October 26, 2015 – Cross Florida Greenway

We are waiting for parts so Sao did not go into the shop today. After lunch, we went on another exploration. This is something that I wanted to see for a long time.  Not because it is anything particularly spectacular to see, I was just curious.

When you drive on Interstate 75 near Ocala, Florida, you go under an overpass with trees on it. I thought it might be part of the corridor system for wildlife movement.  Florida has a number of corridors, greenways, and preserves. Well you just don’t see that many highway overpasses with trees growing on them. We looked it up and it is part of the  Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, a 110-mile long band of green across the middle of Florida from Palatka, near the east coast, to the Gulf of Mexico. It is about a mile wide in most places. The land is part of an unfinished barge canal to link the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic ocean proposed by King Phillip II of Spain in 1567.  Yes, 1567. Andy found the trail head that would take us to the overpass, called the Land Bridge. And we were off on an adventure.

We had not even reached the trail head from the parking lot when we were awed by a Live Oak tree.  Just LOOK at those branches!


I asked my scale model Andy to stay where he was while I walked closer to the tree to take a picture of him by the three long branches. They are amazing.


We headed on into the forest and saw more Live Oak trees. It was a surreal environment.

b03 Live Oak Limbs

Andy suddenly veered off the trail.

b04 Andy Under Limbs

I soon realized that he had found a good place to sit down and re-tie his shoes.

b05 Andy Tying Shoe on Limb

The next odd sight we came to was a tree on the ground. It looked like a giant wooden octopus ready to grab us.

b06 Splayed Tree

After passing under some branches and getting to the other side, we realized that a huge tree had been split in half.  The half on the right was dead.

b07 Tree Broken in Two

The half on the left, that we had just passed under, was alive and well and had grown a little forest.  What were once branches are now upright trees.

b08 Forest Growing on Downed Tree

The effect of those huge trees hanging over the trail was beautiful.

b09 Trail Under Trees

We came to an area that was clear of underbrush.  Andy figured it was low lying land and is wet some of the time.

b10 No Undergrowth

Here is something else I have never seen before.  Two separate trails were running alongside each other.  There are three trails leaving the parking area and going to the land bridge.  One is for hikers, one for bicycles, and one for horses.  The hiking trail goes the shortest distance, pretty much straight, well a very curvy straight.  The other two trails meander back and forth and cross the hiking trail four or five times. There is also a service road. At this point, the trails were along some private property.

b11 Parallel Trails

Another strange place in the woods was deep in pine straw.  I love pine straw, but this area was just a bit creepy.

b12 Pine Needles Cover Forest Floor

The trail is only 1.1 miles long from the parking lot to the land bridge.  We could hear the traffic on I-75 well before we got to it. I was surprised to see stone walls leading to it. They are the planters for the trees and shrubs. This is the bridge, a one-lane dirt road.

b13 Land Bridge

I widens into a courtyard at the center of the interstate and there are overlooks.  They must be for people, not the animals.

b14 Courtyard on Land Bridge

I-75 was busy as usual.

b15 Overlook on I-75

I noticed two cameras mounted on a post at the beginning of the land bridge and bent over to take a picture of them.

b16 Cameras at Land Bridge

When I stood up and turned around, Andy was posed with his walking stick like a golf club aimed at my behind. He figured that when the wildlife people see a picture of me bent over taking a picture of the camera, they will get a good laugh. That man has a strange sense of humor.

There was a bush loaded with Beauty Berries near the land bridge too.  I was just reading recently that although they are edible, the birds and other animals don’t like them. They don’t eat them unless there is nothing else available.

b17 Beauty Berries

This was a photo op.  The horse trail was crossing our trail  right in front of two big trees.

b18 Horses Crossing Trail

This was a group of five or six trees splayed out over the trail.  We had to climb over them at the base.

b19 Splayed Trees

That was a great walk.

Someone had posted a link to a web site showing how to make rose shaped apple treats made with a can of crescent rolls.  I bought the rolls and an apple and decided to make them tonight.  That’s when I realized that I don’t have any cupcake tins.  I thought I did, but can’t find them.  They are probably under the futon couch under other stuff.  So, I decided to roll them up.

I didn’t follow a recipe; I just put in slices of apple, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and toasted pecans. They were super easy and a right tasty. Here they are when I took them out of the oven.

b20 Apple Crescents

Here is one on a plate because that’s the way those food blogs and magazines show their food. I just didn’t have a fancy plate or utensil or table cloth for drama.

b21 Apple Crescent


October 24, 2015 – Wildwood, Florida

Yes, we are still here in the repair shop.  Most of our list has been accomplished, but we are waiting on a cable to connect the rear-view camera to the monitor on the dash. Mechanic Kevin predicts that it will be in on Tuesday. That means he’ll install it on Wednesday.  And, that means we would leave on Thursday. We’ll see.

We have been catching up on paperwork and housework.  Yesterday, after lunch, we went to see A Walk in the Woods. I enjoyed it and Andy must have too; he stayed awake through the whole thing.  It has been several years since I read the book, but I think the movie was faithful to it.

It was nice to be able to cook and eat at home, since Sao was not in the shop today. Andy requested spaghetti. After lunch, we drove to Lake Okahumpka Park, just a mile or three down the highway from Alliance Coach. We like to take our walk there when we are in Wildwood.

b Trail Sign

We walked the red trail three times to give us 3.87 miles, actually over four miles when you count our side trips. It is a level, paved trail all around the small county park.

b First Bridge

There are two gazebos along the trail for taking a rest, but we did not use them.

b Gazebo

I read on the web that okahumpka is an English-ization for an Indian phrase meaning deep water. It is difficult to get much of a view of the lake from the park.  This is all we could see of it, from the boat ramp. We agreed that, next year, we will rent a canoe and explore the lake.

b Lake Okahumpka

He is another picture showing the pier alongside the boat ramp.

a View from Boat Ramp

There are a lot of Live Oaks with Spanish moss, but none of them are the full, wide ones we see out in the open pastures.

This is the trail along the lake shore.

b Trail Along Live Oaks

b Live Oak and Spanish Moss

I wonder how many signs you really need on a walking trail in a small county park. I don’t know what the stop sign is for; this spot is not at a road. Of course the blue and red ones direct you on the trail you want. The green arrow directs you to the next World Gym stop.  We could not figure out the green signs along the trail with compass bearings.

b Stop Sign

This is one of the World Gym stops.  I did not try any of them. We decided that walking is enough for old people.

b World Gym Equipment

These Spanish moss beards were swaying in the breeze and sunshine.

b Sunshine on Spanish Moss

One section of the trail follows the park road around a broad lawn. These tiny lavender flowers were in the grass at the edge of the road.

b Tiny Lavender Flowers in Grass

This is a turn in the trail where it goes over a little ditch.  We saw water in it for the first time today.  We’ve been told that Florida had a lot of rain this summer.

a Turn in the Trail

This nice walk through the woods is along the highway.  You can see a car driving by at the end of the path.
b Trail and Highway

It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the high seventies or low eighties with a nice breeze. All three picnic pavilions had a group of picnickers in them.  We saw men playing disc golf and the playground was full of children.

I noticed some poles along the trail that were not here the last time we were. There are five of them.

a Bat Houses

We pondered them for a few minutes and then I saw this sign.

a Bat House Sign

Here is a close up of a bat house.

b Bat House Close Up

Kudos to Nathan Arnold and troop 439 for a fine project.

October 21, 2015 – Wildwood, Florida

Another day at the shop.  As he said he would, Mechanic Kevin arrived around 0700 to take Sao into the shop for more work. We went tot he customer lounge and watched some RV news.  That got old quickly and we decided to take a walk around the property. Of course, we stopped by Sao on the way out to see how Kevin was doing. The had the instrument panel pulled off the dash and was testing diodes.


b01 Kevin Checking Diodes

I went around to get a better look.  The problem that he was addressing was the “low air pressure” alarm.  The warning light and beeping have been going on regularly since we left the Smokies at the end of June. A couple days it has beeped non-stop and nearly drove me mad. The boost air pressure gauge is supposed to read 60 psi, but normal has been 30 psi.  The last few days of driving, the gauge had gone down to 5 and 10 psi. Kevin was also going to change the air dryer filters.

b02 Kevin Behind Dashboard











The yellow things at the top left are the two-way radios that JR Smullen gave us.  Thanks again JR; we use them all the time.

Here is Sao sitting in the oil change bay.  We got the lube, oil, and filter changes for the engine and the generator.

b03 Sao in Oil Change Bay

Then we headed out for our walk. I noticed (not for the first time) that many of the service bays also have a motorhome sitting outside and they are being worked on.

b04 Back of Alliance Garage

Here is something we have never seen before.  Apparently that motorhome is having trouble with its propane gas system.  There is a hose running from the propane tank to tower and they are burning off the propane from the tank. It was burning hard too. We could hear it.

b05 Burning Off Propane

This large Live Oak is next to the employee parking lot. Live oaks with Spanish Moss hanging on them are one of the great charms of the south.

b06 Live Oak Behind Employee Parking Lot

We noticed that we have a new hub cap.  We don’t know where we lost the old one; we have been on so many rough roads this summer, it could be anywhere. The hub cap is just the shiny clean part in the center.

b07 New Hub Cap

Here is another large Live Oak out in front of the Alliance Coach building.

b08 Live Oak in Front of Alliance

These small Morning Glories are growing along the side of the road.

b09 Small Morning Glories

Of course, I had to go take a look at the lawn-mowing tractor parked in a field.  I realized that I look at tractors a lot when I recognized the Massey Furgeson symbol on the front. One of my fantasy jobs would be driving a large lawn mower.

b10 Tractor

We came around to the back of the garage to see that Sao had been moved from the oil-change bay to the wash-and-wax port. Two men were hard at work with extra-long-handled brushes and a large bucket of suds.

b11 Washing Sao

We stood and watched them for a while. One fellow was cleaning the wheels as they both worked their way around Sao together.

b12 Washing Sao Wheel

They got to the front and I realized that one of them was pressure-washing right above the other, but the other guy never got wet.

b13 Washing Sao Front

Wash job done, Sao is sparkling clean. Believe me, we had a lot of dirt we dragged in from all across the country.

b14 Shiny Clean Sao

One guy started wiping Sao dry while the other one came behind him waxing. We went to lunch at that point.

b15 Wiping and Waxing Sao

We spent most of the afternoon in the customer waiting room/lounge.  Andy studied the Alliance Coach catalog and I continued reading Macho Metaphysics by our friend, Bob Elkins.

b16 Alliance Waiting Room

Kevin has already finished some jobs:

Found and repaired a leak in the rear port slide out.  This is where I had musty, mildewed clothes last winter.

Found the problem and fixed the rear heat pump/air conditioning unit.  Fortunately, that turned out to be a simple sensor replacement.

He fixed the entry steps, which had come loose and were sinking when we stepped on them.

He took apart the light fixtures in the bedroom and over the kitchen sink. He is going to change them to LED lights.

He checked our LP gas system for leaks.  We didn’t have a problem, but Andy wants it checked.  After we lost our friend Bob in a gas fire, we are a bit sensitive about it.

Kevin looked at our rear-view camera system, but can’t figure out why it doesn’t work half the time.  We got a new monitor two years ago and a new camera last year.  We still have the problem.  I think the problem in the wire between them, but Will Burke says that would cost too much to fix.

We always have a list when we come to Alliance. My darling friend Sue Meyer asked me to include what work we are getting done.  They have a motorhome too.  All this probably makes her queasy. But Mac can probably fix most of this stuff himself.