Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring At The Springs....Wekiwa Springs, That Is

We headed out of Tomoka State Park this morning around 11AM, and headed to Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka, FL. That's basically in Orlando for those of you that don't know. It only took a little over an hour to get here, but we had to wait in line to get into the park for nearly 20 minutes. This place is VERY popular, especially on a weekend. We were here before Christmas last year, and really liked the place. Gary looked around at that time, and picked the campsite we are in on this visit. It is much nicer than the one we previously had here. I pick on the weather guys for consistently being wrong with their forecasts. But they were spot on today. They said it was going to be a beautiful day, and it was as perfect as it could possibly be. There was plenty of sunshine, clear blue skies, and a nice breeze. The temperature was in the lower 70's. Unlike Tomoka where there is no TV reception, that is not a problem at all here. Gary got me and our campsite set up, and once my antenna was raised, he dialed in today's NASCAR race. Between watching that and feeding what seemed like every squirrel in the park, our afternoon was pretty much taken up. But, Gary did manage to go out and take some pictures of the area around the spring. It looks VERY pretty. I plan to hang out with the squirrels again tomorrow, while Gary makes the rounds of some local antique shops. There is no chance of rain all week, and we're counting on the weather guys to be as right as they were about today's forecast. But, rain or shine, I guarantee that we're going to have a GREAT time here. This place ROCKS!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Rainy Saturday At Tomoka State Park

Friday here at Tomoka State Park ended up being a beautiful day. The weather guys said it was going to rain all day. We should know by now not to listen to them. It did rain Friday night, and sometimes quite heavily with gusty winds. But by Saturday morning, things looked somewhat better. At least at wasn't first. Gary took a few pics of the muddy road that runs through the campground. The large valleys fill up with water every time it rains here. That's the only thing we dislike about Tomoka. The campground road needs to be paved or at least graded every now and then. It's either dusty here, or swampy wet. At least our campsite was nice and dry, so no complaints about that. Gary noticed this morning that there's an orange tree right across the street at the corner of campsite #91. It's loaded with fruit. That's something we've never seen in a campground. By 10AM, it was raining again, and the rain persisted all day. Gary's plans to attend the big car show at the speedway didn't happen. Instead, he did some more antique shopping, then came back here and took a long nap. I was pretty sleepy myself, and joined in. There's a zero percent chance of rain tomorrow (Sunday). We'll be packing up and heading off to our next destination on our four stop loop through Florida. It should be a good day for a ride. I've had enough of this rain, and I'm looking forward to a sunny day. I'll check in from our next stop, and show you some pictures of our campsite. Live from Tomoka State Park, this is Toaster. Over and out.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Camping And Picking in Daytona Beach

We returned home from our Georgia trip on March 16th. After being on the road for a couple of weeks, the break gave Gary a chance to regroup, and "Dodge" and I got some much needed rest. We hit the road again on March 27th, and are currently at Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach, FL. We usually stay here a couple of times each year, mainly due to the spring and fall car shows at nearby Daytona International Speedway. Our favorite campsite was taken when Gary booked us for our stay, so he had to pick another one. Well, I think we have a new favorite. We are in campsite #90. We like our privacy, and it doesn't get more private than this in a busy state park. The only campsite in our view is at an angle across the street. Because of the woods on each side and behind us, we are quite secluded. Plus, the restroom is only about 60 feet away. Gary likes that. We will definitely stay in this campsite from now on if we can get it. We will be here for three nights this time. Gary is planning to go to the car show on Saturday, but the weather may end those plans. We'll see. As you know, he has become an avid antique hunter or "picker" if you will. He has already been out to shop at a few antique stores, and came back with some new treasures for his collection. He's already got an idea of where he's heading to today. The park is at full capacity because of spring break, the car show, and just the time of year it is. People go by and stop and look at me. I'm the only vintage trailer here, so I'm a little more interesting to look at than the newer trailers, I guess. I'm as happy as I can be. There are an abundance of squirrels to look at, and you know how much I LOVE squirrels. This is the first of four stops on a loop through Florida. We're not travelling as far as we did on our last trip, but I'm sure we will have just as much fun. So far, so good!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Poor Old Overloaded "Dodge"

As you know, I always get a lot of attention. Then there's Gary, who I mention often in my blog posts. But who is it that never gets attention and rarely gets mentioned? It's my buddy "Dodge" the van. He is one hard working dude for sure. If it weren't for "Dodge", we couldn't go on our trips. There would be no Adventures Of Toaster without him. There would be no blog because there would be nothing for me to write about. Other than Gary, he is definitely my best friend. Hopefully he will be my best friend forever. Gary and I would be totally lost without him. We're kind of like the Three Musketeers or the Three Amigos. Gary often says that "Dodge" is the best thing he ever bought on eBay, and the best $1200 he ever spent. Yes, you read that right....$1200. "Dodge" is SUPER reliable, and he never complains about anything. He just keeps on truckin'. Thank you, "Dodge" for all you do. I love you, man! The regular readers of my blog know that we've been off on a long trip through Georgia recently. We spent four nights at General Coffee State Park, four nights at Pat and Dan's (Gary's sister and brother-in-law's) farm, four nights at Cloudland Canyon State Park, and then back to Pat and Dan's farm for three more nights. "Dodge" got us there not necessarily in style, but definitely with a smile. Our final stop at the farm was to pick up that large load of rusty sheet metal from the shed that Gary tore down. So, "Dodge" had to haul all of that, all of our camping gear, all of Gary's personal stuff, and all of the antiques and junk Gary bought along the way. Plus, he had to haul Gary and pull me all the way back to St. Augustine. He's just plain unbelievable! As we always do, we made it back without any problems. Gary and "Dodge" travelled over 1600 miles. Gary estimated that I only went about 1200 miles. I sat a lot while Gary and "Dodge" hunted for antiques and went sightseeing. Anyway, that's a lot of miles and I imagine that "Dodge" was pretty darn tired when we got home, even though he didn't show it. I've attached a few pics of some of the stuff that "Dodge" carried home. These pictures were taken after the camping gear and Gary's personal stuff was already removed. There was hardly any room at all in poor old "Dodge" when he was totally loaded. For some unknown reason, at least to me, Gary bought those old bed springs that are wedged in at an angle over the rusty metal. I'm not sure what he's going to do with them, or any of this stuff for that matter, but I guess we'll all find out eventually. The metal was unloaded, sorted by size, and stacked as neatly as possible behind Helen the Husqvarna in the garage. All of the smaller antiques found homes inside the house. The bed springs and a bunch of larger stuff that isn't pictured, is currently surrounding me. The garage seems to be getting smaller with all this junk that Gary is buying, but as long as there's room for me and "Dodge", then I'm not going to complain. Another series of adventures for yours truly and his best buddies is just ahead. Stay tuned to find out where "Dodge" is taking us to next.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Back To Woodbury

Our final night and following morning at Cloudland Canyon was quite cold. The temperature got down to 26 degrees, and didn't warm into the 30's until we were ready to leave around 11AM. Brrr!!! I know a lot of our friends would think that 26 degrees is a heat wave, but for southern boys like Gary and I, that's pretty nippy. Check out the picture of the icicle that formed under the water inlet on my door side. The hose connection dripped a little, and much to our surprise, that long solid icicle formed during the night. Wow! There was ice all over the picnic table cover as well. After all the camping gear was packed up and I was hitched to the van, Gary took a nice hot shower to warm up. By then, the sun made it feel a bit warmer than it actually was. After his shower, we left our terrific campsite, and headed south towards Woodbury Georgia, the town where Gary's sister and brother-in-law's farm is. One thing I failed to mention in my previous posts, is that Gary had left the power cable to the computer at the farm during our earlier visit. He could do the basics with his smart phone, but I couldn't blog or post pictures. Our original plans didn't include a second stop to Woodbury, but the missing computer cable and the metal from the old shed that needed to be picked up, made the stop a necessity. It's always fun to go there, so we were both happy to go back. We headed back the way we came, on US-27. As I mentioned before, it's a really nice road. We arrived back at the farm late in the afternoon. I assumed my usual place in the yard next to the pump shed. I get my power from there. Our visit this time would be for three nights. Watching all the animals kept me busy. Gary and his relatives went antique shopping, and spent a lot of time at a huge estate sale in the nearby town of Thomaston. They had a lot of fun, and bought a lot of cool stuff at ridiculously low prices. We enjoyed Cloudland Canyon so much that Gary booked a five night stay for us in November. Of course, that means that we'll be coming back to Woodbury again too. The fall foliage should be beautiful that time of year. I'm already counting the days!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Elsewhere In Cloudland Canyon

In addition to the canyon and the scenic overlooks, Cloudland Canyon State Park has lots of other interesting things to see and places to visit. While I lounged in our campsite and enjoyed the visiting squirrels and the cool and sunny days, Gary made the rounds and took these pictures. The first picture is of one of two restrooms in the west end campground. It was located directly behind our campsite. Just down the road from our campground, are cabins 6 thru 16. Cabins 1 thru 5 are located in the east end campground. They all look pretty much alike, except cabin number 16, which unfortunately burned to the ground. Along with the campsites and cabins, there's also a new yurt village. Those are pretty cool looking, but not as cool as me, of course. The road that leads to the east rim campground and cabins 1 thru 5, also takes visitors to most of the park's activity areas. There are tennis courts, a huge disc golf (Frisbee) area, volleyball, an interpretive center, and several picnic areas. The visitor center is fully stocked with most anything necessary, and also has a large selection of gifts. It also serves as the camping and cabin check-in. There are many trails that would wear out the most professional of hikers, and miles of roads to drive or bicycle, some of them with very steep inclines. Outside of the park, Lookout Mountain and Rock City are not far away, and Gary spent LOTS of time visiting the many antique stores in nearby Chattanooga, TN. and Ringgold, GA. He had a touch of a cold or flu on our first and second days, but bought some cold medications and quickly felt much better. I hate to see my best buddy feeling poorly, especially when we're on a camping trip. It was good to see him bounce back so fast. Well, there's a little look around the beautiful Cloudland Canyon. I hope you've enjoyed the tour.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Of all the places we've been to, Cloudland Canyon is second only to Letchworth State Park as far as beautiful scenery goes. The waterfalls are much bigger and more spectacular at Letchworth, but Cloudland has stairways that lead you right down to the base of the waterfalls in the depths of the canyon itself. Sometimes I'm glad that I'm a lazy little travel trailer, and not a human. Just looking at all those pathways and steps going down into the canyon make me extremely tired. I'm glad that Gary is in the habit of taking lots of pictures so I can enjoy the view without having to put in the effort. It's roughly 600 steps to the bottom of the canyon. Cloudland is definitely a hiker's paradise. Gary wasn't feeling too great as he went out to explore the park, but he still made the trek and walked for miles. He said it was much easier heading down into the canyon than coming back up. He was so tired when he got back to the campground, that all he could do was to take a long nap. The waterfalls and streams look beautiful, and the overviews into the canyon are pretty darn spectacular. Cloudland (like Letchworth), is one of the original Civilian Conservation parks. Those guys did beautiful work. Most of the structures they created in the 1930's are still in use today. Gary explored other parts of the park besides the overlook and the canyon, and I'll post some pictures of those areas next time. For now, I hope you'll enjoy the pictures I picked out of the hundreds that Gary took. They're just a handful of my favorites.