreciated.  The entire staff, including the local volunteers are just a great group of people.  We were only treated with respect and kindness!  While departing Wednesday, Anne Pierce, I think she's the Treasurer of the Friends of Marjorie Rawlings, stopped by to give us a huge platter of gingerbread made from Marjorie Rawling's cookbook.  Mighty thoughtful!  The volunteering experience was entirely stress free!  We've been invited to return and we may.  But for now we're moving on!  After our "workday" we headed out for South Dakota.  We're going to take 26 days to get there.  Obviously we're taking our time, making stops, seeing our children and enjoying the ride!  Wednesday  afternoon we only drove about 100 miles.  We needed to shorten the next day's drive to an RV park in Holt, FL.  So we spent Wed. night at the Suwanee River State Park, in Live Oak, maybe 100 miles (that's a guess) east of Tallahassee.  Of course, we only stayed the one night, but from our brief tour of the park, it looked great!  Our site had full hookups, was paved, and included a picnic table, grill, firepit and even a clothesline! 

Very nice. We will have to put it on our "return to someday" list for sure.

We had pizza for dinner that night.

Has too much time passed since I last mentioned that Life is Good?!

I'll try to do better on the posting!



  1. I was wondering where you were! Glad you're back! See you soon! Safe travels to me!
    Love you!

  2. Good to hear you folks are well. Be safe in yours travels west. We're headed north next weekend. Last but not least -that puppy is soooo cute. I'm sure that was a tough decision. Take care

  3. So good to see an update from you!! I have been a little slack myself lately.
    I know Debbie had to be disappointed about not keeping the little Jack Russell but certainly understand that three dogs could present issues. Charley would like to have a second pup as a friend for Cheyenne but I am fighting it right now. We will see...
    Hope you have safe travels and lots of fun on your way to South Dakota. You are going to love all that you are going to see!!