Sept. 11, 2016 Manatee Springs State Park, Chiefland, FL

We loaded the trailer this morning while it was still cool outside and were on our way about 10:30. 

We’re off on our “staycation” for a month in the Florida panhandle.  I call it a “staycation” because we’re not covering a lot of ground, but spending multiple days at all our chosen locations.  We’re camping mostly in state parks along the Gulf Coast, exploring natural springs, white sand beaches, seeing the only underground caverns in the state of Florida, and other areas we’ve only read about or seen by boat.  We’re excited to take in the sights at a more leisurely pace, eat some great seafood, and visit some new places. We chose this time of year in the hopes that we would have some cooler temperatures (here’s hoping) and beat the Snowbird’s southern migration.  It was a short 3 hour drive to our first destination, Manatee Springs State Park, through some of the most beautiful horse country in Florida west of Ocala.  We pulled into the campground around 2:00.

While we traveled north today, we were lucky enough to be able to listen to the Packer game on Sirius radio since they were playing the Jacksonville Jaguars nearby.  We timed our arrival to the campground perfectly, just about halftime.  Within no time, we got all set up in our campsite and just in time to listen to the second half of the game.

We turned on the AC and while the camper got cooled off, I listened to the second half of the game in the comfort of the air-conditioned truck with air-cooled seats.  S..w…e…e…t!  Even sweeter was a win for the Packers in the first game of the season!  While I was in the truck listening to the game, Bob alerted me to some deer that were walking through the campsite. Auggie was outside, but never saw them.  He was too busy checking out the “neighborhood” in the other direction.  They slowly meandered away deeper into the woods.

We had a thunderstorm move through the area around suppertime, but it ended soon enough.  Bob cooked some steaks on the grill and we had an enjoyable first dinner.  After dinner, we took a walk around the campground loop with Auggie and spotted a large armadillo rooting around the bushes.  Auggie saw him too and he was just about as big as Auggie.  The three of us just stood and watched him.  After awhile Auggie grew bored with him, so we walked on, only to be stopped in our tracks while a herd of about a dozen deer crossed the road in front of us.  We watched in awe as we had never seen that many deer in one place in Florida before.  After they passed, we walked back to the campsite to avoid the mosquitoes that were starting to descend on us.  We look forward to swimming in the natural springs tomorrow. 

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