Friday, March 10, 2017

#31 - Friday, 10 March 2017 - Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Florida

Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve blogged. I don’t even know where to begin a “catch up” so this will be a hyper-abridged Reader’s Digest Cliff Notes recount of life for one dude, one parrot, four tarantulas and 16 wheels.

Borneo and Malaysia was an amazing adventure. I was so happy to spend time with Mark, Kim, Brandon and 14 others. Then again, that’s at least 14 people too many for me. The sweltering heat and humidity was oppressive and I was finally glad to head home to where my clothes wouldn’t be constantly soaked with my salty sweat. The journey home sucked monkey ass. I am far too large and far too incapable of sleeping other than in a dark bed to be confined to a laugh of a seat surrounded by people who have never bought deodorant and their bawling babies. 24 hours in a plane over 36 hours and I arrived back at O’Hare in Chicago a hot mess. I had two days to recover before I would start my drive back to Florida. And, of course, I had things to organize and prepare despite the crushing effects of jet lag, an aching head and body, and fucked up inner ears.

One concern was that this trip would be for an indefinite amount of time. Another was that my crazy parrot Jesse would finally be accompanying me. A last minute challenge was the fact that I was reminded that I still owned four tarantulas and they were hidden away on the top shelf of a closet in Lisa’s house of Plenty.

Fast forward. I drove. I arrived in Chattanooga on the first night and crashed in a hotel. My ears were still buggered and the elevation changes in the mountains of southeastern Tennessee had them popping and stuffed. The next day I drove to pick up my Wheelhouse from storage outside of Ocala. By the time I arrived it was mid afternoon and I discovered the two batteries that power the RV when it isn’t connected to 30 amp service were drained. I should have disconnected before leaving for a month. My truck has a 110V outlet and the connection to the RV is a smart cable that charges batteries while operating the lights and brakes so I could have just connected and waited for hours and hours, but I couldn’t move the RV until I could retract the stabilizers and the tongue jack. So I headed into town and found an auto parts store to buy a battery charger. That is something that was on the list to buy from the start but was overlooked. Back to storage, plug in charger and back to work.

I had no place in mind to overnight and had planned to just crash in a truck stop or Wal-Mart parking lot or something. But after charging the batteries and hitching up and getting underway I was overcome by exhaustion. Jet lag was still in full force and the efforts with the RV had left me dead. I started heading south toward my final destination at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, but soon pulled over and looked for the closest cheap motel. I found a Days Inn at the head of the Florida Turnpike and checked in to die.

The next morning I left early and headed down the turnpike toward the state park. I had loads of time so I stopped at each services and relaxed with a drink and caught up on email and social media. When I finally arrived at the park at lunch time I discovered that I was one day early. My five night reservation didn’t begin until the following day. I got lucky, though, and they had one campsite available. I had to wait until the occupant checked out, so I took a little hike and found a marshy area full of baby alligators.

One night in the Family Campground and then I moved the Wheelhouse to site 32 in the Equestrian Campground. I prefer the latter, although the former has better cell reception. The equestrian is mostly just RVs and tent campers, but it has a few corrals adjacent to it where those who bring horses can let them graze. The trails in this state park are “multi-purpose” and can be used by horses, hikers or bikers.

Last night was the last of my five nights at this site and that means I’ve been here for six nights already. However, I love this park and the weather has been fabulous. Each morning in the equestrian camp I have been visited by wild turkey. The tom is elusive, but I have heard him each morning and one he emerged and displayed. Unfortunately, my images of him are disappointing. As I type this, the group of twelve or so hens and one young male is pecking around my site. I’ve been hiking and photographing, but also just relaxing and reading and watching movies. I finished a catalog I had been designing for my former employer in Seattle. I am now working on the March issue of the Journal of the British Tarantula Society. Today I was supposed to leave Kissimmee Prairie, but I was able to book a site in the family campground for six more nights, which would take me up to my reservation on the 16th in the Flamingo Campground at the southern tip of Everglades National Park. I’ll be there for five nights and then reassess how much time I want to stay in Florida and if I want to visit any other sites. By the month’s end I will head back north to Georgia and then start west.

Jesse is now a pikey too. I left her cage at Joel’s house and she spent the first four days in her travel cage. She only slept inside her big cage and spent all waking hours on the top playground, so I decided to buy her a new play stand for the RV. I finally assembled it a couple days ago and she now has an unconfined space. This morning I woke to a strange sound and found her next to the bed sleeping. The piles of shit around her proved she had been there for some time. She didn’t do that the first couple nights, but I may have to use the enclosure of the travel cage for her to sleep in at night.

All the best, MJ

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mike, I finally got around to checking out your Wheelhouse video, it looks like quite a comfy rig! Thanks for the postcard. I hope you don't wake to Jesse's poop many more mornings - get that bird in a cage at night! Cheers - Erika