12/31/18 Dunnellon-Ocala, FL

DAY #72

As I lay in bed slowly waking up to another beautiful Central Florida morning, I think about this being the last day of 2018, WOW! Then for no apparent reason, I started to think about News Year Eve, 2000, and how at one time, it seemed so far in the future. It was a lifetime away, a distant milestone, the twenty first century, and then one day, it was here. Looking back, its been eighteen years since that monumental date, and it too, has felt like a lifetime, and just like that, one day it was here.

Life really is precious and it goes by so quick. Every day is a new beginning, no matter how bad it looks. It’s a “do over,” a chance to rise from the ashes if we so choose. For too many of us (myself included), we tend to rush through life always focused on the next, never stopping to revel in the now, in the moment, I think that’s a new years resolution that I’m going to make for 2019.

You hold the Key

My mood today called for a pilgrimage to a special place for me, to not go to the Ocean (Gulf) when so close would be sacrilegious. I set the destination course to Yankeetown, Florida, and away I went. Yankeetown is a small unassuming community at the edge of the gulf, about an hour’s drive Southwest of the campground. It is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle that seems to have permeated so much of Florida.

Heading out, the land unfolded in pastures of cattle and horse stables, lots of stables. It’s more farm country than tree country, but still, a nice mix .

I forgot my camera (how do you forget your camera?) so had to use the cellphone.
Still have the trees, just not as many around here.

Saw this and had to turn back around to get a photo. I found it humorous in that it’s so generic. What kind of animals?

The Confederate flag still flies.

As you may have noticed, I have a thing about train tracks.
Wonder why that is?

Getting closer to the water and you could see, and sense the change.

After paying my respects to the water, I headed back into the trees.

Returning back from the Gulf, I decided to take a detour and go off the grid. That meant veering off the pavement and onto the sand roads of Goethe State Forest.

I had Verizon while in the forest (isn’t that amazing), and I was using google to guide me through. At one point, I found the road had a closed fence across it (google didn’t tell me that), but there was another road that went to the right. I thought OK, the road must be the one to the right so I’ll stay on it. After going a ways I checked google to track my progress and surprise, I wasn’t on the road I thought I was on, and while google showed my position in the forest, it also showed I wasn’t on any road…oh oh.

I’m thinking, I need to turn around. The problem with that was the road was no wider than the truck and there were no shoulders, only drop offs on each side. I didn’t want to try it because I would only have one chance, and if I messed up, I would be stuck in the middle of nowhere. Not sure what to do, I kept driving on while frequently scanning google. It began to look like I was moving toward a road listed on the map so I kept going. I got to tell you I was concerned, but I stayed cool and eventually, I did get back on a mapped road and finally back on pavement. Even though it’s scary, I think driving on these kind of roads are the most fun (up until the time something happens).

It looked like part of the forest had suffered from a fairly recent fire.

The last stop of the day was in Dunnellon, Florida. I went down a quiet back road and came to these views of the river.

Made it back to camp and ended 2018 by listening to fireworks being shot off at midnight. They were coming from outside the park, sound must travel well out here.

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