Judy, thanks for the correction on the bird..I have a terrible time trying to decide who is who, even when looking in the guide! It is something I am trying to get better at.
Teri, yes, we are working at Chalk Creek Campground in Nathrop, CO. We are quite excited about spending the summer out in the Rockies!
Sherry, we haven't had a chance to take the kayaks out yet, so as soon as we do, there will be pictures! And we'll see you in Hillsborough, we are arriving Tuesday as well...site 67.
Catherine and Jo Beth, Otter Springs is nice. Its not very busy right now, but its off the beaten path, and seems like mainly the local citizens visit here. I like a quiet spot, myself! Once we start working, I'll feel better...I don't like sitting around doing nothing for too long, I get very antsy.
Stuyvie, how wonderful to hear from you! I'm so happy you are following along my blog, and will give you a call when we come back down to Sugarmill for the closing.
And finally, welcome to my new follower Ron...I hope you find me interesting :-).
We haven't started working here at Otter Springs yet. Its run by the county, so they now require background checks and drug screens. We are still waiting for the background check to come through, and we can't take the drug screen until they receive the check. And the drug screen will take 5-7 days to return as well. Things can never be easy at any level of government, can they? It's kind of frustrating though, as I do like to keep busy. And I find if we have too much time on our hands, we tend to spend too much money "doing things"!
New Year's Day we went for a field trip to the two closest state parks, Manatee Springs and Fanning Springs. I saw online that there is a daily entrance fee, but we decided to spring for the family annual pass, which allows up to 8 people to visit any park any day for one year. There's so many state parks to visit, and we'll be here for 3 1/2 months, and then Al's mom and sister can use it as well. I think we'll get our money's worth out of it, and the money helps support the parks. Manatee Springs is about 20 minutes from Otter Springs, so after packing a lunch, off we went.
Manatee Springs is very nice. It has the headsprings area, where we were hoping to see some manatees (no luck with that), with a boardwalk along the river, picnic areas, swimming and diving, playgrounds, and a concession stand (that wasn't open). You may also launch watercraft here, except from Dec. 1 through March 30 when the manatees are in the area. The springs go all the way out to the Suwanee River, and there's a boardwalk that goes down to the river's edge.
This beautiful red-shouldered hawk greeted us as we walked towards the headsprings.
The water is so clear...not as much as the Rainbow Springs, but still pretty awesome.
I believe these are American Coot.
The Suwanee River
This is Catfish Hole. Its a sinkhole that is part of the cave system supplying water to Manatee Springs. Sinkholes form when slightly acidic rainfall dissolves limestone as it slowly sinks downwards from the surface.
Catfish Hole is named for its abundance of catfish found on the bottom, 90 feet down. I was amazed to think this little "pond" was 90 feet deep! There's 3 scuba divers down there now...we had followed them to see where they were going, which is how we found this sinkhole :-).
We then got out our picnic lunch, and enjoyed the sunny afternoon on the picnic grounds. I had thought the concession would be open, so hadn't brought any drinks with us. There were vending machines, but all I had on me were those lousy dollar coins that we used at Amazon, and they didn't work :-). I have to learn to carry some cash with me! After lunch, we stopped back at the ranger station to pick up a hiking map for our next trip, and also drove through the campground. Its nice, but would be tight pulling a big rig through. Electric and water hookups, with a dump station on the way out.
We also stopped at Fanning Springs, which is about a 5 minute drive from Otter Springs. Its a much smaller park, and again, no manatees were in that day.
Fanning Springs, headsprings, the swimming/snorkeling area is in front, and you can see the springs heading down towards the Suwanee River. There's a short, mile long hiking trail which we walked before heading back.
Monday was chore day for us at the trailer. Paperwork, budgets, and I started cleaning out cabinets inside, and doing some re-arranging. Al worked outside, doing some minor repairs and re-packing the basement. We've also decided to leave one recliner and two of the dining chairs stored at his mom's, as we don't use them and it would give us some extra space, as well as lightening the load.
Tuesday we headed back down to Sugarmill. The house inspection was Wednesday morning, and baby, was it cold! 19 degrees when we got up! A neighbor had left their sprinklers on, and their side yard was a sheet of ice, with icicles hanging from a palm tree. At 8Am the home ispector Joe showed up, and went over the house thoroughly. There were a few items that needed to be fixed or attended to, and he called and spoke to the realtor about them. She called the seller, and I couldn't believe it, but before we even left there were people coming to fix what needed to be done. That doesn't happen in New York :-). Anyway, the seller agreed to have all items on the list attended to before closing, which is scheduled for Tuesday January 17.
Thursday morning Al went to look at another house for a friend of ours who is offering to buy it, and then in the afternoon we went for a drive, looking for hiking spots. I stopped at Homosassa Springs State Park, and the wonderful lady in the office gave me the info we were looking for. Citrus County puts out a great Birding Trail book, for free, that lists all of the hiking trails for birding in the county, as well as several kayaking bird trails. Guess whats on our list of activities :-)? Anyway, we chose the Crystal River Preserve State Park Eco-Walk, a 2.2 mile walk. It was really nice, but no pictures as I didn't have my camera...but we'll be doing it again!
Thursday afternoon we drove back up to Otter Springs, but still no word on the background checks :-(. Kadie, our manager, is a bit aggravated, but she's such a sweetheart! So Friday I got to work on deep-cleaning. I had a condensation issue in Kentucky, while it was so cold out, and I wanted to wipe all the surfaces down with a beach solution so that we don't end up with any mold or mildew issues. I'm also clearing out clothes...I had really pared the wardrobe down, but still found I brought twice as much as we actually needed. So a bunch will be staying here in Florida.
Today, now that the sun has cleared the fog out (its been dense fog here in the mornings), we think we're going to go explore Cedar Key. I've heard much about it, and sounds like an interesting day trip...its about an hour from here. Tuesday we are leaving the park again, and going to Hillsborough State Park In Thonotosassa. My sister and her family are in Kissimmee for the week, so we will go visit them on Wednesday, and then go to the Tampa RV Show on Thursday...no buying, just looking! I hear through the RV grapevine a few RV Dreamers will be there, and hope to catch up with a few of them during our stay.
That's all the scoops for now. Enjoy your weekend, wherever you are!