Otis Takes An R-U-V Vacation

Otis takes a  ride.


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, –


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!


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?


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!”.

1602 - Plains Ga

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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


The Rainbow river


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


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.


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.


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


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


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).


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.


To “Creek Week”


Fisheating Creek


and some paddlin time…


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


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


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


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



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


gator watch


maybe even reflect,


or share a laugh


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


Kim paddled the waters too


even got some gator watchin time in


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


another good thing about old friends


It was a simple time, with the best of friends


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


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…..


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


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


 “….can’t we all just get along?”


link; Tom Haynie

3 thoughts on “Otis Takes An R-U-V Vacation

  1. Hey you three Haynies:

    This is GREAT read Tom. I feel as if I really experienced this FL trip

    with you, Kim…and of course, Otis!

    I truly regret not meeting him, as I’m an animal-lover.

    Even though he’s not “blood”,

    we would have accepted him into the clan.

    Does he get to play around outside of your R-U-V,

    or are his accommodations inside?

    Hope you put all your “thinkin’ on paper” into book form sometime soon.

    You have a real talent. Who would have thunk…most Hilliard’s don’t like

    to write, unless they’re signin’ their paychecks. Ha!

    May God continue to keep your little 3-some SAFE, satisfied, and happy!


    Always, Yore Cuzin’ Ellen

    P.S. It took me a second to recognize the angle you took the pic of my

    place from. Hummm…wonder if’in I’d been gone longer, would you have

    found my buried treasure?!??

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