And Life Goes On

The government partial shut down resulted in some National Parks, and National Forests being gated shut.  Not an inconvenience compared to the government workers who were not getting paid for their labor. Do you suppose a law will ever pass stating that people of the Senate and Congress would be the first listed to not receive pay, until funding is agreed upon?  I wonder if that would be too much of an incentive to do your work?

We found several campgrounds at the Ocala National Forest in Florida that are leased to concession operators, and are still open. The camping fees vary.  Using our “America The Beautiful” National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, our fees are either reduced or waived.  Here at Clearwater Lake Recreational Site the dispersed campsites are beautiful, with limited amenities.  What you get is the use of campsite, a dump station, and a bathhouse.  The fee is $22.50, our cost $11.25 per night.  Score!

The modern bathhouse offers flush toilets, a large sink for doing dishes, and semi hot showers. Believe you me a person moves pretty fast when it’s 45° and the shower is semi hot.  It’s weird, what I mean by semi is that the water starts out warm, gets cooler, then a nice hot temperature during the last half minute.

We like staying in city, county, state, and national campgrounds as compared to the private RV resorts.  The distance between sites is greater, they offer activities we prefer, and there seems to be less road noise.  It’s nice to wake up and hear birds twittering.  The active raccoons and bears rumbling around at night, – not so much.  From time to time the party animals are active.  Although the citified late night party animals are tamer than the national park animals, we still prefer the later.

At our previous stay in Kelly Park Campground we met David and Laurie.  They referred Clearwater Lake Recreation as a great place, and it is.  We used this site as a home base for seven day’s.

David and Laurie

On our way to kayak the intercostals waters near Cape Canaveral we had a wonderful lunch at a restaurant named Third Wave in New Smryna.  Kayaking was a bust, but the lunch and our evening walk on the beach at New Smyrna were grand.

New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach

The waters at Canaveral National Seashore were too cold for Manatee’s, and somewhat dirty. We cruised a nature trail and then returned to New Smyrna.

The Florida Trail crosses the state for hundreds of miles.  At one of the trailheads we met Jerry, and compared notes about being houseless.  Like us Jerry made his way to Florida from Wisconsin for the warmth, and he too enjoys staying active either hiking or biking.  We shared our concerns about safety, and Deb felt a prompting to offer a protective prayer over Jerry.  He accepted his divine hedge of protection.

Jerry and Deb


The next day a mile from the trailhead where we met Jerry, we discovered a pair of Keen running shoes and socks.  The next mile produced a shirt; both the shoes and shirt were left at signposts.  Were these discarded for someone to find? Clues?  Are we going to find a body?  We walk deeper into Ocala National Forest.  These are the types of places where people disappear.   Scared, Deb and I hold hands. (Kidding)  Walking and speculating about what we had seen during our hike, we find a trusting hot jogger.


The morning I met Fernando there was frost on the truck windshield.  He was tent camping with his wonderful family.  His daughter was also up early, she said two words, “I’m dying.”  Poor girl was somewhat ill, cold, and like us did not have cell service.

Being an extremely personable fellow we hit it off right away.  Fernando let me burn some personal papers in his fire.  He knew we wanted to leave Argentina at age 14, but did not make it to Miami until he was 24.  I got a little bold and asked if he was worried about being deported, but as a legal U. S. citizen there were no worries there.  It’s good to do things correctly.

He told stories of coming to the United States, starting a family, and living on a boat instead of in an apartment.  The wallet-opening subject of taxes came up, and I learned that if you write a check for ANYYHING, in Argentina you pay a 2% tax.  If one were to cut a check for $1,000 the Argentine Tax Man would collect $20.  Reminds me of the Beatles “Taxman” song.

I asked about Argentina and Nazi’s.   Fernando told me of a businessman who lived in plain sight, he did not change his name, but was discovered at his age 78.  Flown to Poland for a war crime trial, found guilty, and because of his age flown back to Argentina and lived another five years under house arrest.

BTW, twice a year Fernando purposely searches out a camping destination that does not have cell reception.  His entire family unit comes together without distractions.  Everyone got busy packing up to leave.  I prayed a prayer of protection over his lovely family, and life goes on.

Fernando and family

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