O'Leno State Park
Highsprings, Florida

March 16th

This sign had to be MaryAnn's idea!

Sissy, MaryAnn and Casey at the hot tub.

Entrance marker for O'Leno State Park in High Springs, Florida.

Does this really look like a gopher to you?

John taking a dip in the Santa Fe river which runs through the park.

After a totally enjoyable 2 days in and around Sarasota, it was time to break camp and head north. We were up before dawn getting ready to leave on time, and did exactly that! Sissy took her shower while John prepared the outside of the trailer. The bike was loaded at 0745 (hope we didn't wake the neighbors), and then John took his shower. Showers in the trailer aren't bad at all; they're actually better and faster than those taken at the campground showers. We've made it a practice to use the trailer shower ever since Daytona.

On the road before 0900, Sissy used the cell phone to call Tim and MaryAnn (friends of ours from Virginia Beach now living in Bloomingdale, Florida). Tim was out of town (he travels allot), so we made plans with MaryAnn to stop by and say hello. With directions to their "castle" in the Links in hand, we headed that way. MaryAnn was outside as we drove down her street, and once parked and inside, prepared some Mimosa's (champagne and orange juice) to sip while at their screen-enclosed swimming pool and hot tub.

Tim and MaryAnn's castle.

We found out (too late, of course) that MaryAnn and 4 of her girlfriends (without hubbies) had gone to Siesta Key beach the day before. They needed a break from the kids, and decided to beach it all day. Just think, John could have been the official suntan lotion put'er-on'er. He likes that! Oh well, maybe next time.

Picnic area inside the park.

I75 northbound was an excellent roadway and we made good time. We pulled off at a rest area for lunch, and then again just south of Lake City for fuel and campground plans. We located the O'Leno State Park (which was full) but were able to spend the night in the parking lot. Not bad either! No water, electric or sewer, but we had our own water and electricity and the park had a dump station we used in the morning.

We met some very nice folks from Vermont (Leonard and Shirley) who were on their way to Georgia for the annual Motorcoach Owner's Association Rally. They too were just stopping for the night in the parking lot. They made reservations ahead of time, but their assigned spot was too small for their rig. Leonard offered his spot to us, but if he couldn't get into it, we certainly wouldn't have been able too. Remember, we're just learning this camping thing. Besides, why spend an hour trying to park the rig, when you can be doing other things.

Ranger Station at the front entrance.

We both walked down to the Santa Fe river (runs through the park) and John went swimming while Sissy took some pics. The water was about 70 degrees (cold considering) but it felt good since the average temperature of the day while traveling was between 89-94 degrees. And then, it was time for Sissy to go fishing and for John to ride the bike and take pics. Sissy caught a tree 4 times and herself really good once. She also had 2 nibbles, but came up empty on her first fishing expedition of the trip. John was a little more successful; he grabbed the camera, put the breeze in his face and explored the park taking pics along the way.

Sissy standing on the floating dock.

As you can see from the pic to the left, turtle shaped gophers are supposed to be prevalant inside the park. Not so! There were also supposed to be alligators in/around the Santa Fe river, but we didn't see any. We did however, see a Monarch butterfly, a hawk hovering overhead, some red ants and even a few mosquitoes, but no turtle gophers or alligators.

The next morning we packed up our stuff and took showers. Sissy went to empty trash and take a few more pics. She spotted the alligator sign and then something in the woods. Realizing it was a deer, she snapped another pic and walked closer. Two, three, four, five and then the sixth deer appeared as she inched her way into the woods. John, of course, was getting anxious to leave and decided to pull the rig around the parking lot and get closer. The noise of the truck engine apparently frightened the deer and they "walked" off toward the river. Sissy did get plenty of pics though...

John & Sissy EXCLUSIVE RATINGS: (1 bad - good 10)

  • Campground - 6
  • People - 7
  • Roads - 9
  • Scenery - 9
  • Traffic - 9
  • Things to Do - 6
  • Weather - 9

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