Florida Rails to Trails Adventure
St Marks Trail Woke this morning at the St Marks Boat Ramp. There is always something in the pantry to make for breakfast. We returned to hike the Tallahassee-St Marks Rails to Trail. It’s only 16 miles to Tallahassee… no problem!!! Along the way we think we see Juan Ponce de Leon. Also, a couple Seminole ladies, hawks and vultures, and a stone crab trap storage yard. There is a stone crab festival here in October. We stop early in the walk to get a couple cold beers from Troy and his friendly staff at The Shack. We relax and enjoy the cool vibe here. There is a sign for Eau Claire Wisconsin on the wall. Another funny life coincidence as I once considered a work assignment there…… Lunch today comes from the backpack and is served on our patented leg platter. Everything tastes better when served from the leg platter. OK… we didn’t make it all the way to Tallahassee. We tend to meander and wander and aren’t power walkers. A few more bathroom breaks, and a little Transcendental Meditation Levitation, and we find ourselves staggering back into St Marks. It’s time to hit the road for a few miles before it gets too late. Rado’s battery is acting a bit tired, so we stop at a Walmart Auto Center for a quick test. All seems in good order, but it’s getting late. We find a quiet dark corner, eat dinner, and get some sleep. Just another day on the road.
Florida Panhandle Exploration Adventure
Sopchoppy is a small town with a pizza restaurant, grocery store, hardware store, and a great city park. We spend the night, backed right up to a small river. The park charges a reasonable $15 night to camp; complete with electric and water hookups. You can even take a hot shower if you track down Frank, the caretaker, for a key. The next day finds us driving the coast through interesting small old Florida towns like Carrabelle, Eastpoint, and Apalachicola. We take a quick detour across the bridge to St George Island and drive through much fancier and expensive vacation neighborhoods. It doesn’t take long before we realize that we prefer the small old towns and head back across the bridge to the mainland. The fog lifts from the Apalachicola River revealing the base of the Highway 98 bridge and the wood boat fenders that protect the middle pilings from boat traffic. Just across the gravel and oyster shell strewn lot is a working barge. The night shift has already returned while the day shift crew make their way aboard the barge and tug “Ms Paula”. We are parked right in the middle of the work trucks, and all the action. These are all new expensive domestic trucks; Chevy, Ford, Dodge. The rough and grungy maritime workforce obviously are skilled and make good money. Our guess is that they are oil rig workers. Across the field, near the proper marina, are parked two other RoadTrek Camper Vans. Their spot looks quiet and secluded, but we prefer being here… right next to the towering bridge, industrial barge, and worker trucks. Morning, once again, comes quickly after a safe boondock night. A few hours exploring Apalachicola by foot. The small quirky town suits us just fine. An old but gentrified downtown full of seafood restaurants and nautical gift shops. We luck into finding “The Honey Hole” a liquor store. Most of the waterfront oyster businesses are shuttered. Apalachicola Bay has supplied most of the oysters to Florida restaurants. These days, the oyster business is decline, and the once fertile oyster grounds are practically bare. The cause is uncertain. It could have resulted from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010. Or, it could be from rising salinity as less fresh water makes it down the Chattahoochee River. None the less, the oyster business that once made Apalachicola famous is hurting. This tough old fishing town is finding new life as part of “Florida’s Lost Coast” tourism campaign; embracing the quiet forgotten side of Florida tourism. We are glad to spend time here and contribute from our small travel budget to a couple of the stores. Just another day on the road.
Florida Van Life Adventure
Eldo… Rado’s international sister, is a veteran off roader. As far as we know, Rado has not done much, if any, off roading in her 34 years of highway cruising. We quickly put an end to that by turning off Highway 98 on onto the muddy dirt roads of the Aucilla WMA in search of the “fabled” Goose Pasture Primitive Campground. We see alligators, pine forests, and mysterious rivers that disappear underground and emerge before disappearing underground again. We even wind up on the ominous Mosquito Slap Road. We almost make it to the fabled camp, but stop just short as the road in washed out and the water and mud too deep to risk getting Rado stuck on her first adventure. Maybe we will push her a little harder once we get to know her capabilities better. For now, we stick to a little unknown clearing for a nap before heading on the the waterfront town of St Marks. We find a safe place to park for the night at the local boat ramp. We walk into town and buy a few things from Miss Joy at the local market. We offer to share our nice tomato with a couple friendly locals who keep cruising by us in their pick-up truck. Just another day on the road…
Van Girl With Tools Making Road Repairs
We find ourselves still resting up in Mayo Florida at The Suwannee River Rendezvous. When we bought Rado, we knew there was going to be a ton of repairs and fixes. Built in 1985, she is 34 years old. Today’s projects are to fix the heater and to get the power windows working. Multi meter in hand, we determine that the window switches and the motors are operational. Diagnosis…. the regulator gears are broken. For less than $10 and a few hours of time, we have two smooth running power windows. Multi meter back in hand, we now trace down a bad relay in the heater electronics. $20 in parts and a few hours labor… (there’s very little hand room to work inside the heater) our propane heater is back blowing hot air. Just another day on the road.
Funny Video Redneck Bowling
Redneck Bowling…. pins with strings attached. Bowl day or night in the old chicken house. Bowl a few frames on the plywood lanes. Turn the crank to reset your pins, and pull the doo-hickie to lift the thing that returns your ball. Knock ’em down, set ’em up, and get your ball returned… all by your own power. Afterwards, enjoy the beautiful Suwanee River scenery and nature. This is where Rado rests up and recuperates between adventures. If she is on the road and not there, there is still plenty to do at The Suwanee River Rendezvous. Full RV Park and Camping. Dine at Grandma Susie’s Cooking Shack. Pick a pigeon and cheer it on during Frank’s Famous Pigeon Races. Place a bet and win $40 if the chicken poops on your number on Chcicken Poop Bingo Night. Www.suwaneeriverrendezvous.com Travel Ur Dreams… and tell them Travel Ur Dreams Sent You!
Vintage Retro Roadtrek Van Renovation
Realizing that we will occasionally return to the USA for family and or business needs, we take the plunge and buy a domestically based home. She is a 1985 Dodge Ram , converted by Roadtrek in a camper van. Mechanically she’s in good enough shape to buy and her retro interior is quirkey. We take a couple weeks to tune up her engine, and update her interior, still leaving her quirkiness for all to enjoy. Welcome to the family Rado… new older sister to Eldo, our Euro based 2004 Jeep Cherokee. Untold adventure awaits as we look forward to exploring all those places we missed in north America, Mexico, and central America.