Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Manatee Sighting at Fanning Springs State Park, FL…

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We planned to leave Brooksville, Florida around 11:00 am since we were asked to arrive in Old Town Florida around 2 as the owner of our next park had a meeting out of town until then. Everything was going as planned when after bringing in the back two slides the slides stopped working again and the front two were still out. I had been reading a lot on the web as to what might cause this problem only to find out very little.

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So when it happened again I called Tiffin Motorhomes and after a lengthy wait spoke with a troubleshooter. He had me test all kinds of things for voltage and nothing seemed to be bad. He also had me pull fuses and put them back in. Sharon tried the slides each time I asked her to and suddenly they worked again.  We are  still perplexed but Tiffin seems to think the slide electronics are losing the signal from the transmission that we are in park. I sure was glad I had two tools I think every RV’er should have for testing electronics are a good volt/ohm digital multimeter and a simple 12 volt test light.   We still don’t know what in the world causes the mysterious “slide don’t work at all” problem but if it happens again it is nice to know Tiffin is just a phone call away for help.

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We drove the nearly 100 miles up to Old Town and pulled into our spot at the Old Town Campground 'N Retreat. Another Passport America Park with full hookups at $18/night for 50 amp service. This park is owned by a fellow who explains all the neat things to see and do in the area. He also pointed out several of his favorite eateries on a map he gave us.. I really like these mom-n-pop RV parks and love supporting them. Although it was not the fanciest park in the USA the people were friendly and we even found a tree in the park that someone had carved an incredible face where an old branch once came off the tree.

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The next day we woke up to a temperature of 31 degrees Fahrenheit which is one degree below freezing!!! To us this meant Epic Fail!!! We have been on the road almost five years and have never before seen temperatures below freezing. It has been one of our main goals when traveling around the USA in our RV. We like to follow spring north and fall south in the hope of avoiding freezing temperatures. Epic fail…

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We did, however, find a positive to these cold temperatures. That being the manatees in the area usually will be huddling up in the warm springs found throughout this part of Florida. The next day we headed over to bike part of the Natures Coast Trail but it was still quite windy so we turned around and biked over to Fanning Springs State Park.


Even though it was later in the day there were still several manatees lounging in the perpetual 72 degree spring water. We watched for a long time as they would bob up and down to stick their nose out for a breath of the chilly air. We stayed long enough that they all eventually swam past us under the pier and headed back out into the Suwannee River. We really loved watching the manatees enjoy the 72 degree springs that fed into the Suwanee River!

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Next we hiked a small trail and also took the boardwalk to where the springs appear to originate. We even spotted a Red Shouldered Hawk all fluffed out trying to stay warm. The hawk let us get real close and never flew away. We assume he stayed put to preserve both heat and energy.  The boardwalk took us through a beautiful stand of very large bald cypress trees. A great way to spend the day…

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Next up for us is a longer drive north and west to Mexico Beach where we will spend a few nights before moving further west and finally on out of Florida…


  1. What a lovely hike. Your photos are awesome. Safe travels.

  2. So glad you got your slides to move. Manatees are creepy.

  3. Being without slides wouldn't be fun. Love the manatees.

  4. Wonderful manatee photos! I have fond memories of swimming at Fanning Springs on hot summer days back in the 70's -- I didn't realize that manatee come into that spring. Of course, I was a Florida girl back then and didn't swim in the springs unless it was an 85 degree day. :-)

  5. The way you shared your knowledge here is amazing.