After spending a couple days back at my parents house in Cumming, GA for some doctor visits we headed back out on the road on Monday January 15th. We left real early and thought we were going to get our transmission looked at that had been giving us some problems. Once we got to the shop in Atlanta we found out that they could not work on our model. After a couple of hours my wonderful parents sent us north to another shop up I-75. Once there my parents were kind enough to pick us up and bring us and all the kids to the Tellus Science Museum. We even got a lunch with their cousins before we headed out that afternoon with a repaired RV. If you even need great service and are in the area check out Open Roads RV. That evening with such a late start we only got a couple hours south and stayed at High Falls State Park.
On the 16th we got a good start and headed south to Florida. Eva drove most of the way as I had a great time home schooling the kids. Trying to teach hand writing at 65mph is not for the faint of heart. We have been doing about 3-4 hours of schooling each day. Some days are great, on others I want to tear my hair out. That afternoon we pulled into Osceola National Forest and stayed at the Ocean Pond Campground. We had a good time riding bikes, hiking and getting some schooling done. The first couple of days were cold but by the time we left it was finally warm and over 65 degrees.
After three nights in Osceola our gray tank was full so it was time to leave (there were not full hook-ups there). We headed further south for warmer weather and some clear water we ended up at Salt Springs in Ocala National Forest was great with full hookups but it did lack the full-on camping look. Since it allows long-term stays (up to 180 days) many people were set up to stay. We seem to prefer campgrounds with a more rustic look and a little less parking lot look. The kids did get to experience a couple great things while there. First we went fishing on Lake George. It is interesting because the Salt Springs have some salinity to them. The fish included both freshwater species like Largemounth Bass and Bluegill and saltwater fish like Mullet. All of the kids caught tons of Bluegill and Marco caught a bass. Even Eva joined in the fun and caught a fish. I spent pretty much all my time baiting hooks and releasing fish. The last day in Salt Springs was the most memorable. We bought some cheap goggles and hopped into the Springs. Unfortunately we forgot the GoPro so we got zero underwater pictures. It was still great though. The water was 72 degrees and crystal clear. We saw lots of fish and blue crabs. The crabs were pretty large and the Mullet were huge. We only spent about 30 minutes in the water as everyone got pretty cold. The outside temp was about 75 so we warmed up quick and rode our bikes back to the campsite for the nightly campfire.
Our next destination was Alexander Springs but since it was still in Ocala National Forest the kids were excited to hear that our drive was only 35 minutes. This is always the big question when we are headed to a new destination. If we say anything over three hours they moan pretty bad. Alexander Springs is exactly what we like. Large open campsites, big trees and no crowds. Out of about 50 sites there were 5-8 other campers in the campground. We had a great time on a hike through the jungle and saw a couple of small gators but the highlight was the Springs. We all hopped into the Springs and saw some amazing fish. They have over 100 million gallons of 73 degree water coming out of them each day. The fish were great and the visibility was well over 100 feet. There was one other person in the water so we had the place almost all to ourselves. We almost went back again the last day but the air temps dropped to about 65 so swimming without a wetsuit was not so appealing.
We knew we had to get back for Makai’s surgery on January 29 so we started to head north some. The last site we stopped at was Suwannee River State Park. We spent three nights there including Mei’s 7th birthday. The sites were heavily wooded and for $24 a night night and full hook ups it was a great deal. The best part had to be the mountain biking on the river. Makai and Eva both completed the easier one mile trail while Marco, Mei and myself did the four mile loop. I was so proud of Makai and Mei for both doing their first ever trails. Everyone had a great time and Mei was ecstatic to make her own birthday cake and get some much-needed Legoes. We ended up spending three nights here and even got our laundry done in some down time we had. After a few nights at my parents we will be back on the road again for another segment