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.


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.



Private Beach and Dolphins

Spent three days at E.G.Simmons Park in Ruskin.  Another favorite to add to the growing list – but not surprising. This IS Florida, afterall.

Simmons is a county park.  While there are RV sites available, I chose to visit first on a $2.00 day pass and liked it so much later opted to dry camp overnight.

For most of the day, Mia and I enjoyed our own private beach.  I watched three ospreys fishing the bay, and off shore, a flock of what looked like mergansers.  Mullet were jumping, Mia settled in for a nap…and before too long I heard the blowing of dolphins. A pair came cruising by, right off our beach..went around the strip of island, and circled back out to the bay.


When we’d had enough beach…well, that’s not really possible so let me re-phrase that.  When we decided to take a walk and see other areas of the park (that’s better) we came upon this black vulture picking at a very old carcass…probably raccoon or possum but I didn’t get close enough to really see. Some things are better observed from a distance.



Boondocking at Cracker Barrel

Boondocking is an RV term that means dry camping…camping overnight with no water, sewer, or electric hookups.  Some folks actually prefer to camp this way, as it’s a no-brainer for saving money.  For most RVs that are self-contained, dry camping is seldom an inconvenience, and a great way to camp while traveling or when in-between parks.


So there I was, a few nights ago, unable to secure a park reservation for a couple more days.  Perfect time to experience boondocking.

There are several sites that offer dry camp information..that is, where it’s permitted and where you are taking a chance of being asked to leave in the middle of the night.  Walmart parking lots are probably the most common place..but not all Walmarts are officially OK for overnight parking.  It usually depends on the local ordinance..and on whether said ordinance is actually enforced.

Since being ticketed, routed out in the wee hours of the morning, or just making unnecessary poor choices are not among my favorite things, I opted for making a list, checking it twice, and then calling ahead to be sure.

Cracker Barrel restaurants seem to be very RV friendly, and I found one just off I-75 in Bradenton that said “Sure, come on down!”  They even have a separate parking area for RVs, right next to this retention pond and the resident mergansers, whistling ducks, and white ibis.  Peaceful enough – except for highway noise but what the heck, it’s a free, and  three other RVs there too.

And then of course there are those Cracker Barrel breakfasts.



Heading to the Mountains of Orlando

Actually I’m now just south of Clermont, FL, in a park called Thousand Trails Orlando.  The WiFi service is unavailable at the site, so it’s been a bit between posts.

The elevation here is about 128 feet – and in Florida, that’s a mountain. I could tell especially when I got my bike out of the RV basement and went for a ride.  What the heck???

I am in love with this park.  The sites are spacious, there’s a lovely lake and a hiking trail through the pine woods.  Mia is loving it as well.  Apparently we are very close to Disney, as we can hear the fireworks every night and I’m told if I go down to the lake, we can see them as well.  Haven’t done that yet…

There’s a small dog park with a resident gopher tortoise, which I haven’t figured out just yet.  Does the tortoise make it out of the very small park?  And if not, how does he survive on the minimal grass present?


The tortoise hole is in the small dog area..which also has me wondering, once again but for different reasons..what the heck?  I had to discourage Mia from popping down the hole for a visit, and she is just an oblivious, non-hunting Chihuahua lap dog.  What do the terrier do with this easily accessible turtle hole?  I can only assume it is actually abandoned and the fencing and sign is an attempt at public education.  No tortoise in his right mind would want to live in a dog park!


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