Camping without Hookups

Across the street from our site

Across the street from our site

We left Trimble Park and headed back to Ocean Pond instead of Fore Lake because this weekend is going to be rainy and we wanted hookups.  But when we got to Ocean Pond, all of the water and electric sites were taken, so we ended up in a water-only site anyway.

The magic solar panel!

The magic solar panel!

I’m kind of glad, because it gave me a chance to see what our solar panel would do.

This morning, the battery was at 12.22.  At noon, the battery was fully charged, in spite of its being in partial shade for a while.  I was thrilled.  I got my smart phone and Ron’s Nook charged, too.  But I took my laptop down to Gail’s electric site and she charged it for me.

We have all LED lights in the trailer, so that helps keep our electricity needs to a minimum.

Our site -- chosen for sun exposure morning and afternoon.

Our site — chosen for sun exposure morning and afternoon.

Today was beautiful.  It got cold last night, but it reached 70 today.  Tomorrow’s supposed to be cooler, but still nice.

AND Gail and Mike’s offer on the house was accepted!  They close the 18th and will move in 30 days later.  I am almost as excited as they are!

 

So Beautiful Here

This is an unretouched photo of our sunset this evening.

This is an unretouched photo of our sunset this evening.

Today was a little cool, but I was comfortable in a light sweater.  Until this evening.  Now we are inside for the night enjoying the cozy warmth of our little camper.

Ferns growing in palm tree trunk

Ferns growing in palm tree trunk

Ron and I take turns walking Sheba.  She requires so much exercise to stay happy when she has to be tied out all day.  So this way she gets double the amount of walks that she would if we walked her together.

Today I walked in a different direction than yesterday, and I found blooming pink and red hibiscus!  It was just before sunset, so the petals had curled up for the night.  Wish I could have caught them open.  But I was thrilled to see them anyway.

Pink hibiscus blossoms.  The flowers close in the evening.

Pink hibiscus blossoms. The flowers close in the evening.

Little Sunny appears to be doing better.  I think camping agrees with him.  But when we walk him, we just meander around our campsite and let him sniff trails to his heart’s content.  He can’t walk any distance.  My baby boy is now an old man, I’m afraid.  :)

We have loved it here.  The only thing lacking are washers and dryers.  I continue to be surprised with how well designed this park is.  Even the barbeque grills are nice ones with heavy covers.

Red hibiscus blooms

Red hibiscus blooms

We had planned to go to Fore Lake tomorrow.  But since it’s supposed to rain Saturday and Sunday, we need hookups.  I doubt the solar panel would be able to keep up with our power usage without a lot of sunshine.

So we’ll head back to Ocean Pond to camp with Mike and Gail for a while again.  They found an adorable house and put in an offer today, and we want to be with them to celebrate.

American beautyberry

American beautyberry

Closeup of beautyberry

Closeup of beautyberry

Picnic area

Picnic area

 

Blue Skies Again

Have you ever seen a campsite before with benches around the firepit and a two person swing overlooking a lake?

Have you ever seen a campsite before with benches around the firepit and a two person swing overlooking a lake?

We are loving it here at Trimble Park!

A closer look at the benches by the firepit.

A closer look at the benches by the firepit.

Today we went shopping in the nearby town of Eustis that has everything you might need.  Lots of shopping and restaurants and a big Walmart and Target.  It’s kind of nice to camp near civilization again.

Ron wore a jacket and hat as he sneezed, coughed and endured another day of a bad cold.  I was comfortable in short sleeves until late afternoon.

The clouds are parting and there is blue sky in sight!

The clouds are parting and there is blue sky in sight!

This is the first time I’ve gone shopping and bought more food than the Casita can store.  We have boxes and packages everywhere.  I don’t think we could get another item in our refrigerator.  So I guess it’s time to start doing some serious cooking and use some of it up.

Tomorrow I plan to make a big pot of chicken stew and use up all those fresh veggies that will spoil if I don’t use them soon.

I think these are coots.  We startled a big flock of them and these are the ones who were in no hurry to get away.

I think these are coots. We startled a big flock of them and these are the ones who were in no hurry to get away.

The sweetest little camper in the world.  :)

The sweetest little camper in the world. :)

 

 

 

Trimble Park in Orange County, FL

Our site at Trimble Park

Our site at Trimble Park

Rain and thunderstorms welcomed us to Central Florida today.  And the rain will be followed by cold — but not nearly as cold as it will be back home. The high there will be 33 degrees.  Here it will be 55.  And the rain is supposed to end tonight.

side yard

View from the curb side of the trailer

We are cocooning this evening.  We’ll pass the dreary weather reading, listening to music, and working crosswords.  I’m not sure about dinner yet, but we are only two miles from the town of Mount Dora, so maybe I can talk Ron into getting a take-out meal for us.

This park is pretty in the rain.  It should be delightful when the sun shines.

The rate for senior out-of-county residents is just $17 a day!  There are only 3 other rigs here  now.  Of course, it’s a bit muddy from the rain, but our pad is dry.

View behind our trailer

View behind our trailer

Our welcome to Central Florida

Our welcome to Central Florida

Leaving Tomorrow

Workmen stringing lights on trees for the Christmas display.

Workmen stringing lights on trees for the Christmas display.

Since we’ll be leaving tomorrow, we spent most of the day puttering around, cleaning…and cooking and eating!

My favorite picnic area

My favorite picnic area

I have the world’s worst sense of direction.  Today I got lost and walked in circles until I finally found a landmark I recognized.  I was pooped, but Sheba was more than happy to pull me along behind her.  I did see parts of the park I would have missed if I hadn’t gotten lost.

pro lite

Another tiny trailer. I’d guess about 13-15 feet.

The park has several different picnic areas.  All of them are beautiful.  But the one that intrigued me most was the colony of thatched roof shelters.  They have gone to a lot of effort to make it feel inviting and welcoming here.

I think this is a campground that we will revisit on future Florida trips.

 

Stephen Foster State Park

Campground at Stephen Foster Cultural Center

Campground at Stephen Foster Cultural Center

It was cool and overcast today, but after I got out walking, it felt crisp and invigorating.

Lights strung on the huge live oak trees are a magical site at Christmas.

Lights strung on the huge live oak trees are a magical site at Christmas.

Workmen have been busy here since September stringing the lights for the Christmas Light Extravaganza.  If you would like to see a picture of how it will look when it’s finished, here are photos I took when we visited December 21, 2011.

Our campsite here is not that great.  It’s way in the back and is surrounded by dense scrub.  It’s almost too private because we can’t people watch back here!  But it’s a great place to cocoon in the chilly weather.

Sheba has amazed me this trip.  She has been so good!  Mom’s husband, Jean, remarked that she sure is a well-behaved dog.  She listens to commands, doesn’t get upset by having to be tied up between walks, and has only barked a few times.

Here's our campsite.

Here’s our campsite.

I am SO glad we survived puppyhood with her and did not adopt her out.  Everyone she meets loves her, and I often hear people say, “I used to have a dog like that….”

I missed being able to visit the museum and craft demonstrations today.  I just assumed they would be open.  Will have to check my paperwork and hope they are open on the weekend.

Anyway, we are relaxed and happy!  We have reservations at a county park at Mt. Dora Monday-Wednesday.  That’s all that was available on such short notice.  After that, we’ll probably hit one of the Ocala National Forest campsites for a few days, then head back to Ocean Pond to camp with Gail and Mike again.

Craft shops being readied for Christmas

Craft shops being readied for Christmas

Gift shop

Gift shop

Museum

Museum

Sunset on moss

Sunset on moss

My girl Sheba

My girl Sheba

Carillon tower (sp).  We have enjoyed the songs of the bells.

Carillon tower (sp). We have enjoyed the songs of the bells.

 

Our Gypsy Caravan

Gail's van and our Casita at Mom's, plugged into Daddy's old tool shed.

Gail’s van and our Casita at Mom’s, plugged into Dad’s old tool shed.

Ron felt much better today, but not up to anything that required a lot of energy.  So instead of leaving this morning as planned, we extended our stay at Mom’s another day.

That was good because today was Hope’s birthday and we got to celebrate it with her.  Mom cooked  us a fish and shrimp seafood feast  (with carrot cake and strawberry cake).  Her fish and shrimp are better than any I’ve ever had in a restaurant, and we did it justice.

Since the weekend is approaching, we grabbed the last available reservation at Stephen Foster Memorial State Park and will stay there for three days.  Then after the weekend, we’ll head South and take our chances on finding a decent campsite.

 

 

 

Change of Plans

Screened porch

Screened porch

Today the guys had planned to go fishing in Mom’s new husband’s ponds, but Ron got sick yesterday and was in bad shape today.  Some kind of stomach bug. So they ended up postponing the fishing.

Mom and Jean (French for John, apparently) are keeping both their houses.  Mom has a very modest little frame house.  Jean’s is a big, comfortable brick home a few miles farther out of town.   He has cattle and sweet, beautiful working dogs, so Mom and he make frequent trips back and forth, but have chosen to live in Mom’s little house.

Another view of the porch

Another view of the porch

So they took us to see Jean’s house today.  I didn’t take photos of the beautiful interior because it just didn’t seem right.  But I couldn’t resist their huge screened in porch!

We were very impressed with Jean — most importantly because we have never seen Mom so happy before.  He’s friendly and easy-going, and we enjoy being around him.

The bream and bass pond.  He has another catfish pond.

Gail and Mike at the bream and bass pond. Jean has another catfish pond.

We were planning to leave tomorrow, but since Ron was sick, he needs another day to recover before we hit the road.  He’s doing a lot better this evening, so we expect him to bounce back fast.

I took a few pictures of Jean, but they didn’t turn out well.  But just so you know, he is tall, thin and handsome.  :)

Side yard

Side yard

Looking out of the porch toward the pond

Looking out of the porch toward the pond

My tiny little Mom

My tiny little Mom

 

Still at Ocean Pond

boat launch area

The boat launch area at Ocean Pond

Last night was our night to celebrate several occasions at once.  Mike’s retirement, Mike and Ron’s birthdays, Gail and Mike’s anniversary and Ron and I getting out of debt (except for the mortgage).

We went to Red Lobster.  I’ve had disappointing meals there in the past, but last night was a glorious exception.  Ron and I had a grilled salmon, lobster tail and shrimp platter, and it was superb.  Especially the salmon.  I must find out how they made it so melt-in-your-mouth scrumptious.  Gail and Mike said their dinners were also superb.

Down toward the primitive camping area

Down toward the primitive camping area

I also am thrilled with my Allstays app.  I have found several very inexpensive campgrounds farther south that have great reviews at rvparkreviews.com.

We are planning to stay another night here (after tonight), then Gail and Mike and Ron and I plan to caravan to Mom’s place.  Mom’s new husband wants the guys to go fishing in his ponds, so Gail and I are planning some quality girl time with Mom.

You-know-who in the water.

You-know-who in the water.

After the family visit, Ron and I plan to head South for a week, then come back and camp with Gail and Mike again.  By that time we’ll have new things to talk about which should be fun for all of us.

We are so loving having no plans and knowing it will be a long time before we have to think of heading back home.

Cypress swamp near primitive camping area

Cypress swamp near primitive camping area

Nights have been chilly. My favorite spot — under the afghan!

 

 

 

Around Ocean Pond

pavilion at swimming beach

It’s even more beautiful than I remembered it here at Ocean Pond.  It’s spacious, clean, and well-maintained.  The picnic pavilion at the swimming beach is new since I was here last.

water only site

A water only site

I met the other Casita owners today.  They just bought their 2003 Casita a month ago and are doing a great job of breaking it in.  They’ve been to the Blue Ridge Mountains, camped at Cherokee (not knowing there was a Casita Rally there), so lucked into the last couple of days of that.  Then they went to South Carolina, and are now here in Florida.

The weather has been perfect.  Sunny and warm.  Today got up to 81, tomorrow might reach 70, then a few more days in the 70’s before it drops into the 60’s.

White paintbrush-like blossoms on a tree

White paintbrush-like blossoms on a tree

The whole campground is attractive, but the water-only sites  are the most beautiful.  They are huge and each site is well screened with vegetation for privacy.

There’s a little store nearby with a deli.  I haven’t seen it, but the guys bring back chicken, burgers and biscuits from it.  Today Ron brought me a huge 1/2 pound burger!  I ate half and the other half will be lunch tomorrow!

I took these photos with my phone camera.  They all come out under  saturated, so I have to edit them all.  And low light (indoor) photos turn out way too soft.  The reviews and customer ratings all raved about this camera.  So I’m trying to determine whether my disappointment is due to the camera or the operator!  :)

Ron digging into his 1/2 pound burger

Ron digging into his 1/2 pound burger

 

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