A Dump — or Just Rustic?

Suspension bridge.  The original one was built by the CCC in the 30's.

Suspension bridge. The original one was built by the CCC in the 30’s.

campground road

Campground road

After I saw the dirt campground road with the sandy dirt sites, and the 90 degree back-in between two trees, I understood why O’Leno State Park had reservations available.  🙂

rustic

It’s rustic. Hope it doesn’t rain.

To be fair, when I chose this site online I didn’t know that it was the hardest one to get into in the park.  There were others that would have been a breeze to back into.

But, by the time I got the Casita situated, I would have left immediately and gone somewhere else — if there had been somewhere else to go.

I had read that there are some really interesting history and features of nature here, though.  So Ron, Sheba and I took off to find some.

no jumping

The sign says “No jumping off bridge.” Just in case you were tempted to. 😀

The nature center and little museum closed at 3:00, so we missed them.  But the little we did see whetted our appetite for more.

I’m especially curious about where the river disappears into a sinkhole and resurfaces again 3 miles farther on.  I read that the places where the river disappears and reemerges are not accessible to vehicles — and I doubt very seriously my arthritic hips could stand a 6 mile round trip hike, but hopefully I can at least see where it disappears.

The town that was on this site, settled in the 1860’s, was originally named Keno.  However “due to ecclesiastical and commercial pressures” the name was changed to Leno in 1876.  O’Leno is from Old Leno.  The town was a bustling commercial success until it was bypassed by the railroad and deteriorated into a ghost town.

1930's CCC work

1930’s CCC work

Tonight my floor feels like a beach.  We leashed Sheba to the trailer steps so she could lie on the mat and not get too dirty.  She promptly decided she preferred to  lie in the sand underneath the trailer.  So much for trying to keep the trailer clean while we are here.  Sheba is a giant sand powder puff.

But after I came to terms with all the dirt, I am glad we came.  The area is beautiful and there is lots to see.

Even though the site is dirt and sand, we do have a nice private front yard.

Even though the site is dirt and sand, we do have a nice private front yard.

I took this picture simply because it is the biggest ugliest tree gall I have ever seen!

I took this picture simply because it is the biggest ugliest tree gall I have ever seen!

 

 

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Casita Christmas

Casita Christmas

Gail gave me these sweet little vases last month when we arrived at Ocean Pond.  I knew when I saw them that they would be the foundation of my little camper’s Christmas decorations.

The little wreaths and baubles are earrings.

Then we got lights and a small hanging Christmas tree for Ron’s end of the trailer so it would look Christmassy, too.

Casita Christmas2

And Gail and Mike are finally in their new house.  It’s exactly what they wanted — a small retirement home easy to heat, cool and clean.

Gails House3

Mike will have a good sized shop outside, and Gail is going to have a carport and screen porch added.  She had planned to have a contractor take out one of the interior walls to give her a large living room.  But now that she is in it, she really likes the little house just the way it is.

She has plans to completely redo the yard, though.

The previous owner left the house immaculate.  Gail remarked how nice it is to not have to clean first before moving in.

So we are camping in their driveway, and they are camping in the house — until the guys get the rest of their things moved.

It feels so good to have this house hunting saga done!  🙂

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

Camping with Peggy

Peggy trying to pet Sheba -- as Sheba does her whirling dervish act.

Peggy trying to pet Sheba — as Sheba does her whirling dervish act.

 

Camping with Peggy is such fun.  I don’t think there are many subjects we haven’t discussed.  We are both avid readers, both love time together and time to ourselves, she loves my dogs and likes my husband — and loves the outdoors.    So this has been a wonderful camping trip.

By the way, Peggy is a superb wildlife photographer.  If you want to see some gorgeous waterbird photos, check out her paddling blog.  She also has a camping blog where she does extensive reviews on campgrounds — mostly in Florida and Georgia now, with future reviews in NC and SC to come.

View from the bedroom

View from the bedroom

Today we took a different trail to see different scenery — and ended up at the covered bridge again.  After we were back at the campground, Ron came from the office with trail maps.  So we could finally see where we wanted to go.  Only by that time, we were out of the hiking mood.

Instead, we did what we do best…. chatted.  And thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Looking toward the bedroom.  The bathroom is on the right.

Looking toward the bedroom. The bathroom is on the right.

I just love Peggy’s trailer.  It’s a 17′ Apex by Coachmen.  She got it for solo camping trips, and it’s perfect for her.  When she’s not outdoors, she can curl up with a good book in her reading nook with the huge windows and still keep an eye on the activities going on in the campground.

I took dozens of photos of her artwork and all the pretty little things that make her trailer feel comfy and homey.  I can’t post them all, but these will give you an idea of how beautifully she has personalized her little home-away-from-home.

She is the only person I have ever heard say that when she wakes up in her camper, she thinks she is in her bed at home.

We’ll both be leaving in the morning.  But we will definitely be getting together for more camping together.

The kitchen

The kitchen

The reading nook

The reading nook

 

Over the shelf unit by the front door

Over the shelf unit by the front door

 

The cozy bedroom

The cozy bedroom

 

Peggy put matching decals on the cupboard over the refrigerator and on the under sink cabinet doors.

Peggy put matching decals on the cupboard over the refrigerator and on the under sink cabinet doors.

 

Picture in bedroom

Picture in bedroom

 

Unfortunately my camera stopped the motion of the whirling wheels.

Wind kitty. Unfortunately my camera stopped the motion of the whirling wheels.


 
Exterior

Exterior

This Is Life

Romaine lettuce and Chinese cabbage sproutng

Romaine lettuce and Chinese cabbage sproutng

Sorry about the crappy lighting.  :)

Sorry about the crappy lighting. 🙂

My little seeds are sprouting faster than I expected.  I’ll have to rig up some kind of decent lighting for them tomorrow.

I got the first chemo hat finished tonight.  I’m happy with how it turned out, so will work at getting a dozen done before I take them down to donate them.  My goal is that each hat be pretty enough that the recipient will feel cherished.

My Casita parts arrived late this afternoon.  So tomorrow I plan to start trying to get the little trailer ready for its first trip this spring.

Still got the blahs, but maybe working on the Casita tomorrow will cure them.  🙂

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Remembering Pearl Harbor, Passport America & Home Remedies

USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii.  At Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona suffered direct-hits from four 800-kg bombs dropped by high-altitude Japanese Kates and the remains of over 1,000 crewmen are still entombed in her hull. Even today, droplets of oil still leak to the surface. http://pearl-harbor.com/

USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii. At Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona suffered direct-hits from four 800-kg bombs dropped by high-altitude Japanese Kates and the remains of over 1,000 crewmen are still entombed in her hull. Even today, droplets of oil still leak to the surface.
http://pearl-harbor.com/

I don’t know why I am in such a pensive state of mind today.  I’m remembering Pearl Harbor on this anniversary of “a date which will live in infamy.”  Usually I see Dec. 7 on the calendar and I may or may not attach any special significance to it.

Years ago I toured the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu.  The visit was profoundly moving as I stood right over the ship that is the grave for over 1,000 sailors and watched the oil slick that is still slowly seeping from the hull.

War really is hell.  I am glad that I do not have any first-hand knowledge of it.

But with all of the ominous rumblings throughout the world, I sometimes wonder how long I will be able to say that.

Moving right along to happier topics, I have all the clothes packed in the Casita for our upcoming trip.  Now all that remains to be packed are toiletries and food.  I’ll go ahead and get the canned and packaged food packed later today.

After I get that done, I want to give the entire house a deep cleaning since we plan to be gone longer than normal this time.  Our plans are to leave December 15th.

I bought a Passport America membership last night.  That will open up a lot of options for inexpensive camping for us.  I absolutely adore the woodsy, rustic, remote Federal campgrounds we usually stay at.  But sometimes I’d like a break from them and would enjoy staying closer to civilization.

Of course, there are a lot of RV parks in Florida that don’t honor PA — or that don’t honor them in snowbird season.  But there are a surprising number that do.

Also, now that I know I can safely leave both Sunny and Sheba in the trailer for a couple of hours, we’ll have a lot more freedom this trip.

Tinycamper's little apothecary  :)

Tinycamper’s little apothecary 🙂

I wanted to report back to those who are curious about how my home remedies turned out.

The frankincense and myrrh balm does seem to have helped.  My thumb joint  is not as swollen and tender to the touch as it was.  But that could be for any number of reasons.  The flare-up could have run its course and calmed down naturally.  I could have an over-active imagination and it could be the placebo effect because I wanted it to work so badly.  Or it may actually have helped.  In any case, it feels better now than it did last week.  😀

I made it in little 3/8 oz. plastic jars I got from Amazon.  A normal salve base is one part beeswax to 8 parts oil (like olive oil — I used almond).  However, the essential oils are so thin and penetrating that the normal recipe turns out almost liquid.  I tried again with a 1 to 4 ratio and it was still semi liquid after adding the esssential oils.  I’m thinking that maybe straight beeswax with that unusually high proportion of essential oils might work.  In any case, to the salve base in the little jar I added 25 drops (1/4 teaspoon) each of frankincense and myrrh essential oils.

The results of the sleeping aromatherapy trials are much the same.  I do think they help me fall asleep.  It could be that I expect them to help, therefore they do. It’s so hard to quantify things like that.  Lavender helped.  Lavender and marjoram helped more, I thought.  Clary sage and marjoram was better.  I finally concocted a recipe of several essential oils that are supposed to promote sleep and I thought that was a lot more effective.

For those who are curious, I ended up with:

10 drops Roman chamomile, 5 drops clary sage, 5 drops bergamot, 5 drops marjoram, 5 drops frankincense, and 2 drops ylang ylang.  I bottled it in a little 1/2 oz. dropper bottle — again from Amazon.

But then last night I couldn’t sleep and nothing helped!  Also I have been breathing so many essential oils lately that they’ve triggered allergic reactions.

So be very skeptical and try at your own risk.  🙂

Electric Brakes & Hard Lotion

Hard lotion bars

Hard lotion bars

We got the electric brakes replaced yesterday, so are good to go.  I watched the guy do it so I would understand how they worked.  I even got to stick the wires in the 7 pin connector to test the electrical connection.  😀

So I’m happy — except that it cost $450 of our trip money.

Oh well, at least we will enjoy the trip a lot more knowing that the brakes work as they should.

I started preliminary packing today — starting with cleaning out my purse!  That’s always a chore, but once I’m past that psychological hurdle, I’m primed for the rest.  Got our underwear and linens packed in the Casita, and have sorted out which clothes to take.  Not that I’m anxious or anything!

Lotion bars shrink wrapped for storage.

Lotion bars shrink wrapped for storage.

After the shea butter allergy fiasco, I decided to stick to a very basic lotion recipe.  I decided against a liquid because I didn’t want to add a preservative.  Without a preservative, liquid lotion would have a short shelf life and I would have to keep it refrigerated to keep mold from growing in it.

So I made hard lotion bars, consisting of equal proportions of beeswax, coconut oil and almond oil, scented with several drops of essential oil.  Since it doesn’t contain shea or cocoa butters, it is not as rock hard as some, and is much easier to use.

The almond oil makes it even more moisturizing to my extremely dry skin, and the beeswax keeps the moisture from evaporating.

So — two things have worked out right in a row.  I’m on a roll!  😀

Casita Repairs — & Epic Fail!

Several months ago we had taken the Casita to a local tire shop to have them check the bearings.  They apparently forced too much grease in and blew out the seals on the back.  We ended up with grease squirts in our wheel well, and our brake controller started showing wildly random, nonsensical readings.

Ron took the truck in for service and had them check it to make sure that wasn’t the problem.  They told him the truck’s brakes were fine.

Long story short… we’re having a guy look at the electric brakes on the trailer Wednesday, and are pretty sure they’ll have to be replaced.  And that’s something we need to have done before our next trip.

Secondly, we have to park the Casita under trees, so we have a problem with mildew growing on the roof.  Before our last trip, Ron was scrubbing the roof and decided that a foam mildew remover would make the job easier.  What we didn’t count on was the foam running down the sides of the trailer and leaving chalky streaks in the Poliglow.  It did.  It totally ruined the finish.

So I got the old Poliglow stripped off the top half of the trailer before it turned cold.  But the weather hasn’t been warm enough to reapply it until now.  Now that it is warm enough, we are also getting rain.  And I can’t apply the new coats of Poliglow when there is a chance of rain.

So we will probably head to Texas with a matte finish trailer instead of a shiny white egg unless we get a break in the weather really soon.

My cayenne infused oil made a gorgeous pinkish red salve.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work!  :)

My cayenne infused oil made a gorgeous pinkish red salve. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work! 🙂

The epic fail story?

I’ve rarely used shea butter before.  When I did, it was always way down the list of ingredients in a lotion.  Since I had read that shea butter was superb for eczema treatment, I ordered a pound of it for my homemade creams and lotions.

Last night I made two big batches of shea butter cream and lotion — then slathered myself with that wonderfully rich, creamy goodness before going to bed.

Rich, silky, deeply moisturizing cream -- that I'm violently allergic to!

Rich, silky, deeply moisturizing cream — that I’m violently allergic to!

I woke up itching — bigtime!  I had a weepy red rash all over my body!  It never occured to me that I might be allergic to shea butter, but I am.  Violently allergic to it!

So tonight I’ll scrape my creations out of the jars so I can reuse them.  Then I’ll make another batch.  This time it will be unscented, and with no shea butter!

Whitetail Ridge

My favorite little camping buddy.  Sunny coming out of his sweater.

My favorite little camping buddy. Sunny coming out of his sweater.

Carla and Jerry stopped by this morning to say goodbye on their way into Montgomery to see some of the historical sites.

Our site at Whitetail Ridge

Our site at Whitetail Ridge

I had fallen asleep last night and slept like a rock –until around 12:00 a.m.  Then I couldn’t get back to sleep until around 5:30 this morning.  So I had a bit of trouble getting up and moving this morning.  When they stopped by to say goodbye, I stumbled outside looking pretty disheveled.

Waterfront access behind our site

Waterfront access behind our site

I sure hope they don’t remember me that way!

We were planning to go to one of the COE campgrounds farther south, but ended up deciding on Whitetail Ridge on West Point Lake.  I’m glad we did.  This place is gorgeous!!!

We are surrounded on three sides by water, so get to see the sun set over the lake, and also enjoy the afterglow reflected off the clouds and water behind our trailer.

Looking down the road from our site

Looking down the road from our site

It’s a little cool for camping.  I think we might head into town tomorrow and see if we can find an inexpensive screen room with a wind break so we can enjoy sitting outside while we are here.

Fiery sunset across the loop

Fiery sunset across the loop

The sunset reflected in the clouds and on the water behind our trailer.

The sunset reflected in the clouds and on the water behind our trailer.

Pre-Trip Excitement

Everything is packed in the Casita except the refrigerator foods, and they are next.  Dogs are bathed. Menus planned.  Crosswords squirreled away behind the cushions.  Long johns, long sleeved shirts, jeans, shorts and short sleeved shirts are packed.   This is the South, after all.

Ron is washing the trailer again.  He washed it yesterday, scrubbing embedded mildew off the roof using baking soda.  But baking soda streaks ran down the trailer and dried, so he’s washing that off right now.

I’ll freshen up the water system in a few minutes.

The anticipation and excitement of an upcoming trip finally struck me.  And I am loving it!

Cozygirl sent me a picture of the view from her campsite.  It’s beautiful!  And we’ll be right next door. You can see a sneak preview here.

We plan to head out tomorrow, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise!  😀