Raining Nuts

Thursday October 21st 2021

The overnight temperatures were a little warmer Wednesday night leading to a warmer start to the day. It was a more humid day with a high temperature in the mid eighties. According to the TV weather talkers it is about five degrees above normal for the time of year.

Gazebo on a little island in the RV park lake.

My RV home is parked with the back few feet under the canopy of a huge Oak tree. At some times of year that would provide welcome shade. Right now, it is the source of annoyance. At random times during the day or night it drops acorns onto my RV roof. This little nuts land with a loud echoing plonk or thud depending on where they land. Once I new what was happening, they weren’t bothersome, but even with knowledge they are still startling. Between the breeze and hungry squirrels quite a few nuts have bounced off my roof.

Large Oak tree partially hanging over my RV home.
Some of the little “bombs” the tree is raining down on my roof.

The transient section of this RV park is close to full again tonight. It was similarly full on Tuesday night when I arrived. Yesterday seemed to be an off day for overnight visitors. I had the only RV in my row until one arrived well after dark. I wonder what travel pattern caused the Wednesday anomaly.

I am moving on to my first real Florida winter stop tomorrow. It is about one hundred miles to the Jacksonville area. I’ll be there until the end of November. I’m looking forward to a longer period in one location and I’m developing a list of things I want to get done.

A This and That Kind of Day

Wednesday October 20th 2021

The fall weather I’ve experienced the last few days is over. Between the changing weather pattern and getting closer to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the temperature is back into the mid eighties with increasing humidity. The only real positive factor is the overnight temperatures are still getting down into the low fifties. It is good sleeping weather.

I did a little bit of this and a little bit of that today. Basically it was a day to relax after a travel day. Coming up with something close to informative or entertaining in this blog entry isn’t happening tonight. Here are some of the pictures of the non human visitors to the campground.

Return to Florida

Tuesday October 19th 2021

The cold morning trend continued today. I was up early to get ready for the travel day, but had to keep moving to stay warm. As a consequence, I was ready to travel earlier than planned. It was on the road a little around 10AM for my 190 mile travel day.

I made one stop for gas shortly after I got on the road. The price per gallon at the Love’s station was only a penny higher than Sunday’s purchase in Alabama. Some of the other stations in the area were more than ten cents higher. Once again I only put one credit card swipe of about 40 gallons in the tank. Since I hadn’t checked the web or one of the price tracking Aps, I had a fleeting hope that the price would be cheaper in Florida. When I checked the Web this evening I found fuel prices were another 5 cents higher. It doesn’t make a big difference (about $3.00 for a full tank) in the overall scheme of things, but it is annoying.

Traffic along the way was heavy, but it kept moving. There was a steady flow of big trucks to deal with. Most of them were going faster than I was, but every now and then I encountered one going slower. Getting around a slow moving truck with faster trucks passing almost continuously in the next lane was often challenging. It was a little after 1PM when I arrived at the Florida Welcome center. I got my thee ounces of free Orange Juicy to celebrate my return. I left Florida at the beginning of July. I plan to be in the state until at least the middle of April.

Site 39 at the Jennings KOA Holiday.

I’m at the Jennings KOA Holiday in Jennings Florida. The campground is on the side of Interstate 75 a few miles south of the state line. I’ve stayed here a couple of other times. I am on the same site I was on during my last stay in June of this year. I’ll be here until Friday.

Back in the Eastern Time Zone

Monday October 18th 2021

It was another cold morning. The outside temperature got down into the low to mid forties overnight. It was fifty inside my RV home when I woke this morning. I turned on the electric fireplace to raise the temperature a little, but I counted on the sun to do most of the warming. It took until noon to break the seventy degree mark inside. Outside it only got to the low seventies by the end of the afternoon.

Today was planned as a day of rest after yesterday’s long travel day. It also turned in to an acclimation to the new time zone day. Today was my first day back in the eastern time zone after three and a half months in the central time zone. I grew up and spent most of my life in the eastern time zone, so when I’m in other zones I’m always doing some comparison and translation. Even so, today had some of the typical disorientation associated with crossing into a new time zone west to east. The biggest factor is not having an accurate sense of time during the day. I am sure it will be resolved in a day or two, only to be replaced by a different kind of temporal confusion with the return to standard time in a couple of weeks.

The campground was close to full last night and it is again tonight. During the day more than half the sites were empty. This park is very much a night or two stop along the way. Most of the RVs are from states along the Interstate 75 corridor from Michigan to Florida.

During an early afternoon walk around the campground, I saw more Canadian Geese than people. The small pond at the front of campground was surrounded by geese. It looks like several pairs of geese raised there families without any attrition. I stopped counting around fifty.

I am moving another 190 miles south tomorrow. I’ll be back in Florida for the first time since the beginning of July when I stop for three nights just south of the state line. On Friday I’ll continue east to the Jacksonville area for a longer stay. Let my winter Florida itinerary begin.

Travel Day to Georgia

Sunday October 17th 2021

It was cold in my RV home this morning. The thermometer read fifty at 7:30AM. The outside temperature was probably in the low forties. If I didn’t need to get an early start on today’s long travel day, I would have rolled over and stayed in the warmth of my bed. The high temperature for the day was in the mid sixties.

I pulled out of the RV park for my three hundred twenty mile journey shortly after 9AM. My first and only stop was for gas a couple of miles down the road. The price per gallon at the same station I bought gas in 8 days ago was twenty cents a gallon higher. I put in forty gallons before the first credit card pass maxed out. Rather than doing a second authorization, I decided to wait until I got to Georgia. Fuel prices are usually lower in Georgia and forty gallons along with what was already in the tank would easily get me to my destination for the day. Gas prices turned out to be a cent or two higher once I got to Georgia.

The drive was easy until I reached the Atlanta area. Traffic got very heavy. I saw more accidents on the roads around Atlanta than I’ve seen on any single trip. The first couple were on the opposite side of the highway, but I was soon slowed to a crawl with stop and go progress. An accident had occurred in front of my direction of travel. I suffered through three slow downs for accidents on Interstate 75 south of Atlanta and passed an additional two on the opposite side. Overall I was probably delayed by about an hour.

The terrain in Alabama and eastern Georgia was very hilly. On reflection, I knew I was crossing the southern end of the Appalachian mountains, but in my head Georgia and Alabama are flat states. My first exposure to both states was along the coastal plain. In my mind I visualize the entire state like the area I first experienced. Even the hills in the Florida panhandle surprise me every time I pass through the area.

Site 104 at the Forsyth GA KOA.

With the time change as I returned to the Eastern Time Zone and the traffic caused delays, I arrived at my destination shortly after 4PM. Overall I was on the road about six hours. I am at the Forsyth KOA along the side of Interstate 75 in Forsyth Georgia for two nights. I’ve stayed here three times before. The first time when I evacuated from Florida for Hurricane Mathew in 2016 and later when traveling along Interstate 75. It is a good location for timing travel through the Atlanta area. Prior to today’s experience traveling through Atlanta on a Sunday was easy.

A Relaxing Day Between Travel Days

Saturday October 16th 2021

The cold front passed through this area just before midnight without any real dramatic weather. There was heavy rain for about an hour, but no severe winds or other dangerous weather elements. On the back side of the front today’s weather has been very fall like. The high temperature for the day was in the low sixties and there was a very strong north wind under a bright blue sky. Unlike the wind earlier in the week this time I was oriented in a better direction and location. The wind was mostly blocked by my neighbors trailer.

A little bit of color remains on some of the bushes.

I didn’t do much today. It was a day for relaxing between two travel days. I watched college football and the baseball postseason game between the Redsox and the Astros. It was nice to see the Redsox tie the series at a game apiece. After last nights contest, I thought they would go down in four straight games.

The RV park is full this weekend. There are also a lot more kids around than there were during my last stay. It probably is because this is the end of the fall school break week in this area. I can see the playground from my RV home. It has been very busy all day. The trailer beside me has three or four little kids and a least three adults. Their site is overflowing with three vehicles in addition to the fifth wheel trailer. The inside must be just as packed with seven plus occupants.

The view of the moon has really increased after two nights of cloud cover hiding the growing ball of reflected light.

I’m moving on in the morning as I put on miles to catch up with my fall and winter plans. I’ve chosen a route for tomorrow that is about 320 miles. It is a compromise between the roads I know along a longer path and the secondary roads I don’t know along the shortest path. I will square out a couple of corners using the interstate highway system. My plan is to get an early start so I don’t arrive too late at my destination. I lose an hour when I enter Georgia in the Eastern time zone.

Back on Course Traveling East

Friday October 15th 2021

It rain steadily for about five hours last night. When I got up this morning there were many big puddles and the grass was a soggy mess. Last nights storm was a very slow moving line of storms moving southwest to northeast. This morning the line of storms was to the east with another west to east line of storms due late in the day.

I completed my travel preparations at a steady pace. In was about 10:30AM when I pulled out of the Sam’s Town Casino RV park heading east. The journey came in three parts. The first third was on dry roads with the sun attempting to break through the clouds. During the second part I caught up with the storms from last night. It was difficult driving in the limited visibility caused by the rain. For the last third of my travel day I was in the area where the storm hadn’t arrived. Blue sky with big white fluffy clouds was a welcome sight.

Site 68 at the Heritage Acres RV park. The clouds in the background are the leading edge of the approaching rain.

It was about 1:30PM when I arrived at the Heritage Acres RV Park in Tuscumbia Alabama. This is the same park I stayed at for a week or so at the end of September. I was able to setup in dry, warm and humid conditions. About an hour and a half later the rain caught up again. It has been raining off and on ever since. The main line of the cold front is still to come. It produced a tornado warning in the area I departed this morning. In this area a severe thunderstorm watch is in place until midnight. The high temperature tomorrow is forecast to be in the mid sixties.

Last Day in Mississippi

Thursday October 14th 2021

Today was my last full day in Mississippi. Tomorrow I resume my travels to the east. Sam’s Town Casino RV park provided a good place to wait out the week of low campsite availability along my travel route. There isn’t a lot to do in the immediate area if you aren’t into gambling at one of the hand full of casinos, but the RV park is nice and it is reasonably priced.

Tomorrow I’m traveling east 165 miles to the Mussel Shores Alabama area. I’ll be staying at the same place I stopped at more than two weeks ago. Once I get there, I will have recovered most of the 200 mile detour I took to find a place for this past week. The original plan to stay in the Chattanooga Tennessee area for a week has been abandoned. On Sunday I have a long travel day planned to get back on track. The goal is to get through the Atlanta Georgia area on the slow Sunday traffic day. The plan is to travel between 300 and 360 miles to Forsyth Georgia south of Atlanta. The large variation in distance is driven by the route I take. I’ve traveled the roads on the long route, but not the roads on the shorter path. A little more research is in order before I commit to the shorter route.

Tiny wildflowers of the day.

After two nights in Forsyth I’ll travel down Interstate 75 to Florida. I’ll stay just over the state line for three nights before moving east to Jacksonville Florida. I have a travel breather booked starting Friday the 22nd. I’ll be in one place for thirty seven nights before moving again.

My last two travel legs getting to Jacksonville are more manageable distances. The first leg is 185 miles and the last is 115 miles. Two hundred miles is my target distance when looking for my next stop. When I need to cover distance, longer travel days are possible. Crossing Texas, for instance, I routinely have at least one close to four hundred mile travel day. That is about my max for safety as a solo traveler behind the wheel. After a long travel day I try to stop for at least two nights to recover.

It was a cloudy day from sunrise to sunset. I was not able to continue my pictures of the growing moon. The rain due tomorrow will probably not allow a picture tomorrow either. Maybe I can get another one on Saturday evening.

A Slow Day with a Few Chores

Wednesday October 13th 2021

Today’s weather was a nice, but windy day. There is another storm front approaching from the west. The harbinger of the bad weather is the strong wind out of the south. The front is due in this area tomorrow night into Friday. Even with the wind it was a nice day with a high temperature in the low to mid eighties.

This was a stay at home day. It was about fifty fifty chores and relaxing. On the chores side of things I locked in my reservations for my next week of travel. I now have every night from now through the middle of April next year booked. The majority of the nights are even by necessity paid for.

Tonight’s sunset.

Getting reservations in Florida during the winter takes early planning and flexibility. Reservations at the state parks open eleven months out and many fill up in the first few seconds of the reservation window. The federal parks behave similarly on a six month reservation window. Sites in commercial parks in popular areas often never get to the open market. They are swallowed up by returning visitors year after year. Commercial parks away from the coast and the theme parks don’t fill up as quickly. Last year there was a little more availability because the Canadian US boarder was closed. The US government announced today that the boarder for Canadians to enter the US by land is opening next month, so I would imagine the large number of Canadian Snowbirds will be back.

The moon is getting a little bigger each night.

I took two walks around the RV park and over to the casino today. It is good exercise, but not very scenic. I think I’ve exhausted the good photo opportunities. The pictures in this blog entry were taken at sunset, almost as pictures of last resort.

A Noisy Start to a Restful Day

Tuesday October 12th 2021

The temperature reached the low eighties again today. This high temperature is considered high for this area in the middle of October. The low to mid seventies is the average high. The remainder of my stay here the temperature is forecast above normal. Another front is due on Friday which is my travel day. This area may have high temperatures in the sixties this weekend. Who knows what I’ll see back in northern Alabama.

Blossom of the Day

My day began early again this morning. It wasn’t the wind that woke me like Monday, but rather the departure noise of some of my neighbors. The people from the trailer in for the night at the site next door were particularly noisy starting around 7AM. Between the clutch on the electric drill they used to raise and lower their jacks to the sound of the “gentleman” yelling at his dogs to be quiet it was a rather rude start to the day. The dog noise didn’t bother me, but his shouting sure did.

This RV park has a much higher level of activity this month than it did in late July and August. Many nights during my summer stay there were only four or five sites in use. This month there seems to be around twenty every night and the weekend was even busier. The other difference is where they are from. During my summer stays the RVs were mostly from nearby states. This time many of the RVs are from more distant states. Over the weekend one of my neighbors was from New York and another was from Wisconsin.

The sliver of moon is a little bigger tonight than last night.

Other than a drive around the area, today was pretty much a day of rest. I did some reading, a little bit of internet research and some TV watching. My drive was in search of the cotton harvest. I wanted to get a picture of the massive machines used in the harvest, but unfortunately I didn’t look in the right places. Maybe tomorrow will be more successful. The roads in this area are easy to drive around on. Most of the roads are multiple lanes and many are divided highways. All of the infrastructure seems to have been built to support the casino industry. The community really had high hopes of turning the area into an entertainment destination to rival Las Vegas. It has been in decline since the development of all of the local and Native American casinos around the country. The 2008 rescission and Mississippi River Floods of 2011 really slowed everything down.