Finally camping again after a four week hiatus due to Sue’s broken arm. We are at Myakka River State Forest, a very private middle-of-nowhere feeling place just 25 minutes drive NW of Port Charlotte where Sue has three times a week physical therapy.
The last month has been spent mostly at Sue’s parent house. The night of the accident she spent the night in the hospital, the second night we tried camping but that was just too difficult so we moved into her parents’ guest room. Her surgery was ten days later, just before that we spent two nights visiting the Murrays, friends from up north who had rented a house on Marco Island for a couple of weeks. After the surgery Sue pretty much just wanted to rest for a few days but by the end of the first week post-op we were back having lunch and walking the beach at Boca Grande. The next week Sue’s sister Debbie came down for five days and we got in lunch and a beach walk four of the five days. Debbie took the guest room and we “camped” in the Snoozy in the driveway. Now we have ten days of camping for real before we head off to Mexico to join Michigan friends on Isla Mujeres for two weeks.
This primitive campsite is just what the doctor ordered after a month of people, traffic, tv, newspapers, etc – all life’s detritus that we camp to avoid. The campground is a mile and a half into a fifteen square mile park that was once a cattle ranch and is now what looks to be twenty or thirty years into conversion to native forest. Lots of Cabbage Palm scrub, groves of middle aged pine trees scattered here and there and an occasional big Palm tree to add a tropical accent. The campsites themselves are huge, probably 300 – 400 feet apart. We’re on the outside of the circle so our backyard stretches all the way to the horizon. No water or electric service but the scenery and solitude are wonderful – and all for $10 per night.
We were able to book ten nights with one day’s notice. The solar panel and propane furnace we added last spring enables us to stay off-the-grid an extended period of time depending on cloud cover, shadows and time of year. We can get about five days now with the short winter days and low sun angle. We will have to take the trailer out to the ranger station to replenish our fresh water and dump our waste water after about five days anyway so we will go back to Sue’s parents house for a day to fully recharge the trailer batteries. Otherwise we are completely autonomous with all the comforts of home except hot water.
We arrived Sunday after lunch and just spent the afternoon enjoying the sun, chatting and reading. Did I mention we liked the solitude?
Monday we went to Englewood Beach (about five miles drive) and had a nice hour long stroll at the edge of the surf. We had forgotten it was Presidents Day so school was out and there were lots of people at the beach and not many places to park. That evening Sue planned and coached me through cooking a great dinner: Croatian potatoes, grilled green beans and grilled Tilapia, with Girl Scout cookies for desert.
Tuesday was just chillin’ in the campground until Sue’s PT appointment in the afternoon. After toasting the sunset Sue coached me through cooking dinner: FBLTs (FB=fake bacon) and corn on the cob. The evening was devoted to watching “Boyhood“, the Richard Linkletter movie shot over twelve years with the same cast. It’s a slice-of-life movie showing a young boy growing to manhood. Pretty good but an hour too long and no sex or car chases.
Wednesday morning Sue had an early PT session so we stopped on the way for a great breakfast at the Crepe Chef in North Port. After PT we got showered and had lunch at Sue’s parents house. Then returned to the campground for a lazy afternoon. Dinner turned out OK again with the coach sending in every play from the sidelines. Movie night again, this time Dallas Buyers Club.
Our need to return to Sue’s parents house to recharge has coincided nicely with the coldest weather of the season. The frigid air in the Midwest is pushing down this far south, it dropped to about 40 last night, high today was 55 and tonight is supposed to drop below 30. The furnace will keep the trailer warm even if it’s 30 but camping is a lot more fun when we can stay outside most of the time.
We are going back to Myakka State Forest tomorrow, weather should be back in the mid sixties Friday and high seventies for the weekend.