12/30/18 Dunnellon-Ocala, FL

DAY #71

Stayed around the trailer and campground this Sunday, geez, I didn’t go anywhere. It was almost too nice of a day. Sunny sky’s, mid 80s for temp, but with the humidity, it felt hot (I was feeling short tempered). Now I know that the “peeps” in the “Frozen North,” won’t be able to relate but trust me, it was hot.

I put new batteries in the LP sensors which were then placed on the bottom of the LP tank. To do so, involved taking the tanks off the trailer. While taking them off, I thought it a good time to do some maintenance and change out the tank that was 99% empty. I changed out the tank, cleaned, sanded the rust, and then painted the shelf where the tanks sit. After the paint dried, it was put everything back the way it was. Got that done and downloaded the app on my phone, and now the sensors are working…Yea!

I also decided to hook up the water line. I thought that after 71 days, it was time to connect and have water. Everything went well and thank you, thank you, thank you, no leaks in the trailer (so far). I didn’t have as much luck with the water heater. It would start but then shut off soon after. After doing some research via the internet (so nice to have), I’m questioning if it may be the board that’s bad. I’ll need to call Camping World tomorrow to try and set up a time for them to look at it. I leave here on Friday (1/4/19), and go right by CW on the way to the next stop. If everything falls into place, I should be able to get this looked at then…Boo!

I don’t like it when things don’t go exactly as I want them to, it tends to turn me into a stomping, screaming, look he’s having a temper tantrum, kind of fool. I did slip a bit today (few curses) over the water heater but overall, I was able to keep my perspective and I handled it like a semi-well adjusted adult.

I sure didn’t work too hard. Doing those couple of chores ended up taking most of the day. I did watch the football games on TV as well and I think I may have spent a lot more time doing that than anything else.

Bold prediction: The Vikings will not be going to the Super Bowl this year. Real disappointed in the team. This game like so many this year, seemed almost lackadaisical in effort. These guys underachieved this year big time and I’m asking myself, maybe the coaching staff is to blame?

What will tomorrow bring? Stay tuned.

12/29/18 Dunnellon-Ocala, FL

DAY #70

Today’s activities included another trip to Camping World in Summerfield and then checking out the world of “The Villages” residential development.

As I was driving to Camping World, I received a phone call from the Verizon retailer in Chiefland, FL. That was were I went last Sunday after losing my phone. It seems that someone found my phone and turned it in. Now I had the option of driving back to Chiefland to pick up the phone, or not.

I don’t need another phone, I guess I could have retrieved it and then sold it, but that’s kind of a hassle when you’re on the road. I opted to not go back to get it. I was told they will erase everything on the phone, and then give it to a women’s shelter. I think that’s the best use for it.

Made it to Camping World. It took 35 minutes of driving to get a five minute answer but oh well, that’s the way it be. Now to see if I can get the water heater to work (fingers crossed).

The Villages are located a short distance away from Camping World and I thought, before I criticize, I should at least know of what I speak.

My first impression was man, this place goes on, and on, and on. It looks like the development is the sum total (and there’s a lot) of subdivisions that make up “The Villages,” with some retail thrown in around the edges to complete the picture.

Lets take a drive down one of the avenues and see what “The Villages” have to show us. Unfortunately, non residents can only go down the main thruways. Unless you are a homeowner or authorized guest, entry to the inner streets are restricted. there are gate houses at every entrance that are either manned, or require a code to gain entry.

This is one of the entrances to the Polo Ridge “Community.”

It is an impressive place. The main streets are in excellent condition with center medians meticulously landscaped, including flowers blooming year round. There are places to play tennis, swim, and of course golf. Golf courses look to be an omni-present part of every “community.” I was amazed to see that there is even a polo grounds.

You can see only the rear of the homes from the street.
I saw as many golf carts as cars. Maybe an exaggeration, but there are lots of carts.
Hard to get good photos. No place to stop or park and traffic behind.
I’ve observed most homes had lanais, but very few had pools.
One of the nicest exteriors of any Walmart I’ve seen.

The photos really don’t do the development justice. While the phone takes decent photos, I prefer using the camera. That’s my excuse for the crummy pictures, and I’m sticking to it.

In some ways, “The Villages” represent what is best about America. For those who can afford the initial cost and monthly association dues, and are OK with the rules & regulations, it provides a safe, structured, and secure lifestyle wrapped in a modern, fresh, and stylish package. Here in “The Villages, the “American Dream” lives.

I can understand why people gravitate to this kind of living arrangement, I just hate that it comes at such a cost (in my opinion). 

Driving the rest of the way back, I just meandered around and took the way off the back roads. There looks to be a fair amount of large horse farms in the area. Not sure if raising thoroughbreds is that profitable? It’s not uncommon to see For Sale signs by the entrance gates.

A boring day in Central Florida? I’ll take it, any day.

12/28/18 Dunnellon-Ocala, FL

DAY #69

Had an excursion planned for the day and was eager to get to it, so eager in fact, I got up at 8:00 am. What was this excursion that motivated me enough to get up so early? I was taking an air boat tour around Lake Panasoffkee and the Lake Panasoffkee Wildlife Refuge. This was something I hadn’t done before and yea, I was looking forward to it.

The tour was through an outfit called Swamp Fever Air Boat Adventures and was located about 45 minutes away from the campground. It was a leisurely drive there and I made it with plenty of time to spare for the 10:30 am departure. There were a total of seven of us and the tour lasted for about 75 minutes, as we crossed the northern part of the lake and went into the backwaters of the wildlife refuge. It was a fun and interesting experience.

At full throttle, it can get loud.
Cloudy & humid, and 80 degrees…Nice
It’s a big lake.
Water levels in the lake and swamps is high for this time of year.
Going into the backwaters.
You have to look to see them…They see you.
You have to look hard to find these critters.
Most of the gators are juveniles, this is an older and way bigger one.

Took the long way back and stopped at a couple of places I rail against (Walmart & McDonald’s). The plan was to get back to the park and hookup the water. After reading the manual for the water heater, I was still confused about starting it. There seems to be a fair number of RV places around, I’ll check into it tomorrow.

It was a good day in Central Florida.

12/27/18 Dunnellon-Ocala,FL

DAY #68

What’s the weather like today you ask? Well, thanks for asking. It’s feeling like summer. High in the mid 70s, partly cloudy and humid.


I’m a happy camper (and perhaps a bit of a hypocrite). I scanned for TV and picked up four channels. They’re crappy channels, but its for the noise as much as anything, and I HAVE VERIZON. It is so nice not having to go to some parking lot to get service, and then write the daily blog. Plus it’s a strong enough signal that I should be able to use my “hotspot” (it’s like turning your phone into a WiFi) for Amazon Prime & Netflix (thanks Marc & Shari).

The only plan for the day was to take a jaunt over to the neighborhood Camping World in Sumerfield, FL, and then give the area the once over.

Driving down the road to Camping World, which took about 35 minutes, and afterwards while just cruising around, I commented to myself how much more traffic there was, and how it just felt somehow, different?

I like seeing the citrus fruit.

Another thing that caught my eye were all the “communities” springing up behind the tree lined roads.

Deed Restricted means there is a homeowners association and rules/regulations.

Marion Oaks is huge, and not too many miles away are the ‘Villages,’ which makes these guys look like hermits. Also saw a ‘Del Webb’ community with the most impressive entrance.

The picture doesn’t do the entrance justice.

Along with these communities, noticed a number of developments built around golf courses, “Communities” seems like the way to live around these parts. It looks like the future for this area, and it looks like it’s going to happen fast. There are a lot of farms and fields, and the area remains rural, but there are signs of exurbia at pretty much at every corner. one doesn’t have to look far to see ‘for sale’ signs and ‘now renting.’

This was taken from Cracker Barrel parking lot.

Yes, I’m noticing changes. There’s no doubt about it, we’ve left “the south” behind and are now, both feet in Florida. The traffic’s heavier (as pointed out) and the pace seems to have quickened. The smaller towns still have their historical downtown’s, but now they seem more theme park than areas of commerce. These changes are reaffirming my preference of rural over urban, and cementing exurbia, as the worst of all. I appreciate and yes, even use the fast food joints and stores along its strips, but it is so devoid of anything lasting.

Back to the trailer for an evening of binge watching Shit’s Creek on Netflix. It’s a quirky but enjoyable comedy.

Official Update:

I get a call from Sears Citi card saying there is suspected fraud usage on my card. It seems someone tried to charge over $1000.00 from a department store in Madrid, Spain. Long story short, the problem got taken care but it got me to being concerned about the other cards, what if they’ve been compromised, man I’d be in a bind if that happens (fingers crossed).

12/26/18. Chiefland-Dunnellon/Ocala, FL.

DAY #67

Late start leaving this morning. Since the next stop was only 62 miles away, I didn’t leave until noon. I checked the water level by the campsite one last time (still rising), and bid adieu to Manatee Springs State Park.

I know that its getting old, but I gots to say it; it was just a beautiful day, sunny sky’s and high in low 70s. I’m perhaps more sensitive to the weather, a bad day limits my activity.

Man, my truck is taking a beating (just kidding).

The ride was uneventful given it was only a little more than an hour on the road. Driving along the tree lined highways, I had some thoughts about things I’d seen over the last month.

-The Confederate flag still flies (not as common but still found).

-Not seeing near the number of Mercedes that I did in Louisiana & Mississippi.

-Trucks with big tires & straight (loud) exhaust pipes very popular.

-People selling boiled peanuts by the roadside.

-Still seeing trash on the side of roads.

-Blacks tend to live in the oldest parts of towns and the housing is less substantial, but more historical.

I’m sure there’s more but hey, it was only an hours drive.

Welcome to Ross Prairie Campground.

Along with the campsite, which is on the small side (16 sites), there are facilities & trails for horses.

The campground is decent. It’s very open with pull through sites. The host was very helpful and showed me my site, it can get confusing the way the grounds are laid out. Setup the trailer and viola, home until next year.

12/25/18. Chiefland, FL


Last full day at Manatee Springs State Park, and I decided to sleep in, and boy, did I ever, I didn’t get up until almost two. I’m surprised at the number of weekend campers that were here (still) over Christmas. There’s a boatload (is that term offensive?) of them, but the noise and any inconvenience hasn’t been bad at all.

The project for today was to go and wash/clean the truck. Found a self serve car wash and it was as they say at the cape, mission accomplished. The truck, she’s a lookin good.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Its been a great base in which to explore from. This area with its rural richness and wisp of the southern aura has captured and held my attention. From the cedar pines, to the pastures and fields. From the main roads, to the back roads. From the waters of the gulf, to the waters of the Sante Fe and Suwannee rivers. This region has offered so much and yet, I just scratched the surface. Its an area I will soon not forget.

On to the next stop in the journey.

12/24/18. Chiefland, FL

DAY #65

First Christmas Eve I’ve spent in Florida, and aside from missing the family, I’m real OK with being here. I saw a cardinal outside the trailer window yesterday (briefly), so I know I’m not alone.

Started the day a little cool and cloudy, but it was full steam ahead, destination; Micanopy, FL. This is the small town I went through a couple of days ago. Its located about one hour east of the park, and its most recent claim to fame is being the backdrop for the movie, Doc Hollywood, starring Michael J. Fox. If you didn’t go off the main road, you’d miss it.

The back roads.
A mix of trees and pasture land.

Some photos of the town.

In another time, this was a warehouse.
Today it lives on as a Bed & Breakfast.
Again with the angle, and I was aware of it this time.
Its the sum of the building that tells its history.

I’ve seen these guys on past trips to Venice, FL, but first one on this trip.

You have to look, but its there.

A couple of homes in town, just a slice of life in Micanopy, FL.

I guess I need to get my head on straight.
Neighborhood streets.

The ride back to the campground was as satisfying as the trip to Micanopy. As I got around Williston, the horse farms again began to appear. I noticed that more than a few were for sale.

When its dirt (sand), you know you’re on the back roads.
Those are cattle.

Yes sir, pretty nice Christmas Eve.

12/23/18. Chiefland, FL

DAY #64

The day started out cool (33 degrees), but with a promise of sunny sky’s and warmer temps. I left to check out a small town I had come across yesterday but didn’t have enough time to fully check out or get photos, it had gotten too late.

But life doesn’t always go as planned (or so I’m told). Before leaving the camp site, I had put my phone on the bed rail of the truck and went off to do something. While you guessed it, I forgot it was there and off I went down the road. I was out of the park and about two miles down the road when the thought came to me…where’s the phone? After a moment of realization/anger (both at turn of events as well as myself) I stopped, checked around and sure enough, it was gone off the truck. I have to say I was cool in the way I handled it. I wanted to freak out /meltdown but I didn’t. I choose to look at it as a test, knowing that I’m never given more than I can handle. Back tracked to the campsite, asking everyone I saw if they had found a phone, and each time the answer was, sorry no. Long story (slightly less) short, I did not find the phone.

The next thing was to see if there was a Verizon retailer in the area, I was thinking I might have to go all the way into Gainesville. Checked Google, found a place in town (Chiefland), and thought, that’s where I’m headed.. They didn’t open until 1:00 pm on Sunday so I needed to wait for them to open. After getting there, I waited 1/2 hour before it was my turn (it’s a slow process). Thankfully, I was able to get another phone with the same number, and also was able to download almost everything that was on the old phone. I had to pay off my old phone first. Now my monthly payments are going to go up by $14.00 per month, but it’s an increase I can absorb. Plus, its the new galaxy 9 compared to the old galaxy 8. What does the new phone do that the old one can’t? Cost $14.00 more per month is about all I can see.

Thinking about it, once it’s in the case, does the color matter?

It took well over an hour to complete the transaction, and then I had to finish setting everything up, which took time. By the time I was ready to rock, the day had passed me by.

I was tested today and passed. I didn’t act like some crazy ass, damn fool (which I‘ve been known to do). I was focused, accepting, and thankful that everything came together to resolve the situation. Now watch, Ill get back to camp and someone will have found it (Update: The phone was not found).

Sorry, no photos today, just a sad tale of a boy and his lost phone.

12/22/18. Chiefland, FL.

DAY #63

After two days of less than ideal weather, today showed up with blue sky’s, calm winds, and a brisk 34 degrees.

The campground has had its influx of weekenders. It looks like a lot of campers with tents and kids. Sure ingredients for noise, but with the spacious sites, the noise and commotion is tolerable. Went and checked on the water level near the campsite, It continues to rise, so much so, the park has closed the boardwalk out to the river. Fingers crossed it doesn’t get to flood stage here at the park.

Long way from these levels.
You can see the water creeping up.

Sitting in the trailer, I took some time to reflect on the journey up to this point (having no TV or internet will do that).

It’s been two months on the road, over 25% of the trip complete. I’m glad (as of todaysubject to change, stay tuned) I decided to do this. Both the truck and trailer have performed admirably (knock on wood). Overall, the weather has been very accommodating (even with the heavy rains). Another plus, I’ve been staying good budget wise. There are a couple areas I’ve not addressed and need to, namely, getting more physically active and lose weight. I’ve been (so far) able to see parts of America I’ve always wanted to spend time in, and have not been disappointed.

I have times when the pull of home is strong but at this point, the urge to go on is stronger. I think that feeling ties in with the next sentence. It’s so easy to get stuck in one place (literaly & figuratively), and it can be so hard to break free of it. I want to be unstuck, and this trip is giving me the path to do just that.

My attempt at being artistic.

OK enough with reflection, now on with the day. Headed east of Chiefland to check out the sites.


Began to notice the pastures changing from cattle to horses, and the spreads began taking on a more upscale air to them.


Also have noticed that there are no barns on the farms. There are some outbuildings (more like leantos) but it looks like the cattle are out in the elements 24/7. The horses on the other hand, have some nice stables. I read that the winning horse of the 1975 Kentucky derby was from one of the stables in the area.

Driving along the back roads, came across this old store at a rural crossroad.

Wanted to see more of the area but the day was getting long and not being a big fan of driving in the dark, especially were I haven’t been before, began the trip back to Chiefland. A couple more photos of the area to end the day.

I really like these two photos.

And a goodnight to all.

12/21/18. Chiefland, FL

DAY #62

It’s the first day of winter and in this part of the world, it’s rainy, windy, and 55 degrees. Not much outdoor activity planned for today, and with no TV or Internet, it may be a long day.

I did get the idea (a little slow on the trigger in thinking this) to download some books off my kindle account, that way I’ll have something to read.

As I headed out, there in back of the site was a deer, just hanging out. How cool is that. Lots and lots of squirrels around and I’ve saw a bunch of robins unpacking from their trip south. Also saw some red birds. I haven’t gotten close enough yet to tell what they are. Maybe they’re (I’m hoping) cardinals. It would be great to have some of my loved ones hanging out with me.

Back to the campsite for an evening of reading.