end of the month
Feb 28, 2012
|29 February 2012
Last day of the month and we still have a few more pics to upload. Get 150/month with the tripjournal. Yesterday we sat on the porch of the gift shop here at Stephen Foster for about 90 minutes uploading pics. Only place to do it here. We hardly get phone signal.
We never left the park yesterday. Plenty to do here. Great bike paths and not many hills in this part of NE Florida. Hell, even our driveway in Elk River would be considered a hill.
The old spring, for which White Springs was named for, is dry. For the past 12 years. And more springs are dying every year. Seems that they take too much water from the local aquifer. Water to supply the biggest cities in the area. Up to 120 miles away. Florida will probably die for lack of fresh water (and the rising sea level.)
Anyway, the old spring was the first in FL to be commercialized back in the 1860’s. Local doctor and his sister build a springhouse enclosure around the spring. It eventually reached 3 stories had 3 decks around the inside—“to catch the vapors”. Magical waters with curative powers, better than the ones in Georgia. As it was the first spring south of the FL/GA border, the railroad was quick to make it a stop. Seven large hotels were soon built and the wealthy came in flocks, like migrating birds. Long story short. A fire wiped out 6 of the hotels and that was the end of the resort era. The springhouse walls still remain but the decks are gone, better and bigger springs were located further south. End of story.
Because we are on the banks of the Suwanee river, White Springs became the site of the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center. A museum about him and a carillon playing his songs on the largest tubular bells in the world. 4 times a day it plays a 15 minute concert of 4 Foster songs. Usually one or two familiar songs and couple of obscure ones. (He wrote over 200 songs before he died at 37.)
Right now, as I write this, the bells chimed 10 am. Minnell and I will get to hear the concert. Hopefully we will get a bit of video up soon. “I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair” is playing now.
Foster never set foot in the south, he lived and died in Pennsylvania. Picked the name Suwanee from an atlas and changed it from river to “ribber”—no lie. (It is real hard for me to exaggerate here because I type so slow that before I finished typing the truth would be out.) Foster wrote for the minstrel shows which were popular in his day. Sold his first song to the Christy Mistrals. All the dioramas in the museum portrayed black people.
Saw a guy who made guitars and mandolins out of real cigarboxes at the craft center. Great sound but over $350.
Last night we had our third campfire since leaving on the 4th, 25 days ago. And I did something I said I would never do, use a fake fireplace log-like a Duraflame. Picked up a few to use as fire starters. Can’t pick up any downed wood; it’s too damp and rotten anyway. A bundle of firewood is $5 or more and is hardwood-too hard to split. Very nice fire, kept burning for 3 hours. Used our wood to supplement. Had a real treat too. Roasted marshmallows, not just any marshmallow, but Toasted Coconut Marshmallows. Try ‘em. You’ll like ‘em. No graham cracker, no chocolate. Just straight off the stick. It would be easy for me to eat a half bag, I’m sure of it.
We are not going to leave the park today, either. There are some unpaved bike paths right behind our site so we will take Bella for a long off leash run. She is responding so well to voice commands, probably because we use them so often now. She even stopped chasing a squirrel when I yelled “Stop”. Either she is better trained now or she is training me better, whatever, it is working.
Scott, our snow plowing guy, just called at 10:16 am. He can’t make it until tomorrow at the earliest, 12-14 inches of “white shit” and very wet and heavy. I told him to relax. He won’t. He drives plow for the state, you know, the big orange ones with a wing plow and sand/salt spreader. He said he’ll relax when the roads are clear. Being the first big snow of the winter it’s good for Scott as he uses the $$ he earns plowing driveways on fishing trips he takes using his comp hours he earns from overtime snow plowing. He earned over 6 weeks of overtime last year and a few hundred from us and all his other driveways. He fished a lot last summer.
Minnell just shouted “Oh my God” and started to sob. Her sister’s son Mike died last night. Only a one sentence voice mail from her brother. Only 40. Bad heart. Guess we will be leaving the park after all—to get a phone signal. Keep Minnell and her sister in your thoughts.