HomeFun StuffAttractions & ToursDay One at Stephen Foster SP

On our first morning at Stephen Foster State Park, we decided to take a quick trip to Lake City.  Besides needing a few grocery items, Rob wanted to pick up some Dura Flame logs (we cut them up and use them as fire starters in lieu of kindling).  You’d think that would be an easy task, wouldn’t you?  Well, it wasn’t!

Located about 12 miles from the State Park, it’s a pretty easy drive to Lake City.  Easy to get there but once there, it is pretty congested with quite a bit of traffic.

IMAG5184.jpgOur first bad decision of the day was deciding to have breakfast at Cracker Barrel so we stopped at one near Lake City.  Cracker Barrels are always crowded so they must be doing something right and we did after all enjoy our recent lunch there in Ocala so why not try breakfast?

After we were seated and greeted by a very friendly waitress who seemed to think our names were “honey” and “sweetie”, we both ordered their Sunrise Sampler.  After waiting quite a while, we finally got our breakfast but yuk, it was barely lukewarm. After calling our waitress over, she took our plates and said she would put in another order and make sure she stood there to pick it up when it was ready. Hmmm, is that what happened?  Our food was ready but it just sat there getting cold before she brought it over to us?

When we got our new plates, it was hotter but still not great.  The sausage patty was overcooked and dried out, the hash browns still weren’t very hot, the eggs didn’t taste real and had a very mushy texture. Deciding not to complain again, we ate some of it and left. Certainly not worth the $25 that we paid!  Maybe it was just this particular CB but I don’t think we’ll try another one for breakfast any time soon. Bob Evans or Perkins, particularly with a BOGO coupon, is a much better deal for much better food – at least for breakfast.

From there, our hunt for Dura-flame logs began.  First we went to Publix to pick up a few other grocery items.  We had bought some logs previously at another Publix so figured they would have them. Well, they did but only in a case – Rob didn’t want to carry around an entire case as we only use 1/3 log per campfire.  Since we had to go to Home Depot for another item, we checked there but no single logs there either. Next stop – Wal-Mart – nope, none there either. Instead we ended up buying a box of some smaller starter sticks. We also stopped a Camping World before heading back to the coach.

IMAG3792.jpgWe did have one bright spot in our Lake City travels! While stopped at a traffic light, we noticed a pooch with his head out the window of a car next to us. He was dressed in what looked similar to a crossing guard fluorescent yellow vest with orange stripes, had a kerchief around his neck and had on goggles like the kind the Red Baron wears. Too cute!

After returning to the hacienda after our not too successful day of errands, the weather was beautiful so we decided to do some exploring.  We hopped on our bikes and off we went to visit the Carillon Tower and the Museum here – the details of that experience will be the subject of a separate post.

After the bike ride and museum tour, we were pretty tired so sitting and relaxing was a priority at least until it got dark – it was a warmer night but that didn’t prevent another campfire from being on the agenda so Rob got busy building another fire, trying out the new starter sticks (FYI the logs work better).

As the sun went down and the night chill moved in, there’s nothing quite IMAG5287.jpglike being warm and toasty by a fire, away from all the bustle of civilization just gazing at the twinkling stars and glowing planets with the full moon peeking at us through the trees.

It sure put the beginning of the day in perspective – maybe we had a not so great beginning to our day but boy, did we have an awesome evening!!


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