Saturday, February 28

Heading North

My days in Florida are over and I'm on my way back to Bardstown with a short stop in the Asheville NC area for some pre-Alaskan trip work on the van. I enjoyed exploring the backroads in Florida and the warmer weather, but it's time to brave the cold - so tonight I find myself in Fargo GA where it's raining and 20 degrees colder than yesterday at the Strawberry Festival.

 

Friday, February 27

Strawberry Festival

Spent a good portion of the day wandering around the BIG Strawberry Festival in Plant City. It was like a BIG county fair, with a strawberry theme. Lots of strawberry shortcake, strawberry ice cream, hats, t-shirts, etc - but I opted for strawberries dipped in chocolate with a side of french fries (fruit + veggie = my version of a well balanced diet). I passed up the chance to try chocolate covered bacon which, no doubt, will be coming to a festival near you - I'll await your report.

This was the Festvals 80th year. Yes EIGHTY, I cannot imagine what an event like this was like that long ago.

 

Had a fun day. Those strawberries where pretty good!

Wednesday, February 25

A Little Catching Up

Traveling sometimes has its challenges - connecting to the Internet is one. Often I take a picture (or two) with the intent of doing a post, but alas - no connection. By the time I get "connected" the post has slipped into the "not that relevant" category (or I forgot the great idea I had for the post). So, this post will consist of a few pictures, minus the rambling prose that you usually get as a bonus.

Way down upon the Swanee River

 

 
Cemetery trail in Cedar Key
 

Old railroad bridge trail, Cedar Key

 

 

Tuesday, February 24

The Cedar Key Crew

Traveling around in a campervan (or any type rv) you meet a lot of people. Almost all are interesting, a few are very unique, and we all are a little weird - hey, we like traveling around in little tin cans. I've meet doctors, lawyers, a candle maker, a ferrier, teachers, artists, a smokejumper, even an Indian chief.

The campground setting is one of those places where everyone says hi and we all have something in common, our rig and travel experiences, which makes for easy conversation starters. In my case, the Backroader attracts a good deal of attention and I like talking about the process of turning a cargo van into my super duper backroad touring machine.

So . . . . (that was a drum roll) without any further rambling I'd like to introduce the Cedar Key Crew.

Al, Kay, Kathie & Karl
Debbie & Luna
Donna & Bill
Jenny
Bill & his retro machine

And, fortunately for the "crew" we had the Fire Lady (Donna) making sure we had a roaring fire to gather around each night.

My last day in the campground I had the bright idea to host dinner for the four solo travelers in the crew. Debbie, Jenny, and Bill came over to "my place" and we enjoyed each other's company and my pretty good chicken tacos and Debbie's great pineapple dumpling thingy. An important note here - the most experienced solo travelers at this little gathering were the two ladies, Debbie (5 years on the road) and Jenny (into her third year) - Bill and I are just amateurs.

I've now moved on down the road, but my time with the Cedar Key Crew will long be remembered. Thanks guys.

Friday, February 20

Downtown Pics

Walked around downtown Cedar Key today and as usual I took a couple of pics.

 

Thursday, February 19

Cedar Key Sunset

I'm back in one of my favorite places in Florida.

 

 

Wednesday, February 18

Backroad Howdy

In a farmer's hayfield this friendly fellow was waving hi.

 

 

 

Sunday, February 15

Picnic & Some History

I've been hanging out in the area around Bushnell Florida for a few days now and with today's temperature in the mid 70s with lots of sun I decided it would be a good day for a picnic. The Dade Battlefield Historic State Park was just a couple of miles away so I thought I would take a look. Had a nice walk, my little picnic and then stopped in at the visitors center that explained the significant battle that occurred here, starting the Second Seminole War, when Seminole Indian warriors fought US soldiers under the command of Major Francis L. Dade on December 28, 1835 - killing 108 soldiers while only three survived.

 

Friday, February 13

Easy Day

Spent most of the day siting in the sun, taking it easy.

 

Tuesday, February 10

100 Days

Here are some numbers from my first 100 days on the road:

7911 miles (all but 29 on backroads) at a blazing average speed of 31mph

11 States and 1 Canadian Province

$7.50 average per night campsite cost

137 miles hiked

7 Festivals

Lots of small towns and interesting people.

 

 

Monday, February 9

Resort Living

Several weeks ago at the RV SuperShow in Tampa I was handed a coupon for a free stay at a "RV resort". These "resorts" are all over the place here in Florida and usually are 55+ communities that have a mixture of RV sites along with permanent residences (trailers, RVs that haven't moved in years and manufactured houses) and offer a range of activities for residents/guests.

So, free being a good thing, I spent The last four nights at Whisper Creek in LaBelle. It was actually pretty nice, no sales pitch, and everyone liked my "little rig". About three minutes after I parked in my site I was welcomed by my neighbor - Phillis was 83 and had been a fulltime resident since 1989 and just wanted to say hello and welcome. Activities - I cleaned the van, did my wash, walked around checking the "big rigs" and the improvements that individuals were making to their lots, gave a couple of van tours (hey, some folk are looking to downsize) and went to the Saturday night concert in the activity center. Nice stay, but four days was about right - little too organized for me.

 

 

Saturday, February 7

ArtFest

Spent most of today wandering the streets of downtown Fort Myers at ArtFest. It's the best juried art festival I've been to since back in the old days when I ran SpringFest in Charlotte, NC. Fort Myers has a nice waterfront area for the festival and the weather was great, mid 70s. Didn't buy anything (except food) but enjoyed both the art and their low key entertainment - using street corner performers, not the usual big stages.

Another neat part of the event was the "Chalk Block" - several professional chalk artists gave a short course to forty local high school teams, who then "painted" the street with chalk depicting "Bugs Go On Vacation" - good stuff!

 

 

Wednesday, February 4

Lazy Days

I've been taking it easy for the last couple of days. Found a nice county park in central Florida, over near all the Disney stuff, but away from the crowds. Kelly Park has a good number of trails, a creek, and a spring - so I've just been walking the trails, enjoying the quiet and hanging with a new friend.

 

Sunday, February 1

The Kumquat & Cars

Spent yesterday at the Kumquat Festival in Dade City. Lots of folks apparently love the kumquat or just need an excuse to walk the streets. The good weather (sunny and 75) certainly helped. They had the usual arts and crafts, entertainment, and plenty of that great health food you always find at festivals. The star, of course, was the kumquat - pie, ice cream, honey, BBQ sauce, soda, salsa, cupcakes, and several other goodies I'm just forgetting. For the record, I did have a piece of kumquat pie - ok, but I think I'll stick with my pumpkin.

 

The surprise (for me) was the vintage car show. Some pretty impressive restorations.

Plus these two gems.