I fled south on New Years Day. I had been staying in the Chattanooga, TN area but the impending bitter cold was pushing me to Florida. I researched the options and landed in Lake City, FL. The weather promised to be better but the truth was it was bitter.
The trip on I-75 was a straight route (mostly). The GPS routed me through downtown Atlanta. I opted to go around the city on the I-285 bypass. The wide highway seemed better suited for an RV with a car in tow. It did not add much time to the travel, and I felt more comfortable with it. I had smooth sailing all the way past Atlanta where the traffic became congested. The next fifty miles past Atlanta resulted in multiple slowdowns. The traffic never stopped. It crawled. It sped up. It nearly made full speed. It was a rush of mixed traffic going south. During the four hundred plus miles, six and a half hour trip I made four stops, once for gas. The fuel prices in Chattanooga were fairly consistent with the prices in Georgia. I paid $2.65/ Gal. for diesel.
I checked into the Lake City Campground, detached the car, and hooked up the RV. The weather predicted a 28 degree low. I made a mental note to run some water overnight to prevent pipe freezing. I forgot to do it. My Rv was fine but the water hose was solid ice in the morning. The faucets gave a spurt of water, then nothing. I closed up a droplight in the connection compartment to allow the glowing bulb to heat the compartment. I also blocked the access hole with a hand towel. I informed the maintenance staff about the frozen pipeline and hose and gave them permission to disconnect the hose from the water pipe. They had been experiencing other similar reports all morning, decided to buy a heat gun, and go to work.
After using the campground showers, I took off to Camping World to buy a heated hose. The store was only nine miles away. They had what I needed but the lengths were 12’, 25’, and 50’. 25’ seemed excessive and 50’ was outrageous. I settled on the 12’ length. Later I discovered that I needed a 15’ hose. I returned the to Camping World and decided to take another approach. I did not exchange the hose, I returned it. When I got back to the campground my hose was disconnected and the sun had thawed it completely. I filled my fresh water tank, turned on the holding heaters, and all was well. The hose was disconnected and stowed away.
I had done some shopping at Walmart, Lowe’s, Publix, and Sunflower Health Foods. U.S. ninety cuts through Lake City. It is a long strip of stores, shops, and restaurants. This is the place to go for all your needs in the area. All the familiar stores and restaurants are mixed in with local businesses along the two mile stretch between I-75 and the downtown area. I had a brunch at the local Bob Evans. I paid with a Christmas gift card I had received. No money out of pocket. If you want fuel you’ll pay five cents more along U.S. 90 as compared to the I-10 U.S. 441 exit.
Wednesday morning was cold and interesting. I awoke to the sound of rain on my roof. Not just rain, freezing rain. The morning news warned locals to avoid travel. The roads were hazardous. There was even snow further north. Everything was covered in a skin of ice. I heeded the advice of the newscasters and stayed put. The rains stopped around noon. The sun peeked through and I became aware of a tapping sound resembling rain on my roof. It seemed a bit odd. Not the usual sound of rain at all. I stepped outside to witness melting ice crashing down in wet dripping pieces from the tree I was parked under. The ice fall lasted for hours. Eventually the trees were cleared of ice. The sun was swallowed by more clouds and the temperatures began to drop again.
Lake City Campground is a mixture of good and bad. The price is not bad. I am paying $215/week. They say, spend a week, get a day free. You do the math. The showers and restrooms are clean. The pads are a mix of paved asphalt, or stone/dirt sites. I have a paved site. It is very well leveled. The price includes cable, electric, water, and sewer hookup. There are sixty-six cable channels including many premium channels like History, and SYFY.
The recreation room is a real let down. There is a separate building behind my site with a musty room that reeks of cigarette smoke. There are books, magazines, and seats that look old and used. There is also a TV and pool table. The pool table is in poor shape. The pool cues are in worse shape. I walked in, looked around, and walked out.
The camp store has lots of junk food and extras that a camper may want. Area brochures are available. Many items for sale are outdated. I found a label making program written for DOS 2.1. I brought it to the attendants attention. Her take was, someone might want it. I have my doubts.
The small pool is closed for the season but looks well maintained. The grounds are very small. I walked multiple circles up and down the short roads to stretch out a half hour walk. There is also a primitive camping area with two tents pitched. I talked to one woman staying there. She told me it wasn’t too bad. They had space heaters. A hardy soul.
I can recommend the campground as a convenient location in northern Florida. The price is not bad either. I will be looking for hiking areas at the nearby Osceola National Forest, and state parks.