Winter in North Florida

Winter in the north Florida area has roared in like a lion this month. Not only did we have snow in portions of this area earlier this month last night we got down in the teens here at our the county park where we are currently workamping. Most people come to Florida for warmer temperatures and our more than average nice weather when the snow is blowing a blizzard in the northern, central and western states this time of year.

Being in an RV this time of year can bring some interesting challenges for those of us living in them full-time. It might not snow here in this area but we still have to keep the water flowing and our little camper warm throughout the night. Thankfully, space is small compared to a home or apartment but the walls and windows are a lot thinner and not as well insulated. To temporarily help with this situation we alternate between a small space heater that doesn’t have a lot of watts and has a thermostat and will turn itself off should it get tipped over. And we light the propane oven for 15 minutes every hour or so until we go to be. We have also place bubble wrap sheets on all the windows. This is an expensive way to keep some of the cold air from seeping into the RV. Of course, we all have to wear socks on our feet and have lap blankets on while we are watching TV.

Outside the trick is to wear layers. A cotton layer of T-Shirts and flannel pajama pants, the middle layer of jeans and flannel shirts and, finally, the other layer of jackets, gloves, and shoes with thick socks. When there is frost on the ground we have been using our personal vehicle to open and close the park because our Gator doesn’t have a windshield. You don’t want to be barrelling around the park, trails, and roads in your park with no windshield in 20 to 30-degree weather even if you are in Florida. You don’t want to put your bare hands on any pipes, hoses or metal fencing on these mornings.

We hope that our fellow workampers further south are having a better time of it and hopefully this will be the last week of this silliness. The one great thing about all this is that the weather is killing all those extra mosquitoes for us. Maybe this spring won’t be as buggy!



Dog Days of Summer

Dogs days of summer are upon us. We are still hanging out working in the Alligator Lake Recreation Park here in Lake City, Florida. With all the visitors we have had even on the hottest days here we have been keeping pretty busy with our duties. When we are not driving around on the Gator picking up trash, checking out the trails, cleaning the bathrooms, checking the trash cans and keeping the rental pavilion cleaned between uses we have been keeping busy with creating more handcrafted items, working on my websites, and entertaining my granddaughter during her visits while out of school.

Dogs days of summer are upon us. We are still hanging out working in the Alligator Lake Recreation Park here in Lake City, Florida. With all the visitors we have had even on the hottest days here we have been keeping pretty busy with our duties. When we are not driving around on the Gator picking up trash, checking out the trails, cleaning the bathrooms, checking the trash cans and keeping the rental pavilion cleaned between uses we have been keeping busy with creating more handcrafted items, working on my websites, and entertaining my granddaughter during her visits while out of school. We have also had the big air conditioning unit die on us so we have had to replace it with two small window AC units. Thankfully, my brother was in town and able to install them properly. We had also, finally, ran out of propane and he helped me put in one of those “Stay-A-While” propane kits so that we can use the smaller, portable propane tanks you can exchange at our local Walmart. It seems to be working fine. We haven’t tried filling up our onboard tank with it. Instead, we have the smaller tank’s propane going directly into the RV. Don’t forget to keep your onboard tank’s valve off when you use one of these.
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Free North Florida Springs – Part 4

Free North Florida Springs – In our forth and final episode in the series we will be listing a couple of the free springs left on our list and relisted a few of the websites you might want to “favor” or “bookmark” for future reference. Again, please remember that all of the springs we have listed are located somewhere along one of the rivers, have a tendency to flood several times a year and do not have the same amenities as the ones in our Florida State Parks. Also, please do not harass the local wildlife, bring mosquito repellent, wear water shoes to swim and always bring along someone who is a better swimmer than you are. The buddy system works for a reason. Most of these places are in the middle of a wildlife and/or wilderness area and you do not want to swim alone. Finally, please be kind and take your trash with you or at least use any trash cans that may be provided. Leave only footprints and take only pictures.

Resources

Checking River Levels: http://www.srwmd.state.fl.us/index.aspx?nid=253
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Free North Florida Springs – Part 3

Free North Florida Springs – In part three of our series we want to introduce you to a little known spring located with the Troy Springs Conservation area and Ruth Walker Tract. In fact, it is located off the same hard road as Troy Springs State Park. The area is run and maintained by the Suwannee River Water Management District so there are not a lot of amenities. There is, of course, no charge to visit the springs but be aware that this one is located down a not well maintained dirt road after traveling down a crushed rock road. There is no sign leading down to the spring itself you just got to find it. It took us two tries to finally locate the place but it was well worth it. The springs area is fortified with large wooden beams. There use to be a wooden walkway leading down but when we visited there (May 2013) it was almost gone. There is a parking area around the spring but no port-a-potty or picnic tables. It is used and kept clean mostly by local residents. The best direction we have found on another website: http://www.flsprings.com/content/ruth-spring
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Free North Florida Springs – Part 2

Free North Florida Springs – In part two of our series we will list another springs area that you can visit and not have to pay an entrance fee. Remember, our natural springs are located near a river and have a tendency to flood when the river rises. You really do not want to go into a spring that you cannot see to the bottom of and you should always be aware of snakes, alligators and other creatures that live in the area. Please do not harass the wildlife. Again, most of our springs are regulated by either Federal, State, County or Water Management Districts. Most charge a fee to visit. One of our favorites is Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park in Live Oak, Florida. It is more popular with divers than swimmers but the swimming area is pretty nice. It is not as big as some of the more popular springs state parks but nice nonetheless. On a hot summer day when the river is down you can go to this out-of-the-way area and enjoy the large shade trees, dip into very chilly water and have a picnic on the banks.
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