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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Swimming Weather

The temperature finally got warm enough for swimming. While the spring stays a constant 72 degrees, it's nice to come out to warm air. Alexander springs is amazing. Lots of fish let you swim right up to them. The spring itself is awesome. There's a large sandy bottom area, some weeds around the boil itself, then a fairly deep hole where the water comes up. The water is clear and visibility is excellent.

After over two weeks of being completely on solar electric power, my batteries are getting low. Now that the temperature has warmed up, the electric cooler has been running more. It's a power hog. We'll be heading down the road on Wednesday so should be able to get by until then.

Wednesday we plan on stopping in on people we know. Not sure exactly where we'll spend the night, but we can always dry camp in a parking lot somewhere if we have to. After that it's down to a private campground in Key Largo. We'll have electric power there, so I can charge up all the batteries and run my electronics.

A guy we met at the campground has a boat we might be interested in. The boat is up north, so we would not pick it up until spring. He's bringing over some photos of it so we can check it out better. The guy would love to sell it to someone who's going to enjoy it and he seems motivated.

Also checked out another Wise dehydrated food package. This one was potatoes in a cream sauce with peppers, carrots and spices. I've got a pretty good general idea of what they are like. None of them have real meat and many use soy products instead. That can be a deal breaker for some people. A lot of the meals rely heavily on cheese sauces. They are tasty sauces, but get boring day after day. Many of the meals are similar enough that they could lead to flavor fatigue after a week or so. All in all, I find the quality good and the price reasonable. We'll be getting into the Mountain House meals soon.


Monday, January 22, 2018

Shutdowns and Water Filters

I didn't think the government shutdown would affect me, but it did. Suddenly there are fewer Federal Camping places I can stay at. I've family and friends that are now out of work and some have not been paid.

Let me get this straight. The Republicans are in charge of all three branches of government and can't keep it running? Must be the Democrats fault. Yeah, sure, there's this super majority thing in the Senate, but that's hardly an excuse. If you hold almost all the cards you can't blame it on the one card you don't hold. They certainly aren't helping themselves prepare for the midterm elections.

Okay, enough of that. This will get sorted out eventually. The stupid thing is that the whole shutdown fiasco is a made up artificial problem.

On to other things. Water filters. Before I hit the road this year I picked up a Camco RV water filter. Mine was picked up at Walmart. Just about every RV uses one. It's a high flow filter. That makes it suitable for providing water for all of an RV's need. I put it on the water spigots before filling my water jug. While it must do something, the drinking water still tastes pretty bad.

During a run into town I picked up a Sawyer water filter. At about $20 they are a bargain. These filters are popular with backpackers. They aren't high volume, but are fine for filling drinking water bottles. They made the water in the campground taste a whole lot better. So far I'm glad to have picked it up.

There is one big drawback to these filters. They fail if frozen. With the cold snap we had all the way down to Florida this year, it's not small consideration. My water jug was full of ice in the morning, so leaving the filter outside would have ruined it. Since we'll soon be heading down to Key Largo, I thing we'll be safe from that problem for a bit.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

The New Houseless

There's a few types of people who end up spending winters in southern campgrounds. A lot of them are the regulars from years ago: people who are retired, those on extended vacations, plus a scattering of more local people. Mostly those local people flood into the campgrounds on the weekends.

I'm meeting more people who don't fit those categorizes. Some folks aren't just closing their house for the winter, but are selling it and hitting the road full time. One couple that I met never did any camping before selling everything and hitting the road. Talk about jumping in with both feet. Good thing they appear to be having the time of their life.

Then there are those people who are more outside the box. One woman in particular sticks out. She has a PHD and was teaching at well known New England college. Then the financial meltdown of 2008 happened. She came to the realization that the cards are stacked against the little guy. The big banks got away with criminal activities and the taxpayer picked up the bill.

She never did anything financially irresponsible in her life. This woman decided to run up her credit cards and stiff the banks. Then she got rid of her house, most of her stuff, bought a van and hit the road. She's been living on the road ever since with no regrets.

While I don't recommend doing what she did, I completely understand where she's coming from. If more people did, the banks would spiral into the ground. I hope that keeps some bankers awake at night.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Flu Pandemic

I've been doing a lot of reading using the Kindle app on my phone. When snuggled under my sleeping bags, it's a nice way to pass the evening. Recently I read, Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel.

In the book there's a flu pandemic that kills over 99% of the world's population. The flu's so fast moving that you go from sniffles to dead in two days. Unlike a lot of pandemic books, it covers things right before the flu and years after. Usually these sort of books are centered on the disaster as it unfolds. It also digs deeper in character's lives than most disaster books. Most importantly, it's very well written and enjoyable read.

For me, the book was enhanced by the fact that that right now we are going through a worse than normal flu season. It gave the book a level of reality it might not have had otherwise. Then today I read this Wall Street Journal article that points out how we are not ready for the next flu pandemic. We are actually, in some ways, worse off than we were 100 years ago. International travel is a lot quicker and easier than it was then.

In the book, by the time people realized the flu was so fatal, it has already traveled all over the planet.

There are things one can do to reduce their chances of getting sick, and we hear about them every year: hand washing, covering sneezes, rest, diet, flu shots and all that. What really works isn't practical for most people: isolation. Some person living alone on an island miles from anyone else is pretty safe from the flu. He might be in danger of going stir crazy, but that's another article.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Frozen Florida

It was a cold morning at the campground in Florida. It takes longer to make coffee when there's ice in the coffee pot. Then just when it was almost done perking I accidentally knocked the peculator off the camp stove. All was lost. Back to square one.

Good thing I wasn't in a hurry. There was enough coffee for one more batch so 20 minutes later my lovely wife and I had our cups of morning joy.

It only got to 48 degrees. It was a good day to keep a campfire going continuously. Still, it wasn't as cold as back home in New Hampshire. I could still breath without coughing my lungs out. That alone made it worth the trip. Besides, we are about to have a warming trend. I expect to be swimming soon.

My aunt came over from their winter place in The Villages. I'm glad we connected. I've been a little out of touch with that side of the family. None of them live close. In fact, my aunt told me her older brother passed away back on October and no one let me know. Years ago we used to be in much closer contact. My mother used to keep in touch with everyone so once she passed we all slowly drifted apart.

Growing up I was close to all my aunts, uncles and all my cousins. Life gets complicated and everyone moved away. However, I think that those who are left realize that if we don't reconnect now, we may never.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Reports from the food front

First another dehydrated food report. Wise Company, teriyaki rice. It has a sticky sweet sauce, carrots and bell peppers, plus other spices. Tastes a bit sweet for me, but not overpowering. So far we've found these meals to be filling, even though they are vegetarian. However, today I picked up some small cans of chicken to add to future dishes. I just miss meat.

A lot of days we've been eating just two meals. Once the sun comes out and things warm up, we have a late breakfast. In the middle of the afternoon we'll have dinner. Sometimes in the evening we'll have a snack, but often not.

My lovely wife and I went into town to pick up some groceries. My aunt and uncle are coming over for a visit. We decided to have more traditional cook out food than to open up more bags of dehydrated survival rations.

We have a couple more days of cool weather before it warms up on the weekend. Can't wait to go back to shorts. One should not have to wear long pants in Florida. Even so, I'm not shoveling so life is good.

I miss my friends and family back home. That's a good thing. Nice to have a solid community of people who will be there when we return.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Good Decision

I haven't been down here all that long, but I'm already feeling healthier. We've been eating less and getting more exercise. I've been breathing easier which makes me a happy camper. That makes it a lot more pleasurable to get more exercise. My lovely wife and I have been doing a lot of waking and I've been riding my bicycle. It's been too cool for swimming, but should warm up by the weekend.

After our stay here we are going to meaner our way further south. My lovely wife was able to book us into a campground on Key Largo for a week. There's a canoe trail that wanders through the mangroves. It will be nice to get out on the water in our kayak.

From Key Largo we'll be in a good position to check out how things are progressing in the middle and lower Keys. They've been working day and night to get things sorted out, but it's a massive job.

After our week in Key Largo our plans are pretty open. One of my daughter's will be in Florida next month for training. We hope to be able to meet up with her. My lovely wife is trying to book some days at a campground near where she's going to be.

So all in all, things are looking up.