12/06/18 Opp, AL-High Springs, FL

DAY #47

Up at 7:00 and ready to go by 7:30 a.m.  The weather was a brisk 29 degrees with frost covering the ground.  Relatively speaking; When you’re staying in a non-insulated trailer and using a space heater, that’s cold.  The sky though was blue and another nice day (call me strange, I really like nice days) was on tap.  Breaking down the trailer is getting to be routine, but I still really appreciate it when everything goes right.  One last look at Frank Jackson State Park, and then off to the next destination on the journey.  Time to get the Opp out of here.

That destination was Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park.  The park is located 6 miles west of High Springs, FL ( 45 miles NW of Gainesville).  Getting there meant a long day on the road, something I had gotten away from, so it really seemed long.  From leaving to arriving, it took more than seven hours and 360+ unremarkable (but scenic) miles using a mix of freeway and back roads.   I also changed time zones when crossing into Georgia. 

On the way I stopped at a Camping World in Dothan, AL.  I wanted to buy a power extension cord.  One of the things I came away with after reading reviews about Blue Springs State Park, the power boxes were opposite where they normally should be, and a extension cord for power would be needed.   It worked out super, found what I was looking for and best of all, the CW was right on the way. 

Stayed clear of the big cities (which was easy since there were none) and while getting 11 mpg, traveled out of Alabama, cutting across the southwestern corner of Georgia before heading into Florida.  The big difference that I saw between Alabama and Georgia were the number of trees. There’s still a whole lot of trees, but I also saw a lot more fields, mainly peanuts and cotton along with raising cattle.  The vibe in Georgia began to feel different from Alabama. It felt more agricultural, or at least it did for awhile before the trees (mainly cedar pine trees?) came back.   Florida also brought you back into the trees (more like Alabama) with the occasional pasture for cattle grazing.

As I traveled east I crossed the path of Hurricane Michael and even up in Georgia, you could see the damage.  There were pile after pile of trees that had been cut & stacked, now lining the side of the road waiting to be picked up, along with the other debris created by the hurricane. Trees that had been snapped by the wind, and signs bent by the force of the storm.  A number of homes had tarps over parts of their roofs, and here and there, you could see an old building collapsed by the wind.  The damage reminded me of a tornado, what amazed me was how wide a band in which the damage occurred, it went on for mile after mile.

I saw another Armadillo but like the first one, it was road kill.  Darn it! (pardon the rough language).  I won’t consider my journey complete until I see one alive. 

Made it to Gilchrist Blue Springs state park and was appreciative of the overall quality of the roads along the journey today, it makes towing the trailer that much easier (less anxiety).  The park is the newest in Florida system (just over one year) and centers around a large spring of water.  The area around the park is rural with a continuing mixture of trees (deciduous & pine) and fields (pastures?).  

The first impression with the park was the road into it.  It runs approx. 1.2 miles and it is a bumpy, washboard ridden, slow going (5-10 mph) sand road.  It looks and feels like it hasn’t been graded since it became a State Park.  Reviews had made note of this and to see it and drive it first hand, I got to say, they were right. 

Driving down the road into the park I saw two groups of deer.  The first group of three looked at me, and then effortlessly jumped The fence and off they went. The second group further down did the same, but it was neat seeing.   Checking in was a breeze and off I went to find the site.  The campground is small as are the individual sites.  After driving around twice, not fun on a really poor, sand road while towing a trailer and I didn’t appreciate the lack of signage,   I found my assigned site,  backed the trailer in and set up.  While setting up I thought, man it could be tough bringing in a big trailer or coach into this campground.  Hooking up the power, I expected to have to use the extension cord I bought at CW. To my surprise, both the water and electric were where they should be so I didn’t have to use the extension cord and who knows, maybe I’ll finally try out the water. 

Checked out the bathroom location which is vital.  It was OK, about 150′ to the facilities.  The campground was quiet, there were no people there for the springs and the campground only had three others. 

Home sweet home for the next ten days.


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