Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

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.)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Way down on the Suwannee River

Hi all,
Time to catch up a bit- we pulled into Suwannee River State Park on last Friday and have been busy.
This is where we will be for the next four months.
 The park is located about 13 miles west of Live Oak, Fla. along, as you can guess, the Suwannee River. There are 30 campsites and 5 cabins on 1800 acres in the park. Most of the area is long leaf pines with some mixed hardwoods, Wendy is in pine needle heaven.) There is a boat/canoe launch that is beckoning us to get the kayak out and go.
 We have been busy getting settled and learning our duties. Our schedule calls for 20 hours of service per week. It looks like we may work 5 days but things may change as more volunteers are scheduled to arrive.
 We are the first campers occupying a new volunteer village that has four sites. It is nestled in a wooded area just off from the main campground. It doesn't offer the views we had at Arizona last year but should be a nice quiet area to watch the numerous squirrels go nuts.)
 Well the best part of being here is the being near our oldest daughter Amanda and her husband Pat. In March she took a job at a Pilgrim, one of the countries biggest chicken process plants as a head accountant. The plant is located less than a mile from the campground.
 They recently bought a 30 acre property that is only about 8 miles from here. The 30 acres is a neat property with some nice outbuildings and much of the place fenced. This is a huge change for the two of them. They have already got 6 new kids to help with the yard mowing. It should be fun watching(and helping) how this goes.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thats it from the beach

Hi all,
 Well our beach vacation has came to an end and at just the right time for the cold spell the last couple days.
 We had a great time in the Destin, Florida area and will definitely plan a return trip someday.
our campsite at Rocky Bayou
The last couple days there we spent a good portion of one day at the Harbor Walk dock area in Destin. There is quite a bit going on there with shops and dining and is also headquarters for many of the fishing outfitters and dolphin watching trips. They also rent pontoons, jet skis, and other water craft.
 There was also a zip line as in most places nowadays and no I couldn't get Wendy to try it.
 Drinking and dining are also big in a Margaritaville, Coyote Ugly, and a bunch of other places.
 There was a annual fish rodeo going on. The fishermen bring their catches in for official weighing. People sit in small bleachers and watch the weighing, it was quite entertaining.
 We first saw a dad come in with about 5 kids who were proudly showing their catch, we thought they were pretty big. Then the big boys came in and put up a large swordfish and some huge yellowfin tuna. Now these guys were serious and had been out for two days.
 Sure made me want to get out there and give it a go, maybe next time.
 We then took in the United States Air Force Armament Museum. This is a nice and free museum, something well worth the time to visit.
                                   Overall another great area and one you all should see.