Manatee Springs State Park–Sunday–December 30,2013

Yesterday we had a nice easy drive from Walkabout Campground in Woodbine, Georgia to Manatee Springs SP in Chiefland, Florida. 
Other than the heavy traffic and strong winds on I-95… once we turned off on 301, the 150 mile trip was a no headache trip:o)  When we arrived at our campsite, Nancy parked the car and got behind the Motorhome.  As is our normal custom, she guides me into the site with hand signals.  We have been using this method for years – she points and I follow.  Within seconds we had put Baby exactly where we wanted her. 

Our neighbors, one in a motorhome and one in a pop-up came over and told Nancy that she’s going to give all the other wives a bad reputation.  What??  Huh??  It turns out they were actually impressed that we backed up and parked the motorhome without saying a word.  Just using hand signals—no frantic yelling, screaming, obscenities or arguments.  I really think they were disappointed there was no RV entertainment to watch;o))

It was already late afternoon when we got set up.  We headed over to check out the Springs and see if there were any Manatees. 

We walked the boardwalk and didn’t find any.  But when we walked around the other side of the spring, we saw one. 
Maybe tomorrow we’ll see more.

Sunday, December 30 - Today, we went geocaching and hiked one of the easy hikes.  We waited until after lunch when the temperature finally moved out of the 30’s and reach the mid 50’s. 
First, we found the geocache near Catfish Hole. 
Inside was a travel bug.  We didn't move it.
We'll let the next cacher do that.  
But we may look it up and see where it has been;o)) 

Catfish Hole is the spot where certified Cave Divers can enter the underground waterways that feed the spring.  They actually spend hours exploring these waterways!!

Divers entering Catfish Hole

Preparing to Dive

They're Gone!!
After that,
we walked The Sink Hole Trail to find the second geocache. 

Never found this Cache;o((
we must have seen 15 or more deer.


They were everywhere!!

Following the hike, we walked out the boardwalk again.

This time we saw several Manatee.  Well actually, you don’t see much more than their snout when they surface to breath. 

But it is so cool to hear them breath and see the shadow of their bodies. 
They are so large!!
(click to enlarge any photo)

We also saw Vultures, Belted Kingfishers, a couple wading birds and the turtle line;o))

The red faced Vultures are Turkey Vultures,.
The others are Black Vultures

This Turkey Vulture wasn't thrilled to have his photo taken;o))
A Juvenile White Ibis caught its dinner and then down the hatch!!

Two Belted Kingfishers were having a turf war!!
Of course, no sunny day near the water would be complete without
"The Turtle Line":o))

We are only here for a couple of nights so we’ll have to come back another time (when it’s warmer) to do some kayaking and cycling. 
We did buy our annual Florida State Park Pass.  Now that we are Floridians, we plan to really use it in the next few months!!!

A G’day to Travel–Friday–December 28, 2012

We left a cold Huntington Beach State Park just after 9 this morning.  We enjoyed our month here. Now, with temps down to freezing, it is time to head south…so we did!
Crossing the Causeway one last time.
Hwy 17 entering Georgetown, SC.
The weather for travel was fantastic – a little sun, slightly cloudy, not raining and warming temperatures.  When we crossed into Georgia, Nancy proclaimed over the walkie-talkie…
“We have hit 60 degrees—no, make that 62 degrees!”
That put a smile on my face:o))
The 280 mile trip today was uneventful even though traffic was extremely heavy.  All the grandparents and snow birds were heading south after Christmas.  The 280 miles is certainly more than we like to travel, but now we only have 150 miles to Manatee Springs State Park tomorrow.  They are calling for rain early tomorrow so perhaps we will just leave later than normal and possibly miss the nasty weather.

Our travels ended today when we pulled into one of our favorite “overnight” campgrounds…

Walkabout Campground in Woodbine, Georgia. 
It is just 7 miles from the Florida border.  The young Australian couple that own the campground are very enthusiastic and always greet us with a “G’day Mate!”  They are such hard workers.  Every time we stop, there is another improvement taking place.  They do all the work themselves and they also have 4 very active children that keep them running as well.
Kids in the Chicken Coop;o))
Salad for dinner and then just chilling—hoping the rain comes and goes before we have to leave tomorrow.  So there it is – a G’day to travel;o))

Nancy here:  On Thursday afternoon, we were fortunate to get to see Nancy, Neil and Tatum. 
They traveled for 2 days from PA through all the horrible weather to get here and both of them were wiped out:o((  But at least we were able to get a real short visit and get caught up a little.  Hopefully all goes well for Nancy's dad and they are able to continue their trip to Florida where we can meet up for some fun!!

Merry Christmas!! - Tuesday - December 25, 2012

Nancy and I picked up her Mom and drove to our daughter's house in Raleigh, NC on Sunday, the 23rd, for Christmas.  We had planned to go on the 24th, but were glad we went up earlier. 

We had a great afternoon and wonderful spaghetti dinner after our long drive.  That evening, we went for a walk to see the Christmas lights, we played cards and celebrated advent. We went to bed looking forward to more fun tomorrow!

The girls couldn't wait to show me
how they decorated the inside of the Van with lights!!
Unfortunately, Julie woke up with a severe stomach virus.  Daniel had a less severe version a couple days earlier.  But Julie, was out for the count.  She really felt bad.  Steve called the doctor and got a prescription for the nausea.  He ended up running around Raleigh getting the medicine and some "sick" foods...ginger ale, plain crackers, gator aid.  I played with the kids and Nancy took over meals and housekeeping duty.  While it wasn't what we were expecting, it was good that we were there to help. 

Just before dinner time, Emily came down with the virus also.  So she joined Julie upstairs to sleep and get better.  We were trying very hard to prevent the spread of this bug, especially to Nancy's mother who is 90. The rest of us enjoyed watching "Home Alone" on Christmas Eve.

We did have a nice Christmas morning as Julie and Emily woke up feeling a little better.  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care and were filled to the brim with gifts.  The grand kids took turns opening gifts and were excited and thrilled with everything they received.
The grandkids gave Julie a 'Pickle' ornament.
She loves pickles and the kids DON'T;o))

Once the gifts were opened, we decided it would be best if we headed back to Murrells Inlet.  Julie and Emily still needed to rest. Best for everyone to cut the Christmas celebration short.  Needless to say, our Christmas wish is that they get well quick and none of the rest of us come down with the bug;o((

Our son and DIL, Brian and Chris were unable to join us for Christmas this year.  The grand kids spent some time making them a poster so we could take a photo and wish them Merry Christmas.

Had to share Julie and Steve's Christmas card.
It just makes us smile:o))
(be sure to click to enlarge any photo)
Hope each of you had a VERY Merry Christmas!!

Wind, Wind and More Wind!! - Friday - December 21, 2012

Last night a strong cold front moved into the area.  The temperatures dropped 20 degrees, the rains came and the winds have been gusting over 40mph ever since 6pm last night.  I spent most of the night tossing and turning as the winds whipped up outside;o((

Nancy said the title of this blog should have been, "As The Screen Room Turns!"  Yeah, I left it up last night....BIG mistake;o((  When we got up this morning, it was upside down!!  It was torn, the hubs were broken, the stakes were dislodged and spread around the campsite!!  Oh well--what's done is done!!

I've had to sew it together before when a micro-burst storm hit us this summer.  But this time it's going to require sewing in a half dozen places. Yea, it's going to require a seamstress and that ain't me!!  Nancy is going to have to perform major surgery if we expect to salvage the screen room.  She agreed to give it a try when she can move her sewing machine outside.  So it won't happen before we get to Florida and warmer weather;o))  If we can't mend it, we'll just get another one just like it....I'll have lots of spare parts;o))

Nancy here:  I don't have one picture of the mess to share with you.  Bill was outside cleaning up while I was still in PJs.  No way was I heading out in the cold and wind for a picture!! But it really was a mess and he looked so pathetic trying to untangle the mess;o((

After cleaning everything up, we ran some errands today.  We picked up our mail, went to the bank ATM and did a little food shopping for Christmas.  It was too windy to do much else.  The coach smells good with Nancy making stuffing for the Turkey dinner we're having at Julie's house.

The cold weather arrived just as the calendar shows it's the first day of winter.  We aren't winter fans, but the good news is that the days start to get longer after today--Hooray!! Now if we can get the winds to slow down and the temps to rise we would be a lot happier.  It doesn't look like it's going to happen in the near future.  We'll just take it in stride and look forward to Christmas with the family.  Then it's off to Florida for a few months....I'm ready :o)))

Nancy here:  I can't post a blog without a here are a few of the white pelicans that visited the causeway yesterday!!!  They hung around for an hour or so and then headed south.  Smart birds...can't wait to see them there:o))

The First to Arrive!!
Think he found the wrong family;o(
Oh, here comes the rest of the gang!!
Dropping in to the reststop...
Just taking a little break....
Miles to go before we sleep;o)
Save us a spot in Florida!!
Safe Travels and Happy Trails!!!!