TIME ZONE TIGHTROPE



MONDAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #4 - STOP #4



Something I neglected to blog about from our previous stop was a cell phone issue we experienced.

As you can see from the top of the map on the left, we were camped on the southwestern shore of Lake Seminole in Jackson County, FL which is in the Central Time Zone. Unfortunately the nearest cell phone tower was on the opposite shore of Lake Seminole in Georgia, which is in the Eastern Time Zone. Yet occasionally when we were sitting at the dinette the phones would connect with a cell tower west of us in Florida, which is in Central Time Zone.

After we traveled our 28 miles due south today we are once again "walking the tightrope" between time zones. We are now on the east side of the Apalachicola River in Liberty County, FL in the Eastern Time Zone. Yet just across the river is a cell tower in Calhoun County, FL which is of course in the Central Time Zone.

What does all of this mean? It means if we ever do settle down and want our phones to display the correct time, it won't be anywhere near a Time Zone Line!

Campsite #16 at Torreya State Park in Bristol, FL

Looking out at our side yard from the bedroom window.




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LAKE SEMINOLE



WEDNESDAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #4 - STOP #3



I'm happy to report that ROVER towed THE POD over 100 miles across the rolling hills of I-10 today and did it flawlessly. I think our truck troubles may finally be over!


We arrived at Three Rivers State Park and immediately saw evidence of the destruction a Category 5 hurricane can do. Hurricane Michael passed over the park in October of 2018 and they are still recovering. The two mile roadway between the entrance gate and the campground is in rough shape, especially in the low lying areas, due to it be submerged for months after the storm passed.

There are still huge piles of downed trees and evidence of other piles already having been burned to aid in their disposal. The campground itself is in great shape considering what the rest of the park looks like. We were just happy to find it was open and glad we were able to visit.

There are at least two other State Park campgrounds in the area that are still closed due to Hurricane Michael's damage, Florida Caverns and St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Even after two years they are still working on reconstructing their campground facilities.

Additionally there are two more state park campgrounds in the lower keys, Bahia Honda and Long Key State Parks, that are still partially closed due to the damage sustained from Hurricane Irma over three years ago in September of 2017.



SATURDAY - We are camped here at Three Rivers State Park in Florida on the shore of Lake Seminole. The park gets its name from the two rivers which flow into lake and a third river which flows out of the lake.

In 1952 the Army Corp of Engineers completed construction of a hydroelectric dam, the Jim Woodruff Dam, located where the three rivers meet. In turn it created Lake Seminole, as it held back the water from the two rivers to the north. There is one state park and four Army Corp of Engineers campgrounds on the Georgia side of the lake, in addition to the Florida State Park where we are camped.


The 430-mile long Chattahoochee River flows in from the north, creating most of the border between Alabama and Georgia, and then closer to the lake, the border between Florida and Georgia.

The 344-mile long Flint River begins near Atlanta and flows into the lake from the northeast.

The 160-mile long Apalachicola River is the third river which flows out of the lake and empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

Well enough about the history and geography of Lake Seminole.
Here is what it looks like from our campsite.

Our campsite view of Lake Seminole

An early morning fog overtakes Lake Seminole

A view from the dock after the fog has lifted.




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A BELATED SPECIAL REPORT



If you have been following along with this blog since the beginning you'll remember the day way back in May of 2018 when I found and installed the "NEAR PERFECT LICENSE PLATE" on the front of ROVER. If you can't remember what it looked like, here is a photo I took that day.

I called it near perfect because the plate says END US1, which is what Key West is for a lot of people, the end of their journey looking for paradise. Many arrive and experience Key West and never want to leave. Anyone who has been to Key West may already know that on the other side of the street from the END US1 sign is a sign that states BEGIN US1, which is what our (more than likely final) visit to Key West was, the beginning of our full-time RV life journey.

You are probably wondering, why am I bringing all of this up now? Well it's because after 20,000 miles and two and a half years of being on the road the "NEAR PERFECT LICENSE PLATE" is now further from perfect. I guess $7.00 just doesn't buy a quality souvenier license plate. Here is a photo I took the day I removed the plate from the front of ROVER over two weeks ago.

It has somehow lost most of it's appeal for me and is suffering from a general lack of luster don't you think? Anyway, it's fate was sealed when Tricia and I won a door prize at the Canopener Airstream Rally we attended. The prize contained three items, an Airstream coffee mug (which we immediately gifted to our neighbor and new friend Melia), an Airstream T-Shirt which Tricia kept for herself and a brand new shiny Airstream license plate for ROVER.

Now that I think about it, I guess I didn't win anything from that door prize!




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TRUCK TROUBLES TACKLED



WEDNESDAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #4 - STOP #2



Most of this week was spent without the use of our truck ROVER. Two weeks ago we took ROVER in for a much needed repair to solve an issue we have been dealing with since October.

There was a Ford dealership in Fort Walton Beach that had the necessary parts in stock, we have found most dealerships don't. They had the truck for two days and believed they had solved our problem. We unfortunately didn't drive it around much after we got it back because we were still at our Airstream Rally visiting with friends and no need to go anywhere.

At the end of the rally we moved a little over 100 miles over into Alabama for a short visit and on our return trip to Florida we had a check engine light come on and the truck began running very irregularly.

After getting set up we made another Ford appointment for the following morning, coincidentally at the same dealership that did the work two weeks earlier, hoping they would be able to solve it once and for all. Turned out that one of the new parts they had installed was defective and they had to order a new one this time.

We dropped ROVER off on Thursday morning and soon found out they would not be able receive the needed part until Monday morning. So we would be without the truck until after the weekend.

Monday afternoon the truck was ready and they sent the Courtesy Van over 15 miles to pick us up. I'm happy to say it finally feels like it's running as good as new! Time will tell.


After picking up the truck we immediately started getting caught up on some errands. First was to pick up Tricia's sewing machine that I had dropped off two weeks earlier at the repair shop. It's a 40 year old Kenmore that her parents bought her when she started middle school and yes it still works, all it needed was a good cleaning and some fresh oil.

Next was filling the truck with gasoline and then filling two of our three 3-gallon water bottles at Walmart. Then right next door at Publix we did our grocery shopping for the next week or so.

Our huge Campsite #10 here at
Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park in Niceville, FL

Our site is double wide...

...and nothing but woods at the back.




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JANUARY AT THE BEACH?



SUNDAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #4 - STOP #1



After our two week stay at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Florida we had a three day gap in our campground reservations to fill. When I saw an availability at Gulf State Park in nearby Alabama I immediately reserved it.

Granted the middle of January is not the ideal time to book a stay at a beachside park, but the scenery is still nice and this park is nearly filled all year round and very difficult to get into. The campground is only 9 miles outside the Florida state line and the Gulf beaches are just a short walk across the street.

Campsite #60 at Gulf State Park in Alabama



TUESDAY - Tricia has been working the entire three days we have been here in Alabama and I have been too.

I have been working on the "States Where The P.O.D. Has Landed Map" and charts found at the bottom of this website page. The map has always been there, but what is new is the way the number of nights data is presented. I used to have to manually update the numbers each time we changed campsites and shuffle them in decending order to keep it current.

Now all that is done automatically when I update our spreadsheet each morning. Additionally there is a new feature where the state we are currently in will have a thick black underline. The total number of nights in each region chart is also new.

Now if I could just get the state color in the map to change automatically according to the data I would have nothing to manually take care of each day.

All this is accomplished using the free Google Sheets and it's Charts feature. There is a map chart in Google Sheets, but I'm not happy with the lack of ability to customize it the way I want it to look.

I know this all looks extremely childlike or so 1980s to the real software engineers who build websites today, but I accomplished all this with no special training or expensive software. Just imagining what data I wanted to have it display and what I wanted it to look like, then finding a way to get the software to give it to me! Not bad for an old retired guy, huh?




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TWO PEAS