Friday, January 2, 2015

A Wet Start to 2015

The Florida State Park motto is "The Real Florida". We are now in our fourth Florida State Park, and each has been different in special ways. Everyone has their own RV style and preferences. We find State Parks to be a good balance between the more natural environment of boondocking and the comforts of full service commercial RV resorts. We like the parks more. 

Jonathan Dickinson State Park, north of Palm Beach, is one of the last areas of coastal scrub and was saved from development after WWII. The Loxahatchee River runs through it and provides a variety of recreational activities.

We enjoyed a nice campfire Tuesday evening
 We arrived early on Tuesday and had to wait for a while to get into our site, so we drove down to the Visitor Center and around the park for a bit of an overview. 

There are two campgrounds, one down by the river and one closer to the entrance (where we are) that is in a wide open area. The sites are some of the largest we have seen.  Not much foliage, but privacy is provided by the distance between rigs. 

Wednesday dawned wet from overnight rain. We had planned on taking the pontoon boat tour up river, but changed our minds when it started to rain as we were on our way.

Instead we took a short side trip to the Hobe Mountain Observation Tower. Hobe Mountain is actually an old, land locked sand dune. It is all of 86 feet above sea level, but is the highest point in Southern Florida.

If you look closely you can see a woodpecker working on a branch of this dead tree.

By afternoon it had cleared enough to take the last boat ride of the year. Only one other couple came aboard.

The river was like a mirror. We did not see much wildlife because it had been a bit of a stormy day. But that was OK. It was a beautiful ride.

We did spot one very small alligator,
a few heron, osprey, and their nests, and at least one manatee.

I did not get a decent picture of him, but the water disturbance in this picture was caused by a manatee swimming just under the surface. When we did see him, he was grazing along the edge.  Under water, like everything manatees do.

On New Year's Eve we declared 8 PM to be the new midnight, and shared a bottle of bubbly and some snacks.

Craig watched football on New Year's day, and I did one of the last steps of a craft project I have been working on "here and there" for months. 

Some chair covers I'm making.

I had designed and stitched the backs and sides using plastic canvas and yarns that matched  those in the Pendleton blanket we keep on the couch. By using the same colors, I was able to play with the patterns. 

I did part of the seat in the same way, but discovered the edges and corners were sharp and unpleasant to sit on, so I sewed the seat  portion using a new, large, brown, bath towel. It can be easily removed and washed if necessary.  It's nice to sit on with shorts or a bare bum.

Friday morning found us trying yet another new activity!


New to me, and something Craig hasn't done in many years. 

This is a rent-a-canoe and I was a bit concerned about the large crack in the front end, but was assured it would be no problem. 

Besides, alligators are mostly nocturnal.

We went on a three mile, volunteer led, group paddle. It was harder than I expected, but my back held out with only moderate discomfort. We tried kayaking in the past, but I just can't sit with my legs in front of me.  In that way, the canoe was better.  

However, because we were:

  • trying to work as a team,
  • trying to keep up with the group,
  • trying to not tip over,
  • trying to stay out of the mangroves along the banks, and
  • trying to go in the same direction as the group,

I didn't have the time nor the inclination to take many pictures. 

 Just one... 

Paddling was tiring, and getting out of the boat was very hard, but I DID IT, and I think it is something I might be interested in doing again. 



  1. I'm with you on the FL state parks. Never met one I didn't like. Didn't know that alligators are nocturnal. Good to know.

    1. Maybe we meant to say "crepuscular". Which I think means they work mornings and evenings.

  2. the two of you are making the most of the first two days of 2015!
    Canoeing can be a 'team sport'! of two, anyway!

  3. You are trying new things and seeing new things. It sounds like 2015 will be a great year for you. Love those new chair covers!

  4. Happy New Year! Great job on the chair covers.

  5. Merikay, I think this post of yours is the one I have enjoyed the most. I love what you have done with the chairs, but just wonder how often you sit on them with a bare bum? :O

    Your description of your first canoe paddle made me chuckle too. Where has this sense of humor been hiding??

    1. How often? In the night, in the dark, in the glow of the LCD screen. Both Merikay and I are intermittent sleepers, and so we are likely to get up and sit on the chairs without much between us and the new brown towel material.

      Last time I wrote something like this, I got our web site blocked by a rating service, to which my employer subscribed. Dangers of internet communication!

  6. If we had to stay in some kind of Park it is the State Parks we much prefer to private RV Parks. Like the backs of those chairs & liked your swampy water pics.

  7. Pretty pretty!!! Love your pictures. I think you have done a wonderful job on those chairs. You are so talented.

  8. Love the seat covers. You're so talented! Nice colors. If you try kayaking again, make sure it is a sit INSIDE not UPON. You want a nice gel seat with a back. Very comfortable.

  9. Nice pictures, Merikay and also very nice work on those chair covers. They look great. Glad to hear you are enjoying the State Parks there in Florida. If you make it out to Oregon, we'll show you some Oregon alligators, and some Oregon State Parks. Then you can compare.

  10. Hurricane Wilma back in 2005 was what caused all the dead trees at Jonathan Dickinson.

    Great shot of the dead tree and Pilated.

    We actually got lost on that river once and I never had the desire to go back there. Maybe your next canoeing adventure will be in a crystal spring fed river. You are sure trying lots of new things.

  11. Good for you trying canoeing. When George and I take out our Sea Eagle, he mostly does the paddling while I take the pictures. If I try to paddle with him, we tend to go in circles :)

  12. We love Florida State Parks too! Our very favorite is St. Joseph's Peninsula (aka T. H. Stone Memorial), and just last week we spent the week at Topsail Hill State Park ... The campsites are mostly very nice, and it has full hookups ... water, electric, sewage, cable and wifi! As for canoeing, At the age of 53 my husband and I bought our canoe and wondered 'what in the world are we doing?" Now, almost ten years later, we still love paddling!

  13. The seat covers are fantastic! Not a crooked stitch to be seen. Probably no swear words either!

    I loved your description of paddling together :-) It sounds like your marriage is still intact too - not sure mine would be :-o


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