Sunday, May 14, 2017

Ten Nights At The World's BEST Campground

After our camping trip to Anastasia State Park in March, I thought for sure that I would be locked up in the Green Acres Garage until next fall. Then the need arose for Gary to travel across the state to St. Petersburg, so that he could spend a few days working on his house over there. Our best friends Bill and Sandy, graciously volunteered to let us camp on their driveway again, just like we did on our last trip to St. Petersburg about two years ago. So, Gary got me and my dog Serra ready for the trip, gathered his tools, clothes, and essentials, and off we went. When we arrived at Bill and Sandy's "Campground", we were surprised to find that they had moved their vehicles to the front yard, so that we could have our choice of whatever area of the driveway we wanted to camp on. We chose to be under the canopy on the side of the driveway closest to the house. The "Welcome Toaster" sign on the canopy was both funny and really thoughtful. We TOTALLY loved it! It stayed up during our entire visit. Even though the weather was sunny and hot for the majority of our stay, and it rained for a night or two, I was safely protected from the elements. TV reception was perfect, so I had no problem keeping up with my favorite shows. And when I wasn't doing that, the two big oak trees in the front yard were full of squirrels, and you KNOW how much I love watching them. Gary definitely wasn't thrilled with all the work he had to do on his house, but hanging out with Bill and Sandy when he came home in the evenings was LOTS of fun. It's a shame that they can't get together more often. When Gary was off working, our camp hosts would occasionally say hi to me, or give me a little pat to let me know that I wasn't alone. They're SO considerate! Gary thought that our stay would be no longer than four days, but there's always more work to do than he expects. We ended up staying for a total of ten days and nights. He did everything from painting, to replacing fence posts, to relocating an air conditioner, to sweeping leaves off the roof. Even with all of those things accomplished, he's already got a list started of things to do on our next visit. We're planning on returning to St. Petersburg and Bill and Sandy's FABULOUS campground again in October. The work load should be substantially less, and the fun with our best buddies will be just as great as ever. We can hardly wait!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Booked Up And Raring To Go

Hi, Folks. I am pleased and excited to tell you about our fall 2017/winter 2018 camping schedule. Due to all of the ongoing work here at home, we'll have a somewhat abbreviated schedule, but we will still be spending a total of fifty-one nights on the road. I wish the summer wasn't so unbearably long, because I'm EXTREMELY anxious to hit the highway. The fall can't come soon enough for Gary and Dodge and I. We'll be making five trips away from home. Thirty nights will be spent in Georgia, and 21 nights will be spent in Florida. We'll be camping at ten different parks, all of which we have been to before with the exception of J.H. Floyd in northwest Georgia. We wanted to spend Christmas at Watson Mill Bridge, but the campground there is small and was already booked solid. So, we opted to stay at Fort Yargo instead. It's still in the same basic area, just not as pretty as Watson Mill Bridge is. Most of the places we are camping at were booked because of their proximity to Gary's favorite antiquing spots. We'll also be visiting with family and friends along the way. It's going to be FUN to say the least. In other news, there's been a TON of activity here at home lately. Gary's hard work is paying off, and he's feeling a little less stressed as projects are either getting done or well on their way to be completed. I predict that he's going to feel much more relaxed during our upcoming camping season than he has during the past two or three. He's always had fun on our trips, but at the same time, he always worries about the things that aren't getting done at home while we are out on the road. If things continue to progress the way the have during the last two months, he will be as carefree as I am by the time our first camping trip rolls around. I'll update you on the happenings around here soon. Love to you all. Your buddy, Toaster.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Celine And Jean-Pierre

A few years ago, Gary and I had the pleasure of meeting Celine and Jean-Pierre as we camped at Stephen Foster State Park in northern Florida. We had a great time with them for the couple of days we shared a campsite together. Fast forward to 2017, and our friends from Quebec were camping right here in our hometown of St. Augustine at Anastasia State Park. Coincidentally, they were at the park at the same time that our friends Tina and Joe from Ohio were there. This was a few days before Gary surprised me and took me out for a two night stay of our own. Tina and Joe got to meet Celine and Jean-Pierre, and Gary got to spend quite a bit of time with both couples. I wish I could have seen them, but it just wasn't meant to be this time. They invited us to come to Quebec and camp at their house. That would be LOTS of fun! I've never been outside of the United States. The closest we've ever been to Canada was when we went to Letchworth State Park in western New York in 2013. I'll be reminding Gary from time to time that we have an open invitation to visit Quebec. There are so many places we want to go to, and with our camping seasons getting a bit shorter every year, I'm not sure if we will ever get to all of them. Anyway, I'm glad that our friends are happy and healthy and doing well, and traveling to some of the places we only dream of. We hope to camp with them again VERY soon.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Impromptu Camping At Anastasia State Park

Our buddies Joe and Tina from Ohio had been camping at Anastasia State Park for the last ten days or so. Gary had gone out to visit with them three times. With only three days left before they were leaving, another visit was planned. Tina suggested that Dodge or Casper be driven to the park, and Gary could use whichever of the vans to camp in at Joe and Tina's campsite. Gary appreciated the offer, but wasn't thrilled about the idea of going camping without me. So, he checked online to see if there were any campsites available. Being a coastal park, Anastasia is difficult to get into at any time of the year. At first look, the park was totally full. No surprise there. He looked again a few minutes later, and one campsite had become available due to a cancellation. He quickly snapped it up. Amazingly, the campsite was in the same loop that Joe and Tina were in. How convenient! He notified Tina that all of us (Gary, Dodge, & me) would be coming out the following day (Monday). Gary cleaned me up a little, and gathered everything we would need for our two day stay. Needless to say, I was SO happy to be going camping again. Just when I thought I was stuck here at home until next fall, I was blessed with this AMAZING news. I couldn't wait to get started. By Monday afternoon, Gary had everything ready to go, and off we went. The park is only about ten miles from home, so it was a short trip. Heading down highway A1A, I could see the lighthouse ahead in the distance, and I knew the entrance to the park was even closer. A few minutes later, we were checking in at the park office. Campsite #134 was ours. We stopped for a few seconds to say hi to Joe and Tina as we passed by their campsite, and I got to see their trailer FALA for the first time. It's a retro Serro Scotty, made in 2010, so just a baby compared to an old guy like me. We made our way around the corner to our campsite. It was a nice one. Of all the times we had camped at Anastasia in the past, we had never stayed in campsite 134 before. Gary got me set up with a little help from Joe, and then he was off to visit with his friends. He was gone until 10PM or so. I had some squirrels to entertain me during the daylight hours, and TV to watch after dark. For some unknown reason, Gary didn't sleep well. He tossed and turned for most of the night, and that kept me awake as well. He went over to have breakfast with Joe and Tina and their cute little dogs, Maizie the Scottish Terrier, and Auggie the Wheaton Terrier on Tuesday morning, and spent the entire day with them. I took a nap (due to my lack of sleep during the previous night), and enjoyed the sights and sounds of camping when I was awake. Gary came back to me around 8:30PM. We both slept very well. Early Wednesday, Gary had breakfast with his pals again, but not before getting me ready to head home around noon. Our stay was fun, but WAY too short. I'm VERY grateful though that we got to camp again. Back home at the Green Acres Garage, I'm here in my usual spot in the middle of the garage, surrounded by mountains of Gary's junk. He promises to clean up the garage this year, and I hope he does. This mess is EMBARRASSING!!! Anyway, special thanks to our buddies Joe and Tina for coming to town. I'm sure we wouldn't have gone camping again this spring without them being here. And thanks as well to whoever cancelled their reservation at the exact time we were looking for a campsite. That worked out perfectly! Later, my friends.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Is Here, And I Got Sprung

Hello friends, and welcome to the first day of spring. It was a BEAUTIFUL day here in St. Augustine, and I got sprung from the confines of the Green Acres Garage to come outside and hang with my buddies. It's been a month today since we got back home from our last camping trip. I've been patiently passing the days watching TV and napping, while Gary has been working away on various projects. Since closing our booth at the antique store a little over three weeks ago, he has been EXTREMELY busy. Not having to cater to the time demands that a booth requires, he has gotten a LOT of projects either finished or started here at home. He seems to be much happier seeing progress being made, and I know for a fact that he's sleeping better. When I came outside today, I stopped first to check out the interior painting that Gary just finished inside of "Dorsey" the storage container. Nice job! The fresh white paint is FAR better than the graffiti-ridden bare plywood, and it's MUCH lighter and cleaner looking. Next on my outdoor adventure, was a stop inside the Green Acres Carport. It was built just about a year ago, but this was my first time being under it. It's 900 square feet of AWESOMENESS!!! Unfortunately, it's a bit cluttered at the moment with large items that were intended to be sold at Booth 366, but somehow never made it there. As things get more under control around here, Gary will find new homes for anything that he can't use. That's part of the master plan. While under the carport, I visited with the biggest van in our fleet ("Max"). He's been hanging out under the carport since it was completed. My Serro Scotty sisters ("Caroline", "Jackie", and "Bernadette"), who are just outside the carport on the south side, seemed happy to see me. Just beyond them is "Holmes", a van that was purchased for parts. My brother "Henry", a former travel trailer who is now a utility trailer, was right behind me on the north side of the carport. This was the first time we had all been this close to each other in years. Towed behind my buddy "Dodge", my ride through the yard continued. I stopped to see the remains of "Scotty". He is covered with a tarp, and like most of the other trailers here, he awaits a total rebuild. He was the first Serro Scotty that Gary purchased, but sadly has yet to get the attention he deserves. Heading east towards the front yard, we stopped to see "Chip". His frame is strewn with pieces of old trailer skins, concrete blocks, and other junk. "Chip" was purchased as a donor trailer for me. Several of my windows originally belonged to my dear little brother. The eighth and final Serro Scotty that you didn't see on today's tour is "Poppy". My sweet little sister has been my roommate inside the garage since she got here about three years ago. Also inside the garage is a '71 Dodge Dart and a '65 Dodge A-100 van. Both aren't currently running and are on the list of future projects. That's a LONG list! Do you see a pattern here? Moving on, we visited with "Connie" the conversion van. She has that big driveway all to herself. She will likely be finding a new home after repairs. Circling back around the house, Dodge and I hung out in the shade of the big oak tree in the backyard for an hour or so, and then I was towed back to the carport. Gary decided to let me spend the night out here. It's something I've been wanting to do, and I guess it's kind of my reward for being a good boy lately. I'm not alone, of course. Gary is with me. He's watching TV while I catch up on my blog. I was SO excited about today's activities, that I just HAD to tell you about it. What a FUN day! Goodnight and sweet dreams from Toaster and Gary, LIVE from the Green Acres Carport.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Out Of Business

February 2017 is almost over, so I thought I would check in and tell you the latest news before we slip into the new month. First, we had a WONDERFUL time during our most recent camping trip at Wekiwa Springs. That was our final camping trip until next fall, and we made the most of every single day. We stopped at the gigantic Webster Westside Flea Market on the way home. After Gary got his shopping fix, we were off and rolling. It was an uneventful trip, and that's just fine with us. Unless plans change, it looks like I'll be sitting right here in my usual spot in the Green Acres Garage until next November. UGH!!! Something tells me that it's going to be a long and very hot summer. In other news, the joint business venture between Gary and I (Booth 366) is now over. About 10 months ago, we decided to get a little booth at an antique store in Jacksonville, and sell antiques and collectibles. Gary did all the work, and I gave up my weekly allowance to supply the cash to buy the goods that were sold in the booth. Gary is a really good shopper. He stretches a dollar like nobody I've ever seen, and with diligence and hard work, he was able to make some decent money for both of us. But the catch in this otherwise happy story is the amount of time that's involved to make this work. There's the shopping for goods, cleaning the purchases, tagging them, inventorying them, taking photos for the Booth 366 Facebook page, then going back and forth to Jacksonville to restock the booth. On average, it was taking half of each week to get all of that done. Gary literally has enough ongoing projects to keep him busy for the rest of his life if he lived to be 150. No joke! Things have continued to get further and further out of hand around here, and Gary was no longer having fun doing the Booth 366 thing. So, we talked it over and decided to call it quits. If things start getting done here at home, I think Gary will feel much better. All of these unfinished projects, plus Booth 366, has been wearing on him. The only time he's relaxed is when we're off camping somewhere. But camping season is over, Booth 366 is over, and now it's time for the REAL work to begin. On the bright side, I guess I'll be getting a steady allowance again, so WOO-HOO for that! As things happen here at Green Acres, I'll be reporting in. Love to you all. Your little aluminum pal, Toaster.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Winter In Wekiwa Springs

It's day number one (of five) here at Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka, Florida. This is our last camping trip of the 2016/2017 season, but I'm going to try not to think about that too much. There's no need to be sad when this is our last time to have fun and be happy. When we arrived today, our campsite was still occupied. We had to kill some time, so Dodge and I hung out in the parking lot, while Gary wandered around and snapped a few picture around the area where the springs are. He even took a picture of himself, and he rarely does that. His face didn't break the camera lens, so all is well (Ha-Ha!). After an hour or so, we made our way back to the campground, and luckily, our campsite was vacant and waiting for us. We have camped here at Wekiwa on several occasions, and all but once we have made campsite 33 our home. It's obviously our favorite campsite here. Winter in Florida is CRAZY!!! It was 81 degrees and muggy today. Gary planned ahead and brought along my air conditioner, making my interior an un-toaster-like 64 degrees. Nice! You may recall my post from our visit here a couple of years ago, when we didn't have my air conditioner, and all of my windows were open. The super aggressive squirrels that live here at Wekiwa, actually chewed through my screens and partied inside of me while Gary was out antique shopping. I was in shock! They were running all over the place, and got into a brand new loaf of bread, making a BIG mess. As much as I love squirrels, that was WAY too scary for little old me. They will hopefully come around to be fed, but that will be happening OUTSIDE, not INSIDE. Since we are so close to the Orlando area, TV reception here is perfect. There's a new channel to be found with every click of the remote. We'll have something to watch, even if the rain storms come through this weekend as predicted. Well, I'm going to get off this computer, relax for awhile, and enjoy the things that make camping so much fun. If I don't write again while we are here, I'll write from home for sure. Later!