Left Savannah on Jan 3rd heading for Paynes Creek Historic State Park and planned on stopping for a night on the way. Traffic was not bad and we were making good time so we headed on in. Park was already closed (day use park) so Bob drove down and unlocked the gate and led us to the site. Looks good so far. We set up enough to get us thru the night and settled in. Next day we finished setting up. Lots to set up as we were going to be here for 2 months. On mon we had an orientation and met the rangers & park manager, filled out paperwork, got hats & shirts & generally looked around the place to get orientated. This is a very pretty park. Then came our 2 scheduled days off. :>) We had told them we would work weekends and take days off during the week.

On tues, John & Libby Veach (therollinghome.com) stopped by to On tues, John & Libby Veach (therollinghome.com) stopped by to visit the 4 of us and double check my internet sat to see if I had set it up right. I couldn't get a signal at all and John said I was in a "dead" area. From about 10 miles north to 15 miles south was dead on my assigned satellite. Maybe some space debris hit the transponder. We ended up having a phone installed so I could keep up with the internet. Sloooow, but at least I had internet. 

Thur we finally started work. Kay helped out at the ranger station and I teamed up with Bob Tydd, another volunteer, and we put in a lift station for his site. Didn't mind the digging cause it was soft sand. We don't work a lot of hours a day so this project took a few days. Also changed 2 of the sites from 30AMP to 50AMP. And on another fixed the 50AMP. Someone had run only 3 wires and put a jumper from neutral to ground. Not good. It would work, until you had a problem and needed the 4th wire. If it wasn’t there---worst case scenario---burn your RV down.

The park is on a tight budget so we ended up digging up some old PVC pipe from a former weather station to get the PVC for the work we did. But as I said---easy digging.

On fri we went to eat at a place where the volunteer coordinator, Renee Riddle, played in a band. She played fiddle and is very good. Her mom was there on guitar and she could rock!

The next wed, Rich & Diane Emond stopped by for a visit. Had a nice afternoon with them. We really enjoy it when we run into them. It is amazing how small the world is when you can run into friends while traveling. Of  course the internet & email helps. We pretty much know where our Rving friends are most of the time.

Our next project was fixing the door to the Ranger station. Termites had done a heck of a job on it. The termites were long gone but the damage had never been fixed. They just used the other door. We had to tear the door and part of the wall out. When we did, I could crush the 2x4 along side the door with my hands. One day as we were taking out the door jamb, Bob headed up to the shop for some more tools, so I proceeded to finish taking out the jamb. I knocked out the floor plate, picked it up and set it aside. When I looked back there was 2 snakes on the concrete below where the sill was. Evidently they had crawled under the aluminum plate for warmth and when I knocked the plate out it knocked them onto the concrete. The coloration was beautiful! And I didn’t have my camera.  I think one was a Coral Snake & the other was a Scarlet Kingsnake. We had been seeing posters that showed the difference and although they looked alike the color bands were different. I watched them for awhile but had to move (gently, with a broom) them away as they were trying to crawl inside the building. I started carrying my camera to work but never got any more photo opps.

After we finished the door & wall we painted the station, all of it. It sure looks good. I think that is important as it is the first thing visitors see when they enter the park. And first impressions count.

On one Sunday we (Bob, Donna, Kay & I) went to Ft Myers, Fl to visit Jared & Julia, Mike & Clara’s son & daughter-in-law. Kay’s dad and his sister, Winona, were there also. We all loaded up and went a few miles north to “The Shell Factory”. This is quite the place and I’m not sure I can describe it. The reason we went was Renee was playing with the “Porch Dogs”, a Zydeco band. They were good!  Afterwards Renee came down and met Kay’s family. I’m sure she was impressed! From there we headed back to the park as it was a 2 hour drive.

We found an Elks Lodge in Wauchula, Fl about 8 miles from where we were staying. They served food on wed & fri. We ate there quite a few times. Wed also was karaoke night. It was a lot of fun and we made some new friends. Kay, Donna and bartender, Donna, got up a couple of times and did their thing. Good for a laugh. :>) They had a Super Bowl Party so that’s where we went for the game.

 had a Super Bowl Party TheTheyThey  We also visited an AMVETS Post in Arcadia, Fl. It was an old house that had been converted. The food was excellent and when we finished we went to the lounge in back and they were having karaoke also. That sure is an ice breaker. Met some more new friends. We would have gone back except it was 40 miles away. AMVETS are pretty active in FL. Couldn’t find any Legions or VFW’s close by that had anything going on.

One day we all went to Plant City, Fl for strawberry shortcake. Last year when we visited Chuck Hunt he took us to Parkesdale Farms for shortcake. It was worth the drive. Check the pics. Tried to call Chuck but no answer. Kay & I went up another day to visit him and his daughter, Crystal. Found out that the race track he is building is about 10 miles from where we are staying. Stopped by on the way home to see it. We didn’t get out of the truck as it had been raining and it was messy. They are still working on the area around the track but the track is done and looks good. Probably be there a few times next winter.

Our next project was replacing the siding on the rear of the park managers house and paint the new siding. The house is part of the park. We were going to replace the windows also but they couldn’t get them in time.

I feel we did a good job on the Ranger Station & house. They look good.

Kay and Donna did most of their volunteering on trail maintenance and manning the ranger station & visitors center on weekends.

Bob cut a new trail and made new signs for the trails.

There were 2 ATV’s that we could use to travel the trails as long as no volunteers needed them for a project. Easier than walking.

All the volunteers got together for a potluck before we left at the end of feb. And the rangers had a volunteer appreciation lunch on the Saturday before we left.

Overall we enjoyed our stay at Paynes Creek and signed up for next year (dec., jan., feb.). With the understanding that we would have the week off around Christmas to head to Ft. Myers for the holidays.

During our time there I installed a gutter across the front of the MH. Sure helps keep the windshield clean.

On March 2 we headed out for Okeechobee.

Later                                      Pictures