Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas fun

Hi all,
We hope you have had a joyous Christmas. We had a great one and were happy that we were able to spend it with some of the family. We had a nice Skype visit with the other kids and grandkids.

 We had a busy week starting a fun walk in Live Oak with Mandi and gransons Noah and Alex.
 Next was a drive to Tampa to enjoy a Packer victory.
On Monday we had no cabins to clean so we took the day off and visited a couple more state parks.
 First off was a Fanning Springs State Park, it holds a second magnitude spring popular for swimming and divers and gets winter visits from Manatees looking to bask in the 72 degree temp waters.

 Manatee Springs State Park located 55 mile south near Chiefland, Fla. It is a park just off the Suwannee River located by the magnitude one as you can guess Manatee Spring. This is a popular place that the manatees visit during winter months, on this day we only caught a glimpse of one fleeing to the river.

 We wanted to check this park out as we were first offered a host position there. We declined it because they did not have a full hook up site for us. That turned out the best for us as we are now only 8 miles from the daughter instead of 55.

 We all know it is a time to enjoy and cherish for more reasons than the gifts. We have been experiencing some sadness also at this time as we have learned Wendy's older brother Dave's health has worsened and he has been given a short time. He has had a rough go beginning with prostrate cancer, then throat cancers and now has a brain tumor. We pray for him and the family at this tough time.
 These last two pics are grandsons Isaiah and Lucas in Wisconsin recreating some famous Christmas movie scenes.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ichetucknee Springs

 Hi all,
Thought I better get in a quick post before we all get super busy. Shopping is all done, cookies all made, and cards are in the mail we should be able to relax, ha.
 Two of our grandsons are driving down for the holidays and should be on the road about now. This is a big trip for the boys ages 20 and 16 and we hope all goes well. It will be so nice to have them here for Xmas.
 Our cabin schedule looks light during the next week which will give us more time off to spend with the kids. We also have taken off Sunday to make the drive to Tampa Bay for the Packer game.
 This past week we checked out another nearby state park, Ichetucknee(pronounced itchy-tucknee)Springs State Park.  It contains six springs of which one is a first magnitude spring named The Blue hole flowing 38 million gallons per day into a 6 mile river feeding into the Santa Fe River. It is a popular tubing river from Memorial to Labor Day and kayaking/canoes there after. Shuttles are run during the tubing season and rentals of canoes and such by nearby concessionaires.
  It is a day use only park with no campsites or cabins. The park offers hiking trails that Wendy and I enjoyed today.
 We found it to be a very pretty area and we actually plan to do a polar plunge there in Jan. I know you must think we are crazy- the water will only be 72 (its always 72).
 So though the weather(thankfully) will not give us a Christmas as we used to get in Wisconsin, having some family to spend it with will be treasured.
         We want to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Living Lively in Live Oaks

 Hi all,
Things keep flowing along at Suwannee River State Park. Our weather has cooled to around 60 during the day and 35ish at night, not to bad.
 We had a surprise visitor the other day. John Harker a coworker from Custer State Park dropped in on his way from WI to the Keys. He remembered that we were here and stopped by for a nice chat. We thought that was cool and reminded us of the nice people and friends we have made on our travels.
 Work has been slow and today we had no cabins going out so nothing for us to do, darn.) We made good use of the day and finished up our Xmas shopping yea!
 Wendy and Mandi have been busy making Christmas cookies. They have made 7 different kinds and have a few more left to do. I think she likes doing this?? They will be making cookie plates to pass out.
 This past weekend was a big weekend in Live Oak. They were having a Christmas on the Square. We were set to do a fun run/walk on Friday night but were the only ones who didn't know it was canceled because the hometown football team was in the playoffs. Oh well we took a walk and had dinner at one of the local restaurants. Let me tell you it was interesting and delicious.(Pigpen in pic).

 On Saturday was a big craft show with over 100 venders, a car show, and plenty of food being served. The weather cooperated nicely.

In the afternoon we got into some yard work at Mandi's. The weather was so nice we finished off with a bonfire and marshmallows.

                                          We capped off the week with a big Packer win.
Pat, Max, Mandi, and Dixie

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Big Shoals State Park

Hi all,
It's been a slow week here at Suwannee as far as cabin use. Our week begins on Sunday and we cleaned 3, on Monday there was 2 and none until Thursday and then only 1. I know we will get some payback next week starting with all 5 on Sunday, so things go.
 So what do we do when there are no check outs? One day we cleaned ovens and porch fans of which each cabin has three. I also get the blower out and clear roads and such. One day we just cleaned the laundry room for about an hour then goofed off the rest of the day.
 The weather here has been awesome lately with highs in the upper 70's. That is above the normal and we should return to the 50's and 60's soon enough.
 One nice afternoon Wendy and I checked out another close by state Park. Big Shoals State Park. This park also situated along the Suwannee River has the notoriety of having the only whitewater in Florida. The Shoals is created by a (huge) 9 foot drop over a 1/4 mile area. At normal water levels it may produce a class III rapids.
 There is no camping in the park but it does have 28 miles of trails. There are designated horse trails, biking, and all can be walked. There is also a shorter paved bike trail that we will hit up on another day.
 This day we just took the 2-1/2 mile out and back trail to the rapids. It closely follows the river though at most times the view is blocked by heavy foliage including lots of saw palmetto.

 Wendy had done a search and came up with 31 state parks in a 100 mile radius of Live Oak we will have to step up our efforts if we are to see them all.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Hi all,
 Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving Day. The park offered us Thursday off in exchange of working Saturday, but as our plans were to eat a bit later and dear daughter Mandi doing most of the cooking we didn't change. We also only needed to clean two of the five cabins so a short day worked out nice.
 We had a great ham? yes ham dinner. We opted to have ham and then will do the turkey at Christmas. Mandi's employer is giving out turkeys before Christmas so we thought why not mix things up. We had a great meal with pumpkin bars and pecan pie topping it off.
 On Friday we tagged along with Mandi to do some Black Friday shopping. We really weren't after any of the big sale items so we didn't hit the stores til 10ish. We were happy as the night time shoppers must have been home catching up on sleep. We found a few decent sale items and didn't have to fight for them.
 On one of our last days off we managed to get in a short kayak trip on the Suwannee. As the forecast called for clouds and possible rain we picked a short portion of the river to check out. We(along with Pat and Amanda) portaged a vehicle down river so we wouldn't have to return upstream.
Mandi and Pat
One downfall with the weather was not being able to get much in the line of pictures. We have also had a good four inches of rain this past week so we haven't been getting out much. Hopefully things will change and we will have more of Wendy's pics next week.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Grapevines n Springs

Hi all,
 The cold weather has found our hiding spot. We have had two nights of freezing temps and highs in the 40's. Well at least we're not in Buffalo right?
 We have been running two small electric heaters almost non stop. We also run our electric fireplace heater when we are up and about. Good thing we are on 50 amp service we have not blown the breakers yet. Oh, and then we do run the units propane furnace for a bit in the morning just to warm things up from the lower night settings. Such is life in an rv in the winter.
 I know we are from Wisconsin and should be used to the cold but I guess our blood thins fast. Hopefully you all are coping as well.
 We have been having a good time here getting some nice visits with Mandi and Pat. Mandi( Amanda) is our oldest of three great kids. Her given name is Amanda and that is what her hubby and his family tend to use, but to us she is Mandi.
 Mandi has bought a house and 30 acres near here and we are trying to help where we can. She had asked us to help with some grapevines that seriously needed pruning. Although we have never grown grapes with the help of google and some youtube videos we gave it a whirl. Now we will keep our fingers crossed and see what happens.
 We have taken a few drives around the area to better acquaint ourselves. Seems to be lots of springs about. These are not the typical springs we have seen where a small pool is formed and then feeds into a stream. These are springs that divers submerse into miles of underground limestone caves. We saw one the other day(Madison Blue Springs), 82 feet across and 25 feet deep. Its output flow varies but has been recorded at 94 million gallons a day making it a first magnitude spring.
 First magnitude springs outflow more than 64 MGD(million gal. per day). Florida has 17 of these.
Also nearby us Falmouth Springs is a first magnitude spring that boast flowing into the shortest river in the world at 400 feet. It is also known to flow backward depending on the Suwannee River level.
  Many of the springs are popular swimming holes on hotter days as they maintain a constant 72 degree temp. And no if you think we are swimming in that. Our nice artesian hot tub at Roper Lake was 95 and just right.
                                So that's your Spring lesson for today;)
Anderson Springs

Lafayette Springs 

Madison Blue Springs

Suwanacoochee Springs

Falmouth Springs

Friday, November 14, 2014

Work and Play

Hi all,
 We have been getting all settled in here at Suwannee River State Park. Like always I'm sure the time will fly by.
 As volunteers here we will be doing cabin cleaning. They have five cabins that are full service with kitchens including dishware and pots and pans. They are two bedroom with a queen bed in one and two twin beds in the other. In the living room there is a couch and love seat that both pull out for sleeping. Linen is also supplied.
 They have nice screened wrap around porches for rocking some time away. These rent out for $100. per night, not to bad.
 The work hasn't been to bad, Wendy says it is just like her old days when she worked as a house cleaner. We have already gotten into a routine of how we do things.
 We are on five days with Friday and Saturday off, but if no one is leaving that day we can just take a extra day off.
 The other workers in the park have been nice and appreciative of our efforts already. We also got in on a volunteer recognition luncheon the other day. They were giving a award to another volunteer that was to be leaving soon.
 We have also been getting in some exploring of the area. We took a nice hike around nearby Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. We did that with Amanda and her doggies getting in a good 4 miles.
 Another perk here is they have some kayaks and canoes that we can use. We finished work early one day and took a couple of the kayaks out to the river. The water here is very dark tea color stained from the cypress and other vegetation.  It gave off some neat reflective photos. The shoreline here is sandy areas mixed in with some neat limestone.
We passed a couple of the many springs that feed into the river. The river has a pretty good flow but we were able to manage an up and down trip. And hard not to break into a verse of Way Down on the Suwannee River while paddling along.)