As I indicated toward the end of the previous post, I was ready to go home. Yes, I'd had fun. Yes, it was an adventure. And ... Yes, I was ready to go home.
I had my things packed in just minutes, and they were sitting beside the car for Kirk's convenience. But you all know that it takes a bit longer to disassemble the tents, air mattresses, etc., and then loading everything back into the vehicle ... well, I'm glad it wasn't my job! It went well, though, and we were ready to leave around 11:00.
As we were getting into cars, the window in the car next to us opened, and a friend said, "Aleksis just lost a tooth!" and laughter was coming from the car. So TL and Kirk walked over to check it out. The hilarity was understood when we heard how she lost it. She bit into a granola bar. Yep, that is all!
Lecksie came around the car laughing, holding out her granola bar with the tooth stuck in it!
Yeah, that is the tooth sticking up there!
And a hole in her
We stopped on the way out of the park to visit the gift shop for the campground where we learned about the trees for which the park is named, Torreya State Park. Torreya is the tree, very endangered, which lives in just a few places. This park is one of them. Here is a young specimen of the tree.
An historical blurb about the tree and the man for which it was named.
More about the tree.
And while there, we had a look at the gorgeous view from a bluff.
The river is, as it says above, the Apalachicola.
Spanish moss is plentiful. Only on this day did I learn that it used to be used for stuffing mattresses because of its softness. The problem, however, is that it is home for a tiny spider, a chigger, and people used to get bites from the spider, and they would become itchy and irritated. Well, duh! Those little sum*itches are awful! I'm deathly allergic to them, and fortunately I didn't get bitten in the couple minutes that I played with some of the moss. Anyway ... This story is the origination of the child's poem, "Good Night, sleep tight, Don't let the bed bugs bite." Yep, chiggers are/were bed bugs!! Two history lessons for today!
Very serene place.
Isn't this a wonderful view?
And we hit the road. Some of the others stayed behind for a short hike on another trail in the area, but we left. Home in just a few hours!! Hurrah!!!
Enaaaaaaahhh. (that's the sound of the buzzer) Not we are not going to be home in six hours.
First, we were stuck on I-10 in crawling traffic. There were no exits. We simply had to stay there and get through it. I didn't notice the time, but I'd guess we were creeping along for about forty-five minutes to an hour. I had nothing to keep me occupied, so I took one of Aleksis' books from her organizer in front of me and managed to read about two-thirds of it! Actually, I enjoyed it a lot. And I'm not taking comments about this, so don't even go there!
When we finally got to the head of the back-up, there was a pretty awful wreck. A pickup was on top of the guard rail, perpendicular to the highway, and it was really a mess. I'm guessing it rolled a couple times before coming to a rest there. A blanket had been thrown over the bed immediately behind the cab. My best guess is that it was covering blood. No ambulances were there, just state patrol personnel. There were tools and other things scattered around, some of them with yellow plastic "X" things beside them. Crime scene? I don't know. Anyway, after this we could travel at normal speed again. And off we went.
I was happily snoozing in the back seat when Kirk pulled to the shoulder of the highway. Running over those safety ruts on the edge of the traffic lanes woke me, and I wasn't sure what was happening. But the car was acting funny, sorta going, then slowing down again. As we drifted to a stop, it became clear. We were out of gas!!
Now, some people let the gas gauge go all the way down, but on the highway, I certainly don't. Somewhere between half and a quarter tank, I'm pulling into a gas station. I'm a big chicken, I'll admit, cluck, cluck, cluck. I don't want to be hanging out on the side of any highway. however, with all of us together, I will admit that I didn't panic. They decided to call the friends who were behind us, and they were just about fifty miles away. Chances are that AAA wouldn't get there much sooner, so they stopped for gas and brought it to us.
While we waited, TL pointed out an armadillo foraging in the grassy span between the highway and the fence. I was able to get a fairly good picture of it before it took off. I tried to get a picture of his head, but it was half buried as he looked for his dinner.
We gave the dogs a break, and after they relieved themselves, the girls were ready to get back in the car, but Ali said Nope, he was going to sit here in the grass, thank you very much. He seemed happy that he was out of the car for a while. While we waited a highway patrolman pulled up to ask if we were OK. We explained the situation, and he drove off with a nod. Never cracked a smile nor gave us a howdy-do, but at least he checked on us.
Once the gas arrived (Thanks, Mark and Debbie!!) we were on our way again. Kirk stopped at the next exit, what he'd planned to do anyway, and filled up while we bought some in-the-car-dinner at Burger King. And homeward bound we were. Again. One more time. Whew.
The dogs were sprawled on the floor of the van, and they looked so cute! They didn't move after getting back into the car. They were tired of this stuff. We all were!
We got home safe and sound, but mu-u-u-uch later than we planned. We unloaded the car into the garage, mostly done by Kirk, and we were in bed within a short time. Exhausted.
So ... would I do it again? Oh, yeah! But I'd hope for better planning on my part next time. I'm even considering watching for a very small tent trailer! Nothing fancy, just sleeping quarters for a couple people. But tall enough to stand up in!!! I can not crawl around like that again or dress in my back. Nope. Can't do it.
It was fun, however. I met new people, first Terri and Kirk's friends, then the people at the next campsite. I saw a new part of Florida, some new plants and walked some pretty trails. I learned about the Torreya tree, saw the Apalachicola River. I found out that Florida isn't always warm, isn't all alike. I experienced camping again after all these long years. I certainly gathered some material for the blog and form my memory! What could possibly be any better?
Yeah ... Life is beautiful!!!