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It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

21 December 2017

The title of course refers to our décor (inside and out) and not the weather!  It’s still a bit strange to be Christmas Shopping in shorts and t-shirts and seeing brightly decorated palm trees, but hey, we’ll suffer through it. 

DAVELowry Zoo

Our time in Florida has included 4 days right on the Gulf of Mexico, Pavillion RV park, at Keaton Beach, ($20 a night, full hookups), 2 weeks at Suncoast RV in Port Richey ($225 a week)  just north of Tampa, and our current gem, Pensacola RV Resort, where we’ll be resting up for an entire month and exploring the area. 

Money-wise, the first two weeks of December weren’t cheap, but we’d planned for that with the kids coming to visit.  Setting aside the added costs however, we were still able to keep within budget, but just barely.  From here on though, we’ll easily go under budget for accommodations.  Our current month-long stay will cost us just under $500, and the park is wonderful.  It’s a family farmland recently converted to an RV park.  The sites are large, well spaced out, and level.  Cable TV and Wi-Fi are included, as well as daily freshly baked cookies!  We’re also booking a full month down the road, at Hidden Valley Ranch, NM for a whopping $200 a month!  We’ll combine this with more boondocking and Corps of Engineer Campgrounds to really stay under budget.  Food-wise, we’re definitely spending less than in B.C., probably about 25-30% lower for food even with our occasional forays to eat out. 

DAVEstingray

Florida highlights for us have been the wildlife, especially on the water.  We spent 2 days visiting Manatee Springs State Park, not far from our digs at Keaton Beach.  The park’s daily fee is $6 and well worth it.  Day 1, we walked the trails, including a boardwalk trail that takes you along the springs, to the mouth of the Suwannee River.  There, we were fortunate to have a single Manatee drift around within site, and dozens of huge carp(easilyover 30 pounds) munching on the mass of green vegetation along the shallow bottom.

We returned day 2, ready to paddle!  We were surprised at how few other people were around, as we drifted down the springs towards the river.  We were greeted at the mouth with what at first, looked like a dozen or so large boulders, just above the surface.  Until we got close, and could see the “boulders” were resting Manatees.  

Davemanatee1They were mesmerizing to watch, and seemed to be completely content with us being in close proximity to them.  We saw raptors, turtles, big fish, and had a wonderful time.   There’s some great Manatee viewing spots in Central Florida, be sure to check them out if you’re coming this way!  In summing up this post, it’s continuing to be a great trip, a lot of fun, and we’re finally slowing ourselves down to the gentle pace for a long, relaxing vacation.

Merry Christmas all!

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