RVing, the Flip Side

The Whispering Pines website looked great. And there were actually some sites available: a major plus this time of year in Florida. We crossed the Citra highlands, horse country par excellence: fenced, rolling pastures, grazed by horses even our untrained eyes could see were thoroughbreds. Hardwood hedgerows, much like upstate New York, had leafed out and filled with birds. Sometimes this landscape would be interrupted by flat, depressed areas: small neglected houses or trailers and discouraged looking lands of scrub, sheds, and abandoned dreams.The countryside began to look less promising as we drove into the Ocala National Forest, but we remembered those website photos, and gamely gritted our teeth as Eunice R. Garmin directed us to turn right onto a potholed lane of soft, deeply rutted, sand. It was beginning to look like a repeat of our on-the-beach Ocracoke detour, but with the ePod in tow! I could only imagining the load-shift happening back there as we jounced and swerved to avoid tub-sized holes. After an uncomfortable, mile-long stretch of this, we pulled into a place that bore the lyrical name of our destination, but little resemblance to its fanciful website.silver-spngs-campgnd2.jpgOnline, we’d booked three nights. Our internet booking had fortuitously failed, so we booked two instead. Later, Bruce confessed he was ready to book just one, as the swamp, fifty feet from our door, promised lots of mosquitoes and the soft ground was studded with hundreds of little ash-colored piles of anthills. The general neighborhood? Well, it’s just another kind of RVing, which will broaden our experience of the RV lifestyle. Bruce commented that in one day we’d gone from the Hilton to Motel 6. Many of our neighbors are fellow New Yorkers who spend the winter here for under $250 a month. To be fair, I’m sure that over several months and years a community develops. There’s quite a calendar of events from bingo, to crafts, to shuffleboard and bocce Ball. Maybe we’re just not old enough yet.silver-spngs-campgnd1.jpgWe’re camped in unlovely Whispering Pines RV Park, and clouds are thickening for thundershowers later. This will be a great ‘beauty and order’ day. Our to-do list: get some business card blanks to print findingourway cards to pass to fun people, get some cartons to ship some useless stuff home (with a winter boot packing ritual), flush the anti-freeze out of our water tanks at last, catch up on email, cut a ripened pineapple, work on a special project which will make a good blog someday when we’re out of time or news, and generally savor our self-contained world which we designed for enjoyment even when parked in an unfortunate place.campgrnd-neighbor.jpgOne lovely thing here: the scent of spring earth. Other parks so far have been cold or piney or sandy, but this one is near open pasture country and the rich smell of soil when it achieves proper tilth for planting is downright uplifting. We will return from shopping for cards, carton, and whatever else we’ve gathered and listen to old-time radio dramas, sniff the good earth, and put our house in order.

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