03/15/19 Palatka, FL

DAY #146

Another laid back day amongst the pines. Gave the campgrounds the once over and then headed back to the trailer.

Getting into the campground required a 2 mile drive off the highway into the woods. A first for me while camping in a Florida State Park; The road all the way into the park, including the campground was paved. it was a nice drive bringing you away from the big bad outside world.

Park Entrance.

The campground is nice. The individual sites are close together, but being nestled in among mature pines, it works. It also helps when the site you have is tucked into the corner of the campground, giving it a much appreciated addition of space. The bathroom and showers were clean and provided plenty of hot water. I took a shower last night, and it felt oh so good. While you don’t feel alone in the woods (like at Myakka State Forest), it was well within tolerable limits. Water and electric worked just fine.

Bathroom & Showers.

Dumb Move Of The Day: Yesterday when I set up, I did it somewhat the hard way. After backing into the site, which took a number of times of backing up then going forward, then backing up then going forward, you get the picture, I realized that I could have just driven straight in from the get go. It seems I drove past where you would normally enter the site, and entered where you would normally exit. I wonder if any of the other campers were watching, smirking and shaking their head.

The park consists mainly of the campgrounds (there are two), and a boat launch that will bring you to the reservoir. Not much in the way of trails or other activities, just a nice place to hang your hat and use as a base for however long one stays. It’s located along the shores of the Cross Florida Barge Canal as the canal flows into the reservoir.

A view of the reservoir.
Kilpatrick Dam.
Ocklawaha river.

A couple of not so great things about the campground. The OTA TV stations, well plentiful in number, had issues with reception quality. the reception more often than not would fade in and out, which made watching most channels frustrating. The Verizon signal was weak at best and non-existent at worse. Strangely enough, I would find that Verizon reception in many parts around the area, including Palatka, had poor levels of service.

Did a little bit of scouting around today and enjoyed the time and sights.

03/14/19 Kissimmee Preserve-Palatka, FL.

DAY #145

Today is moving day. Time to pull up stakes and head on out to the next site on the Itinerary; Rodman Campground State Park, FL. The campground is located approx. 15 miles southwest of Palatka, FL.

Had no problems closing down the trailer and getting it hooked up, even the dump site proved to be routine (thank you, thank you, thank you).

Driving down the long, straight, prairie lined, dusty road leading out of the park, I felt a bit of a tug to stay. Not sure why but I really like this area. Maybe because It felt like a place one could easily call home. Might have to give a call to one of those outfits selling lots just outside the park (just kidding?).

All it needs is a little paint.
Which lot?

The drive today was going to be a relatively long one. It would end up being 210 miles, and take a little over four hours behind the wheel. In order to skirt all the congestion around the Orlando area, I broke down, and after going through St. Cloud and Kissimmee with it’s heavy stop and go traffic, decided to take the interstate (which I don’t like), This decision also took me onto not one, but two turnpike-toll roads (which I dislike even more). As much as I didn’t like taking those roads, it did make it a lot easier to get through the Orlando area. Didn’t see any of the exhibits that the Orlando area is famous for, about the closest I got to Disney World or Universal Studios, was seeing road signs directing you how to get there. It’s OK, I didn’t feel bummed about not going to any of the theme parks, they just aren’t my thang.

Those freakin toll roads, let me tell you about them. The first one I get on, I had to stop within the first mile and pay a $3.00 toll. Off I go for about twenty miles (if even that) where I get off and immediately onto another toll road. I again have to stop shortly after getting on and this time pay a $2.25 toll, I was a bit surprised, since I didn’t think this was a toll road. As I travel further along, there were three locations I went past where a photo of your license was taken and you are mailed a bill for the toll (plus a $2.25 service fee). Now, each of those spots that took the photo charge you $1.01. For me to go maybe forty miles, it cost me $10.53. I do not like toll roads, we pay taxes for the building and maintaining of our interstate system, and now they want us to pay again. I think that’s B.S. Now, I know people will say hey, just don’t take the toll road, and I agree with that sentiment, but then provide decent alternatives that can be taken.

As the miles progressed, watched the landscape slowly transition from flatlands to rolling hills, and from prairie, pastures, and palm trees, to forests of pines. Make no mistake about it, we had left South Florida.

Everglades National Park (Flamingo).
The Atlantic, just steps away.
From Palms & Pastures
To nestled in the pines.

After getting off the toll roads, the ride became more and more relaxed, both in traffic congestion, and terms of development. The pines took over the scenery, and the ‘feel’ became more rustic, the transition from “South Florida,” to Old South” was complete.

Made it to the campground, checked in, and set up. While the sites look to be rather close together, there does appear to be enough room to stretch out (so to speak). Honey, we’re home for the next seven days.