Having spent a long day Thursday visiting Pat and Vickie at Fort Wilderness, and with the weather still wet and cool, we stayed around our coach on Friday and relaxed. Linda worked on her cross stitch for much of the day. I did a load of laundry. We went for a walk around the RV resort. We met another group of campers from Michigan and stopped to chat briefly. Linda made her wonderful vegan pancakes for dinner and then we went to the fire pit at 6:30 PM. We visited briefly with Kevin, who is in charge of the fire pit, before he took off to play Texas Hold’em. John and Ali, our next door neighbors to the east, were there as they are every Friday and Saturday night. A few other folks showed up, but not as many as we have seen in past weeks, and they did not stay. By 8:30 PM it was just the four of us and we had a nice, long visit. Kevin came back after Texas Hold’em and visited for a little while before turning in. I’ve included a photo gallery at the end of this post rather than insert the photos inline.
This morning we awoke to temperatures in the upper 40’s with dense fog, but the forecast was for a high near 80 degrees with only a 30% chance of rain. We waited until noon for the temperatures to rise into the mid-60’s and then headed for Gainesville. We had two State Parks to check out plus some shopping to do.
Our first stop was the Devil’s Millhopper State Geological Park. A small park on the NW side of Gainesville, Florida the Devil’s Millhopper is a sinkhole to drains water back into the Florida aquifer. It is 500 feet across at the top and 120 feet deep. Water flows in from streams that become waterfalls, and seeps out of the steep side walls. A wooden staircase gets you from the top to the bottom and back up while keeping hikers from destroying the vegetation which leads to serious erosion.
About 6 miles farther west on the same road is the trailhead for the hiking trails in the southern section of the San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park. The southern 2/3rds of the park is restricted to hiking only with over 12 miles of trail. The area is pine flatwoods, with sinkholes and ponds and was the site of a Spanish mission a long, long time ago. We went for a very pleasant three mile hike and rarely saw anyone else on the trail in spite of a very crowed parking lot at the trailhead.
My birthday is on Tuesday, and rather than make a special trip into Gainesville for dinner, we decided to dine out while we were there today. Our hike completed, we drove to Karma Cream, a vegan friendly ice cream / pastry / sandwich shop on the north edge of the University of Florida campus. We ordered a Tofurkey Rueben sandwich and a vegan “bacon” and Tofurkey club sandwich. We each had a half of each sandwich. Karma Cream has a good selection of non-dairy and dairy ice cream. Linda had chocolate peanut butter and I had a Sunday with Lunaberry ice cream, dark chocolate hot fudge, whip cream, and crushed peanuts; all vegan. Karma Cream is a hole-in-the-wall kind of place, staffed and patronized by college students many of whom had tattoos, but we enjoyed it. It has a four and half cow rating on Happy Cow, and we felt that was an accurate assessment.
Just around the corner from Karma Cream is the Gainesville Earth Origins organic market, so we did our weekly grocery shopping there rather than at the Publix supermarket. By the time we got back to our coach and put the groceries away it was time to go to the Saturday night campfire. Even though the humidity was high, the milder temperatures brought out the crowd. Jeff and John brought their guitars and played/sang some of their favorite country songs. While country I not our preferred genre, we appreciated their musicianship and willingness to entertain their fellow RVers. We can only sit for so long on hard chairs and made our exit from the campfire around 8:30 PM.