Summer on the Suwannee

Summer on the Suwannee River is going to be exciting and it will be hot and muggy too. It’s a very good thing that we will be in a Florida State Park that has a cool spring for swimming. As we speak our little RV air conditioning unit is thinking about quitting on us and we just don’t have the money to get it fixed. 🙁 Major bummer for us. We may have to move to the front of the park behind the ranger’s station to get under the shade of some trees pretty soon. The barn area campsite for the residential hosts is extremely nice with a huge yard, electric, water and sewer set up, a fire ring and picnic table. We also have an extra bathhouse inside the barn that we use. It was made for the boy scouts who primitive camp in the park in exchange for some service project they do for the ranger. They were trying to get equestrian primitive camping approved to utilize this great horse barn that came with the property as well. But due to some “right of way on private property” snafu that has been put on hold indefinitely. The bathhouse is A.D.A. accessible. However, there are no shade trees where we have to park in order to reach the utilities. It gets pretty warm in here fairly quickly in the morning then all the way until dark.

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If the ranger doesn’t object we may go back and forth between the front and the back just to try it out. But first we have to paint the roof with that rubber sealant stuff before we can move. We have a little leak in the back of the RV right next to the ladder that filters down on top of the side table inside the back bedroom. Of course, it has to be raining really hard for it to leak down. Right now we have a new, large tarp over the back in order to try and keep the inside of the RV dry. The tarp also provides some much needed shade too. This old girl is beginning to need some major repairs with the soft spots in the floor and the roof, the AC unit needing servicing as well as the mechanical stuff we have been trying to save up for like an engine and transmission rebuilt. The tires are going to need replacing pretty soon. They still have some decent tread on them but with all the use they have been getting over the last two to almost three years I know I will have to get them changed out pretty soon. Oh, good grief!!!!

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The duties are fairly light here and we do get three or four whole days off during the week. The park ranger asked us to work the park during the weekends to give her some time to get her vacation days in and to help out at other parks during the “burns” she is fire certified and most of the Florida State Parks have to get the prescribed burns in during the slow visiting months. We open the gates in the morning, put of the flags, turn on the exhaust fans in the bathroom building, we check and record the spring water level and any rain that happened the day before. In the evenings we clean the bathrooms, check the trash bins, pick up trash in the picnic area and the swimming area, and if the barbecue grills have been used we clean them out as well. We drive through the park making sure there are brochures in their holders, blue pay envelopes in the Iron Ranger, take down the flags and lock the gates. During the middle of the day we do any projects the ranger needs done and once a week blow of the sidewalks and roadways. Every two weeks now we mow some grass in the back of the property. The ranger takes care of the grass in the picnic and swimming area as well as any needed repairs.

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This week we found out that the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail’s Adams Tract River Camp doesn’t have a summer time host. Since Troy Springs doesn’t have a washer/dryer on site yet we volunteered to keep the river camp clean once a week in exchange for them letting us use the washer and dryer they have in their big garage there. I just don’t know about these volunteers who keep running out of the state every summer. They must be weenies…. Anyway, it is good for us. It saves us in time and money so that we don’t have to drive into Mayo, Branford or even Live Oak to their laundromats each week. Their park rangers only have to mow the grass and take away the trash. If you are paddling down the Suwannee this weekend and need a nice place to camp before you get to Branford then Adams Tract River Camp is the place. It has hot shower bathhouses with AC units, there are screened-in wooden sleeping platforms with ceiling fans, lights, water, picnic table and fire pits. Since, there is no host you can’t buy ice or firewood though. Everything is cleaned and ready for the next campers!

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