Sunday, November 22, 2015

South to FLA

Our plan was to take three days to get to Ocala where we had an appointment for annual service on Opus.  We did end up staying in Raleigh one extra day because of heavy rain predicted along our route.  We always try to schedule some flexibility in our travel plans so we don't have to travel in bad weather. While we did have all day rain showers the first two days, we missed the worst of the heavy rain, up to 10 inches in Jacksonville. 
The campground at the fairgrounds is across the street from the North Carolina State Wolfpack football stadium and PNC arena, the home of their basketball team and the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team.  This is the sculpture of the wolf pack outside the stadium. 
We even got one last look at the Hatteras Lighthouse at the fairgrounds.
South of the Border has been one of those been there done that tourist traps you see along America's byways.  This was as close as we got as we zipped by on I-95.  The place looks like it has seen better days but the billboards leading up to it went on for miles and miles.  We stopped one night in South Carolina at Jolly Acres RV Park in St. George.  A much better choice than the RV park that is part of the Comfort Inn right by the highway.  The next night we were at the Elks Lodge in Jacksonville and were happy to find it was on high solid ground after all the rain.
After two 250 mile days we were only ninety five miles from Ocala where we got a "free" night's camping behind Cummins so we would be ready for our 8AM appointment.  All went well with the service and we were on our way by noon for the 45 mile trip to Sumter Oaks RV Park in Bushnell. This is an Escapees park so we were allowed to give Opus a much needed bath after a month by the ocean and two days of driving in the rain.
We were happy to see that Wanda and Wallace were still managing the park.  They were the first SKP's to give us a welcoming hug when we met them at the Escapade in Goshen in 2007.  We have crossed paths several times over the years in New Mexico, Louisiana and even in Alaska last year.  We had a great time getting caught up.
We were lucky to get this great spot overlooking the swamp behind the park.  After we finished washing Opus and completing a few other chores we spent a lot of time looking for birds right from our patio.
This place is a bird watcher's paradise.  This is a great white heron.
These four sandhill cranes are residents who walk through the park every day like they own the place.  Get to close and they will let you know with a loud screech.
We were happy to see Rich and Mary who we have crossed paths with on the road at Escapades and last fall at Betty's RV Park.  Like us, they were just here for a short stay before heading further south. So we hope to see them again this winter.
We usually go to the Webster Flea Market when we are in Bushnell so we can look at more stuff than you can imagine.  We just cruised through most of the booths and actually ended up buying a couple things.  Check out that blue sky.  We had great weather without a drop of rain the whole week we were there.  Hard to believe after we washed Opus that it did not rain.
Another resident flock of ibis.  They move through the water and grass in an almost constant search for food.
A little blue heron.  It is so neat seeing all the birds from our front door.
Almost every day we could hear but not see the barred owl.  The first time we found it in the trees it flew away before I could get a picture.  Finally on the last evening I was able to get a picture. Very neat.
Of course, even at a great place like Sumter Oaks you have to sometimes deal with a few asses:)  These are a couple from the neighboring herd.  Any time you walk by the fence they come to you looking for a hand out.

As I write we have moved another 50 miles south and are staying near Tampa.  Next week we will be flying to Cancun to celebrate both our birthdays and Thanksgiving by being pampered at Secrets Akumal.  Life is Good!!!!

We want to extend Happy Thanksgiving wishes to everyone and hope you have an enjoyable holiday.

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