Payne's Prairie SP (March 22-25, 2017)

It was less than an hour to get here, but there was a lot of truck traffic on I-75. We got into site six, which is much smaller than the one we just left. The tree cover is heavy, which gives us ample shade, but made it impossible for John to get satellite signal. We can watch tv on our phones and watch dvds.

Rainbow Springs SP (Mar 8-21, 2017)

Wednesday - Short trip here from Crystal River. We got set up and waited for our friends Sam and Paula to arrive. After they got here and got set up, we headed to The Front Porch for dinner. It was great to get caught up with things in Georgia.
Thursday - Today the four of us biked the Withlacoochee Bay Trail four miles out to the Gulf. It was a beautiful ride and we were treated to dolphins and pelicans feeding on bait fish. We all had dinner at our place.
Friday - Today, the four joined our Friday kayaking group on the Rainbow River, a beautiful stretch of crystal clear water. We saw otter, cormorants, turtles, ibis, wood ducks, and fish. John caught many small bream while the group went up to the head spring, then joined the group down river to the take out at Blue Run. We ended the outing with lunch at The Blue Otter.
Saturday - The Fab Four needed a slightly less strenuous day, so we went exploring. Sam did the honors of driving. We chucked out Yankeetown, Crystal River Preserve State Park, Fort Island Trail Park and Beach, and Gulf Coast RV Park where J&J stayed in November for possible use next year by S&P. We had a very nice lunch at Crackers, although we couldn't sit outside due to it being too crouded. John thinks the grouper sandwich here is nearly as good as the Blue Gator and much better than Charlie's. It was a gorgeous day.
Sunday - The two of us are battling allergies or upper respiratory junk, so we chose to stay home from church this AM. The weather is iffy as well so we stayed close and took a couple walks around here. On our evening walk down to the river we were treated to a bald eagle catching a fish. It flew quite close to us.
Monday - The temperature has dropped here considerably, and the wind picked up, but the four decided to bike anyway. We parked at Blue Run in Dunnellon and biked both ways to the end on the trail there. We also hiked around the lake on the nature trail, then went back to the Front Porch Restaurant for dinner and to celebrate Joan's Birthday.
Saturday - We have been laying low, fighting of upper resperatory crud, we figure set off by oak pollen, which is very high now.
Monday - We took it easy again today and met Sam and Paula at Swampy's for dinner.
Tuesday - We are still feeling the effects of oak allergies, but are managing to function. We made a Wally run, then took the bikes to NCL to leave them there. We said good byes to friends and blew leaves off the patio for the last time. In the evening we met Sam and Paula at the Front Porch for dinner.

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Nature Coast Landing RV Resort (Feb 8-Mar 7, 2017)

Wednesday - The sellers of site 34 have allowed us to set up on the site in advance of our closing to purchase the site on Saturday. We got mostly set and went to Mama Sally's nearby for dinner. Excellent! On the way back, we stopped at Gulf Coast RV Resort to check on Bill and Karin, who we met in November when we stayed there. We had a good 3 1/2 hour trip here using back roads.
Thursday - We met a bunch of people. Everyone is so friendly. We wanted to get some things we need so we went to Home Depot to stock up. John got the electric to the shed fixed.
Friday - We enjoyed a fire at our neighbors along with many others. We are really enjoying it here.
Saturday - Our closing was this morning and we are now officially owners here. John painted the under side of the picnic table and will do the top tomorrow. In the evening we went to a cookout potluck, which was great.
Monday - Our friends Jim and Suzanne, who are staying at Manatee Springs SP came over for a visit. They came with us when we checked out sites for sale here and told us we should buy this site. We talked for awhile, then went to Charlie's for lunch. After we are, we took them around to check out places to launch, such as Crystal River Preserve SP.
Tuesday - The highlight of  the day was a prime rib dinner dance. We are making friends and really enjoying it here.
Wednesday - Today was a welcome and information meeting. Storms went thru, so no outdoor activities.
Thursday - There is a bike path along the shipping canal that goes out to the coast from here at the park and also goes east towards the Withlacoochee River.  We decided to do the latter, which is two miles each way. It was a beautiful ride with a couple places we would be able to fish from shore. It also passes a lake wth a decent place to launch, which we can wheel the kayaks to from the parking area.
Monday - The tides were not favorable, so we launched at the ramp by the dam on Lake Rousseau. First cast John had a nice bass that gave him a great fight. A little later Joan had a smaller one, that she released. That was it for the day.
Wednesday - We met our friends Joe and Debbie at Charlie's for a nice lunch. After we checked out a couple kayak dealers, then came back to our RV site to show them.
Friday - Our group went kayaking on Silver River in Ocala. We put in at the state park and paddled downstream to Rays Landing where we had shuttled vehicles. After, we had a great lunch at MoJos.
Monday - John gave a talk on fly fishing at the fishing talk meeting, which was well received, while Joan went with friends to a Red Head Express concert at our neighbor's church. She really enjoyed it.
Wednesday, March 1 - We got an early start and put the kayaks in at the boat launch on the canal just up the road and headed inland to a small inlet where we have seen action. We fished it hard, but only managed one very small snook. We consoled ourselves with breakfast at Mama Sally's, which has treated us well. After, we drove our to the end of the Withlacoochee Bay Trail and enjoyed the cool breeze and scenery. We were treated to see many dolphin and bald eagles. There is a place to launch the kayaks there and will give it a try.

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Lake Manatee SP (Jan 25-Feb 7)

Wednesday - We had another quick trip here and got settled in around noon. Skip and Shirley joined us.
Thursday - The four of us drove to Nature Coast Landing RV Resort to take a second look at site 36, which we really liked, but didn't walk all around it, because it looked like someone was on it. We really, really liked it and had the owners come over to make an offer to buy, which was accepted. We will move our MH onto it Feb 8. We sre very excited. You can check out the park on their website:
Friday - We enjoyed another thrift store shopping spree.
Saturday - Skip and Shirley left a day early because rain was forecast to come in tonight. We drove over to our ponds in Lakewood Ranch to fish, but it was very slow. John had a nice one on that got away.
Sunday - Great service again.
Monday - We walked here a few times. It was very windy, but a little warmer than yesterday and full sunshine.
Tuesday - We joined a group of fellow campers and workers at our host's Deb and Dan's site for brats and other tasties. We had a great time and lots of laughs around a warm campfire.
Wednesday - Friends, Tony and Linds met us at Linger Lodge for a nice lunch our on their room overlooking the river. After, we went back to the lakes in Lakewood Ranch where we have fished before. At one point we both had a bass on at the same time, and also caught a few others.
Friday - We returned to the Lakewood Ranch lakes and walked quite a ways to try out a lake on Hidden River Road. We got nearly all the way around before Joan caught a decent bass, with John following a little later. Joan was using the usual finesse worm and John was casting a foam hopper on the 6 wt.
Saturday - We met some nice folks at the coffee including a couple from Weeki Wachee who were here for the first time.
Sunday - We will really miss this church with the awesome music, preaching, and fellowship. We enjoyed Super Bowl 51, if not the outcome. We wanted Atlanta to get one.
Monday - Stayed close to camp and said so long to Guy and Nancy and Dave and Pat. Got some things done around camp including John's haircut.

Little Manatee River SP (Jan 11-24)

Wednesday - Easy trip here with twenty miles of back roads. They blocked off the path to the restrooms from our site. Boo! Also, the dirt on the site pad is really chewed up.
Thursday - Today was laundry day, since there are no facilities it's our previous spot. We drove to E.G. Simmons County Park and fished from shore, wading up to our knees. It was a perfect day there, except that nothing was biting. It is never a good sign when there are no locals fishing.
Saturday - We hiked three miles on the Little Manatee River SP trail that starts off Hwy 301 north of the park entrance. It is a really pretty trail along the river, but care must be taken due to the number of  exposed roots.
Sunday - What a wonderful contemporary service at 8AM this morning at Sun City Center UMC. The music was among the very best we have heard anywhere and the message so very meaningful. Afterwards we went to O'Briens farm for their excellent BLTs. They were quite busy, but we got served quickly. On the way back we checked out Ft. Hamer Park to see if anyone was catching. John talked to a man who had caught a 27" redfish.
Monday - Today is our friend Judy's Birthday, and we were invited to meet her and John's former pastor, Jeff at Parksdale Farm in Plant City. There was a good crowd there, but MLK Holiday probably didn't make a lot of difference. It was great seeing them and many of their friends.
Tuesday - John thought we needed to try Emerson Point at the mouth of the Manatee River. When we got there, we were encouraged because we saw pelicans feeding on bait. Sadly, though, we only caught junk fish. We talked to several fishermen who shared similar stories. It is a great place to kayak, anyway.
Wednesday - Although a new RV is not in our plans, we decided to go to the Tampa RV Supershow. We met friends Jim, Suzanne, Bob, and Kathy and had a great time. The traffic getting there was not fun, however. Although there were many nice units, we didn't see anything we liked better.
Thursday - We haven't been to Apollo Beach for awhile, so we decided to fish it from shore. We saw some action, and one guy caught a small cobra, but we were limited to John getting one real good hit. We enjoyed the beautiful day and spot anyway.
Friday - We watched the peaceful transfer of power today. Very impressive!
Saturday - We put the kayaks in at Coquina Beach, on Anna Maria Island with Brad who works at Mote Marine and about six other paddlers. Sadly we saw many dead fish caused by red tide. It was a beautiful paddle, but quite windy. On the way back, we ate at Tide Tables Restaurant overlooking the Inland Waterway. Great food and service. We had fish tacos.
Sunday - Another awesome service. We rode out some significant storms. Thank you Lord for keeping us safe.
Monday - We met our friends Jim and Suzanne at Walmart in Zephyrhills and drove up to Inglis to Nature Coast Landing RV Resort to check out sites. We also showed them some places to check out when they come up to Rainbow Springs SP. we also had lunch at Shrimp Landing in Inglis. We came here several times when we were at Gulf Coast Landing RV Resort.

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Lake Manatee SP (Dec 28-Jan 10)

Wednesday - We said so long to friends and made our way over with some delay on I-75 do to an accident in the other direction. We slowed to a crawl at a few points, but never came to a stop. We got set up in our site (42) and visited with Skip & Shirl who got in a little before we did across the road. Our friends Jim and Suzanne are next door.
Thursday - Skip, Shirl, John and Joan launched kayaks here on the lake to fish. Joan lost a nice fish while John caught a nice crappy. S and S struck out. We enjoyed dinner with them.
Friday - The temp dropped considerably, so the four of us went thrift shopping. We found some nice woven baskets, including a laundry basket that will go nicely in our bedroom. Joan found a nice shirt for John.
Saturday - Following a chilly night, temps rebounded into the 70s wth clear skies. The four of us headed to Robinson Preserve with bikes on the back and inside. We had a great ride in this beautiful park. There were many people there hiking and biking, and fewer kayaking. When we got back, we cooked  hand rubbed chicken with veggies cooked in the cast iron Dutch oven.
Sunday - We said goodbye to Skip and Shirl, and to Jim and Suzanne. We stopped at Bennett Park near Walmart and fished with the "cane poles" and finesse worms. John caught a four inch bass. Beautiful park but not exactly a hot spot for fishing. John fished here in the evening, but nary a hit.
Monday - We got up early and were on the water at the ramp by the fish camp here on Lake Manatee. We started with Clousers, but we noticed two guys fly fishing from a kayak and actually catching fish. John asked them what they were throwing and one said a nymph under an indicator. They were casting right up to the shore. We paddled back to the truck and John tried to set us up as close as possible. The wind picked up making it impossible to stay on a spot so we did not have any success. It was also getting late in the morning. We will try again soon.
Tuesday - It was a rest and work around campsite day.
Wednesday - We drove down Hwy 64 thru Bradenton to check out places to launch. There were too few boats around fishing to convince us that fishing would be productive, so we drove over to Robinson Preserve for a picnic lunch and came back to camp. The traffic was more than we felt was worth driving all this way. Our options therefore are: the Braden River at Hwy 64 Bridge, the Manatee River at Ft. Hamer Park, or here on Lake Manatee.
Thursday - Our friends, Lee and Sharon, who are currently camping at Myakka River SP, met us at Linger Lodge and we kayaked a total of six miles on the Braden River. The weather was perfect and we saw many species of birds. We followed our paddle with lunch at the lodge and strawberry shortcake at O'Briens Farm.
Friday - Heavy fog this morning caused us to alter our plans to launch our kayaks on the Manatee River at Ft. Hamer Park. Instead, we fished from shore at Braden Fever Nature Park in Lakewood Ranch Road. We caught seven bass there, and although they were not very large, they were still fun.
Saturday - It rained hard under a tornado watch during the night, so we turned on the weather. Thankfully, nothing severe developed. When the rain finally stopped in the morning, the wind picked up and the temp dropped all day.
Sunday - Brrrr. 37 deg. this morning, but we bravely got up and went to the 8 AM Contemporary Service at Sun City Center UMC. It was, as usual, a wonderful service. We will be able to go here for the next two months.
Monday - We returned to the area in Lakewood Ranch we fished on Friday. Joan threw a worm and caught five decent sized bass, while John fished for bluegill with a nymph under an indicator and only caught two. He will focus on bass next time. It was a beautiful day with clear skies and temps in the 60s.
Tuesday - Our friends Lee and Sharon met us at Ft. Hamer Park in Parrish to kayak on the Manatee River. John was the only one who fished, picking out a few likely spots, while the others bird watched. He managed to catch one small, around 15" snook. Fun!  The day was gorgeous, but a little windy, especially on the return. After getting back, we had a picnic lunch at the park.

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Oscar Scherer SP (Dec 14-27)

Wednesday - It took extra time to get into our site (6) today. It was very foggy in the morning so we messed around for awhile before leaving. Also, they were doing a controlled burn adjacent to the campground here at OSSP which caused considerable smoke in the campground.  We finally got set up and connected with Skip and Shirl, Joan's brother and our SIL. They treated us by providing dinner. Very nice!
Thursday - After making a Wally and thrift shop run, the four of us put our yaks in at Blackburn Point. John caught a 15" redfish, while Skip managed a large ladyfish. The red was too smal to be legal and the lady is not considered good for the table. It was very windy and Shirl took a wave over the side that soaked her pretty good.
Sunday - After saying goodbye to Skip & Shirl and Jim & Suzanne, the two of us put in at the picnic area and headed out towards the bridge. John did most of the catching, with three jack crevalle and a 19" snook. It got quite warm out on the water. We welcomed our friends Dave & Mary who are from Canada.
Monday - The four of us went to Pops on the Inter-Costal Waterway for their half priced burgers. They were the best we have had for a long time.
Tuesday - Our foursome headed back to Blackburn Point and launched. We fished hard for a couple of hours at low tide, but no bites for anyone. We consoled ourselves with pizza at Frankie's Italian.
Wednesday - We spent most of the day gabbing with neighbors and ended the day with dinner her with camp hosts Tony and Pat. We cooked chicken and rice on the cast iron Dutch oven. Yum!
Thursday - Pancake breakfast followed by sending off Dave and Mary.
Friday - We launched again here on South Creek, despite the tides not being favorable. Should have listened because neither of us got bit. We met up with friends Lee and Sharon and kayaked some of the canals.
Sunday - Merry Christmas friends. May you be richly blessed! We went to the Sarasota National Cemetery to view the wreaths, which were impressive as always. On the way back, we stopped at
Scherer-Thaxton Preserve to check it out and fish from the few areas where there is access. We used the cane poles with finesse worms and John caught one and lost another when the line came detached at the trip. This is a much better place to fish from a kayak or canoe. There is a nice place to launch there, but no potty.
Monday - Skip and Shirl drove down here and the four of us drove to Estero to have lunch with cousins Dave, Marty, and Pam at Stir Crazy. We had a great time getting caught and enjoyed great stir fry. Afterwards we went over to Bass Pro Shop where John picked up two pair of light pants to wear in the kayaks or around camp when no-see-ums are present.
Tuesday - John cleaned the front of  the motorhome and we got the kayaks cleaned and things put away for our getaway tomorrow. Our friends Lee, Sharon, Toni, and Pat joined us for lunch at Casey Key Fish House and had excellent meals and conversation. We walked right in and got the best seat in the house. After, we drove over to the jetty and enjoyed the sunset and cool breeze.

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