We had some interesting “next door” neighbors our last night in Memphis. Two Pilot Cars and a big red Semi Tractor. They set up a tent and were camping over the weekend. They were moving this huge oil drilling something. We didn’t see it – they left it at a truck stop. I don’t remember the weight of the rig, but it was 135 feet long! (I had thought our 74 foot long rig from a few blogs ago was long! Autumn in Arizona) The 13 axle trailer is needed to spread the weight out far enough to drive on public roads. The trailer pivots in three places. They have to get permits in every state on their route, and the permits tell them where and when they can travel. They are not allowed on the highways on weekends, and especially on this holiday weekend. So they found it more fun to camp by the river than in a truck stop! (The pictures below were furnished by the driver.)
We spent a couple of nights at a VERY quiet site far from everywhere! We felt we had our own private forest! The nearby towns are Twin, Guin, and Winfield. An area between Guin and Winfield was about to get annexed into Winfield, and they didn’t want that, so they incorporated as a new town. Between Guin and Winfield… what to call it?? Gu-Win! So now you can check out Twin, Guin, Gu-Win and Winfield. All within about 5 miles.
The Cleburne County seat was moved to Heflin in 1905. I’m guessing this beautiful courthouse was built on the main street, but it looks like traffic patterns shifted, the main road through town is a block away now, and this grand building faces an alley and the backsides of a bunch of little stores. Rather weird.
We were told the bridge was out near our campground – “Just go through the road closed signs till you can’t go any further, and then we’ll be on the right.” So we drove past two or three sets of “Road Closed” signs, and there was our destination… not very fancy. Just so you don’t believe all campgrounds are full of gorgeous rigs, check out the guy on the lower right. He’s been there a while.
We finally made it to Tampa! We’re planning on staying here for a while. No snow, no worry over freezing stuff. But winter in Florida isn’t always really warm. We spent a little while downtown Tampa, and it was very windy and felt very cold. Ok, I was in shorts and a t-shirt.
We were looking for a downtown branch of our bank, and when we arrived at the address from the website, it turned out it was just some corporate offices. The doorman looked at our other addresses on the phone, and said “Oh, that’s way up north where I live”. (As if I knew where he lived!) Then he told us a lot of details on how to get there, which I didn’t bother to memorize since I knew I’d just plug it into the GPS. While waiting for a light as we walked back to the car, a guy looked at us and said “You must be from up north!” I was wondering what was with all the “Up north” stuff – then he said he could tell by the way we were dressed. The few locals we saw all had long pants, coats, and maybe even scarves!
We plan on cleaning and optimizing storage in our “house.” First job was the basement. We took everything out, vacuumed, sorted, consolidated some, and repacked. We got a couple bins from the container store, and will fill them with winter clothes we don’t need inside for a while. It really feels good getting the basement a bit better organized.
Hillsborough River State Park
This park has lots of hiking trails available. We decided to start with one headed for “The Rapids.”
I guess these are rapids, but after living in Colorado for a few decades, I was probably expecting a bit more from these.
We learned about Cypress Knees. Those vertical projections around the tree are its knees. They do NOT grow into new trees. Nobody is certain what their function is – some say root aeration (but there is no evidence for this), catching sediment and reducing erosion, or just helping stabilize the tree in the muddy swamp. I think they are to keep boats from banging into the tree.
We looked for ‘gators, but didn’t find any. Most of this water looked quite shallow.