A Favorite Getaway

Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park in Florida is about an hour and a half’s drive from our home. It’s a favorite camping getaway because of its quiet, natural setting. Fall weather gave us the perfect excuse to camp there this week.

We introduced our friend and new RV owner, Mike, to the park. He camped across from us and joined us for meals in the shelter of our Clam screen enclosure. (There were mosquitoes) In my opinion, we scored two of the best sites in the campground, not that any were bad.

The preserve is a 21,000 acre savanna that once marked the northern edge of the Everglades, back in the day before air-conditioning and development. It is also a National Natural Landmark. Camping there gives us a taste of long-ago Florida. Wildlife abounds, and the nearby historic town of Micanopy charms.

Besides eating, we enjoyed hiking a couple of trails, visiting the nearby lake, and the visitors center and observation deck. Because we travel with our Shihtzu, I stayed behind on the trails that prohibited dogs. Unfortunately, I missed seeing the wild horses and bison Butch and Mike spotted on their trek. But I saw many deer.

Although the campground preserves as much of the natural setting as possible, it offers clean, modern bathrooms, laundry facilities, dumpster plus recycling bins, water and electric hookups, and a waste disposal station for emptying RV holding tanks. The boat ramp for non motorized boats, children’s playground, and picnic areas are connected to the campground via an ADA-compliant paved path.

If you’d like a taste of Old Florida in the days when Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote The Yearling (her home is nearby and offers tours) and when much of Florida was unspoiled swampland, camp at Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park. Reservations can be made through ReserveAmerica.com.

Mixing it Up

The Dixie Pixie has limited space for cooking, yet preparing our meals is one of my favorite reasons for traveling in an RV. Especially during the COVID19 restrictions, it’s safer to cook your own food and keep your distance from others in crowded restaurants.

No wonder there’s been a surge in RV sales. Camping is the best way to travel while observing social distancing. But cooking in the tiny Dixie Pixie can be challenging, and I’ve had to reassess what tools I need.

In an earlier post, I mentioned missing my Vitamix and our daily smoothies. Now I have a solution! Vitamix offers an immersion blender. The wand-style blender takes up about as much room as a curling wand, an easy fit in my galley drawer.

With the Vitamix immersion blender, I can create a smoothie in a cup or large-mouth jar, anything at least 3” in diameter. I can thicken soups or blend sauces right in the cooking pot.

Vitamix blenders are not a camping necessity. I’ve managed thickening soups using a potato masher and smoothing gravy with a whisk. But if I can have the convenience of a powerful blender without sacrificing space, I’ll take it. I call it my Dixie Pixie Mixie. 😉

For information about the Vitamix Immersion Blender, visit their website at Vitamix.com.

https://www.vitamix.com/us/en_us/shop/immersion-blender

Camp Driveway, anyone?

The global Coronavirus quarantine got you down? Is cabin fever consuming you? Then consider this (I can’t take credit for the idea. It came from a Facebook group of fiberglass trailer enthusiasts): #Campdriveway.

Here’s the idea: Let’s have a huge, cross-country, cross-continent Pod Rally. We can name it CAMP DRIVEWAY.
Anyone who has their camper at home, let’s do a sleep-in on Saturday, March 28. We would have the potential of being the biggest rally ever! (For those who don’t have their camper at home, join us anyway!)

It will be so much fun to post pictures of you and your families on social media enjoying this nationwide, continent wide event.


Are you in? See you all next Saturday, March 28! #CAMPDRIVEWAY

#CampDriveway

Land of Enchantment

We’re home after a two week adventure. We headed west from our north Florida home without an itinerary and just wandered. What fun! We revisited old favorites, like Joseph’s in Santa Rosa, but mostly picked out destinations new to us.

First new stop was Hot Springs, Arkansas. We hadn’t spent time in Arkansas, just traveled through, and decided it deserved some love. Beautiful state. Check out our photos page.

After a stop in Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, we spent about a week in New Mexico, truly deserving of its nickname Land of Enchantment.

Thank y’all for following us on our latest adventure. I hope you enjoy the photos in the Pages section. Don’t miss our last page from our “abduction” in Roswell!

A Basket Case

Storage in the Dixie Pixie is limited, so it’s important to utilize every square foot of space efficiently. That’s where baskets come into play.

We didn’t spend a fortune at IKEA to compartmentalize our belongings. Walmart, Amazon, or Dollar General carry all we needed to create modular storage.

As our Dixie Pixie bounces along behind us on the highways, her contents can shift, roll, and fall. Baskets not only offer storage solutions but keep our belongings reasonably secure. I even bought small baskets for our refrigerator. We will probably add baskets or reorganize as we travel, but we feel ready for our upcoming trip.

Get Your Kicks On Route 66

In 1983 we took our first vacation out west, traveling from our home in Jacksonville, Florida, to Arizona. As much as possible, we drove US 66 (Before it was decommissioned in 1985). We saw legendary tourist sites like the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, and Cadillac Ranch (before it was relocated farther west) in Amarillo, Texas. Since that trip, we’ve been captivated by the history of the Mother Road.

Route 66 isn’t just an old highway. It represents a way of life in an era when folks were starting to experience automobile road trips. It was immortalized in song, movies, books, and a television series. Did you know that the Pixar movie Cars was originally titled Route 66?

I researched Route 66 history for a couple of novellas I wrote for an anthology, Romance on Route 66. (If y’all read romance, the ebook is still available on Amazon. But this isn’t shameless self-promotion, just an illustration of my affection for all things Route 66.) I have my sunroom decorated with Route 66 fabric and curios. My friend Dolores recently gifted me with her set of Route 66 diner style stoneware. Butch and I wear Route 66 souvenir T-shirts. So, yeah, it’s a passion.

Even as we plan for this year’s vacation, we are choosing to follow roads designated “Historic Route 66.” It’s well worth the occasional detour off the Interstate to enjoy the onion burger in El Reno, Oklahoma, or visit the hotel in Oatman, Arizona, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned. And don’t miss Santa Rosa, New Mexico, home of a number of great Mexican restaurants.

The Casita is suited for taking the roads less traveled, and we intend to take advantage of it. If you see Dixie Pixie at a campground during your travels, be sure to say howdy.