Sunday, October 14, 2012

Smokey Mt. Nat'l. Park Oct 2012

Smokemont Campground - Great Smokey Mt. National Park (Oct. 2012)

What a great long weekend (4 days)!  First time we've stayed at a park with no water or electric at the sites.  Wasn't too sure about no showers but ... it was fine.  Weather was cool to quite cool (40s-70s).

The first day we went to the other side of the park to do Cades Cove Loop, then took an 8 mile (off-road) trail thru the woods - over areas where the water was running across the track - to connect with Tail of the Dragon.  What a great ride!  We'd done the Tail of the Dragon before and just wanted to do it again.  The track out of Cades Cove was a little scary in my non-4 wheel drive jeep but we made it!

Second day we went to Clingman's Dome - 6643' elevation.  Phew!  I had a hard time breathing that last 1/2 mile climb to the top.  Unfortunately it was all socked in -

Clingman's Dome (in the clouds)

The elk were incredible!  We saw them twice - a herd of at least 12!  The "bull" was pretty impressive!  And he came out of the woods - after all the females - walking like a king.  Not hard to tell he was in charge.

The fall colors were about peak, I'd say.  Higher elevations a lot of the leaves were half gone.  This picture is at an old mill in the park - about 1200-1500' elevation. (Molly was afraid (initially) of the leaves blowing around on the ground!)

Great trip all together!  Long drive from Central Florida though!  Spent around 11 hours in the car - each way.  Probably do it again next year!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park, Keystone Heights, FL

Well, just home from a Labor Day weekend spent at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park in Keystone Heights, FL.  About an hour and a half from home & just right when you only have a couple days to lounge around.

Once again the Teardrop was a smash hit!  Lots of other campers - all raving about what a great job Don did in building the camper.  This time they seemed particularly taken with the "wrapped" fenders.  (We bought regular metal fenders (for durability) and then Don wrapped them with the same wood as the camper.)

We met lots of nice people - especially a couple with an old 1984 fiberglass Shasta (13' I think they said).  They were the original owners and had done lots & lots of traveling in it.  Quite impressive for being so small.  (They said they were usually the smallest camper at any campground but they had to give us that claim for this weekend!)  Unfortunately it was short lived as a father & son came roaring in on a Gold Wing motorcycle - pulling a trailer that unfolded up and out to sleep two.  They took the "smallest camper" award away from us!

The campground was pretty large but extremely quiet - especially at night.  We had a full moon every night and I tried to capture it but ... you can't really get it from my picture.

As you can see, Molly came along - as usual.  It was a pretty warm weekend but she loves it hot.  Found her laying in the sand most of the time - right out in the sun.  We hit the flea market in Waldo on Saturday, along with a pretty nice antique mall.  (We all cooled off there!)  Fortunately there was no rain (thanks to Issac having just passed) and the nights cooled down nicely.  (We did use the A/C tho!)

Guess that's about it for this trip.  Next one ... probably to the mountains to catch the changing of the leaves in October.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park -

Well, just getting back to updating this diary!  Almost forgot to log our latest trip to Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs, FL.  (Almost on the Fl/Ga border.)  We were there 7/13-15/12.  What a beautiful park!  Only about 45 sites but also has cabins, canoe launch, craft square, museum, carillon tower (bells) and a nice gift shop.  Unfortunately we were there just after the area had been flooded by a tropical storm (Debbie?); not the park but surrounding towns, and the river was way up - too high for canoes.

The bells from the tower rang out the hour (and quarter/half) and also did a series of Stephen Foster songs periodically.  Lovely to just sit back and listen.

The site was very large & more private than most.  Again, lots of friendly campers & volunteers.  (First tour Saturday morning was at 7 am - I wasn't even out of bed yet and Don was outside explaining to someone how he built the teardrop!

Molly, as usual, was a star.  She's go good camping.  Almost never barks and just loves laying in the dirt - or on the picnic table like here.

The only negative to the whole visit was local restaurants - or I should say restaurant.  Usually we fall into really good local places to eat out at least one night (the others we cook at the site) but the little restaurant nearby (Fat Belly's - or something like that) was really pretty poor.

Well, guess that's it for a little while.  Too many other things happening over the next month or two to get back out here but we're already looking for out next trip!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beech Bend Park Campground, Bowling Green, KY

Longest trip yet!  Great long weekend (Thurs.-Sun.) in Bowling Green.  Went for the "Cackle Fest" (vintage dragsters - car show & swap meet) and stayed at the campground at the track.  (Park has an amusement park, water park, circle track/drag strip, AND campground.  Great with Don going to the event every day.  Was able to walk back and forth to the camp site.)  500 campsites in all!

(Did you notice the little lights on the screen room?  For Christmas I found strings of teardrop camper lights and bought them for Don.  Fun!)

It was nice to be able to take Molly, too.  (She's sitting just outside the screen room.)  She LOVES camping!  Can't wait to get in the teardrop - usually begs outside the door long before we're ready for bed.

Long ride (13 hours each way) but makes for an inexpensive 4 days!  Teardrop towed perfectly - almost forgot it was there most of the time (except for the reaction from others on the road).  Everyone has to come over and ask questions.  Lots & lots of compliments for Don, again!  Don joked that it was nice this time that he didn't have to do the "tours" as he was at the track most of the time.  I think that's the best part!  We get to meet so many people we never would've met otherwise. 

As always, each trip I think of little things I need to pick up for "next time".  We've decided to add stabilizing jacks to replace the "screw jacks" we now use.  (Very inexpensive upgrade.)  Might eventually upgrade the screen room, too.  (The walls are on an angle.  Think it might be even nicer if the sides were straight and we could add solid panels in bad weather.)  We'll see!

Guess that's it for this trip.  Talked on the way home about where we want to go next.  Probably only locally until the Fall but that's ok.  More soon! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lake Griffin State Park

Home from a Memorial Day weekend at Lake Griffin State Park (over near Leesburg, FL).  Can't believe it's been 3 months since we've been out but life just seems to get in the way!

Lake Griffin is a fairly small park but what a great bunch of campers we met!  Everyone was so friendly - and curious about the Teardrop.  (One even asked if we just used it to haul our gear!)  :)  Boy, was he surprised when we gave him the tour.

Molly was a perfect camper, too!  (Here she is riding to Leesburg - in her car seat, of course.)

And we're already looking forward to our next trip - Kentucky!  More soon!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Hobe Sound, FL - Feb. 2012

Great weekend in south Florida.  Perfect weather - balmy - not a tree in sight!  Met some nice people - all loved the Teardrop!  Everything worked great - still love the new "kitchen" (see earlier post).  People are always amazed when we fix a full breakfast - bacon, eggs, etc. on the camp stove.  YUM!  Screen room came in handy this trip due to the sun - we don't always set it up.  Also hooked up the TV this time - for the race Saturday night.  (Molly & I went to bed early!)  Wished we could stay longer but ... maybe soon!