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Friday, December 15, 2017

It was a week of Cold . & . Colds.

It was a bad week. First of all for this far south in FL it was COLD. Lows every day in the high 30’s and highs in the mid 60’s.

Then I had a scratchy throat and started coughing on Sunday night. So on Monday I just took in a lot of fluids to try to get better, then Peggy started with all the same symptoms.

Our muscles were aching, I guess we both had COLDS. Each morning this week we hoped things would clear up but we are both still inside on Friday morning. We haven’t done any canoeing as planned or gone biking again. What a bummer.

We enjoyed our stay here. Last weekend, even in the rain, there were all sorts of families and tent campers. But during the week there were only about six campers, so it was very quiet. I hope we feel better on Saturday since we will be leaving early on Sunday morning to head to Wekiva Springs near Orlando after we do a month’s worth of laundry.

Day12-15 Map

We left Juniper Springs (12) on map last week and we will be here at Silver Lake (13) until we head to Wekiva Springs (14) on Sunday and then on Tuesday we will head to Orlando where we will store our RV at a KOA (15) just outside the airport.

John-CypressGlen_site47Now it’s only 4 more days until we head back to Cleveland for our 12 Days of Christmas. Because of the cool weather I didn’t get much hammock time. We are getting in a lot of book reading on our Kindles because we just don’t have a lot of energy to do anything else.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Silver Lake–Withlacoochee River & Bike Trail

It’s only 90 miles from Juniper Springs to the Withlacoochee State Forest, but we needed to get propane, grocery shop and enjoy the drive on all secondary roads.. It took us 3 hours to get to our campsite at Cypress Grove Campground. We picked site 47 which we thought was a close site to the canoe launch and not too sloping. Even adding 5” blocks we were still going downhill a little, maybe next time  we should pick site 50, still close to our launch. There is good cell service here with ATT 4G.


So the weather was forecast to turn bad for the weekend. Heavy rain were forecast for the first time in 2 weeks and then it was supposed to go down in the low 30’s.

On Friday we decided to take a 19 mile bike ride heading north toward Floral City on the 46 mi paved Withlacoochee State Bike Trail, while it was still sunny and 75oF. Peggy does well on the Tandem bike and it is nice to be able to talk as we ride along and enjoy the scenery.

Paul_Helen Site 46The last few years we visited Paul & Helen who live in Inverness, FL. This year they brought their RV and their kayaks over to paddle the river. But with the rain and cold weather we decided to go out to lunch on Saturday and since he couldn’t get his motor home’s furnace working, they went back home.

Withla Historic Mile MarkerOn Sunday it finally warmed to about 53oF and was nice and sunny so we headed south on the trail to the end at Trilby. This ride was 20 miles long and had our big mountain climb over the freeway overpass. We made it up non-stop in both directions in our lowest gear. It is supposed to warm back to the 70’s on Tuesday, so we plan to canoe the river.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Juniper Springs

Juniper Springs-2017 fall

Juniper Springs 1969The springs hasn’t changed much since 1969 when we first visited the park with Jeff and Pam.

However hurricanes the past two years, dropped a few trees and damaged the nice boardwalk that parallels the first half mile of Juniper Run. The damage is not that bad but it’s been closed for two years. Excuses like no money, forest fire danger were ridicules. WalkRepair2I’ll bet it could be fixed in one week if anybody cared to fix it. We walked past the barricades and explored the entire boardwalk. We found 3 or 4 small sections missing but the rest was perfectly usable.

The walk allows visitors to see the beautiful white sand bottom stream and watch the inept paddlers going by. Kayak Juniper Peggy

We decided to do an early paddle on Tuesday morning. They do a shuttle for private paddlers for only $10. I used to do a bike shuttle, about 8 miles on very busy state highways. Years ago unless you had a second car, this was your only option and early morning traffic was very light. But now, we just drive our RV to the put-in, drop Peggy off with the canoe and drive to the take-out parking lot where there is room for my RV, if you get there early. The park service then drives you back to the put-in.

The river was much higher than we have seen it in years, so the 3 mph current was great and there was more room to maneuver around all the fallen and overhanging  trees,

Juniper Run - 1Juniper Run - 2

However they still tell paddlers the 9-1/2 mile run will take 4 to 5 hours. We saw no one else on the run, due to our early start. We paddled as slow as we could and it took only 2-1/2 hours. However when we watched the rental boats launch and the lack of any paddling knowledge, some of those paddlers may not make it in 5 hours. I guess that is why the put-in closes at noon.

The weather has been great for the past two weeks, High 70’s and sunny every day. On Wednesday morning we decided to do another early morning paddle on Juniper Run. They were predicting 80o temperatures with sunny skies. One good thing about taking our RV to the takeout is that it gets more sun than our campsite so the solar panels charge our batteries better.

We saw about 6 deer standing next to the stream at several places along the way but no alligators and very few birds today. They are predicting rain tomorrow and we will leave in the morning to do some grocery shopping on our way to Silver Lake in the Withlacoochee State Forest. We like this campground since it is on a lake which is a wide spot in the Withlacoochee River, which is a nice scenic paddle. It is also next to the 46 mile paved bike trail that runs from Rainbow Springs to about 10 miles south of Silver Lake.

They finally started to repair the boardwalk on Wednesday but they said it would take another month, they sure are milking this job.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Palatka State Trail

Palatka Trail

We took our time leaving Ocean Pond on Saturday morning. Our next trail ride would be on a paved section of the Palatka State Trail which we read about on Trail Link. The various sections are paved, dirt or under construction. From the info on Trail Link we decided to do a 10 mile paved section from Keystone Hts. to Florahome.

We parked our motor home at the corner of “Happy & Healthy” in their large parking lot, right next to the trail. Our 21 mile round trip ride to a little trailside antique store (Old RR station) was very pleasant with temps in mid 70’s.

Underwater TrailAfter the hurricanes in FL, one of the roadside lakes went across the trail.

Should we cross, Peggy asked?

Should we cross

Doesn’t look too deep, I replied.

Actually it turned out to be a foot deep, luckily I was wearing sandals because the water was above my pedals. Peggy stuck out her legs and keep her shoes dry.

Later we heard that an alligator likes to come ashore there, but we saw no sign of him on either of our crossings.

By 1 PM we were back to our start for a light lunch in our RV. Our plans were to overnight at Walmart in Palatka, shop & go out to eat dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.

We could have just continued on to Juniper Springs as it is only an hour away. But it’s tough to get a campsite on Saturday, so we will follow our plan and head there tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Enjoying the warm weather at Ocean Pond Campground.

Ocean Pond

This National Forest campground is on the north side of a 2 mile in diameter round lake, which is what Peggy likes to call it. There are 3 different priced portions, Electric & Water, Water, and Rustic, all right in a row. It is usually full on weekends, so we got here on Sunday morning and had no trouble getting an Electric site, #8, which we like since it is next to the woods.

We have never Canoed here since it didn’t look that interesting. I guess you could take a six mile paddle following the shore line all round the lake, but we like biking on the park roads and trails. On Sunday we peddled over to Cobb campground, which was still full. It is very rustic with no facilities. We took a few side roads and made it back to camp, about 8-1/2 miles.

OP Ride Olustee Train Station_sOn Monday I did some computer programing for our KHCC website and the Vermilion River Race. On Tuesday we took our traditional 14 mile ride around the lake, with a stop at the RR Depot museum in Olustee.

Bikers2slowfastThen on Wednesday we peddled over to Olustee Battlefield and biked around their trails reading about the biggest Civil War battle in Florida. It was a 11 mile bike trip.

Peg at Olustee Battlefield

Olustee Battlefield

Peggy-FireHere is what we imagined the battle was like. They say 10,00 troops were involved resulting in 2800 casualties.

Peggy can’t hold them off.