Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Hi Everyone. It's been over a week since I posted, so I thought I'd update you all with the latest happenings here at the Green Acres Garage. After returning from our camping trip last week, Gary parked me in the yard for a few nights of camping here at home outside of the garage. I was there Monday thru Friday of last week. It was nice at night, but during the day, it got VERY hot. On Friday, the warmest day of the week, my inside thermometer read 101 degrees! When Gary walked into me that day, he said "no wonder I call you Toaster!". I felt like I had a fever I was so hot. I really needed a bath after our long trip, but it never happened. I did get rained on once, so I guess that will just have to do as far as a bath goes. He did clean me thoroughly on the inside, so I don't feel totally skanky. While I sat out in the yard, Gary was busy with a lot of projects. The first thing he did was to put up a BIG antenna on my garage. Since it's an all-metal building, my little onboard TV antenna doesn't work when I'm inside the garage. Both of us were pretty sure the new antenna would solve the problem, but we wouldn't know for sure until I went back inside. After finishing that project, a lot of things got moved around inside the garage. A bunch of wood and trailer parts got moved from the garage to the storage shed. Then, all of the stuff that was being stored on top of Henry the Hilander's floor got moved to the area that had just been cleared. Poor old Henry was pulled out of the garage, and now rests outside on the driveway. I'm not sure what's going to happen to him next, but Gary felt like Henry's space in the garage was a better place for his little Dodge Neon than on the driveway where it's been for over two years. I guess the Neon is more valuable than Henry, and deserves to be inside for awhile. While I had idle time, I kept trying to think up a good name for the little metal Scotty dog that Gary bought to keep me company. I finally decided on Serra. I know it's not the typical spelling for Sara or Sarah, but it makes sense if you're a Serro Scotty like I am. Since my little pet is a girl, it just seemed natural to change the "o" in Serro to an "a", and call her Serra Scotty. I think it's kind of clever actually. What do you guys think of the name? On Saturday, Gary moved me back into the garage. Bad weather was predicted for the next few days, and he wanted me safe and sound. He was also eager to hook up the new antenna to see how well it works. It's PERFECT!!! My TV can now get every free channel available in our area. Gary and I watched the Daytona 500 on Sunday. It was a BORING race, but the TV reception couldn't be beat. In other news, I've been hinting around to Gary that I would sure like to go camping somewhere again soon. Our next scheduled trip is almost a month away, and that's just too long to sit here while the weather is somewhat cooler. So, he finally broke down and booked us a three-night stay at O'Leno State Park for next week. That will be perfect. It's only about a hundred miles away, and that will get us past the halfway point to our next extended camping trip. That works for me! You didn't know I could be so persuasive, did you? My door is still a little out of whack from getting damaged during our last trip, but it's not getting fixed correctly until after our camping season ends. Gary has spent a little time on making it better, and it will do for now. Well, that's all I can think of to tell you about. If something exciting happens before our trip to O'Leno, I'll let you know. Thanks for checking in.
Monday, February 18, 2013
There wasn't anything to take pictures of on day #3 of our stay at Lake Griffin. Gary and I had severe cases of the "lazies", and we did nothing but hang out together at the campground and relax. We played on the computer, watched TV, and took naps. The high for the day was 52 degrees and it was very windy, so Gary spent little time outside. It was fun having him with me all day for a change. The temperature dropped down to 30 degrees during the night, but the little heater kept us nice and warm. My skin was cold, but the most important thing is being warm inside, and I was as toastie as a toaster. Surprisingly, both Gary and I slept very well. I didn't think we would since we napped a couple of times during the day. We got up early today, and after a quick breakfast, Gary began to get things packed up so we could leave. I love our hometown of St. Augustine, but I love being on the road and camping just as much. I was kind of sad that our ten days away was over. We sure had a good time. We were in no hurry to get home, so we made lots of stops along the way. Our first "break" was at Wildcat Lake Park on SR40 east of Ocala. We have stopped there a few times so that Gary can stretch his legs. It's a nice little place. We continued on along SR40, heading east towards Ormond Beach. I was afraid that Gary was getting tired of the back roads, and would take I-95 north when we came to it. With a little coaxing, I got him to continue east to A1A. It's a pretty drive up the coast, and it was a beautiful day to enjoy the scenery. Our second stop was at Michael Crotty Bicentenial Park in Ormond Beach. Gary whipped up a couple of sandwiches there, and ate lunch at a picnic pavillion up on a hill. After that, we continued along A1A heading north towards St.Augustine. We stopped often for pictures. I wish I could post more of them for you to see, but blogger only allows a handful with each posting. The picture of me next to that tall tower was taken near Flagler Beach. We stopped for an extended period of time at the beach next to Marineland, just a few miles south of St. Augustine. We had never been there before, and Gary was very impressed with how gorgeous it was. I couldn't see the beach from the parking lot where I was, but judging from the pictures he took, I can see why he liked it so much. I am positive we will stop there from now on when we are in the area. We finally made our way home, and Gary decided to do some "yamping" (yard camping) in me for a few nights. I'm all for that! I have no idea what Gary has planned for me next, but I'll post it here when it happens. Bye-bye for now!
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Gary was up and gone early on Saturday, the start of our 2nd day here at Lake Griffin State Park. He had been wanting to go to one of the Renninger's Antique Extravaganzas in nearby Mt.Dora for years, and today was the day. As usual, I waited patiently for the return of my camping pal, and kept watch for the bear that was rumored to be roaming the park. I didn't think he would show up during the day, but Gary told me to look for him, and I was going to take my "job" very seriously. It was a sun-filled day that started off in the mid 40's, but quickly heated up to the high 60's. A PERFECT day for camping. I was sure that Gary would find something interesting at the antique show, but what would it be? I waited all day to find out. It was nearly 5PM before Gary came "home" with his small array of treasures. Remember that cool Scotty Beverages bottle that he found at the antique store recently? Well this time, he found another Scotty related bottle. It just says Scot on it. It's not nearly as awesome as the first one he found, but for two dollars, he HAD to have it. His second find was a bright red suitcase with silver trim that sort of matches me. His plan is to line it with foam padding, and it will serve as the carrying case for the toaster shaped salt and pepper sets that he's been collecting lately. The third treasure of the day was a toaster shaped cookie jar. It just happens to be the companion piece for the very first salt and pepper shaker set that he bought, and made by the same company. It's too big to display in me, but since Gary loves all things toaster related, it was five dollars well spent. The fourth item he found is my favorite, and one that I will cherish forever. Gary knows I get kind of lonesome sometimes when I'm by myself, so he bought me a pet of my very own. She's a little sheet metal Scotty dog. Isn't she sweet? I've got to come up with a cute name for her, but I've got plenty of time for that. I just think she's adorable, and it was thoughtful of Gary to buy her for me. With her to keep me company, I won't be missing Gary so much when he's gone all day. That's it for now. I'll check in sometime tomorrow (Sunday), and will let you know what we're up to. Bye!
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Our short trip from Paynes Prairie to Lake Griffin went off without a hitch (no pun intended). We have camped here twice before, but this is our first time in this particular campsite. It's a nice one too. Gary did GOOD when he picked this one. For the first time on this round of camping, we got to try out the portable camping clothesline. After using it elsewhere earlier this month, Gary added the top crossbar that connects the two poles. That was the only tweaking necessary to stregthen it and make it PERFECT. After setting me up for our three night stay, Gary went antique and thrift store shopping. He was gone for at least three hours, but he came back empty handed. He must be getting more selective in his old age. There was a time he would have come back with a LOAD of stuff. It was a pretty day here at the campground. After a lot of rain over the previous two days, this was a welcome change. One of the rangers said that a bear has been spotted here in the park. Gary assigned me the job of watching for him. I don't know what I would do if I saw a REAL bear, and I definitely don't want to find out. I'll post again soon, unless of course I get eaten alive. YIKES!!!
Friday, February 15, 2013
It was Thursday morning, and our camping time at Ochlockonee River was nearly over. The first wierd thing we noticed when we woke up, was that some little creature or creatures had shredded portions of our picnic table cover. Probably squirrels, but who knows? It was pretty trashed and not worth keeping, so it went into the trash. After disposing of that, Gary drove down to the picnic area where he had fed the white squirrels on Wednesday. Strangely, there were none to be seen. He spent close to an hour down there looking for them, but the squirrels must have taken the day off. So, he came back to the campsite and got me ready to go. The plan was to go to a town called High Springs, where there is a big antique mall that Gary wanted to see. It was a fairly long drive, but we were on highways where we could make some good time. Somewhere along the way, Gary finally noticed what I had been trying to get his attention for for miles. He must not have properly latched my door, and it blew open as we were speeding along. He quickly pulled over to check me out. The door knob smacked hard into my sheet metal, creating a big round dimple. The drain cap for my kitchen sink put a big dent in my door. The impact damaged my door to the point that it would no longer close. I've gotta say that I was nearly in tears from the pain, and Gary was almost in tears seeing the damage. He felt SO bad for what had happened, and immediately got to work trying to tweak my door back into good enough shape to close. He worked wonders in a short time, and in addition to just having my door latch again, he also safety wired it to an eyelet that my previous owner had attached to the door frame. Gary apologized repeatedly to me, and I honestly felt worse for him than I did for myself. I know he didn't mean to hurt me, and I know he will make things right when we get home. For now, my door is working as it should, but it's going to need some serious repair. I'm a bit sore, but I'll be okay. We made our way to High Springs, but we arrived much later than we had planned. Gary had an hour and a half to get through the antique mall before it closed for the day. He was there until the last minute. We had no camping reservations for Thursday night. Since it was going to be a long drive from Ochlockonee River to our next stop at Lake Griffin, the plan was to simply stop at a rest area somewhere on I-75. But, he was stressed out from me getting injured and tired from not sleeping very well the previous night. So, after the antique shopping, he called ahead to a place we know and love, to see if they had any room for us. What place you ask? Paynes Prairie State Park! It would be right on our way as we headed south on I-75. The campground was full, but we got REALLY lucky. A nice couple camping there had a spare campsite that they weren't going to need, and we were able to buy it from them. Campsite #18 was all ours, and we were THRILLED to have it. Gary hooked up my power, raised my antenna, and put out my doormat. Since we would be leaving early on Friday, he didn't even un-hitch me from the van or put out my jack stands. You know how much Gary and I LOVE Paynes Prairie. Just being there in a familiar place made me feel SO much better after a rough day on the road. It rained most of the night, but we didn't care. We slept like rocks. Onwards to Lake Griffin, and not far to go until we get there. Let's hope it's an uneventful trip. Details soon!
I couldn't blog about our time at Ochlockonee, without showing you a few pictures of the place. It's a small park compared to some that we have visited, but it's a very peaceful place. It kind of reminds me of Paynes Prairie in that respect. There's not a lot to do there, but it's a great place to just hang out and relax. As you know, I'm all about relaxing. It's so far away from home base, that we wouldn't have gone back for a second visit if we didn't really enjoy it. It's definitely a departure from the chaotic world around it. I'm sure that we'll be going back again at some point. I hope you'll enjoy the pics as much as I did when I got them from Gary. And if by chance you go there to do some camping of your own, tell the white squirrels that their buddy Toaster says "Hi".
After taking a LOT of pictures of the ultra-cool white squirrels, Gary decided to go out and see what the area was like outside the park. I forgot to tell you that the closest town to the park is called Sopchoppy. There's another one of those funny town names that I find so amusing. It's a shame, but there aren't many businesses that are still open in town. Even the antique store that Gary had read about was closed. While looking around in yards and fields, Gary came across a cute Little Gem Bugg trailer that someone is using as a storage shed. He is REALLY interested in it, but couldn't get in touch with the owner. He left a note, and hopes that they will call him and tell him it's for sale. I think it's an awesome looking little trailer, and it would be fun to have an adopted baby sister in the family. Moving on from there, he drove to the next closest town, which is called Crawfordville. It's a small town too, but much bigger than Sopchoppy. He met a nice woman in the Wal-Mart parking lot there, that has the Roadrunner travel trailer in the third picture. Old trailers are EVERYWHERE, and it's good to see them being enjoyed instead of being used for storage. Just outside Crawfordville, there is a line of fifteen rusty old trucks along the highway in a field. Thirteen of them are Fords, and two are Dodges. Behind them is a line of five old cars including a Willys and a Desoto. There isn't much left of any of them. It was a gloomy day, and it rained on and off throughout the day and night. We had another quiet evening at the campground. Unfortunately, this was our second and final night at Ochlockonee, a place that we really, really like. Gary was already thinking ahead, and planning our route to our next destination. Thursday was going to be a day of lows and highs, and I'll fill you in on the details soon.
I was so excited to tell you about the white squirrels at Ochlockonee River State Park, that I completely forgot to mention our campsite and our first night. So, let me backtrack a little, and try to get caught up to date. After a long drive and heavy traffic, in addition to the time we spent at Ron Jon Surf Shop and the seaside rest stop, we arrived very late in the day at Ochlockonee on Tuesday. After checking in at the ranger station, we headed to our favorite campsite here. Campsite #19 is the same one we stayed in when we were here for Christmas in 2011. There are only thirty campsites at Ochlockonee, and ours was the best one by far. Gary scrambled to get me set up before dark, and before the predicted rains arrived. The campsite pictures I've included here were actually taken on Thursday as we were getting ready to leave. There just wasn't time for picture taking on Tuesday. We got settled in just in the nick of time, right before it began to drizzle. We had a quiet evening, watching a little TV, and getting caught up on computer stuff. We were tired, and Gary wanted to get to sleep before it got too late. The plan was to get an early start on Wednesday morning, with taking pictures of the white squirrels as the first priority. As you can tell by my post with all the squirrel pictures, things went as planned. I'll tell you all about Wednesday in my next post, which I'll do in just a few minutes. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
My favorite thing here at Ochlockonee River State Park, is the white squirrels. Nowhere else we have camped at has them. Gary headed out early this morning with camera in hand, hoping to capture a few of these cute little guys digitally. He succeeded in a MAJOR way, coming back to the campsite with over sixty photos. He let me have these five for my blog. I think he's going to post the rest of them on his personal Facebook page. Gary planned ahead, and bought a bag of raw peanuts when he was in Wal-Mart a couple of days ago. He figured the peanuts would attract the squirrels, and it worked REALLY well. The word was out among the squirrels as soon as he arrived in the picnic area of the park. Although the squirrels can be seen throughout the park, most of them seem to frequent the picnic area. He fed them about half of the large bag of peanuts he had bought, and plans to go back tomorrow to feed them the rest. A couple of the squirrels took the peanuts right out of his hand! In addition to the still pictures, he is planning to take some video tomorrow as well. I can't wait to see that! Enjoy the pics, and I'll check in again soon.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Thankfully, the morning rain held off long enough for Gary to pack up our campsite at Grayton Beach. We barely made it out to the highway before the van's windshield wipers were doing their thing. Whew...that was a close one! Gary is never thrilled to pack up our stuff, and even less so when he's soaking wet. We headed east on US98, and made a surprisingly lengthy stop at Ron Jon Surf Shop in Panama City Beach. The plan was to pick up a couple of Ron Jon decals for our surf themed guest room at home. But, Gary got carried away looking at all the cool stuff that Ron Jon's sells, and he was in the store for more than an hour. It was raining when we arrived there, but had stopped by the time we left. So, I posed for a couple of pics next to the company logos on the side of the building. While Gary was taking photos for us, two other people came along and took pictures of me too. I felt like a real celebrity for a few minutes. That was AWESOME! From there, we continued east for what seemed like an eternity. There were countless traffic lights as we went through all the little towns along the coast. When we reached the entrance to Tyndall Air Force Base, the traffic lights became few and far between, and we were finally able to click off some miles at a faster pace. It was a long way to Carabelle Beach, where we finally stopped for a rest. The seaside rest stop was old, but very picturesque. Gary made a couple of sandwiches, and walked along the white sandy beach for a few minutes. I waited in the parking lot and let my hot tires cool off. I was getting a bit road weary, and needed a break. It was less than an hour from Carabelle Beach to our campsite at Ochlockonee River State Park. Since it was late when we got here, there was no time for Gary to explore like he usually does. By the time he got me set up for our two night stay, it was getting dark. I doubt if much has changed since we were here for Christmas in 2011, but you never know. We had sporadic phone reception last time, and no TV reception. This time, both are good, especially the phone. And if the phone is getting good reception, then we also have an internet connection. I'm SO glad we do, because I really wanted to tell you about our day and show you some pictures. More tomorrow. Sweet dreams!
Monday, February 11, 2013
It's an unbelievable phenomenon when the weather guys are actually right. Write this day down, because they predicted today's weather correctly. There was a 60% chance of rain today, and early this morning, I thought the forecast was going to be totally wrong. There was a haze in the air over the lake behind our campsite, but it was sunny and fairly warm. Gary made some breakfast, then headed off to the antique store that he never made it to yesterday. While he was gone, it got more and more cloudy, then began to drizzle. The rain would stop and start, over and over again for several hours. Gary got back to the campground around 4PM, and not long afterwards, it POURED!!! It rained hard for nearly an hour. Our campsite was suddenly less appealing than it was before. Most of it was under water, and I was a sitting duck in a pond of my own. I was NOT a happy camper. Gary was brave enough (or is that crazy enough?) to go outside for a minute or two to take these pictures for me. He knew that I would want to show you what we were dealing with. Anyway, we took a long nap as the afternoon turned into evening, watched TV for awhile, and now it's computer time. Gary went out and looked around a few minutes ago, and most all of the standing water is gone. We hear the sound of thunder in the distance on occasion, but I hope the rain is done with. We leave here tomorrow and head east to Ochlockonee River State Park. We were there for Christmas in 2011. That's the only place we've been to that has white squirrels, and they are SO cool! I'm looking forward to seeing them again. If we have an internet connection, and I don't think that we will, I will check in from there. Otherwise, I'll post here again as soon as I can. Until next time, this is Toaster and Gary, saying farewell from Grayton Beach State Park.