Wednesday, August 19, 2015

July 24, 2015 - White Springs, FL to HOME

We got on the road early this morning. We wanted to get a jump on the day and get home! We were not even excited when we woke up, knowing that our vacation has come to an end.  We had so much fun during our 4 month journey and have decided that we were going to put our house on the market when we get back home. 

Edith decided not to fix breakfast this morning, suggested that we eat out at Cracker Barrel on our way home.

There was so much change going on as we approached Jacksonville, FL - the construction on I-95 interchanges are still not done, more cranes downtown.  We were away from home since March 30th.

Our house looked the same and it seemed like the world stood still while we were away. While we were relieved to be back home in one piece there were knots in our tummies.  We knew that we need to get busy and put the house on the market, so we can start RVing full-time as soon as possible.

Soon after we got home it started to rain and Erwin took advantage of it by washing our Li'l Home. 

We want to thank our followers for "traveling" along with us on our journey.  Without Edith keeping daily notes we would not be able to share all of our stories with y'all.  Now we have notes and photos for every day we traveled. We hope you enjoyed our blog. We thank you and hope y'all will tag along on our next adventures!

Happy Traveling,
Edith & Erwin 

Our Home and our Li'l Home!

July 23, 2015 - White Springs, FL

Thunders and lightning lasted through early morning, but it was sunny when we stepped out.  It was already too warm, but Edith went out for a walk.  

While walking around the campsite Edith spotted several Golden Orb Weaver spiders, went back to Lil' Home (LH) to get her camera.  She went back to where the spiders were and took pictures.  

Golden Orb Weaver Spider
Edith was in mood to go out for a drive somewhere, wanted to check out Big Shoals and Little Shoals.  Erwin wanted to stay "home" and do woodburning a bit.  

On way to Big Shoals Edith stopped by to take a look at the historic Telford Hotel that is now closed.  It was built in 1902 and hosted famous people like Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Howard Taft, along with Robert Ripley of Believe It Or Not.  It fell into disrepair after the interstate was built.  It is rumored that paranormal activities have  been reportedly going on in there.

Since Edith was driving the Jeep she wanted to see how well it handles in the woods. She chose to drive on the ATV trail at Little Shoals, but by the time she got to the end of the trail the gate was locked.  Since the trail is good for one way she was worried that she may not be able to move the Jeep around, but she managed it.  

After Edith got back from off roading trip she and Erwin went to Stephen Foster museum within the state park where it features dioramas and exhibits about his famous songs, including Old Folks at Home, more commonly known by the words of its first line as "(Way Down Upon the Swanee River."

Stephen Foster Museum
Painting of Stephen Foster 

Later on in the afternoon Edith and Erwin stopped by the gift shop, so Erwin can take a look at woodturned bowls that Edith saw yesterday.  He asked the saleslady for information on the artist because he wanted to see if the guy would be interested in buying tools from him.  Few minutes later the lady came back and gave the name and phone number. Erwin called him and left a message, he returned the call a few hours later and agreed to meet us in the campground. They talked about their turning and tools and Erwin showed him some of his woodburning works. He said he already has a lathe but would be interested in some of Erwin's rosewood. He said he has to go out of town that weekend but would get in touch with Erwin on Monday.

This was our last night of camping before we head back to Jacksonville, FL tomorrow morning. :(

July 22, 2015 - Chipley, FL to White Springs, FL

A perfect early morning and Edith wanted to go back to where the old log cabin was during the golden hour (one hour after the sunrise or one hour before the sunset). 

Edith thought she could find the log cabin was, but could not find. She swore at herself for not saving/marking waypoint on the GPS yesterday.  She drove for 50 miles, still no luck!  However, after making a turn to the road she did not get on yesterday there stood a hidden gem: Abandoned House off the dirt road.  There was a "No Trespassing" sign, but it was situated off from the dirt road, so she was alright to get out of the car, set up the tripod and take pictures.

After Edith got back to the campground she and Erwin went to the Falling Waters attraction, took a hike to check the falls.  Some of the boardwalk access were closed due to repairs.  There was a trickle of water, almost dried up due to lack of rain.  The sinkholes were used as a hideout by Indians fighting against Andrew Jackson during the Seminole Wars.

Falling Waters is the highest waterfall in the state of Fl at 73 ft.

One of several sinkholes

We left Falling Waters State Park at 10:30 am, got on 77 North to get on I-10 East.

We had a brief rest/lunch break at a gas station on US 19.

We took exit to CR 137 from I-10, then right on CR 136 to go to Stephen Foster Folk State Park.  We asked for a pull thru site with 50 amps and got site #4.

Carillon - Bell Tower inside the state park

Site #4 is a really nice long pull-thru enough for two motorhomes parked together.  Nice shaded area and we liked it.  After setting up the Lil' Home we rested a bit before doing anything because it was really HOT HOT outside. Later on we went for a walk around the campground but it was still too hot to stay out longer. About an hour later it cooled off drastically because---see for yourself in the following picture! It lasted for about 2 hours!

July 21, 2015 - Chipley, FL & De Funiak Springs, FL

Already a nice morning.  It was 80's at 8:45 am when we went out for the day.

Edith wanted to show Erwin some places she checked out the day before. We went to Bonifay because Edith wanted Erwin to take a look at Waits Mansion.  He was impressed with its beauty.  The gate was open, but there was nobody on the property. 

We were on way to Ponce de Leon State Park  when Erwin saw a pond with lots of lily pads and the crape myrtles lined up.  

We had never been to Ponce de Leon State Park and have heard so much about how beautiful the spring is.  This beautiful spring is named for Juan Ponce de León, who led the first Spanish expedition to Florida in 1513.  The water temperature remains a constant 68-70 degrees year-round.  There were few bathers dipping, tubing/swimming.  We did not know that the park is a recreational area, meaning there is no campground.   There are two self-guided nature trails and we went on one.  It was a good thing that the forest was lush that provided lots of shades because we were already dripping sweat during our hike.  

Checking out the water temperature!

We went  De to Funiak Springs, FL to check out Lake DeFuniak. We took a walk around the lake two years ago. It is one of a few Florida lakes that is almost perfectly round! However, due to lots of rains the lake is flooded and  most of the loop sidewalk is under water, so we were not able to walk around.  Another time!

Erwin spotted a used bookstore and wanted to check it out.  While he was browsing around Edith explored the historic district, saw an interesting feature for electric cars. if you owned an electric car you could park there and be charging your car, I'm not sure if it was free or for a fee!  

It was already past lunch time and we were hungry.  We wanted BBQ, but the closest one was 11 miles away.  "No, I don't want to drive that far", said Erwin.  Edith looked it up on GPS and told Erwin to try McLain's Family Steak House.  

The parking lot was almost packed.  Usually a good sign that the foods are good (not always). We were told to sit anywhere.  There was a buffet and there were lots of Southern foods.  Only $8.50 for all you can eat! Their fried chicken was outstanding. Everything else was just as good.  

Not too far from the restaurant was Chateauqua Winery.  There is a little store and it has a large selection of home-grown wine varieties straight from Florida vineyards.  They offer free wine tasting daily. Of course, we could not turn it down, sampled 5 different wines.  There was not many we really liked but found one that was acceptable, so we bought one.

Grape Vineyard

Would it be a cool place to live?

After getting back to the campground we relaxed a bit, went out for a walk.  Then Edith went to the gift shop inside the state park where there is wifi, so she can finish updating the blog.  After she was done with it she went inside the gift shop to browse, saw woodturned bowls and vases that were made by a local artist.  Thinking to herself that she needed to tell Erwin to come over to look at them. 

After supper we took a hike to the swimming hole that is not far from the campground.  It had a little sandy beach, but there was a "Warning: Alligators" sign... the water was kinda murky and didn't look too clean.

We were just chilling and relaxing for the rest of the evening.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

July 20, 2015 - Mobile, AL to Chipley, FL

A beautiful morning and already in low 80's. It was very hazy when we stepped out to go for a short walk.

It was at 9 am that we decided to check out of the campground.  The exit lane at the office was very narrow and Erwin had to drive through very very slowly to be sure that our Lil' Home did not hit the roof of the office.  

We took I-65 South to Exit 2 to get on 90/98 (Truck Route), since the tunnel clearance is 12' and the LH is 12' 9".  Also, hazardous cargo is prohibited and we have a propane tank.

US 90/98 Bridge in Mobile, AL
Crossing Mobile Bay
There's the Tunnel we bypassed
USS Alabama Battleship (BB-60)
We will visit it next time we are back in Mobile, AL
After leaving Mobile, AL we stayed on 98 West until we got to Pensacola, FL where we got on I-10 East.

We were thinking of camping at Blackwater State Park, but we realized it is 12 miles out west when we took the exit, so we continued on US 90 to Crestview, FL.  

At a rest area Erwin gave Edith a brief instruction on how to drive the LH.  Edith took over driving and Erwin took a video of her first experience at driving.

She drove for 39 miles to the next rest area. In all the excitement of her first time driving the LH she forgot to fasten her seat belt till after the first video ended, she did put it on then. 

In Crestview, FL Edith shopped at Publix, her favorite grocery store. She picked up fresh vegetables and fruits. She was oh so happy to be shopping at Publix again.

Back to I-90 then to Falling Waters State Park south of Chipley, FL.  Got site #13. It was a pretty tight space but Erwin managed to get the LH parked.  While backing in Edith noticed that the light bulb for brake was out.

We did not go anywhere after arriving here. Edith was pooped out and took a nap while Erwin read a book.

After Edith's nap she decided she wanted to drive around and explore. Erwin did not want to join.

Chipley, FL did not have an auto parts store, so she continued driving west to Bonifay, FL

In Bonifay, FL Edith stopped at Cloud Auto Parts Inc and bought light bulbs for the brakes.  Then she started exploring.  

Waits Mansion in Bonifay, FL is beautiful. It is a historic 2-story Mediterranean Revival style house and was built in 1920 by lumber owner George Orkney Waits.  It is currently up for sale and it looked like it has been on the market for a long time because the property is not well maintained. It is an ideal place for weddings, parties and special events. How sad!  Let's hope that whoever buys this place will put it to a better use.

Waits Mansion

Edith drove back to Chipley to see if there was something worth taking pictures of.  She suddenly spotted an abandoned store.  It used to be a store that sells pecans, buys/sells furs and hides.

After exhausting all possibilities of taking more pictures, Edith went back to the campground. Erwin did a bit of woodburning while Edith was gone.

Feels great to be burning again! That thing on Erwin's head is
magnifying lens so he can see details better.