Maine Maritime Museum

MAine Maritime MuseumIn direct contrast to much of Florida, Maine does not have a Walgreens or CVS on every corner. Bet that doesn’t stop Maine folk from being healthy and happy! But allergy med refill time was upon us and the nearest Walgreens sat 40 mins south in Bath. Bath sits on the Kennebec River and is home to Bath Iron Works (BIW), The Maine Maritime Museum, Chocolate Church and a slew of tempting shops, galleries and eateries.

Bath Iron Works’ skilled workers build and repair US Navy warships and we could see a fair amount of work in progress as we drove past.

The huge dry dock at Bath Ironworks is visible in the background

The huge dry dock at Bath Iron Works is visible in the background

Our destination though was…. Can you guess?   The Maine Maritime Museum! A cross between a smaller version of Mystic Seaport and Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, the MMM provides an affordable way to experience Bath’s connection to the sea. We learned about shipbuilding, the sea trade, lobstering and the dangers (and thrills) of sea life through exhibits, displays, models and paintings.

wooden carved chain

An amazing accomplishment: carved interlocked “chain” from a single piece of wood

The grounds contain buildings with permanent and changing exhibits, a snack bar, kid’s pirate play ship and human size lobster trap, docks with tour boats, a pier for visiting ships and a full-sized evocation of the Schooner Wyoming. We estimate the museum covers 8-10 acres. During the 1800s, 3 shipyards occupied these acres; one of them built and launched the largest wooden sailing vessel in the U.S., the Wyoming. Amazing how ships could be designed and built from the ground up, starting with, “let’s get those local trees felled and brought in.”

Compare this,

Compare this,

to this, honoring the Wyoming.

to this, honoring the Wyoming.

A precursor to the kayak? the WHYNYMS

A precursor to the kayak? the WHYNYMS

The museum has a reference library upstairs in their main building and it is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or by appointment. Today was Thursday so Russ wanted to see what might be dug up on the schooner Ortolan, our boat’s namesake. If you haven’t seen the teeny post way back in 2009 about how we named our boat, click here. Well, we got a hit right off; two Ortolan names came up and one just HAD to be her. The dates and her size fit perfectly with the info we had, but no owner, master or captain’s name was Rackleff (just one of many versions), so that was puzzling.

Needless to say, Russ dug up the document then began an intensive online search. The library provided this: Registered in Wiscasset, 74 ton schooner built 1848, 67 ft long by 17.5 ft wide, unknown builder, Henry Barter listed owner with Isaac Barter as Master in 1849.

From the various records and genealogy data we have or found, we are certain that the two-masted schooner, Ortolan, belonged to Captain William Rackliff who sailed her with his daughter, son William E. and seven others aboard from Portland, ME to San Francisco, CA.

Cap’n William made his living involved in the vast, varied and difficult Maine fishing industry. Seems he, like so many in the mid-late 1800s, felt the call of “the west”. The voyage began in late 1849 (why the rush to head out with winter coming?). Captain and crew survived a broken mast, being chased by pirates :-) and stormy seas around Cape Horn, finally arriving in San Francisco on August 5, 1850. They hung out doing whatever intrepid voyagers did back then, for two months, before sailing north to southern Oregon’s Umpqua River. There they (not sure if the un-named others got off in SF or continued) crossed the bar to sail Ortolan up to the trading center of Scottsburg where they (assuming we are talking Rackleff) settled into farming.

In 1850, Captain Rackleff purchased land, began building a home and sent for his wife and young son who arrived in San Francisco via the Isthmus of Panama. The family was industrious; their Oregon legacy long, their progeny many, their ship building continuous and farming didn’t last but eight years before William, being a seafaring man, built a schooner Twin Sisters and with her began trading and operated a trading post.

So what happened to Ortolan? Apparently the Captain sold her (proof that he owned her and was just not chartering her) in 1852 which was some time after Mary arrived because Ortolan carried her from San Francisco to Oregon. William then purchased a pack of mules to carry supplies; one way only because he sold them soon after. Digging a bit further Russ read an 1860 NY Times tidbit that said a schooner Ortolan, from San Francisco returned from a long-distance unsuccessful gold prospecting trip; “the soil was brilliant with mica, which accounted for the marvelous reports.”

On a vessel level, the take away is that Ortolan left Maine in haste, serving her owners well, then when sold she again proved herself solid and able. On a human level, the take away that I see is you can take the man away from the sea but not for very long!

Duck Puddle Days

arrive at campgroundWe are staying at Duck Puddle Campground on the northeastern shore of Pemaquid Lake, smack in between Damariscotta and Waldoboro. Like you know where that is!! Try this; take I95N to I295N, exit on to Route 1 in Brunswick and follow it north about 31 miles, passing through Bath and Wiscasset as you go. Don’t go to Duck Puddle Pond, oh no that would be too easy; instead, turn at the cute sign where the road leads you to Duck Puddle Road.

The trip was uneventful; wrong turns but a distant memory. The morning was busy though as Anne got a propane fill on our way out and there we noticed that her front tires looked low. A quick detour to R&J Diesel repair had us on our way free of charge to our next stop…… the dreaded fueling up at a “regular” gas station. Oh lordy. The chosen station met all our criteria and then some; it was located in Rhode Island where fuel taxes are lower.

May 1st is opening day here and spring cleanup was in full swing; still is twelve days later. Been a long, cold winter. The campground is 90% seasonal locals with campers/fifth wheel trailers. Maine is hilly and rocky; not at all like flat Florida. Most of the sites have some amount of slope and plenty of treed space between you and your neighbor.

View from office; most campsites are in the pine trees

View from office; most campsites are in the pine trees

Down by the lake

Down by the lake

Fortunately, sites 104 to 110 are totally flat, devoid of any barrier shrubs or trees, close to the entrance with full hook-up, 50amp power. The hook-ups sit at the very back of the site so we had to back in as far as possible. The site drops off behind us and along side us as we took the end spot. The sewer hose just reached. No neighbors yet; probably not until June.

Will it reach??

Will it reach??

Here’s an exciting and not-often viewed sight; the levelers- ooooooh. The driver’s side rear sat in softer dirt and our wood pad was not large enough to spread the load, but we did find a larger piece of paneling lying nearby and used that too. So far we’ve had to jack up that side twice.

Levelers need an assist- another piece of wood would help

Levelers need an assist- another piece of wood would help

Add in the opportunity to once again watch a campground come alive, well, how can you beat that?

How about a visit to Maine Cat in Bremen, the next town over? Ms. Ortolan looked like the fish out of water she was, but with a glimmer of hope that she’d be launched by June 1. Guess that means we will have oodles of time to explore the area.

Inside makes her look larger than life, but not prettier.

Inside makes her look larger than life, but not prettier.

Moody’s famous diner on Rte 1 not very far from Maine Cat, or us. Several visits under our belts already.

The real deal- phone booth, fresh baked goods and great food

The real deal- phone booth, fresh baked goods and great food

4- Berry pie

4- Berry pie

They serve real whipped cream on the side!!

They serve real whipped cream on the side!!

When we visit a new area, Russ tries to find a way to locate walking and hiking trails; usually without much luck. This time was different; he found an aptly named site, mainetrailfinder that pinpointed myriad of trails and walks through-out Maine. Most had some info about them, including length and level of difficulty. I wanted to go for “difficult” but we couldn’t find any nearby. :-)

I begin the ascent up the erratic glacial boulder.

I begin the ascent up the erratic glacial boulder.

Traditional Maine coast view

Traditional Maine coast view

As nice as those trails were, with one meandering close to the rocky shore and an active osprey nest, I needed a dose of beach combing. I knew just where to go for a sure thing. While bending, stooping, peering at and gathering up small pieces of colored glass isn’t most people’s idea of fun, I liken it to a scavenger or treasure hunt. Good quality sea glass is in short supply and I’ve gotten pickier over the past year, but a smooth piece of any color besides white, green or brown is delightful.

Lunch and restorative libations at Morse's Cribstone Grill

Lunch and restorative libations at Morse’s Cribstone Grill

Last August when we cruised the Maine coast, one of our stops was by Orr’s and Baily Islands, joined by the world’s only cribstone bridge. You can read about that stop here, if you missed it.(near the end of the post).  We found a small beach where you could plop down (mid-tide or lower) and find tiny sea glass nuggets all around you. Plus, by the bridge was a good area too and since that’s near Morse’s, how convenient?

We Bid Farewell to Connecticut

May 1 peeked at us from just around the corner, beckoning us northward just as the eastern Connecticut shoreline began to thaw from the winter freeze. Gee, you would think we’d spent the winter here the way we moaned about the cold and running the portable electric heaters all the time.

Our last week was crammed full of activity; visits, errands, stocking up and packing up- at the last-minute.

 

Mother's day flowers from Benj- a treat!

Mother’s day flowers from Benj- a treat!

Benj suggested a hike so we headed for Devil’s Hopyard after a tasty lunch at Mystic Market West. We chose a long loop trail that would take us by the Devil’s Oven, a natural cave-like formation in the huge rock slab several hundred feet off the trail and quite the steep climb. Benj cam across a small deer carcass which was mostly shredded deer hair. Yes, it smelled and you could see where the predator had dragged it over to a secluded spot.

Purchased firewood for our first camp fire

Purchased firewood for our first camp fire

we found it!

we found it!

 

Lots of white paper to burn

Lots of white paper to burn

I had just read in Cook’s Illustrated that heavy cream can be turned into almost-as-fluffy whipped cream by shaking it for 3-4 minutes in a small jar. An empty Talenti container worked just fine and as you can see, we had whipped cream for our chocolate ice cream treat by the fire. I had 2 ounces of heavy cream left over from baking and this was the perfectly delicious solution to use it up.

shaken heavy cream = whipped cream!

shaken heavy cream = whipped cream!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chilly Connecticut Days

As opposed to Myrtle Beach Days where the song promises fun in the waves, fishin’ off the pier and the need to pack suntan lotion!

So, welcome back dear readers! Thanks to some technical difficulties, I’ve decided to skip the long catching up and just jump right in to a quick overview of our time in CT, before we depart for Maine in May and boat-related activities.

The KOA located a stone’s throw from I-95 in North Stonington was our base for a while. We took care of business, spent time with friends and family and watched the campground prep for warm weather campers.

the perfect plate

Prius Perfect Plate. Right? get it?

Got a large stone hit outside of D.C. on the way to PA.

Got a large stone hit outside of D.C. on the way to PA.

 

The new one goes on

The new one goes on. Yes, that is snow.

 

Mr & Mrs House Finch check out the new windshield and us!

Mr & Mrs House Finch check out the new windshield and us!

 

Snow!

Snow! Our view of the KOA main building.

 

an you see the mini

This was a bit much. The highway is just beyond the trees.

 

I found a hidden talent

I found a talent long dormant since college days.

 

cathy ahs the best move

But Cathy shows off the best move

happy mama

Made a quick trip to Vermont.

 

more snow in VT

Where naturally, we had more snow!

I had plenty of spare time to make earrings. (p.s. I have five pair of earrings for sale at CA Styles in Guilford, CT  and was so excited when the pair you see on the right with the larger bottom beads sold!!) These are fun to make and fun to wear; I’m long past “serious”. :-)

jewl

Beads and jump rings.

finally sea glass earrings

finally, sea glass earrings

 

 

 

O’Leno, no Keno, me oh my oh

?????????????????????????This easy-to-find state park in High Springs (just north of Gainesville) is dissected by the Santa Fe River. I am always curious about name origination and more times than not Wikipedia provides the answer. The Santa Fe derives its name from a Franciscan mission, Santa Fe de Toloca, formerly located near the river. Santa Fe means “holy faith” in Spanish. Coincidentally one must have faith with this river, as it fully disappears in a large sink hole within O’Leno State Park, travels underground and resurfaces 3 miles downstream in River Rise Preserve State Park.

River sink. The water swirls down the drain, giving the turtles on the logs a calm ride.

River sink. The water swirls down the drain, giving the turtles on the logs a calm ride.

I assume High Springs was named for the numerous springs around the river and the sink holes that occasionally change location and the places where the river sinks and rises.

O’Leno was an interesting read.

Originally named "Keno", then Leno then O'Leno for Old Leno

Originally named “Keno”, then Leno, then  O’Leno for Old Leno

You may recall I am not a fan of bridges and even the mild-mannered suspension bridge in the park gave me pause. ??????????????????????????????????This park is another Florida oldie, built by the CCC in the late 1930s. Trails, large pavilions, a youth camp and a large metal dock to swim in the river are all easily accessible. The forecast held a fair amount of rainy moments with thunder showers likely so we got going and headed out for the River Trail once settled.

Memorable not for my bridge walk but for warm enough for shorts !

Memorable not for my bridge walk but for warm enough for shorts !

Hadn’t walked very far when thunder rumbled and the sky went dark. Gotta love those pop-ups! Russ said better double time it back but I ran because getting drenched wasn’t on my to-do list but then neither was crossing the bridge twice. It hardly sways with one person, but two will make it move- wheeeeee.

Our rain shelter

Our rain shelter

Took us a bit to figure out the reason for bench dividers... or are they?

Took us a bit to figure out the reason for bench dividers… or are they?

We made it to a large pavilion and hung out with Betty for quite a while. She is a winter volunteer at Stephen Foster State Park (came to O’Leno for a few hours), playing violin to pay her way. She shared how volunteering works and that good vocational skills are in high demand. Was a pleasant way to pass the time and we got a picture of her tiny camper as she drove off.

Betty hails form South Dakota; imagine living in this for much of the year.

Betty hails from South Dakota; imagine living in this for much of the year.

We did get to walk the River Trail and others another day; Russ was also able to bike a few of the passable trails. Also pretty certain that the three-foot long black snake warming itself next to the path, raising its tail with a rattle noise before slithering away, was perhaps a rattlesnake???

We drove to downtown High Springs one afternoon in search of the Secret Garden Bakery (we found it!) and came upon the final day of the 2015 Model-T Gainesville Winter Tour. Must have been 30 of these beauties by the time they’d all parked across from a rustic and inviting restaurant.

Model-T road trip heads through downtown High Springs

Model-T road trip heads through downtown High Springs

 

 

The plates were fun to read

The plates were fun to read

 

We all know why the trunk is so named, right?

We all know why the trunk is so named, right?

 

I've had time over the past few weeks to improve my skills

I’ve had time over the past few weeks to improve my skills

Do these look like palm trees?

Do these look like palm trees?

 

 

 

 

 

Our spacious site, 007, at the park

Our spacious site, 007, at the park

The park has a tiny Nature Center with Friday-Sunday 10-2pm hours and the day we stopped they’d closed early. We met the outdoor gopher tortoises though.

Couldn't make him smile, but he didn't run and hide like his neighbor

Couldn’t make him smile, but he didn’t run and hide like his neighbor

 

The tunnels help out other creatures too

The tunnels help out other creatures too

The park had a prescribed burn (RX burn) last year and you can see the dark char still, as well as new growth. Important for keeping the habitat in balance.

The prescribed burns allow grasses, shrubs and other small plants to grow

The prescribed burns allow grasses, shrubs and other small plants to grow

Wekiwa Springs: So much walking we must deserve a…

DSC01750 (800x600)Happy road warriors again with our 2-hour, 76 mile trip northwest to Apopka and Wekiwa Springs State Park. With only 10 miles of the trip on I-95, the remainder on 2-lane state and county roads, one doesn’t zoom along at 65mph the entire time, but that’s our preference anyway.

Here’s a few stats- first, about our travels so far:

    • Miles driven since Annie joined the clan: 3,150
    • Gals diesel purchased: 383
    • Highest fuel price paid: $3.79 in PA in Sept and CT in Nov
    • Lowest fuel price paid: $2.76 believe it or not in the Keys on Jan 31 right as prices were about to creep up
    • Amount of time driving in snow or rain: precious little and all of it prior to Dec 3

About Wekiwa Springs State Park:

      • 42 million gals of clear water flow each day from the two fissures in Wekiwa Springs
      • Wekiwa means “spring of water”; from the Creeks who were later called Seminoles
      • The park covers 7,800 acres
      • Miles of trails = 26+, for hiking, multi-use and horse
      • The campground is small. Two loops, each with 30 RV/tent sites. All sites have water and 30amp hook-ups and all but 23 also have sewer. A dump station is provided.
      • The park has a primitive youth camping section and youth camp cabins
      • Visitors can rent canoes, visit the Nature Center, shop for trinkets and ice cream at the concession bldg.

Check-in could not have been easier: we pull up to the ranger booth; receive info packet and receipt. Done.

Park entrance

Park entrance

We usually have to ask where we can unhook Bonny and the answer is often accompanied by an odd look. No idea why; I mean we already said this was our first visit.

Unless we have a pull-through site (rare) we don headsets and I drive Bonny ahead then help direct Russ in. This time was easy; the Captain is quite the backing up pro.

We had booked nine nights here and the weather behaved in typical winter fashion: days of warm and mostly sunny, days of chilly and cloudy and some days of rain.

What makes a desirable site (for us):

  • Wide enough for slide-outs and awning
  • Space and/or shrubs or trees between sites
  • Mostly sunny with no overhanging branches
  • Level site with gravel, cement, grass or hard sand to park on
  • Well marked so we can find it
  • Not being directly across from the site across the road; some places stagger the sites a bit which is nice

Our site is #46 on the outside of the second loop.

Our site as seen from the trail leading in

Our site as seen from the trail leading in

The outer edge sites often seem wider and they usually don’t back up to other sites, just woods or empty space. Full hook-up and plenty deep and wide, but a lone pine kept the awning in. Enough tall trees provided dappled sun between 10am – 4pm. Sunrise at 6:46 which meant no light shone in until 7:15 and then we sprang ahead and boy the mornings were dark. Sunset moving to 7:30pm brought big smiles.

Looking down the loop from our site- before the weekend

Looking down the loop from our site- before the weekend

This shot is deceptive; the fifth-wheels, campers and tents outnumbered the motorhomes; at least on our loop. The weekend brought in a full house.

The Spring and the head of the river; four feet deep at the most

The Spring and the head of the river; four feet deep at the most

 

Nature Center at Wekiwa

Nature Center at Wekiwa

 

Feeding time for a one-year old gator

Feeding time for a one-year old gator

Adult and jr. yellow sliders enjoy the sun

Adult and jr. yellow sliders enjoy the sun

 

So many trails! See if you can find Sand Lake and the river camps to the north

So many trails! See if you can find Sand Lake and the river camps to the north

Raise your hand if you know about or have done a Volksmarch trail. Yes, I thought so. A new one on us.

 

Time to turn back :-(

Time to turn back :-(

All along the way up, we kept skirting along short mucky sections but we got to the river camp. The river had flooded its banks a bit thanks to the recent downpour before we arrived. We went on but very quickly came to this and I drew the line in the mud!  We could always come up from the southern end of the trail we’d hoped to take down to Sand Lake. In a few days.

IMG_1163 (800x612)

Why did the turkey cross the road?

To have a drink of turkey water

To have a drink of turkey water

 

Weekends mean Renninger’s Flea/Farm/Antique Market opens in Mt. Dora. Mount did I say? Yes! Hills really, but not the totally flat we have grown accustomed to while snowbirding in sunny Florida.

See a hill! Entering the market

See a hill! Entering the market

This weekend was Cars & Guitars Show too and how great to own a vintage auto in Florida- no snow, rust and all that crap that ruins a car before you can say, “back to the future.” A Delorean was there, but I didn’t take a photo.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????

The real reason we went wasn’t to buy stuff that we don’t have room for; it was donuts. Gee, how unusual. :-)  and since we keep reading “you deserve a donut” we’ve come to believe it!

???????????????????????????????????????? Worth the 25 min drive, the tiny donut booth sells ‘em as fast as the machine makes ‘em.

Toothpicks made for less messy face-stuffing!

Toothpicks made for less messy face-stuffing!

The market itself reminded us of the market in Charleston, only more on the trashy side; no offense. Inside halls with everything, outside booths and stalls and more tables set up farther out.

This was one of the classier booths. :-)

This was one of the classier booths. :-)

Was almost too much and I was happy not to be collecting vintage plates, glassware and fabrics anymore. Vintage RVs are another thing and always fun to see.

We liked this new but retro RV tucked in along our loop

We liked this new but retro RV tucked in along our loop

 

Wickham County Park, Birds and Cronuts

We will miss the show, but we know who Blake Shelton is a least

We will miss the show, but we know who Blake Shelton is a least

Counties count in Florida much as they do in California; big state stuff. Florida consists of 67 governmental counties; the most recent creation being Gilchrist in 1925. In 1968 Florida gave the counties the power to create their own charters which allows them to levy taxes, provide public services and pass laws. A few counties have seen name changes; Mosquito County became Orange County in 1845 (wise move!) and Dade County became Miami-Dade in 1997- did you notice?

All the county talk can be confusing to a non-native nomad who is lucky to know the town they are in let alone the county or the neighboring county. And try to figure out the taxes- Florida state sale tax is 6% and it seems that the counties have optional taxes they can levy on a multitude of items, campground sites being one.

All this is background for my saying that Brevard County (named for Judge Theodore Washington Brevard an early settler and State Comptroller in mid-1800s) is a darn great county. Seventy-two miles long from Titusville, south to Melbourne Beach/Sebastian and covering the Indian River (AICW), Cape Canaveral, Merritt Island, Brevard is one-third the size of Rhode Island but 33% of its square miles is water.

Enough room and sunny enough to use the awning; chairs came out too

Enough room and sunny enough to use the awning; chairs came out too

The county has several county parks but I think only one includes campgrounds; Wickham Park, where we spent eight nights. Trees, but not too many, wide sites, full hook-ups, walking/biking trails, ponds, soccer field and working Wi-Fi!

A gopher tortoise out of his/her burrow for a stroll or maybe lunch

A gopher tortoise out of his/her burrow for a stroll or maybe lunch

Have you heard of Disc Golf? The park has a 22-hole course.

A disc golf basket/hole- the game is played by tossing a small Frisbee-like disc

A disc golf basket/hole- the game is played by tossing a small Frisbee-like disc

Have a horse? Bring it here to exercise on the track. Perhaps you and your best canine friend prefer to participate in a Barn Hunt Event. Guess it depends on the prize; a nice fat rat! Groups and clubs get together for Barn Hunt Trials where one dog at a time races through a straw bale maze and tries to have the fastest time at finding a boxed live rat; the aerated container is “approved” for barn hunting. Between this and all the country stations we listen to on XM or local radio I’m beginning to feel a little bit country.

The bird watching continues. Viera Wetlands we’d heard about from the photographer we’d met along the Marsh Trail. We stopped at the Melbourne (the locals pronounce it Melburn) Chamber of Commerce and picked up a few maps and booklets. The January Birding and Wildlife Festival in Titusville had leftover programs and from that we found several nearby sites worth a visit. Viera Wetlands was one and we came prepared with walking shoes, light jackets, water bottle, only to find it was primarily a drive through! Here is a seriously culled-down selection of our visit.????????????????????

This was a dead giveaway that some bird was worth photographing

This was a dead giveaway that some bird was worth photographing

This green heron- bet you expected something better- but wait...

This green heron- bet you expected something better- but wait…

This great egret was a delight to watch

This great egret was a delight to watch

This great blue heron enjoys a tree top snack

This great blue heron enjoys a tree top snack

A female belted kingfisher

A female belted kingfisher

A tricolor heron- front view, neck in

A tricolor heron- front view, neck in

Another tricolor finds lunch

Another tricolor finds lunch

Anhinga couple; perfect mates

Anhinga couple; perfect mates

Cattle egret- I finally get one for sure

Cattle egret- I finally get one for sure

Oh no, not again- who is it this time?

Oh no, not again- who is it this time?

Yes, the same guy- stalking lunch. Stayed there at least 15 ins

Yes, the same guy, different spot- stalking lunch. Stayed there at least 15 mins

I got three good shots of this gal; the final as she landed

I got three good shots of this gal; the final as she landed

?????????

Related to the blue jay we all know, these birds are more slender and aren’t afraid to fly right at you

Cruickshank Sanctuary was guaranteed to produce sightings of the Florida Scrub Jay; the only avian species exclusive to Florida. Sure enough they were there in all the sanctuary’s scrubbiness. ?????????Later when we walked a favorite campground trail section, sure enough we saw scrub jays there too. Gopher tortoises every time. But no nine-banded armadillos; only the sign.

The park is only a couple of miles from just about everything; grocery, shopping, dining, gas stations and if you head a few more miles east over the Indian River, voila! The beaches.

We found time for a trip south and stopped near Vero Beach City Marina for lunch and old times Velcro-ness.

We found time for a trip south and stopped near Vero Beach City Marina for lunch and old times Velcro-ness.

Black skimmers and royal terns; I am checking off birds left and right in my booklet

Black skimmers and royal terns; I am checking off birds left and right in my booklet

If an app can get worn out, I believe Russ has several on his phone that would look very faded by now. Trusty TripAdvisor being one. This time it led us to Love Bug’s Bakery; I mean how could you resist the name?  We couldn’t resist the glazed Cronuts with chocolate drizzle; amazingly delicious and close to the longed-for and adored kettle doughnut made at Frances Pastry; my high school bakery job.??????????????????????love bugs

Sea fog crept in on little cat feet the morning we were to leave, but snuck out by 10 am. Today was fueling up day; never a simple drive in and fill up like with Bonny. As Good Sam members we receive a whopping 3 cents off fuel at Pilot and Flying J which exist primarily for trucks but we are allowed in too. The problem with these is the price is not exactly competitive and even with a 3 cent deal, we can do better at other places, and you have to pay inside not at the pump. Their upside is a flat, easy entry with plenty of fast pumps and friendly truckers.

When we can, we scope out a local station (like we did in Marathon) and that worked out well this time too. Diesel prices are up from our lowest $2.74 in the Keys and $2.89 at the nearby Shell was lower than most. Backed out of our site, I drove Bonny and parked her in the empty community center, then we fueled up. Most stations with diesel make them the outer row(s) which helps. But they don’t always allow enough room for a rig with a tow so this time we played it safe and left Bonny home. As usual, some guy stops to chat about fuel, trucks or driving.

That plan worked well and since we had a short 76 mile day, by 1pm we were pulling up to the gate house at Wekiwa (say Wa-kigh-va) Springs State Park.