After departing Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park we headed south to a group of towns on the north side of Orlando.  Normally we would stay at one of two state parks (Wekiwa or Blue Spring) or at a few county parks (Kelly Park at Rock Springs, Lake Monroe, or Trimble.)  They were all full up, at least for the three day weekend we needed at the times we checked, so we opted to lock in reservations at a private RV resort, Twelve Oaks, rather than work our usual “check multiple times a day for last minute cancellations” method that has served us so well in the past. 1-hof-4-rose-i

Twelve Oaks, at a bit under $41 a night with a veteran’s discount, and currently positioned directly beside very extensive highway construction, is not exactly cheap.  But it was the best positioned option for our specific reason for visiting this specific town on this specific weekend. 2-hof-2-inductees

Which was my induction, along with five other former Lake Mary High School athletes, coaches, and staff, into LMHS’ inaugural Hall of Flame class.   It was a great honor and the ceremony was top notch.  I got to meet up with coaches and a couple of people I went to school with that I haven’t seen in 35 years.  We had a cocktail hour, a catered meal, a well conducted ceremony complete with short video montages for each inductee.  And yes, a whole lot of speechifying.  3-hof-3-bio

The only down point was that both my parents ran into complications forcing them to pull out even after having secured the pricey tickets, and in Dad and Marcia’s case had already driven down from the panhandle.  Ah well, we had an aunt, uncle, cousin, son and daughter-in-law available to fill in for an overall fun and nostalgic night.  4-hof-1-family


Back to Florida!

After our four day visit with Mom and Tim in Wilmington, we headed due south towards the Sunshine State, but at our traditional, somewhat leisurely pace.  We stopped for one night at Swamp Fox Campground in South Carolina, a perfectly serviceable full hook up park within the Passport America discount system; so $23 for our stay.  We followed this with two days at Eagle Hammock, the RV Park on Kings Bay Naval Base1-swamp-fox

This campground and the one at Mayport Naval Station have been on my list to check out for sometime now.  It is a relatively small campground that has an interesting method of dealing with overflow campers once all the full hook up sites are full: They begin splitting sites, with the first rig getting full services and the extra rig getting electricity (whichever amperage the first rig is not using) and water (off a splitter.)  The camp hosts were very helpful and well organized, getting us into one of the biggest split sites still available.  On a nice lake with access to the good sized commissary and exchange complex this place was well worth it at $17 a night. 2-ga-sign

Sunday morning we pulled out and headed for one of our favorite Florida state parks, Gilchrist Blue Springs.  Purchased from private owners by the state a couple of years ago, it has technically been renamed “Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park,” but I’m only typing that out this one time.  In addition to the beautiful springs and woodland trails, it’s less than half an hour from cousin Robb and Colleen’s house, so they and the twins are able to come out to the springs and hang with us, work and school schedules permitting.


A successful geocaching hunt.

This they did, with Maeve and Nola getting an extra holiday from school so they could tent camp on our site for a night.  We had an excellent visit with all the expected activities: swimming, snorkeling, short hikes, geocaching, nature encounters (deer, wild turkey, giant cypress trees), a campfire, and smores.


The main spring

The quaint town of High Springs is 15 minutes or so from the park, and provides all the things you would want from small town America: a few restaurants, an ice cream shop, a craft brewery, a barber, thrift stores, a weekend farmers market, small groceries, and various artsy little shops.  On our last day we hit the town’s very best Mexican Restaurant, El Patio, and High Springs Brewing Company for an excellent flight.


The twins and “Aric” a 350 year old Cyprus. 

As I have written before, Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is not for everyone: two miles of washboard entry roads, tight maneuvering to get to the sites, all of which are on dirt, and tree cover preventing easy connection for those with satellite TV.  But we love it, and plan to stop every time we can fit it during our exit from and return to Florida each year.


The less visited second spring

Next up: back to Central Florida, I get honored, and we begin five weeks of rather chaotic bouncing around Central Florida and the southern half of the Gulf Coast.  7-pkm-leaves