Traveling now for 9 weeks is a little bittersweet. We are still enjoying see the sights, our friends and family, but we are also missing our home. When we get a little homesick, we will pull up the cameras and see what is going back in South Dakota. We had this visitor the other day.
How’s my cough you ask? Horrible. Week 3, some days I feel like I am getting better and only have an attack a couple times throughout the day. But then at night when I try to lay down it really hits. Hacking so much I get dizzy. My lovely wife bought some Vicks Vapor rub that she lovingly applies to my chest each night while quietly singing Soft Kitty ala Big Bang Theory. If you are unfamiliar with this scene, you can watch it here. The only difference between Barb doing it and Penny is near the end of the song, although Barb was still singing, she had stopped rubbing. When I opened my eyes, she was holding a pillow at both ends hovering inches from my face with a rather scary look in her eyes.
Thank God, we have tolerant friends in Dan, Jeannie, Liz and Mike who still wanted to hang out with us despite my coughing.
Dan and I got out fishing two more times. This time on a
large lake up near Gainesville. We left early each morning trying to get
the morning bite on crappies.
Our plan was to fish the flooded timber around the lake, and I do not mean going along the edge and casting into the timber, I mean going into the timber and fishing amongst the trees. This was a first for both of us. When I saw the impenetrable wall of Spanish moss and trees the first thing, I thought of were spiders and snakes that were no doubt lying in wait for some unsuspecting fisherman to get too close.
As we approached the trees and started pushing through the moss, I was constantly on the lookout for both. We would push through, fish an area for 20-30 minutes, go back out to the open water, go down the shore and find another area to push through. Sure enough, I soon saw a snake lay on a branch as we approached. No way, not going through that hole!
The waters were only 1-2' deep in there, but that did not
matter to the fish, as we’d pick up one in this spot, 3 or more in the next. By
noon both days we had about 20 nice fatties to take home with us!
While we were doing this, Barb and Jeanie were on their own adventures doing whatever girls do while their men are fishing. One day they went on a farm tour on the outskirts of Ocala. They said that although the farms themselves were interesting, the guide was not very good.
Another day they went swimming in the Rainbow River. Now that looks like fun!
One evening we bought a 1/2 bushel of fresh oysters. The only way we like them is grilled on the 1/2 shell. Our first challenge was shucking a couple hundred oysters without cutting our hands up with these oyster knives.
Once they were shucked and laid out on cookie sheets, we applied toppings to them. Garlic/parm, various hot sauces, bacon. We ate about 20 each and had oyster belly by the end of the meal.
Dan and Jeanie have two labs: Star and Sally. All the dogs got along well, with no incidents.
We spent our last night in the area back over at Mike and Liz’s giving Zoey and Dakota one last playdate with Tux.
The next morning, we loaded a hood and grill from Mike’s jeep
that he asked us to deliver to a friend in Apalachicola. Since that was our next
destination and the parts were to be delivered to a bar his friend owned, we
were more than happy to! We arrived at Belle's Winery and Saloon midafternoon and met the owner,
Mel. Super nice person, if you are ever in the area, stop by Belle's.
|Barb and I with Mel
This destination also included the first campground we had stayed at in quite a while. And believe me, we needed it. We had not dumped our tanks since we were in Everglades NP many, many days ago. The Tate's Hell State Forest Cash Creek campground is a quiet little park within the Apalachicola National Forest. At $23 a night W/E, it offers a nice, quiet place to hang your head for the night.
The next day we drove across the bridge to check out St. George Island and the state park. The beaches on the park are beautiful, but not dog friendly. Barb and I walked one beach and it was just loaded with sea shells.
We did find a beach outside the park that was dog-friendly, so we were able to get the girls out for a walk on the beach before we went to lunch at the Blue Parrot right along the waterfront.
We knew our friends Dino and Lisa had spent some time here a
few weeks ago and when I saw this gentleman metal detecting on the beach, we
thought perhaps Dino was back to try to find more treasures.
It was then that I noticed this guy did not have a Busch Light in his other hand, so it definitely was not Dino.
Our favorite stop in the area was the Chestnut Street Cemetery. This was by far, the most rundown cemetery we have visited with many headstones turned over. Maintenance had fallen way, way behind.
The cool thing about this cemetery was the pamphlet at the entrance highlighting many of the gravesites within the cemetery. This is the first time we have run into this and found it very interesting.