We had a nice no traffic drive on back roads from Juniper Springs up to Ocean Pond campground in the Osceola National Forest. We had hoped to get a campsite with electricity but all were full.
It seems like la lot of campers like to take extended stays here since the cost is only $12/night for seniors. The only available sites had water hookups and were only $6/night.
We hoped with nice sunny skies my solar arrays could keep the batteries charged. However we had rain one morning and too much shade in our campsite to keep fully charged. We had to run the generator a few times to top off the batteries and to run our microwave, waffle iron & toaster. Our TV runs fine from the power inverter and doesn’t take that much battery power.
The small lake doesn’t interest us enough to take the canoe down from the RV but there are a lot of forest roads in the area for us to bike on.
We took a short ride each day past some of the rustic campgrounds in the forest. The first day was in the 80’s but after the rain & cold front came in it barely hit 70o each day.
We were going to go up to the Okefenokee swamp and canoe when we left here on Sunday but we decided based on the weather in Cleveland and missing our families, maybe on Monday morning we should just start our drive heading home.
I think we will start on some back roads and stay off the interstate highways, at least until we reach I-77 in Columbia, SC.
Here are a few pictures from this year’s trip.
We got home a little earlier than planned. We both were getting a little homesick but the biggest factor was the weather. Near the end of our trip we like to head back to northern Florida and watch the weather forecasts closely. We look for at least two good weather days to drive and some warm weather to unpack. This usually occurs around mid-March.
Even though Cleveland’s weather was warm in February all the long term forecasts were pointing to a very cold March. When we were unpacking this Wednesday it was sunny and 60oF. The next 60o day is not forecast to occur until April and the weather will be below freezing until around the 19th of March.
Another great decision I made was to stay off the interstate highways until we got to Columbia, SC. See the map in our last blog. We basically took US-301 which passes through lots of little towns and has speed limits of about 60 mph. Comparing it to our drive last year was like night and day. The miles were the same but we actually made it 20 minutes faster and there was virtually no traffic. We had good scenery and the drive was very relaxing. I-95/I-26 has hundreds of trucks along with cars trying to pass everybody at 75 mph. It is bumper to bumper white knuckle driving for a motorhome that only wants to go 65 mph.
It was around 1 PM when we got to I-77 so we kept on going past Columbia, and Charlotte and stopped near Statesville for the night at 3 PM. It was a good time to go through these cities with all the road construction and traffic tie-ups.
It was still a dry drive until we reached the WV Turnpike. It was not heavy or windy and the rain stopped when we left the pike. We got home at 3:30 PM and decided to wait until Wednesday to unpack in the nice warm weather. I did have to winterize the RV after I saw that a real cold spell was coming.
Our Trip by the Numbers
The total trip duration was 116 days but we were home for the holidays for 20 days.
We drove 3200 miles, averaging about 9 mpg.
Our average camp cost was about $18/night.
We paid as high as $46/night at Fort Desoto County Park in St. Petersburg.
We paid as low as $6/night at Ocean Pond National Forest Campground with no electric hookup.
We canoed on 11 different rivers for a total of about 120 miles.
We biked a total of over 250 miles, mostly on bike trails.
Most of all we both stayed healthy and didn’t even get a cold this winter.
I posted 30 blogs this season. This is our last Blog until next fall.
If this is the first time that you are visiting our 2016-17 Florida Blog you may want to click this to read about our trip in Chronological Order rather than going backwards (As all Blogs do) from today to the start of the trip.