Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 27 to April 28 - Beaufort, SC - Okefenokee Swamp - Ochlockonee FL

Hunting Island Lighthouse was a bit of a disappointment after all the Maine lighthouses over the years. It's small but perfectly preserved. The nature center next to it was good with a lot of history of the island. It was a hunting preserve for a rich family who eventually donated it to the state. Again a lot of beautiful land saved from development.

The moss and live oak trees dominate the roadway. Our Maine friend told us he'd learned that the Spanish Moss is actually a relative to the pineapple!

Leaving Beaufort, we crossed by Parris Island and thought of all those Marine recruits who've trained there. Thanks to all of them for serving our country. We'd planned on hopping on Route 95 for a short while but fortunately the Georgia Tourist Welcome Center told us of the President's visit to Fort Stewart. She suggested to not try to go that way as long delays were possible. We did our usual 62 mph down I-95 to Route 84 waving at quite a few truck campers as we went.

I'd always wanted to take a boat ride through the Okefenokee Swamp to see alligators. Georgia's Laura Walker State Park had an opening but we were warned it wasn't very level. Most state parks are full and some have wait lists. So far we've been lucky in getting in. Joe used all our leveling blocks and got us nice and level. I was thankful for the extra foot stool or I'd never have reached the camper stairs. Chatted a long time with a group of folks who had gathered for a geocache rally. The people across the way gifted us with fresh Vidalia onions. They had a big 5th wheel and were pulling a BBQ smoker rig which was putting out some great odors. We actually saw several big rigs hauling smokers.

Unfortunately there wasn't a boat that went way out into the swamp and we settled for a train ride. We don't usually do the real tourist things but it turned out to be fairly interesting. Pioneers who lived in the swamp to cut cypress, make turpentine and skin gators lived a very hard life.

Don't think I want to go swimming in a swamp

April 28 - Ochlockonee Florida
Up and out early for a provisions stop and to see if we could find a place to overnight in Florida. We know that the Florida state parks fill up when reservations open first of the year but hoped for a cancellation. The Cracker Barrels and Walmarts are okay for passing through but it's so much more enjoyable to find a camp where you can enjoy the land around you. Lucked out and got a place in the Ochlockonee State Park on a river. 85F but very dry and a nice breeze so the bugs were minor.
Ranger took us for a short walk into the saw grass/pine areas and explained how Florida is trying to restore the natural rhythm of fire in the parks. Spring thunderstorms start fires, the saw grass dies back, re seeds itself and creates a short under story. The pines are just about fire resistant once they get above grass height. There were long paths through these areas and we had a hot but interesting walk.

We'd hoped to find good seafood and a place to stay in the Apalachicola or Destin area but bet everything is full. Joe's old boss at his last job lives near Pensacola so we can camp there if needed. Wish we had some Truck Camper friends along on this trek. Neither of us had camped in Georgia or Florida and we still have Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to go!

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