Hurricanes and Diamonds

It’s been just over a week since Hurricane Irma made her move through Florida.  Living in an RV full time, especially when home-base is in Florida, requires a special kind of diligence when it comes to weather.  So as the hurricane models were suggesting a possible Florida hit, I decided it was time to go.

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I left my usual camp on the Peace River and went to Ocala, first stop on a long trip north to safety.  I-75 was already a slow-moving parking lot, and I drove 600+ miles at an average 35 mph.  I felt a bit guilty about leaving family behind, but they all chose to shelter in place in their homes – all of which had hurricane reinforcements.  Fortunately there was only minor damage and everyone remained safe.  Peace River camp did  not fare as well – and I am thankful that I listened to my spidey senses and evacuated when I did.

 

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We are now in this lovely park called Diamond Caverns, in south-central Kentucky.  I’m enjoying lower humidity, cooler nights, cooler days, and natural grass without fire ants. This is Miss Mia’s first journey out of Florida, and her head is swimming with new smells and life challenges.

Like walking.  The first time I took her out after arriving at camp, I thought she was sick or something.  She was tiptoeing, literally, and moving very slowly, head down, ears flat.  Miraculously, when she hit the grass, she was normal again.  Of course!  The Princess has never had to walk on pebbles and stones.  She is a Florida girl, accustomed to soft sugar sand between her toes.

 

Yes I know, she needs her nails trimmed. But even after her manicure,  this was NOT suitable footing for a Princess.

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Much better!  Life is good.

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While Mom’s Away…

So if you read my last post about our trip last October to NJ and RI, you’ll see (to everyone’s amazement) that I left the gypsy chihuahua behind with her cousins – three yorkies – and in the care of my brother and his wife.  They have a large fenced yard, and the three Yorkies – Sadie, Chase, and Ziggy, are Mia’s best buddies.  Since I was going to spend some time with my son, who has a cat – and my brother, who has no pets at all – and possibly Lillian’s son, who has three huge chihuahua-eating German shepherds – I decided Miss Mia would be safer and happier staying at her second home.

These are some of the pictures I received while on our road trip.  You can see how she suffered.

Mom actually suffered the most, being separated from her, and so she will no longer be left behind.  After all, she must live up to her nickname of the gypsy chihuahua and you can’t do that staying home!  Life is good

 

 

 

Fort Clinch State Park – Amelia Island

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The Atlantic Ocean is just beyond the trees behind the RV.  We arrived back in Florida late in the afternoon – and called ahead to Fort Clinch State Park on Amelia Island for a reservation.  When we arrived at the Ranger Station, the ranger told us there was one site left, and apologetically said “it’s on the beach.”   I think he was pulling our chains a bit.

This beautiful state park is on Florida’s northernmost barrier island – Amelia.  The brick Fort Clinch dates back to 1847 and was named in honor of General Duncan Lamont Clinch.   The only battle to occur at Clinch was when Union troops recaptured the fort in 1862 after Confederate forces seized control the previous year. Fort Clinch served as the base of Union operations in the area throughout the Civil War.

By Ebyabe - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12116981

The beach is wild and unspoiled – what we like to call the “real Florida.”  No condos, no businesses, no bathers or beachgoers on that day at least.  Just wild beach!

Another interesting site, along the road to the campground, was this ruin of an old oil house.  Apparently Amelia Island was an important shipping port.  The oil house stored the sperm whale oil used to light the lighthouse, giving ships safe passage to the harbor.

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Fort Clinch has been added to one of my favorite places in Florida, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing it again.

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Fall Trip to NJ and RI

So what exactly have we been up to in the non-blogging interim?  Hard to believe it was almost a year ago – but my sister and I took a trip last October to visit kids, grand kids, brothers and other family in New Jersey and Rhode Island.  For this trip, the gypsy chihuahua had her own vacation with her cousins in North Port – staying behind in her own puppy park for almost two weeks.

We were planning to head up I-95, but Hurricane Matthew decided to hit the coast the weekend before our departure, so parts of I-95 were damaged, flooded and closed, along with almost all of the campgrounds where we had reservations.  We had to go west to go north, staying in a lovely state park in Georgia, and not-so-lovely RV park somewhere in Virginia, I think.

All in all it was a good trip to our destinations – my son in Jersey City and Lil’s in Bloomingdale.  We split up for a few days to be with our respective families, then regrouped with the RV and headed to our brother’s house in Rhode Island.

We went straight to the local fish house, where my brother bought lobsters for our dinner.  You just can’t get good, fresh lobster in Florida, so this was a special treat.  Rhode Island was not what I expected – not really sure what that was either – but I fell in love with the Wakefield and Narragansett areas almost immediately.  There is an RV park very near the beach at the Charleston Breachway.  Since we were staying with my brother and parked in his driveway, we didn’t camp there but it certainly looked lovely.

One of my favorite stops was Moonstone Beach.  I admit to collecting a handful of wonderful moon stones and other magnificent beach rocks – another thing you don’t find in Florida.

The highlight of our trip home – this time via the shorter I-95 route, was by far Amelia Island – but that’s another post.

Introducing The Gypsy Chihuahua

I haven’t maintained Natural Notes in a long time – not seriously anyway.  Just a random post here and there.  It never felt right since I stopped banding – and I wasn’t sure anyone looked at blogs anymore. I’m still not sure of that, but I continue to find current blogs and people on social media asking for blogs, so I guess they do.  I thought about starting a whole new blog, but it seemed that letting go of Natural Notes, and all of the posts over the years, would be a waste.  So I thought, why not just change the title and change direction, which would provide the new platform and save the Natural Notes posts?  And here we are.

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We (Miss Mia, aka the gypsy chihuahua, and I) live full-time in an RV, and while we spend most of our time in Florida, we do get around from time to time.  We still love being outside, observing nature, birding, and all that, but living in the RV also provides a long list of opportunities and topics to share.  We are looking forward to this journey. Life is good.

 

Mystery Plant Update

imageSo that marvelous flowering cactus from my last post so long ago (yet the very last one on my blog) is a night blooming cereus or Queen of the Night cactus.  Except that the flowers on these last through the day.

I spotted several potted plants in front of an RV in the park so stopped to ask what they were.  As it turns out, not only did this couple know the plant – they claimed responsibility for planting them around the park!

Why the flowers bloom during the day I have no idea..but they do.  Maybe they like the Florida weather too.

What is This?

This awesome plant (orchid?) has bloomed about three times this summer.  It, and several like it, are growing only from the bark of the cabbage palm trees…I can’t find this plant anywhere else in this park.  The flowers bloom for about a day and rapidly close and fall off.

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The pics aren’t the best for lighting and such, but were taken on a cloudy day with my iPhone.  And a small miracle happened a few moments ago..I figured out that I could log on to my blog from my phone and upload the pictures! What wondrous technology.  But I digress…

At first I thought this was a cactus because of the leaves, but now I’m not so sure.  An orchid maybe?  If anyone knows what this is, I’d love for you to let me know.  No one I’ve asked seems to know…..

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