10/26/09 This week has been low key for us, which has been a definite change from the usual traveling and sightseeing. We have been at the SKP park called Sumter Oaks, in Bushnell, Florida. This is a very quiet park, with spacious sites, lots of tall trees and lush vegetation all around it. Here is a picture of our rig in the boondocking section, which is a quiet, grassy area located at the back corner of the park.
We had it all to ourselves and with the dump station water spigot nearby, it was quite a pleasant place to park for 6 days. Daily we did some sort of cleaning or repair task on either the car or RV, so the water spigot was invaluable. The most ambitious thing we did was remove all the maxi-vents from the roof in order to clean them and also clean the fan blades and vent covers in the ceiling. Since we had such nice surroundings to look at, we also washed all the windows and screens. These are all tasks that are difficult to do while being constantly on the move!
One of our self-imposed goals was to be back at the weights we were last year on Oct. 25 when we got married, since that was a pretty good weight for us. Well, we came pretty darn close because we were walking every day around this park. Nearly every time we got to the other end of the park, there was a pair of sandhill cranes hanging around one of the sites where the people fed them. Here is a picture:
They were also very vocal and they have a loud, raucous cry which is so distinctive that I'm sure we will recognize it the next time we hear it. These birds are also very large, being nearly as tall as I am! On the perimeter of the park near our rig, there is a small farm where there are 7 burros. They come to the fence in the morning and evening because the people in the park pet them and give them carrots.
Before we came here, we visited Tom & Rocki Blair at The Villages, a huge retirement community near Lady Lake, FL. They have a gorgeous new home and here is a picture of them in front of it:
They showed us all around the complex, which has about 70,000 residents (!) and so many amenities that Rocki calls it Disneyland for Adults. We went out for pizza with them at one of the shopping areas and were impressed with the free entertainment, convenience of stores, availability of mutual interest groups for socializing, etc.
While in that area we took a drive through the Ocala National Forest. Thank goodness the government has set aside this beautiful area for preservation or it would look like the rest of Florida which is full of strip malls, trailer parks, and amusement park schlocky businesses. There are a number of campgrounds which are big enough for RVs and we looked carefully at the one at Alexander Springs. It is a very nice park and the actual springs area is beautiful.
About 70 million gallons of water per day comes into these springs and they have set aside a nice swimming area, and you can rent canoes to take out on the river. There were also quite a few sandhill cranes wandering around these areas.
We also drove over to Orlando to arrange for a place to leave our RV and car while we are gone for nearly a month on our upcoming cruises. There is a good place in Kissimmee so after we made the arrangements, we went for a walk at the waterfront. It was beautiful there, with nice parks, and also a few more HUGE birds:
Later today we are driving all of about 45 miles to the Tampa area to have a visit with Joe Jackaway, a guy who was on our 10 month trip to Panama in the RV in 2004. After that we will head for Punta Gorda, to see Nancy & Bob Colbert, and pick up our new luggage which we had sent there. Have a great week, Everybody, because I'm sure we will!