Friday, May 5, 2017

Kick-Off 2017

Our first night camping of the 2017 season is our 459th night in a camper. Rank amateurs compared to some RVers we know, but since we’ve been at this for a little over seven years, we feel like we’ve earned our merit badge, so to speak. 

We pulled into the Suwannee River State Park in northern Florida in a driving rainstorm, wishing we could have some of this back home in Port Charlotte on Florida’s southwest coast. Wild-fires are currently rampant across the whole southern half of the state because of a severe drought. We don’t mind the rain, even as it pours through the car window as the Florida Ranger at the gate quickly passes us our tags and maps. We did not have to get out of the car to register, even though I had to pass the ranger my driver’s license to prove my age for the senior citizens discount. No problem. A  few minutes after pulling up to the window, we are on our way into the park.

This is our first time at this Florida State Heritage Site park, located near Live Oak, some 25 miles west or so of our usual first night campground at Stephen Foster Cultural Center State Park at White Springs. Both are easy access to the I-10/I-75 intersection, but once again, our not-so trusty Garmin GPS, even with the most recent map updates, led us to a county road marked by a huge “Road Closed” sign, apparently in place since 2009. But, more on that later. 

We easily found our site on the only loop, and backed in to the unpaved site to wait out the rain. No reason to get wet doing do all the routine stuff like leveling the trailer and hooking up the power and water. 

It didn’t take long to set up as soon as it dried out, and we had a nice ravioli dish – thanks, Trader Joe’s – and soon walked Taz around the small but very pretty park for his evening walk. With only 30 RV sites – all with sewer hook up – and only five rental cabins, this is not a huge park. The facilities were fairly new and spotless, and the park offers great access to the Suwannee River itself. The hiking trails available range from short, ¾ mile trails to one over 12 miles in length. We make a note to revisit the park when we aren’t in transit and have time to explore.

Driving on I-75 towing the travel trailer is always taxing, between the constant semi-trucks and the unconscious multitudes holding cellphones on their steering wheels, so I hit the bed early and by ten o’clock I’m sound asleep. By 11:00 pm I’m wide awake. And again at 12:15 am, and again sometime after 2:00 am and again about 4:00 am, thanks to the CSX railroad, which runs its main east/west rail-line out of Jacksonville to Mobile between US Highway 90 and the border of the park. I had this naive belief about railroad horns and quiet times at night, but those rules obviously don’t apply here. A great day park, but night time sleeping requires closed doors and air-conditioning. Or a love for freights trains that give the land of the trembling earth a different meaning.

That old bridge? I'm sure it hasn't seen a train in years...  Wrong!!!

Next - More Suwannee River State Park at  



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