Monday, November 7, 2011


I would like to share the memories of our 3-week camping trip to and through Florida. It was WONDERFUL!

On October 11 Maxey, my cousin Gail, and I jumped into our pickup pulling our little tent trailer and headed for Florida.

The first day we drove to Natchitoches, Louisiana where we visited the historic downtown area and ate delicious meat pies.

That night we camped in the Chicot State Park. It was beautiful. We set up camp in the rain, but even that was enjoyable.


The next day we continued on to Niceville, Florida where we had supper at Frank and Allison Sanders' with their two delightful grown children. We were very honored that they would have us over for a home cooked gourmet meal. That night we camped at a state park right in the center of Niceville. It was SO nice...with little picket fences around each campsite. Unfortunately the schedule didn't allow us to linger and enjoy it's beauty. We did, however, spend the entire next day with Frank and Allison. Frank took Maxey golfing; and Allison showed us the sights of Niceville and treated us to a wonderful lunch on the waterfront.

We stayed a little too long enjoying Frank and Allison's hospitality, so our journey to our next campsite took us into the night and left us setting up camp in the dark. Oh well...we had the headlights of the pickup to light our way.

The next morning we were thrilled to see that the Ochlockonee River State Park was absolutely lovely! Thank goodness we scheduled it for two days! We took numerous hikes and saw more palmettos that we could possibly count.
We saw beautiful white took me over half and hour to get this picture of this wonder of God. I think it liked me! It played hide and seek in that hole in the tree.

Maxey created amazing campfires every night that it was permissible.

Our longest stop was The Calypso Cay Resort in Kissimmee. I loved it! We played miniature golf on a beautiful little course...among the lovely foliage, squirrels and lizards. We were there 4 days...relaxing and enjoying! Ahhh!

Maxey got to play golf our second day there. We all went to Disney World the third day even though a tropical storm was forecast.

Our next destination was Daytona Beach where we stayed on the ocean side of the fourth floor of a very nice Holiday Inn. Maxey golfed; and Gail and I walked on the beach (about 6 miles!)...long enough for Gail to get a blister. We saw newly dug turtle nests, lots of birds,  lovely sand and waves, and a wonderful sunrise. It was a lot of fun!


Next it was on to THE EVERGLADES!

We camped at Collier-Seminole State Park.  Wow, wow, and wow!

 As most everyone knows, I have a real "thing" for air plants. Well, THEY WERE EVERYWHERE!
 I couldn't believe it! 


We drove into Everglade City for an airboat ride. That was one of the most awesome things I've ever done! What fun, what fun! We rode out to a little private island, swished through the little wooded canals, and fed a raccoon and a pair of alligators. Who ever knew that raccoons like dog cookies and alligators like strawberry marshmallows?

 After the marvelous boat ride, be stopped at a historical restaurant in town. Gail played it safe with grouper, but I had alligator and Maxey at frog legs. (I still prefer a good hamburger!) 

We stopped at a tourist information station along the way and they had a boardwalk outside. There were alligators resting all along the boardwalk. I took these photos. Some of them are hard to determine because the water is so clear...The alligators look like they're in the sky!!!

Maxey played golf the next day. Gail and I stayed at the campsite hiking and collecting air plants (probably not something we were supposed to be doing...). Here are a few photos from around camp.

About noon, when we were returning from a walk in the woods (called the haddock), I noticed a buzzard sitting on top of a I snapped it's picture. was a lookout! When we got back to our camp, just around the corner, its buzzard friend was standing in our cooler clutching our hot dog weiners. All our meat and cheese was strung all over camp. Bummer!! We had purchased some of the prettiest porkchops I had ever seen for Maxey to grill for supper! One of them was left in the package over in the bushes, but it was very dirty. Maxey had just filled the cooler with ice so we could have iced tea all day. I think the fact that all the ice was dirty made me more sad than the loss of the porkchops. Maxey got back from his golf game shortly after we made our discovery. He said he was sure it was raccoons. I disagreed. I had SEEN the buzzard!!!!  (which he informed me was a hawk...he said he could tell from the photo)

Well, sure enough (Maxey is NEVER true!) we were all sitting around our campsite when we heard a rustle in the bushes.

Like I said, Maxey is never wrong! The momma raccoon proceeded to show us how she committed the crime. With three babies to feed, one has to do what one has to do.  I guess the hawk was just taking advantage of the opportunity...or just washing his feet in our ice.

Pickin's were pretty slim for supper, so Gail opened a box of Cracker Jacks. Hmm...Do you think it's humid in The Everglades?

Our last evening there, we decided to try the hiking trail just outside the state park. Here's the sign that was posted at the start of the trail:

Needless to say, I wasn't too thrilled to be hiking this trail! IT'S A KNOWN PANTHER CROSSING! I got pretty close to being obnoxious about not wanting to be there!!!!! (That's hard to believe, isn't it?)

 I must admit the trail was postcard beautiful! But that sign seemed pretty serious to me.

The sign might have gotten Maxey and Gail's attention, too.

Now it's off to Shark Valley an Everglades National Preserve. Even our tour guide was surprised by the number of birds, alligators, and especially baby alligators we saw.

Next we headed for John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Goodness! It was a wonderful park! They had a free aquarium full of wonderful coral samples and their own glass bottom boat tours. We had a terrific time!!!

It was a beautiful campsite...except that we got ants in our tent! No harm...the hundreds of them were discovered under our mattress after we had a very peaceful night's sleep.  YUK!

Florida State Parks sure beat Texas'. They have wonderful showers and even provide laundry facilities.

We were supposed to travel on to Fort Lauderdale, but we decided to head on home. We camped at Oleno State Park in central Florida. We drove an exceedly long way that day...making it to camp well after dark. Oh well, we're pros. We can set up by the truck's headlights...again.

It was morning before we could see how beautiful this latest state park was. We had a one night reservation, but extended it so we could arrive a day early since we skipped Ft. Lauderdale. (We really didn't have anything we wanted to do in Ft. Lauderdale...and we had heard it was the least attractive leg of the trip.)

At this park we hiked 10 miles...not really intentionally, but we did it!



After our hike, we needed nourishment!

...and relaxation!

Poor me! I'm just trying to crochet a little while Maxey and Gail play each other Scrabble on their phones when acorns keep hailing down on me...Ouch! Really!  

An acorn even fell in my tea!

I broke out in little blisters...all over my neck and arms and finally going up my face. They itched like CRAZY until I scratched them enough to pop them. Then they'd be okay...for an hour or so. Then they'd itch even worse! I think...I know...all the scratching really got on everyone's nerves!

Our next stop was The Florida Caverns State Park. It was beautiful. Who knew there were caves in Florida? I thought is was all swamps!

Leaving Florida, our last campsite was at Roosevelt State Park in Mississippi. It was beautiful!! Really, really beautiful. We might even go back there for a few days in the future...when we have time to enjoy it. We just had time to set up camp and make a campfire before sunset. It got down to 36 degrees that night!

We took a few pictures of the area, but didn't have time to really experience the park.

One of the neatest parts of this extended trip was the realization that fall had arrived while we were traveling. All the trees were green when we headed for Florida. They were very, very colorful on our return trip. God is so amazing!!

Kudzu is lovely...but it kills everything it grows on. Deceiving, huh? So pretty! We saw it all along the highway throughout the trip. So sad...

We drove all the way home from Mississippi. We had thought we might need to spend the night at Tyler State Park...because Maxey thought he might be too tired to make it all the way in one day. However, the day went really well and we pressed on. 

It's amazing to me how many stops we made and how different they all were! Every campsite had it's own personality, yet they were all wonderful. Every stop got better and better.Thanks to our tour guide and navigator... my cousin, Gail.

She made an A+ on this trip!!!!!!!