Heading back to Florida!

It was 22°F when we woke up Thursday, December 1 – definitely time to make like snowbirds and head south for the winter! We left Grand Ol’ RV Resort in Goodlettsville at 8:20 with Acey’s mileage at 95,444.3 and Thor’s at 110,165. Since we arrived in Nashville on October 7, we put about 3,000 miles on Thor and 3,000 more on the Nissan Rogue… lots of driving around! Just after 10am, we crossed the state line into Alabama.

We had 2 overnight Harvest Host stops on our way south. (We can stay free and boondock in the parking lot and are encouraged to purchase some of their product.) We stayed in Dothan at Folklore Brewing and Meadery Thursday night. We had stayed there in April on our way to Nashville. We enjoyed a pint or 2 of their brews, made dinner and called it a night!

Friday morning, we left at 7:30, crossed the state line into Florida at 8am. We plan to be in the Sunshine State until April.

We stopped for fuel at Midway and arrived at Sweet Roots Organic Farm in Newberry at about 1:30 and had a light lunch/snack.

We met our host, and she showed us around the farm.

We bought a few bags of produce – a huge bag of assorted lettuces and greens, some carrots, scallions, purple radishes, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, a large purple sweet potato and some other leaves to steep for tea. The seal point cat was on guard duty!

We drove into Gainesville for some pan pizza at Leonardo’s – the last remaining store!

 Leonardo’s was a favorite of Linda’s during her years at Florida – and the pizza did not disappoint!

We drove by the UF campus.

Saturday, we got up early and were on the road again at 7:45. We stopped at Raney’s Chrome Shop in Ocala to get a set of 6 hubcaps and lug nut covers and to see if we could find marker lights for the front and rear. The marker light covers are cracked and full of condensate – not good for an electrical item, or for something on the roof either! They had the hubcaps we wanted and found some marker lights that might work. Since we had time some to kill, we installed the front hubcaps in the parking lot. Here is a front wheel with the old hub cap and press on lug nut covers.

The new hubcaps have a skirt on them held on by screw-on lug nut covers which are tightened by a tool that was included with the set.

We have lost several hubcaps since we got Acey, so this ought to be a solution to that problem.

We stopped in Wildwood to top off the tank – we want to be sure to have fuel while we hang out in Florida; there in no telling what the supply may be over the next few months. We arrived at the Thousand Trail Orlando RV Resort at noon. They will not allow check-ins before noon, so we were right on time! We’ll be here for 2 weeks. We found a spot by a large pond.

We saw many birds visiting the pond

and a croc!

Driving around the park, you have to watch out for those sandhill cranes!

We drove over to the Green Pond Trailhead several times to ride our bikes on the Van Fleet State Trail. On the way, we passed a sign letting us know we were entering the Green Swamp!

This rail trail is very straight and level and has some shade. It was good to be out riding again after 2 months off the bikes!

A few mile posts remain from the days when trains ran this route.

We saw gopher tortoises, alligators, lizards, turtles, birds, squirrels and cows as we rode 12-15 miles each time, going a total of 66 miles on 5 days.

Gopher tortoises have burrows along the trail

We have seen several dirt piles that sort of resemble an ant hill, but we think this is an egg clutch right by one of the burrows.

occasionally we see a tortoise cross the path.

There were 3 bridges we crossed over; a good safe place to see the gators in the swamp!

We went up to The Villages to see our friends Russ and Adele and had a tasty dinner at Sonny’s BBQ. Back at their place, we visited and played cards: Play Nine, also known as Golf. It seems Russ generally wins when we play games, but Linda was the big winner that evening!

Jim did a few maintenance chores on Acey during our 2-week stay – he finished changing the hubcaps, sanitized the freshwater holding tank, changed the marker lights on the front of Acey’s roof.

And while he was up on the roof, he removed 2 antennas that we didn’t need and plugged the holes. He also and gave her a good bath – the roof was in dire need of a good cleaning!

We also decorated a bit for Christmas, with a squirrel theme!

Our neighbors went all-out with inflatables to decorate their spot; Fox News came by and had a story about them!

Chris sent us a few photos showing the progress on our building site – lots of trees to remove on the wooded lot! We left too many standing at our last home, and we can plant what we want and know there won’t be any to fall on the house or take out the power line. The loggers working on the project assured us we were doing the right thing – many trees were rotting in the center and would not have lived much longer.

We stopped by Cabinets to Go and IKEA to get some ideas for our kitchen. We may not want to go to the expense of having custom cabinets built for the new house.

We are looking forward to being in Pompano Beach for Christmas – our sons are flying in to join us, and we’ll spend time with Rob again.

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6 thoughts on “Heading back to Florida!”

    1. We love riding on that trail – always see several gopher tortoises along the way and usually just ride on by – but I had to get some photos! The big gator hangs out near the bridge, and we’ve seen it the past 2 years in about the same spot.
      Those cranes wander all over this park like they own the place – seems there is a pack of 3 that stay close together and many more as well. We leave them alone, but they don’t seem to be bothered by us getting their photo!
      Have a Merry Christmas Cuz!

  1. Quite the variety on the birds; wonderful to see the sandhill cranes up close. Not possible when they are flying through here.
    Comment on the ‘no swimming; alligator’’ sign. Wouldn’t one would have to be a diehard gung-ho nut case to even think about swimming in all that muck? Thanks for posting.

    1. Thanks for reading Ted! we did have a lot of feathered visitors. 🙂
      The water in the swamp looks rather dark and who knows what is lurking beneath the surface! It would seem that any type of pond or “water hole” in Florida would not be a good place to wade or swim…gators, snakes and who knows what else… sticking to a pool or the ocean is a safer bet!

  2. Wayne went through a really sketchy ropes course over one of those swamps. Not I!!
    I hope to get a letter out by Christmas or soon thereafter. Merry Christmas to you and the boys!

  3. Definitely keep me on your list. Love reading it and the pictures. We had beautiful music at SVC this holiday season. You would have loved it. Hopefully you were able to You Tube.

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