Sunday, March 30, 2014

A weekend getaway

Pittman Visitor Center
Altoona, FL
We were lucky enough to be invited down to Stuart, Florida
to stay at a friend's beach house.
Jill, a former RVer with the blog "Two Tools and a Dream",
then "New Knees and a Dream",
has gone off the road, and lives in a lovely condo on the beach.
George and I visited her when she was workamping in Northern PA
 before we started our fulltime life.

Here's a little recap of our time!


George and I drove the 3 hours south on the Florida Turnpike.
Florida sure looks different the farther south you go!
I can see why everyone loves it near the ocean.
We arrived to a huge hug from Jill,
and were made to feel right at home.
Her place is just perfect!

She has it decorated with a cool beach/nautical theme.
We felt like we were at a Bed & Breakfast!
How can you beat this view from her living room?

Jill fixed us a light lunch, and then she drove us to meet her boyfriend, Mike,
"the Keeper" as he is affectionately known :-)
He is currently renovating a house,
so we stopped at Lowe's to pick up some paint and use a coupon.

Mike is a terrific guy, and we're glad he's in Jill's life.

We sat and talked to him while he took a break from painting..

Later that evening, Mike came over and grilled steaks,
and we talked about RVing, and everything under the sun.


Yesterday morning turned out to be warm, but cloudy.

We fully enjoyed sitting on the deck gazing out at the pool and 
listening to the waves crash on the beach.

We had a nice breakfast while sitting out on the deck,
then took a ride to see how Mike was doing on the house.
Jill needed to talk to the carpenter, so George and I sat
on their screened porch and relaxed.

Afterwards, Jill took us through the little town of Stuart,
and we walked around looking in some of the shops,
and having an ice cream cone :-)

Eventually, we made our way back to her place,
where we watched the storm roll in :-(

Before we knew it, it was pouring down buckets,
and lots of lightening was flashing in the sky.
Needless to say, we didn't go out to eat as planned.
Mike came over, and Jill whipped up spaghetti.
It was good!


This morning we got up to a beautiful sunrise..
then met the two of them for breakfast
at the Dixie Grill.
I forgot to take pictures,
but the food and conversation was great :-)
We treated, then gave them big hugs,
and headed on our way back home to Altoona.
I think we all had a great time, 
and hope to see them again sometime,
maybe not 'down the road',
but we hope to visit southern Florida again sometime.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More doings

Pittman Visitor Center
Altoona, FL

A lot of the volunteers working in the forest are leaving 
at different times in the next few weeks. 
Our neighbors are leaving at the same time we are, 
but Rosemary and Bob are leaving sooner.
 We're making sure we get in as much social time as possible
 before we all go our separate ways. 

Sunday we all went to Castaways on the St. John's river for dinner. 

The view is wonderful and we had a good time.

Today was the Volunteers Appreciation luncheon. 
They provided pulled pork BBQ, and we all brought sides or desserts to share. 
We ate well :-)

We were all given certificates and pins to thank us for our service. 
George and I also received a pin for volunteering over 500 hours.

We have 4 more weeks left until we can hitch up and go.
Hopefully our tires won't be flat on the bottom!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring sprung :-)

Pittman Visitor Center
Altoona, FL

Florida spring reminds me of California spring.
Very subtle changes between seasons here.
We've noticed more leaves on trees that
we never noticed had no leaves before.
Of course there is a lot more bird activity
here at the Visitor Center grounds.
I watch a woodpecker going in and out of a hole in one of the live oaks.
The bluebirds that appeared to be looking for a nesting place
have found one somewhere, but thankfully not underneath Harvey :-)
I got a quick shot of a couple of Sand Hill Cranes with their babies..

They were actually at the gas station when we were filling up :-)

Last week we got together with Pat & Diana Brown.
We met them at the RV Dreams rally in North Carolina.

They were staying near us near Ocala,
so we met them at a great pizza place nearby.
We'll be seeing them again at Amazon,
as they are working there for the second year in a row.

Tonight we're getting together with our fellow volunteers
and going out to dinner.
We're all leaving within the next month,
so want to make sure we get our social time in!

My bike riding has slowed down, since it's been in the mid 80's.
I pulled out my Wii and have been working out every morning with Wii Fit.
Yoga, strength, and balance games are keeping me active for now.

Next weekend we're leaving Harvey behind.
A friend of ours who used to RV now lives down in Stuart, FL,
and has invited us down to her beach house for the weekend.
We are anxious to get caught up with her and see the ocean!

One month left here in Florida.
Looking forward to a new backyard :-)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Another week's flown by

Pittman Visitor Center
Altoona, FL

One week seems like the last here in the forest.
Our work is basically the same,
but there are definite fluctuations.
Some weeks are busier than others with
the amount of people camping,
people on the forest roads, etc.

Last week was Daytona bike week,
so we saw a lot of motorcycles cruising down the highway.
There were quite a few bikes in the campgrounds as well.

George and I are definitely getting hitch-itch.
We look forward to pulling out and taking a 'vacation'
in our next two destinations.

We were happy to be able to see
Nancy & Neil again as they were staying near us
while visiting Neil's sister in The Villages.
We met them at one of our favorite spots,
Gator Joe's.

We've also been socializing with our neighbors Jim & Carol.

The weather is trending warmer now too.
I've been riding my bike nearly every day,
and yesterday reached the 5 mile mark.

We recently put some things on Ebay as well.
Both our old cell phones sold, as well as my old laptop.
They all got pretty good prices.

Every Sunday night we get together with 'the gang'
and play cards or fast track,
and have potluck.

Life is wonderful!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Little visitors

Pittman Visitor Center
Altoona, FL

We've been enjoying a great stretch of Florida weather.
Sure makes doing our outside work more enjoyable!
Of course, it brings out more people,
throwing trash on the forest roads :-(

I've been faithful riding my bike every day that I can,
and I try to push myself to go a little farther each time.
Since I'm riding on the track at the work center behind us,
it does get a bit boring, so I listen to my Ipod :-)

We've noticed a lot more small birds on the grounds here.
Spring is in the air, it must be mating season!

Today we noticed an Eastern Bluebird and his mate,
hanging around the back of the RV.

Once we went inside for the evening,
we noticed them on the ladder as well.

Pretty good gymnastics!

Both of them seem to be looking for a place to nest.
George crawled underneath to make sure they 
aren't preparing a nest in the spare tire.
He didn't see anything, but they sure are hanging around the back.
They also started flying at the window, as apparently
they see their reflections.

With all the trees around here you'd think they could find something nicer!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Yearling Trail

Pittman Visitor Center
Altoona, FL

The weather this week has been the pits!

It's been raining a lot, and not very warm.
We've mostly been staying inside, or working in the forest.

Finally today was nice and sunny, and in the low 70's.
I've been wanting to hike the Yearling trail, 
so today looked like the perfect day to do it!

The Yearling Trail is named for the book written 
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
Reuben and Sara Jane Long had homesteaded on the land back in 1876,
and their son Melvin raised a fawn.
Rawlings spent time at the Longs homestead nearly 50 years later
 and found out about the fawn, inspiring the book.

The hike itself wasn't too hard, and took us through the scrub
and long pines, as well as the palmettos.

We saw several Scrub Jays..
they yelled at us as we walked by.

Along the 5.5 mile loop trail are remnants of the original homestead.
We found this, a cattle dip trough.

It was really nice walking through the forest..

...and we got to see another sinkhole..

We saw a lot of these American Goldfinch,
but they didn't like their pictures taken!

About halfway around the loop,
we saw the Longs' cemetery,
where some family members are buried.

We kept plodding along,
and finally looped back around to head out.

On our way home, we decided to get a bite to eat.
We had passed this place once before, 
and it's right on the St. John's river.

We had a great view from our table..

It was a terrific day, and we got some great exercise :-)