Milton, Florida

In the last post, I mentioned Milton, Florida so I thought I’d write about it this time.

Founded in the late 1800’s, Milton is one of Florida’s oldest cities Since it was built beside the Blackwater River a timber mill was constructed and Mill Town, as it was called at the time, thrived as a ship building town and a supplier to other ship building industries. Later, citing they preferred a one word name for the city instead of two, the Post Office changed the name from Mill Town to Milton.

According to Wikipedia, the town also went by several other names over the years. The most notable of these were “Hell Town” because it was a “muggy, inhospitable land covered with briars, mosquitos, thorns and snakes”; Jernigan’s Landing”, after one of the founders, “Scratch Ankle”, due to the briars that grew along the riverbank and “Hard Scrabble”. I’m not sure where that last one came from.

Milton is located in the center of the county and is the county seat of Santa Rosa County.

Pensacola across the bay from Milton, has one of the larger Navy bases, NAS Pensacola. Whiting Field is one of the two of the Navy’s primary pilot training bases and is located just north of Milton, FL.

Withing minutes of Milton, you could be fishing or boating on the Blackwater River or in the Gulf of Mexico. The Blackwater River was so named for the tinted color of the river that comes from the vegetation’s tanins that stain the water a transparent tea color. Along the river curves you can relax on the white, sandy beaches or sandbars.

The Blackwater river runs through Milton. Walking on the Riverwalk, along the river in Milton, you’ll find the Veteran’s Memorial, a concert pavillion and at the end of the riverwalk a grassy area where you can listen to the Bands on the Blackwater concerts or watch a movie on a large outdoor screen or even rent little mini boats. Numerous festivals throughout the year are held here, too.

The Blackwater State Forest is also within minutes from downtown Milton and is a great place for hiking, fishing, canoeing or camping. In the park, along the river, you can find canoe liveries where you can rent canoes, kayaks and tubes. They’ll take you up river where you can float back down to them. There’s also a place nearby where you can zipline.

About 30 minutes from Milton, you can be at the beautiful white sand, clear water beach called Navarre Beach. The lack of numerous restaurants and souvenier shops makes Navarre Beach one of Florida Panhandle’s least commercialized beaches.

West of Milton, on the other side of Escambia Bay is Pensacola. Pensacola is known as the City of Five Flags and has a great history of it’s own. The flags that flew over Pensacola were Spain, France, Britain, the Confederacy and the United States. The Navy’s Blue Angels are based at NAS Pensacola. The Cincinnati Reds affiliate team, the Blue Wahoo’s a minor league baseball team is located in Pensacola and they have a beautiful stadium in the Community Maritime Park. Pensacola is also home to the Ice Pilots ice hockey team.

Going south from Pensacola and Milton, you can get to beautiful water and white, sandy beaches of Pensacola Beach. There you can parasail, jet ski, swim, dine, shop, soak up some sun, or listen to some great live music.

At the west end of Pensacola Beach, is Ft. Pickens. Ft Pickens is a pentagon shaped military fort that has a very interesting history. It’s named after American Revolutionary war hero, Andrew Pickens.

It was one of three forts that guarded the entrance to Pensacola Bay and the communities on the mainland shore from European invaders. During the Civil War, it was the southern most point controlled by Union Soldiers. In 1886, Ft Pickens became one of Florida’s first tourist attractions. When Geronimo was captured and moved to Ft. Pickens for imprisonment, admission was charged to view him and his family.

With the proximity to Pensacola, Eglin Air Force Base, the two Navy bases and the beaches Milton is a great place to live and visit.

I hope you found this post both informative and interesting. If you like what you’re reading, there’s a place on the side where you can subscribe to future posts.

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Want to Boondock?

What’s boondocking? Boondocking is also called Dry Camping, Off Grid Camping and on Federal Lands it’s called Dispersed Camping. Basically, it’s camping with no hookups in a non-campsite area. Usually, it’s in a Wilderness or Public Land area such as a National Park or Forest.

You’ll also find that places such as Casinos, Wal-Mart stores, Camping World, Bass Pro Shop, and some truck stops will let you dry camp on their property. There are more places that will let you camp in their parking lots, but just make sure you ask permission.

Harvest Hosts, http://harvesthosts.com, is a membership required organization that has a network of places that you can camp for free as long as you are self contained. Some of the places in their network are farms, wineries, museums, orchards, etc. You can check out their website for more information.

Some RVers, that I know, will usually stay in a Wal-Mart or some other parking lot if they’re traveling across country to a specific location in as short a time as possible. If you’re not in a hurry, maybe some place like HarvestHosts would be for you since they’re usually off the beaten path and in relaxing locations.

If you’re Boondocking, you won’t be hooked up to any utilities, so it’s probably a good idea, before you travel too far from civilization, to check out a few things. Find out how long you can last without hookups.

Since, you’ll be carrying your own water, figure out how long it will last before you have to fill your water tank. Maybe camp at a location with hookups but don’t use them until you run out before you’re ready to leave. Then you’ll know, for example, that you carry just 4 days worth of water. This, of course, all depends on the size of your R V and the size of the water tank. So if you’re going to be out for a week, have a water use plan if you only carry 4 days worth.

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TOAD… WHAT’S “TOAD”?

If you want to have a vehicle available to drive when you’re parked at a campground or boondocking there are a few options. If you’re pulling a travel trailer or 5th wheel, you just unhook your RV and you’re good to go . If you’re driving a vehicle separately from your motorhome; no issue, your vehicle is right there. If you’re in a motorhome like we are, you’ll be towing something to drive. That vehicle is the “Toad”.

We prefer not to drive our car separate unlike our friends at http://www.modernmountainlife.com. They prefer to drive their vehicle separately as a chase vehicle.

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North Carolina Waterfalls

Recently, we had the opportunity to spend a month in the mountains of western North Carolina.

We had the opportunity to do many things which I may write about later. This post is about the beautiful waterfalls.

In the Transylvania County/Pisgah National Forest area near Brevard North Carolina, there are over 250 waterfalls.

I’m only going to write about a few of the most popular ones and ones that we visited.

RAINBOW FALLS is on Horsepasture River and is also called High Falls. It got the name Rainbow Falls because of the large amount of mist that rises from the falls and creates rainbows. Once you get to the observation deck, you’ll appreciate that mist! From the parking lot, it’s about 1-1/2 mile walk to the falls, but there are a lot of hills and stairs to climb. If you go, take lots of water. Take your time and if you have them use walking sticks, they help.

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Our visit to the Bold Rock hard cider company.

Last week we visited the Sierra Nevada craft beer brewery. This week it was the Bold Rock hard cider cidery also in Mills River, North Carolina. Although this is a much smaller operation than the Sierra Nevada brewery it is also a good benefit for the community. There’s an abundance of Apple orchards in the area and many of them were struggling financially until the cider companies, particularly the hard cider companies, came to the area.

There are at least 10 cideries in the Asheville area. Each one is a little different. The one we visited, and I think one of the largest, is the Bold Rock hard cider company.

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North Carolina

It’s a rainy day today in Flat Rock, North Carolina. Lakewood RV resort has some nice amenities. The pool, shuffleboard, and the planned activities don’t start until their busy season starts; the end of May. There are several park models owned by people who live here full time.   See the link below for a description and pictures of park models). They’ve managed to plan several activities on their own. They’ve scheduled Mexican Train one evening a week and something called nickel bingo that does not involve bingo cards. The lady in the camper next to us who spends her winters here and summers in Pennsylvania was telling us about this. We saw some things posted on the bulletin board but not sure if they were happening now or later in the year. We might check it out. There was also a sign-up sheet for Easter dinner that was already 2 pages long.

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Shorts and Flip Flops to Coats and Gloves

Shorts and Flip Flops to Coats and Gloves …. in one day!

We left Savannah yesterday morning. I was wearing shorts as we were “buttoning up” the motorhome. About 6 hours later we arrived in Flat Rock, North Carolina and I began thinking about where we put our heavy coats, sweats, and gloves.

“Buttoning Up the motorhome” means anything that is loose has to be secured along with bringing the slides in and disconnecting the water, sewer and electric. This all takes a little time. “Anything loose” includes pictures on the walls, toothbrushes on the bathroom counter, dishsoap and utensils on the kitchen counters. Look around your house. What do you see that could move around if you shook your house? All that has to be put away. We even have tension backets in our cupboards to keep items in there from shifting so that we don’t have an avalanche when we open the doors once we get parked.

We’re staying at Lakewood R V Resort in Flat Rock which is just a few miles from Hendersonville, North Carolina which is about 30 miles from Asheville, North Carolina. Our son and his family live in Pisgah Forest which is about 1/2 hour from here. This is the closest full-service campground we could find with a monthly rate. Most of the campgrounds nearer them are state or national campgrounds with limited facilities and a 14-day max stay. There are a few others but either they’re too expensive or not open yet.

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Tin Foil Dinners

In my last blog post, I said I’d be adding some tin-foil dinner recipes. Below are a couple and links to two sites that I found had several of them that looked pretty good.

I tried a few of these dinners and two recipes are below. Next time I’ll be sure to get pictures of them as I make them and when they’re done!

Keep in mind you don’t have to only cook these on a grill. They can be cooked on charcoal or on wood embers from your campfire. You can also cook them in a crockpot. Remember to always wrap them tightly and use heavy duty aluminum foil.

Being full time in an R V usually means you don’t have a full-size refrigerator or freezer. Some of the larger Fifth Wheels or Motor Coaches do, but ours does not. We also don’t have much of a pantry. All that means is we have to shop more often. I usually try to keep only the basics on hand as far as spices and seasonings are concerned. This means the recipes are usually simple but I try to make them tasty.

Corn on the Cob is an easy one to fix. Remove the husk and silk; add salt and butter. Wrap it securely in heavy-duty foil; place it on the grill for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally and you’re done. Add some sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and you have a great side dish.

Lemon Chicken and Asaparagus Foil Packet for four

Ingredients and Instructions for this tin foil dinner are:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness or 6-8 boneless chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are smaller than the breasts so you’ll want to put two in each serving packet.
  • 1 large bundle of asparagus spears, which is about one pound
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic ( I used one fresh garlic clove that I had and chopped it up into small pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning ( this is one seasoning I usually keep on hand)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Lay four 12×12 inch squares of foil out on a flat surface.Place one chicken breast or two thighs in the middle of the foil square.
  • Cut off about 1-2 inches off the hard end of the asparagus. Cut the spears in half and divide them among the foil packets.
  • Divide the lemon slices between the foil packets and tuck them around the chicken and the asparagus
  • Mix together the butter, garlic, Italian seasoning, and some lemon juice. Brush over the chicken and asparagus. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Fold the foil over the chicken and asparagus to close off the packet. Secure it tightly.
  • Grill them over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes on each side
  • Serve immediately.
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R V – Random

I haven’t posted for a while. We’ve been busy.

Savannah has a huge St Patrick’s celebration. Second only to Chicago. Every hotel, big or small, and every campground, big or small has been booked solid since this time last year. The hours at CreekFire have been extended and the CreekFire to Savannah shuttle has started running. It now runs 3-4 times per day. The extended hours and the shuttle running means they need more people to work more hours. They’ve added a couple more work campers and some more employees so that helps some but since they’re new they are just learning and getting used to everything now. One work camper is leaving in a few days and since he is really knowledgeable he’s going to be sorely missed. It’s only going to leave Dave here who has maintenance experience until the others get up and running. I’ve driven the shuttle into Savannah a few times and took a couple of the new people in so they know the route and the pickup/drop off location. I found out that on the day of the parade most of the streets will be shut down and on that day, CreekFire is adding a few more shuttle times and renting a second shuttle to use. Since all the shuttles and buses going into Savannah will not be using the normal route and drop off location, we have a new route to learn. Should be interesting!

During the business of working a few more hours, we noticed our shower had a leak under the drain. What Dave said should have been a 5-minute fix took about 3 weeks. Good thing there are really nice showers here at this campground and they’re not too far from our site! Our motorhome and most of those built around the same time all used abs, the black PVC plumbing materials, instead of a white PVC. We needed a new ABS p-trap. After traveling to Lowes and Home Depot, several camper stores, several mobile home suppliers and ordering parts online we still couldn’t find the ABS p-trap and size adapter we needed. We understood that you could not mix black ABS products with white PVC ones because the glue that has to be used won’t hold both plastics. We talked to a retired plumber who told us they could be mixed now and Dave even called Coachmen to see what could be done. It took a couple calls to Coachmen to get through to the right person but when he called back he was helpful. Dave finished the project using both ABS and PVC. It was so hard for him to work on this in a small R V bathroom with about an 8 inch opening under the drain. But he persevered and got it done.

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