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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Like mushrooms after a rain


The primitive camping side of Salt Springs has sprouted tents like mushrooms after a rain. I’ve never seen this section so packed. The RV section, with site power and water, is always full. Here on the non-electric side it’s often fairly empty. I’ve seen as little as four sites occupied.

There are a couple of factors contributing to the popularity. The big one is the fact that it’s a long holiday weekend. Most of the people are fairly local Florida folks. Another factor is the fact that there’s a Bluegrass festival just up the road.

We will be here until Monday. The key to booking campsites is to make sure you have a place for the weekend. Many Federal campsites have a lot of first come, first serve sites. You stand a much better chance of getting those in the middle of the week. Just make sure you book through the weekend. We hope to get a site not too far down the road.

In past years we changed campsites often. Three nights at the same place seemed like a long time. That was a good way to see a lot of country in a short period of time. This time we’ve been trying to stay in one place longer. Most sites we stay at have a two week limit and we’ve maxed that out a couple places. That cuts down on the setting up, tearing down, and saves us travel expenses.

We currently still plan on being down south for a couple months yet. When it’s -26 at home we feel little desire to go back. There are things that may cause us to cut our travel short, but so far it looks good for going the distance.

-Sixbears

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Camping in two places at once



Wednesday my lovely wife and I camped at two places at once. We had plans to run up to St. Augustine to meet up with my sister-in-law. By the time we found out she couldn’t make it, we’d already booked a night at the state park.

Only one night was available. Tearing down and setting up and tearing down and setting up . . . Yeah, that gets old. Then there’s towing the boat all over the place. It’s kinda a pain at times. At that point we had a bit of a brainstorm. My lovely wife extended our stay at Salt Springs. The big tent and the boat could stay right where they were. Our little tent was fine for one night at the state park near Saint Augustine. It worked out just fine.

The current plan is to stay at Salt Springs until Monday. After that, we will be winging it again. Stay tuned to find out where we end up.

In other news, I see the coronovirus is affecting the global economy. It’s bad enough that car and computer parts are not available due to Chinese plant closings. What’s really scary is that China makes an awful lot of pharmaceuticals. If that pipeline shuts down people will be hurting. If? When?

Experts warn that this pandemic could infect up to 70% of the world’s population. That’s a scary big number, but the big question: How bad will the mortality rate be? What percentage of those people won’t recover? Interesting times.

Probably the smart thing would be to hunker down in our place in the woods. What fun would that be? Instead we are traveling all over the place, meeting interesting people. What good is an immune system if you don’t use it?


-Sixbears

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Lake George



We launched the sailboat right from Salt Springs and took the spring run all the way to Lake George. I’m very happy we had a couple of things in order. The first is having a decent outboard. Thanks again Spud, it worked really well.

The second bit of kit that was really useful was our depth gauge. Finally got that working. The whole run to the lake we were usually in 2.5 to 3 feet of water -too shallow to let the swing keel down. In fact the entrance to the lake only had about 1.5 feet of water. That’s where some boneheaded boater decided to anchor a big pontoon boat. It was pretty tight but we make it past into the lake.

The sailing was pretty good in about 10 mph of wind. It was a really pleasant day. The trip back was made totally under sail power. The going was slow, but it was perfect for watching wildlife.

By the time we pulled the boat out and squared it away it was starting to get dark and we were exhausted. Instead of cooking dinner we went to a pizza place across from the campground.

My lovely wife and I have been doing a lot of swimming and snorkeling in the springs. That’s one of my must do things for when we are here in Florida. Sure beats dealing with the winter storms up north.

-Sixbears

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Future Travels



It’s been a good time here in the Ocala and I’m glad we’ve got a few more days in this campground. My lovely wife has booked a day in a campground near St. Augustine. The plan is to connect with her sister there. After that our plans have not been firmed up. She did come up with an interesting idea.

Her thought is for each of us, separately, to come up with travel ideas for the rest of the season. Once we’ve got them written down, we’ll compare and see how much overlap we have. Then we’ll come up with an action plan by combining everything. I’ll let you know how that works out.

This whole season we’ve been pretty much flying by the seat of our pants. There were a few things we definitely wanted to do and we’ve done them or will soon. Our ideas for next winter and the winters after that are all over the place.

One idea is to travel far and fast with a very stripped down kit. My wife’s little car gets more than twice the gas mileage of the Blazer. That would make it feasible to travel further cheaply and we’d cover a lot more ground.

Another idea would be to acquire something like an Aliner trailer for greater comfort. We almost purchased one some years ago but took the path of buying a small sailboat instead. Only one thing can be towed at at time so the Aline plan was shelved . . . but not forgotten.

Speaking of boats, that’s another option. Buying a bigger towed sailboat would make it easier for us spend time on the water, yet avoid the costs of boat storage. Then again, we’d be committed to having a vehicle large enough to tow it.

A boat too large to tow has other fixed costs, like finding a place to store it on the off-season. Then there’s the issue that larger boats have larger problems and expenses. Of course, a more capable boat opens up more distant sailing destinations. Decisions, decisions.

There are other factors influencing us. Heath issues could be one. Last year my problems kept us from going anywhere. Right how our health is pretty good and we are working to make it better. Then there are huge outside issues like the state of the country and the world.

Do we hunker down at our homestead in the woods? What kind of bug out vehicle would be best if things suddenly go south? One thing about us, we are always willing to change plans at the last minute, depending on what’s actually going on. Too many people lack flexibility.

At any rate, it’s good to have options.

-Sixbears

Friday, February 7, 2020

Weather Event

The weather folks predicted a rough night last night -thunderstorms with high wind, rain, and possible tornadoes. We spent it in the tent and we got lucky. No tornadoes and the tent held up to the wind and rain. If there had been a tornado we were instructed to take shelter in the bathhouse as it's well built and has no windows.

Just another day of fun filled adventure.

-Sixbears

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Diversions



It was a good day. The weather got into the 80s. I finally got around to installing a transponder in the sailboat for the depth gauge. In the afternoon my lovely wife and I went snorkeling in the springs. Florida is blessed with numerous natural springs and swimming in them is always on my to do list.

My contact with the news lately has been pretty spotty. However, I see the president has been acquitted. Anyone else curious to see what the witnesses would have had to say? What are the Republican Senators trying to hide? Just wondering.

On the other side of the aisle the Democrats are in disarray. The Iowa caucus has turned into a mess with questionable results. Well, that’s the caucus system for you. NH’s primary is just around the corner. That usually brings a a reshuffling and the end to a number of campaigns.

The coronovirus continues to spread. There are some scary stories coming out of China. Tales of greater repression and hidden massive cremations of victims. This is starting to look a lot like a pandemic. Might be a good time to assess your personal response to potential issues.

On the road we don’t exactly carry a years worth of food. We have a certain amount of dehydrated meals. They don’t take up much room and are quick to prepare. One of the things we’ve been doing lately is building up our cash reserves once more. We depleted them more than we were comfortable with.

One threat you probably aren’t too aware of is the possibility of a satellites colliding with each other. Such a crash could create an expanding debris field that would then take out more satellites -and so on and so on. The odds are very high that nobody will be physically injured by the debris. However, with enough satellites down banking would be crippled. Some communication would still be possible through landlines, but at a greatly reduced volume. We’ve really become dependent on our robots in the sky.

The real threat would be to the military. They would lose their eyes in the sky. A huge amount of intelligence is gathered from above. Also, the military needs satellites for everything from communication to navigation to directing bombs.

Why am I concerned about that right now? This month there’s a higher than normal chance of collisions taking place in space.

All in all, I’d rather not deal with this stuff and go swimming.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Tear down and set up



We’ve had a busy few days. After 14 days at Alexander Springs we had to move on. Our camp got more elaborate during those weeks. Tear down took a while. Then we drove a few miles down the road and set up at Lake Dorr. People have been telling us we should check it out so we booked one night there.

Rather than go through an elaborate set up of our big tent, we pitched the small tent instead. Then we only took enough stuff out of the Blazer to get us through one night.

While there we had a pleasant surprise. A Cajun friend we made two years ago was driving around the campground and recognized us. It was great to catch up. When he has some time off he hopes to get together with us where we are camping now.

This time we set up the big tent as we expect to stay in this campground for 8 days.

One thing about towing a sailboat. It seems there’s always a fellow sailor who has to come over and talk sailing. I don’t mind that one bit. As soon as I pulled into the area where boat trailers are parked a guy literally ran across the campground to talk sailing with me.

-Sixbears