Well we’re home now. Booooo! Back to laundry and floor mopping.  I didn’t post yesterday because we were driving all day.  Darren had a shoot at 5PM last night.  That meant getting from Dade City, FL to Athens, GA in time for him to gather up equipment, change and head off to the Gwinett Arena.

After saying goodbye to our second campsite at Little Talbot Island, we headed off towards Tampa.  Along the way we passed, Fat Jack’s Smokestack BBQ in Lawety, FL and decided to stop for lunch.  The pork was pretty darn good for not being in Georgia.  We had lunch in the RV and continued down FL-301, which by the way, has a very Route 66 feel.  There are many motorcar motels, both closed and restored, Native American teepee souvenir shops (they updated the sign from Indian), and drive-in restaurants.

We wanted to return the RV to my parents all filled up and ready to go.  So we headed to our favorite chain of truck stops The Flying J, where we procured propane and that blue stuff you put in the toilet.  Then we were off to repair the awning.

We ordered the parts before we took off to Jacksonville and they arrived while we we gone.  The broken part was a connector that attaches the main support arms to the leading edge of the awning.  When Darren called the awning manufacturer, he was told that he would have to buy the whole arm assembly.  The cost would be $450 for one side and $500 for the other, which is more than the cost of a new awning.  While resigning ourselves to purchasing a new awning for my parents’ RV  ($700), Darren spotted a sticker  naming the company that makes the support arms.  Using all my powers of Google, Darren quickly had their number and was being told by the person that answered the phone that he was “pretty sure we have a box of those in the back”.  Our grand total for the parts: $25.76.  Darren repaired the awning in about and hour and saved us $675.00!

Then it was time to head back north, but not without one more stop at a Flying J!

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Don’t have too much time for writing this morning because I need to get packing.  We return to my parents’ house today, so I’ve got to break camp.  We had a really good time here at Little Talbot Island State Park.  Yesterday we went to Amelia Island Beach, which is about 10 minutes away.  It was the dogs first time seeing the ocean and it was a blast watching their reactions.  Rikka liked to splash in the shallow water, but Rainah got sea water in her eyes early on and was leery of the ocean from that point on.  We brought our lunch of Roast Beef and Blue Cheese wraps and had a beach picnic.

Upon returning to our site, we cleaned up and had a nice afternoon hanging out and discussing plans for the future while the dogs rested.  For dinner we grilled chicken and corn on the cob.  It was a wonderful week and we cannot wait to come back.  We have already made reservations for next year’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegence.

We are sitting around deciding how and if we can go to the beach.  It is very odd that I would come to a campground that has a beach and not visit the water.  The park here allows dogs, but not on the beach.  There are dog-friendly beaches but are some distance away.  The solution will probably be to get in the car and go for a drive.

There is a nature trail that starts right near our site and yesterday we took the dogs for a walk.  We got a much better view of the salt marsh (yes, I learned it’s proper name) and the surrounding vegetation.  Along the trail there were placards describing the types of tress that we would see.  We can now identify the Sabal Palm, the Saw Palmetto, and the Live Oaks.  We even learned the the Sabal Palm is also known as the Cabbage Palm because it contains Swamp Cabbage at it’s heart.  The dogs seems to really enjoy the walk and we will have to endeavor to do it more often.

For lunch we made an anitpasti plate, with those Chorizo-stuffed Jalepenos that Darren picked up.  We also tried some new cheese from Whole Foods.  Darren chose an aged cheese, called Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper from Holland, which was a sort of soft mild parmesan.  I chose a Spanish cream cheese Capricho de Cabra, very rich.  The plate also included prosciutto, sopressata, and salami.

For our anniversary dinner, we grilled Spanish Spice Rubbed Rib-eye with Sherry Vinegar Steak Sauce, potatoes, and, Grilled Shrimp with Garlic (gambas Al Ajillo).  After dinner we sat by the fire and drank wine.  A really lovely evening.  A great 13th Anniversary celebration in a great setting.

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_DP20015.jpgToday is my 13th Wedding Anniversary and it brings a new view.  We had to move spots as I was unable to book the spot we had been in for the entire length of our stay. We were in Site 38 and I must say that I think it might be the best spot in this campground.  It affords a lot of privacy and has a great view.  It was a bit of a fluke that I could reserve it at all.  When I was originally planning this trip it was not available, so I booked the site we are now in.  When I checked back with Reserve America to find a location that would cover our missing days, it returned that Site 38 was available, so I snatched it up.  I am glad I did, but it did mean that we would have to move spots half way through our stay.

Yesterday, I made my new favorite breakfast, Migas.  It is scrambled eggs, with vegetables, and corn tortillas mixed in and toppedIMG_2848.JPG with salsa.  I had the dish once at Mama’s Boy Restaurant and was instantly hooked.  This is my first attempt at making it over an open flame and it turned out great.  It has been added to our camping food rotation.

Later in the day we took the dogs on a walk and they seemed to love the tall plants around the water’s edge. IMG_2851.JPG Our walk was cut short by rain which as we returned to our campsite escalated to a blustery storm.  Darren and I found ourselves outside watching the storm approach us across the marsh and hanging onto our canopy so that it would not pull up out of the ground.  After the storm passed and as the sun was setting we ramped up the campfire, which had been slow burning all day. _DP20021.jpg For dinner we made Smoky Pork Burgers with Fennel and Red Cabbage Slaw. I am a big fan of Last Night’s Dinner and this recipe certainly did not disappoint.

This morning was pleasant as I took the dogs for their morning “outing”.  Today was the day we had to move spots and we also needed to preform the maintenance duties that come with staying in an RV.  If you don’t know what I referring to, let me just say that the RV is not currently hooked to a sewer system.  We decided to get our chores out the way early so that we could get about to celebrating our anniversary.  Darren had a nice surprise for me today, a new pair of sunglasses, a new _DP20042.jpgpair of Prada sunglasses.  Nice, huh?

The fire is getting going once again for those Chorizo-stuffed peppers I told you about earlier.  So I will stop for now.

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Same wonderful view as described in the last post.  The dogs are becoming more accustomed to the park and rv and are hanging out by the view with me.IMG_2824.JPG Darren is sleeping in.  His 12 hour work day yesterday began at 6:00 am.  I am just now waking up myself as I drink coffee from my Garden of the Gods mug inscribed with the name Paula.

After Darren got back last night, we grilled oysters.  We had only a marginal success.  Out of our four rather large oysters only two opened. At first we thought we had not cooked them long enough, but when we put them back on the fire they just cooked until they started making popping noises.  I wonder if they have to be put on the fire “right side up” or maybe I did nothing wrong and they were just bad.  I am reluctant to think that is the case as we purchased them from Whole Foods, but we dared not take any chances. IMG_2821.JPG The two we did eat, we topped with a Mango Pico de Gallo and then Chili Horseradish.  They were delectable, but since we only got one oyster each they turned out to be more of an amuse bouche.  Will definitely be making them again, but might research grilling oyster a bit further.

For diner we made a paella with about  as much success.  I waited too long to put in the shrimp and clams and that caused the bottom of the rice to burn and the clams not to open fully.   I tried putting the clams back on the fire, but to no avail. IMG00202-20100605-2223.jpg The rice on top was good and did not have a burnt flavor. The shrimp were cooked thanks to a bit of sautéing before the rice was added.  The best part of the paella was the chorizo.  While it was a tad bit spicy for me, it had a wonderful flavor.  Darren “impulse-bought” Chorizo-stuffed Jalepenos at Whole Foods yesterday and now I can’t wait to try them.

One thing we cannot seem to get right when camping in state parks is what to do with our garbage.  We can’t ever seem to find bins within walking distance of our site.  Last night we were visited by raccoons.  I tried hanging the garbage from the ladder on the back of the RV, but they just sat on the shelf and ripped the bag open.  They didn’t have much luck with the clams either.  Even before I finished writing the Darren informs me that there are two trash cans a few sites down.  I could have used that information last night.

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It has been forever since I posted.  I thought I might give blogging another go.  I am currently in Little Talbot Island State Park enjoying the breezes comingIMG_2792.JPG off the marsh.  Well, I think it is a marsh.  It looks like a lake of grass, maybe I should just call it a wetland.  None of those names sound very attractive, but it is beautiful. We are staying in the campground here and every site is surrounded by palm trees and Live Oaks dripping with Spanish Moss.  The bank of the marsh, which comes right up to our site is covered with tiny yellow flowers being visited by bees and butterflies. In the distance I can see all types of birds landing in and rising up out of the grasses.  Darren’s pictures would do such a better job of describing the scene than my words.  Alas, he has to be gone taking pictures of far less interesting subjects.  Perhaps if he is not too tired I might convince him to take a few pics tomorrow.

This last time we borrowed my parents’ RV there was a storm and the awning broke.  We needed to get down to Florida to repair it.  Darren had a series of shoots in Jacksonville.  So we decided to make a trip out of it.  The shoots also conincided with my father’s birthday so we went to his house to celebrate andIMG_2761.JPG to repair the awning.

Darren first shoot was in Fort White, FL.  O’Leno State Park is very near there so we booked Lot 36 in Dogwood Loop.  There are two loops in the O’Leno Campground, the other is Magnolia.  These loops are some distance from one another.  While Dogwood IMG_2776.JPGseemed to have more space between lots, it still lacked in privacy.  Magnolia Loop is much closer to the nature center and park attractions.  When we were there Dogwood loop was very empty so privacy was not a concern.  We were only there overnight so we did not visit the suspension bridge, O’Lena’s main attraction.

We were on the road early the next morning.  As our supplies were low, we headed to the Jacksonville Whole Foods.  Not only did we pick up a ton of groceries, we also got lunch from the salad bar and pizza station.  While Darren was purchasing his stromboli,IMG_2786.JPG he noticed that they had arepas, something that we have been wanting to try. Highly recommend!

For my solo lunch, I made Cod in Foil Packets with Carrots and Leeks, a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that I have wanted to try for some time.  The recipe calls for baking the packets in the oven, but it was quite successful over the open fire.  In fact, I will defiantly IMG_2812.JPG be adding it to the regular rotation of camping recipes.

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UPDATE: There is some open water out there because jet skis keep going by.  I need a map.