We arrived at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park at Live Oak, Florida in the afternoon of December 24. For the very first time I saw beautiful live oaks with Spanish moss lavishly draped from all their branches. It is a wonder they the oaks have not died.
But we had to make our Christmas Eve dinner.The kitchen was so cramped, however. We had to make so many dishes but record the moments for posterity, too.Disaster struck as the camera (positioned beside the turkey platter), fell as Bill was trying to slice the roast to serve. The short lens was forever doomed. But the dinner was great and the gift-giving memorable.
We had surely established a tradition…a Christmas Eve ritual on wheels! Another great tradition, the famous Spirit of Suwannee Christmas lights, was taken down the following day as we went to mass.The next night was a concert show, a Tribute to the Eagles. The campground is the site of Florida’s biggest music events. It has several music halls for indoor concerts and a large outdoor park for outdoor music events a la Woodstock. It was also beside the great Suwannee River. But, we were anxious to head south as it was feeling increasingly cold.
We were so happy to reach Florida because we thought we could finally get some warm days. It turned out that this year Florida was going to go through its LONGEST COLD SPELL in history. Days were in 50s and 60s (some 40s) instead of 60s and 70s. Some nights went down to as low as 30s! We consoled ourselves that at least it was warmer there than the rest of the country (although once it was warmer in Kent, Wa!)
Our trip to Disney World took us to Epcot Center, the theme park for Generation Z! It would have been such a thrill had it not been sooooo unusually cooooold! But, even then, we became children all over again as we took on all the rides we could on that day (the lines were also very long because it was holiday season). The night was capped by giant fireworks that enveloped the giant lighted Christmas tree.
Our first holiday without family turned out to be not sad and lonely, but fun and merry, after all.
Our next stop was at Peace River in Wauchula, Florida. This was a more ‘woodsy’ campground with the Peace River wrapping around the campsites. The warnings about alligators were all over the hiking trail that ran alongside the river. I remember being scared, not knowing that this is of such common occurrence in Florida! But it rained and the place became so muddy that I mostly stayed inside Star.
Besides we were just excited about our visit to the home of Bill’s friends, Glen Russell and Debbie Baxter, in Ft. Myers, Florida. She made a great turkey (real turkey) dinner so we could experience a real holiday feast at a lovely home during the holidays (or the extension of it). It was already January 6 but Debbie kept her Christmas décor up for us to see. What I admired most was an ornament tree atop her formal dining table.
That was exactly what I was looking for to put up our collection of Christmas ornaments from places we have been before we had the RV (now we are collecting magnets which we foolishly thought were so great because they would just be hung on the RV’s refrigerator doors not realizing quickly enough that they are made of lighter material, obviously…duh). Now I just have a 2 ft. green artificial tree. An ornament tree would be sturdier and would simply fold for storage after the Season!
Next Stops: Florida Keys, Everglades National Park, Moore Haven, Orlando, Wildwood