Sunday, December 29, 2013

General Coffee: Our FAVORITE Georgia State Park

After spending six days at two rather disappointing parks, we have now arrived at our FAVORITE Georgia State Park, General Coffee, between the towns of Douglas and Nicholls. OMG, we LOVE it here!!! What's not to love? Spacious campsites, extremely friendly and helpful park staff, scenery to die for, and the cutest farm animals anywhere. I could stay here forever, and I know that Gary feels the same way. This is our fourth visit this year. Like Paynes Prairie in Florida, we feel totally at ease here. Other parks may be somewhat relaxing to be at, but there aren't many where we feel as comfortable as we do at home. This place is a little jewel that most folks don't seem to know about. Even on the weekend, there are usually only a handful of campers here. The campsites are all of the drive-thru variety, and most of them are BIG. There could easily be a line of six or seven little trailers like me end to end in just one campsite. It's generally VERY quiet here, but someone has a barking dog here this time that won't shut up if he sees anyone. We are far enough away from him that it doesn't bother us. Actually, we are not really close to anyone, and we like it like that. As usual when we are here, Gary goes down to Heritage Farm to feed the donkeys. Heritage Farm is right here within the park, just around the corner from the ranger station and well-stocked camp store. Poncho and Jenny (the donkeys) sometimes call out to us when we arrive. They must know that "Uncle Gary" will be feeding them LOTS of carrots. He bought sixteen pounds of carrots before we arrived, and he will probably buy more. There are goats, pigs, horses, a mule, and chickens too. And there are a bunch of ducks that "cruise" the lake, waiting for a handout just like their four-legged animal friends. There is no TV reception here, but we don't care. There's plenty to see and do during the day, and there's always the DVD player for late night movies before bedtime. Gary likes a couple of the antique stores in nearby Douglas, and usually always finds something he can't live without. The Douglas Peddler's Mall and the Town Square Antique Mall are his favorites. So, as you can tell, we are just plain CRAZY about this place. Actually, we are just plain CRAZY, but that's another story. We'll be here for several days, and if I get some time, I'll post again. Happy camping from Toaster and Gary at BEAUTIFUL General Coffee State Park.

Laura S. Walker State Park, Waycross, GA.

Another state park on our list of "places we've never been to" is Laura S. Walker in Waycross, Georgia. It is located in-between Little Talbot Island in Florida (or previous stop), and General Coffee in Georgia (our next stop). It's a fairly nice little park with a big lake and scenic views. The campground and group cabins, as well as most of the picnic areas and kayak rentals, are on one side of the lake, while the boat launch ramp and Laura S. Walker Lake Trail are located on the opposite side. The campground is treed with tall pines and very little else. If you like your privacy like Gary and I do, this is not a good place. The campsites right along the edge of the lake are reserved for high-dollar motorhomes and big 5th wheel trailers. Little trailers like me are banished to lake view sites only. Most of those are sharply sloped and somewhat uneven from side to side. Gary had to put a stack of 2x4's under my right wheel to make me level. And wheel chocks are a necessity. There are two restrooms, one is very old and one is newer. If you like to kayak or fish, then you'll probably love it here. There is also a golf course right down the road from the park. There are additional things to do within a short driving distance. As for Gary and I, it's been a nice place to visit for a couple of nights, but not a place we will ever return to. For us, it just wasn't that great. Next up is General Coffee State Park in Nicholls, GA. Like Paynes Prairie in Florida, we feel as comfortable there as we do at home. After our rather disappointing stays at Little Talbot Island and Laura S. Walker, we can't wait to get there.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Camping Neighbors, Shrimp Scampi, And A Special Guest

Well, Little Talbot Island might not have been the greatest place we ever camped at, but at least we had some great neighbors there. Right next door were Maggie and John from New Jersey. They came over to see me at one point during our stay, and were very complimentary like most of our guests are. They were kind enough to bring Gary some homemade snacks, supply reliable matches to light our campfire, and to keep Gary laughing with funny stories. Good people for sure. Their trailer is a little fiberglass Scamp named "Shrimp Scampi". Isn't that a hilarious name? It makes me laugh every time I think about it. We seldom have guests when we camp, but in addition to our neighbors stopping by, we also had a friend of Gary's named Susan that visited with us twice. She stopped by for a couple of hours on Christmas Eve, and for about an hour on Christmas Day. Susan is new to the world of camping, but she definitely liked the "feel" of camping life. She was really sweet, and I hope she comes by to see us again. Susan works for Gary's dentist and that's where they met. I thought it was really nice of her to wear a red scarf on her first visit. Did she know that red is my favorite color, or was it just a fluke? If she was trying to impress me, she did a fine job of it. I think that Susan and Gary are planning to hang out together from time to time in the new year. Maybe he can convince her to come camping with us sometime. Is it wrong of me to play matchmaker? They really seemed to get along well. I guess time will tell. We're heading into Georgia for our next stop on our winter camping tour. I'll give you a shout from there.

The Prettiest Part Of The Whole Place

As I mentioned in my previous post, Gary was not too thrilled with Little Talbot Island State Park. I'm not too picky, but I'll have to admit that we have stayed at much nicer parks. The campground, which is located on the west side of Highway A1A, cannot compare to the beauty of the east side of A1A where the ranger's station, the picnic areas, and the beaches are. The campground was okay, but not exceptional. It's unusual for Gary to not take hundreds of pictures of places we go, but the photos this time were mainly limited to the beach area. Other than photos taken at our campsite, there really isn't much else that's photo worthy in the campground area. So, today I will share some of the photos taken at the beach as we first arrived at the park. There is a north beach and a south beach, and large parking lots at each end, and some smaller ones in-between. There are boardwalks that extend over the dunes that lead to the beach. It isn't hard to find a pathway to the beach at all. There are picnic pavillions everywhere, and restrooms near a couple of the boardwalks, but not all of them. Once on the beach, you can walk for miles in either direction. I sure do wish that "Dodge" and I were allowed on the beach, but unfortunately it's just for humans. There were LOTS of jellyfish washed up on the shore, and as you can see in one of the pictures, the birds nibble at the jellyfish for a snack. There are lots of shells for the taking, and driftwood that you aren't allowed to take. The dunes are roped off to protect nesting sea turtles. Too bad that Gary didn't see any turtles. That would have been cool. Well, I hope you enjoy the beach through this series of pictures. It's definitely the best part of Little Talbot Island.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas At Little Talbot Island State Park

After completing our four night stay at Wekiwa Springs last week, Gary and I went home to regroup for a couple of days. It was a hectic time for Gary, and as usual, I just sat back and watched the flurry of activity. Gary moves pretty fast for an old guy. I'm amazed at how much he can accomplish in a short time. He got everything done that he needed to, and we hit the road for a new adventure. As of today, we began our stay at Little Talbot State Park. It's just outside of Jacksonville, FL., right on the coast. We got here early, but couldn't get into our campsite for several hours. "Dodge" and I hung out in the parking lot near the ocean, and Gary walked for several miles along the beach. It was a warm day, but the wind was blowing pretty good and kept things tolerable. Around 2PM, we finally got into our campsite. It was messy when we arrived. Whoever had been here before us left trash all over the place, and Gary had to clean it up before getting us settled in. He was NOT happy about that, and he was NOT happy that we couldn't get into our campsite any earlier than we did. Unlike all of the other state parks we have been to, the customer service here is pretty pathetic. Just from what we have experienced so far, I'm pretty sure that Gary will never want to come back here. As for our campsite, it's fairly good. We've had worse, and we've certainly had much better. There's no privacy between us and the adjoining campsite. On the other hand, the restroom is just steps away, so that's good. That doesn't make any difference to me, but Gary enjoys not having to walk far for potty breaks and showers. We will be here for four nights, just like we were at Sebastian Inlet and Wekiwa Springs. Our stay includes Christmas. Gary typically doesn't decorate for Christmas at all, but since our friends Karen and Meghan gave us that cool red sparkly Christmas tree, he decided to put up a few decorations to go with it. I don't have any lights on me, but there are 200 of them on a little fence on the side of the campsite, and all over the clothesline poles and clothesline. They look kind of pretty, if I do say so myself. I have some glittery red garland around my window frames on the outside, and green garland around my windows on the inside. Even my dog "Serra" got in the spirit, and has some garland around her neck, as do the two pink flamingos that sometimes hang out with us. I also have a little tiny Christmas tree on my countertop. None of this is anything fancy, but at least it's a little bit festive. It's definitely more "Christmassy" than any of our previous Holiday campsites have been. Gary took a LOT of pictures today as he usually does, and I'm sure he will take many more as he gets out and explores other areas of the park. I'll post some pics of the place next time. I hope that all of my friends and fans have a very Merry Christmas. Thank you all SO much for checking out my blog, and being so kind and supportive. I LOVE you guys! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.