Resident Volunteers at Gamble Rogers
Trip Start Nov 19, 2007
217Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Gamble Rogers State Park
Tony then with pride gave us a walk through of how great the amenities are for us. We have a fabulous site with full hookups and a deck to help keep the sand outside. Also we have a fire pit, clothes line and a shed with a refrigerator and washing machine and dryer for our use. Josee and Raymond from Quebec are our neighbors. The privacy and natural jungle feel is perfect for a 5 week stay. We feel like we are at a great retreat!!
Tony tells us to be dressed for painting (not in our nice new T-shirts) and at the break room by 7:30 am. I'm OK with being an early bird but poor Andy needs a good belt of caffeine to be awake at that hour. He rallies and is up and ready for what the day will offer.
At the break room we meet Mark who is the assistant Park Manager to Barbara Roberts the head manager. We get introduced around and Tony takes us for a tour of the entire park which has three main areas they maintain. Smith Creek, North Peninsula, and Gamble Rogers. Very impressive that a handful of Rangers keep so much area so beautifully kept and healthy and running smoothly with campers and day users by the thousands every year
Andy and I get right into being painters once again. Andy and I met as painters some thirty odd years ago. Here we are painting together again as retirees!! My how life does go in circles and cycles!! I would not have guessed we would be doing this at this time in our lives and loving it!!
Michael Vickey, a fellow RVer and friend came on over from Stephen Foster State Park at White Springs where he was playing his dulcimers at their Coffee House. Check back in our entries for more information and great pix of Stephen Foster Park and its famous music. It turns out that the Manager here, Barbara Roberts, was the manager at Stephen Foster for a few years too. She has a mountain dulcimer that her Dad made for her so she and Michael were talking like old friends right away
Laura is here at Gamble Rogers through Ameri Corps. She is responsible to help in the restoration projects and the maintenance of the trails and much more that I am not aware of. She told me about how when the Intra Coastal Water Way was dug it used as many existing rivers and creeks they could dredging them deeper to allow for sailing and deep draft vessels. The spoils that were dredged were simply piled onto the shore without consideration for the natural habitats it was disturbing. The tides come into the Intra Coastal at inlets every so many miles between the barrier islands along the Florida coast. The Intra Coastal is mostly brackish with high salt content from the interaction with the tides. The flora and fauna and birdlife depend upon this natural ebb and flow of this salty river water. When the spoils were piled on the shoreline all this was disrupted and destroyed
Campground hosts live in the campground and keep the sites clean like we did at Fort DeSoto. Here there are 34 sites and one set of hosts. The hosts come back year after year to be at such a wonderful park and I think, because the Rangers are so good at what they do and show such appreciation for the volunteer help. Herb and his wife,.......are such a couple. They have been returning for a hosting stint for many years. Barbara and her staff all got a "good bye for this year" party arranged at the Golden Lion roof top. We all met up before sunset and got to know each other as we took in the coast line from high above the crowds
After three days of painting we are ready for our days off. Josee and I bicycled down to the Farmer's Market in town and looked every bit the shopper with veggies sticking out of every pocket and strapped to every inch of our bikes. I am crazy about Florida sweet green onions. I wish I could send you all a bag of them to try! Organic new lettuces, carrots, cabbages, etc. A pleasure to shop on the town green while the steel drum plays and the smell of kettle corn drifts along the same sea breezes as the Osprey and Swallow Tail kites fly. Mighty fine life.