Playing in (sunny?) Florida!

1/9/2022
Wow, I can’t believe it’s January already! I arrived at my destination in Florida in November and am workamping a couple of days a week in exchange for a camp site. I am at the end of the row right next to the store and bath house and couldn’t be happier! This is a small campground and it’s dark and quiet, which allows me to do a lot of star gazing. The owners are awesome and my co-workers are great, too. And I have good neighbors at least until the end of February.

I’m pretty overwhelmed with things to do in Florida. I had this grand idea about going to all kinds of places, but after being here a while, found that I’m too far from everything I wanted to see. So I’m limiting my activities and will stay mostly local, which will still give me plenty to do.

My winter home campground in Chattahoochee, FL

I’ve been exploring the town of Chattahoochee. It’s tiny, but on the map and a few highways run along/through it. No grocery stores, but a drive about 30 miles will get me to some decent shopping, though I did find a Piggly Wiggly in the next town over. That works fine for me. I found out that the Chattahoochee Landing Park at the river contains 2 Indian Mounds and a boat launch. There are also a bunch of ship wrecks, but the water was too high to see anything. Apparently, this is a very historical site. Driving on I90, I passed the Florida State Mental Hospital that houses the criminally insane! Frankly, it’s a beautiful campus and they were the only ones that decorated for the holidays. The administration building is also on the National Register of Historic Places. There are 6 places to eat, including 2 food trucks and one upscale restaurant that I’ll check out soon.

One of the two mounds at the Nature Preserve

Moving on, I reached the Jim Woodruff Dam on Lake Seminole, which is also in Georgia. That’s how close to the border I am. I spotted a few bald eagles and was excited about future photo opportunities.

My first shot of a bald eagle. Out of focus, but better than nothin’

Along that road, one of the correctional facilities is there. There are a few of them up here, probably to keep them away from the tourists…

There are a couple of state parks nearby, and I visited Torreya State Park one morning. Sadly, many of the trails were destroyed by hurricane Michael in 2018 and rebuilding is taking some time. But, there are a few trails, and one leads up to the Gregory House that was here during the Civil War. Pretty interesting history here! Trying to say the names of rivers (Apalachicola) and places has been a challenge! I’m learning slowly, but surely.

Warning – Warning – Danger!

Another side trip that was close by was the Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna. I took the tour of the caverns and it was very typical where walking in single file was necessary and bending over so you wouldn’t hit your head on a rock to get to another room was challenging. I am surprised that some caverns are room temperature or even warm. This was warm and a bit humid. There are also some small trails and a little cavern that you can walk through.

Cool lighting in the caverns!

Shopping in Marianna is pretty good, as there is a big Walmart and plenty of places to eat. I discovered Sonny’s BBQ that is pretty good!

I stayed at the campground for Thanksgiving because it was a work day for me and I just worked in the store and then went over to join the big feast. There was plenty of food and it was in the rec room. I am paranoid about COVID in Florida, so I sat away from everyone. Adam, the owner joined me and we had a nice time chatting. This is a cute room and I might do some sewing there eventually.

There is only one thing that took some getting used to. There is no WiFi and Internet is dicey, but if you have a hotspot you might get lucky and get a signal. I decided to check out the library in town and they have a good signal. I go there a couple of times a week and they let me stay as long as I want. Awesome! I download my books and movies, and update my software there. I have been reading a lot of books, at least 6 since I’ve been here, which is a lot for me. I found that I like crime and mysteries and occaissional fantasy. I’ve also been downloading apps to keep me occupied. There is plenty for me to do though I still miss having a TV for my Saturday night horror movie.

The Florida Panhandle rains a lot and its cold, mostly in the 30’s at night. I am glad for the cold, but not the rain, because then I can’t be outside and I get a little stir crazy in the van. It actually snowed in a town nearby a week ago! Gasoline is another thing that keeps me local. It’s pretty expensive so I top off whenever I see a good price. Lately, the range is $2.99 to $3.25.

That’s it for now. Just wanted to let you know what’s going on and that I’m keeping busy. Stay safe!

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