Otis Takes An R-U-V Vacation

Otis takes a  ride.

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Yeah, I know – a cat.  This past fall ‘Otis’ wandered up  and after spending the $ to have him ‘fixed;’ we’re giving him every opportunity to ‘fit-in,’ so far he has passed all his exams.  Anyway, –

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a cat wandered up…. other than that it’s been a quiet winter in the foothills of South Carolina.  More often than not it was comfortable weather, the frigid weather held back until the first part of January – then we got a dash of it!

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Within it all I have nothing to complain about – i didn’t have to pull out my ‘jong-johns,’ the pipes didn’t freeze, and nothing broke.  Another month, another set of bills – seasons’ pass, and another sunset hits the mountains; ‘Life’ is good.

In this rotation is February – a time to trade any sense of ‘cabin-fever’ for another snowbird ‘loop’ through Florida – my homestate.  It’s ironic growing up hating tourists because of their impact on our little town, and now having an “R-U-V!” But at at this time also (life at 60 ) it fits, so well, why not?

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btw; one of the GK’s (James) calls our RV an R-‘U’-V, James is a pretty smart guy, so with this our ‘Little Bessie‘ is now considered a first class “R-U-V!”.

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On last year’s ‘loop’ I wanted to ride the backroads of W Georgia to Florida; long story short – it didn’t happen (‘fluid’ decisions). We stay off of the interstates as much as possible; this year in the direction of South Georgia and Plains, Ga – home of Former President Jimmy Carter.  I always liked this guy – still do, he’s a good man.  So we spent the day ‘lolly-gagging’ around the town stores and finding out first-hand just how much he is thought of as ‘a friend’ and neighbor.  He has a lot of friends.

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The old brick elementary school he attended has been preserved by the National Park System, really nice – and a place where the halls can easily remind one of where real ‘friendships’ begin.  The above picture was on the wall – I liked the character and took a picture of it.

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Sometime in the night Otis came out of his nest, looked around – then curled up and went back to sleep. Kims done a good job training him..  His eating/cat activities were normal with no messes.  When morning came we continued southward on Ga Highway 19  into Florida with a stop at Fanning Springs.

The Suwannee river at Fanning Springs

The Suwannee river at Fanning Springs

Fanning Springs is a clear spring along the Suwannee River that I’ve paddled through several times – and it was a good time to show Kim where’d I been the past several years.

Manatees

Manatees

I was really hoping for Kim to see some Manatees, and surprisingly we found 6 or seven ‘lazing-around’ just below the clear spring waters in the thin February sunshine.

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Next stop along the way was to see an old friend, Dan Goddard (FMHS 70).  I’m a ‘drop-in’ kinda guy, and Dan is always good with it.  A schoolmate, we chatted as we walked through his back-yard (‘bone-yard‘) of old-cars and rusty projects – I’m into that stuff too; just don’t have a pace to put it – so I enjoy others stuff.  Old-friends are good; and after a mmmmeaty burger and a beer at nearby Willards with Dan – Kim and I were off to Rainbow Springs.

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We had five days and four nights at Rainbow Springs State Park waiting. Long enough to get comfortable, and a good place to get Kim in a kayak – on the water.  The North Carolina Carr’s gave us a tandem-kayak for use at the lake, and when Kim said she would get out in it; I threw it on the trailer (along with my solo) and took them both with us.

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The Rainbow river

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If I ever have another home; along the Rainbow river would be the place.

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The place worked well for getting her introduced to a kayak, and I think she liked the clear water.  The Rainbow Springs ‘head’ is about a mile upstream, an easy paddle so we worked our way up river – then with our ‘feet-up,’ completed a very mellow hour-long trip back to the campground ramp.

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I was wondering if I could get her back in (kinda hoping not so I could solo) but I blew it when I mentioned there was beverage at the other end.  The following day we paddled (lightly) with the current a few hours down the Rainbow river to the Withlacoochee.  A little further from there was the Blue Gator tiki bar – and next door was a shuttle (at our convenience) back to the Park.

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– it is true, at the end of the Rainbow – was a cold little cup of gold.

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Oh yeah, and Otis – he figured right in to this park-life stuff.

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After a week at Rainbow, we hit the bacroads once again – down the road stopping to visit a cousin, Ellen (Lakeland/Kathleen is family land, Mom’s side).

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Ellen’s got a neat little place off Scrotum rd (Socrum rd) with just the right amount of livestock – and a little gator in her pond.  Julie, her daughter is the only female gator-trapper for the area and drops one off on occasion. Good to see Ellen and her other daughter Ginger whom was enjoying a birthday.

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To “Creek Week”

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Fisheating Creek

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and some paddlin time…

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The goal for the past year was this ‘week at the Creek’ – with friends.

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Al and Ava (FMHS 71) came in for a few days, and ‘pitched’ in – right beside us.

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It was a time to enjoy what a place and folks have in common…..

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(now Ava, was that mouse really that big??)

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and there was plenty of ez time within the weekday peace to take a paddle….

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gator watch

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maybe even reflect,

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or share a laugh

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Life can be, a tire swing – if you let it.

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Kim paddled the waters too

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even got some gator watchin time in

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Of course there were a few other stories floating around the camp too…

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another good thing about old friends

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It was a simple time, with the best of friends

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Kim and I remained through the weekend, as the crowds came – weekend at the creek changed, it was like a festival without the band.

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Full of people and their activities – all the canoes and kayaks were rented out, the campsites were full – even had a ‘Joe Dirt’ wedding taking place. I was impressed how the staff kept up with everything.  We just rode the bikes around and watched it all in amusement, kinda like hanging around a boat ramp – cheap entertainment.

Sunday was the best though; we watched as the crowds departed…..

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Monday the peace and tranquility of the creek was back; later that day we headed North

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Otis’s first ride in the RUV was a positive; he operated at the same pace as everyone else and fit in just fine.

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 “….can’t we all just get along?”

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link; Tom Haynie

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