Day 1 and 2 – Snowbird RV Trip Florida to Canada
Tampa to Lake City, FL 179 miles
Sunny and 80 degrees at 11:30AM when we finished our checklist and pulled out of our Winter spot on the East side of Tampa. Local gasoline price of $3.549 with our Flying J Discount Card (savings of 4 cents/Gal.).
Bad storms the previous day left Pensacola in flood conditions and more storms were forecast. We were a little worried about what the weather would be like near our first planned stop in Lake City though it is quite a few miles East of Pensacola.
Our trip up I-75 was smooth though traffic was fairly heavy. There are several rest stop areas along the route and we stopped at one about half-way to have lunch.
Near Gainesville we ran into a heavy downpour that lasted about 15 minutes. The rest of the trip was merely overcast but the temp had dropped dramatically from 90* to 70* during the rainstorm.
“Oaks and Pines RV Park” is one of our favorite Passport America campgrounds when we travel this way. It is EZ off/on I-10 at Exit 303 and just a few miles from where I-75 connects with I-10. The couple that run the place are very nice and always accommodating. They have the original “fat cat” weighing in at nearly 40lbs.
After setting up and chatting with our neighbors we disconnected the truck and drove into Town for the one place we knew we could count on for a good steak – “Texas Roadhouse”. We were not disappointed with our Dallas filet choices. Good service and great food.
The price for gasoline is up from what we found in Tampa and averages $3.739 to $3.799 in Lake City and the lower price is actually near I-10 Exit 303!
There are a number of places to visit nearby (the reason we stay at least 2 nights at each stopover). This stop is close to the Suwannee River and we decided to visit Stephen Foster Folk Cultural Center State Park only 14 miles away.
This State Park offers 45 camping sites with water and electric, miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, and canoe access to the Suwannee River. All set among the Spanish moss draped oaks. The Park is also home to the Stephen Foster Museum and an impressive Carillon Tower that plays popular selections throughout the day from among the 200 songs that Mr. Foster wrote in his short lifetime.
Stephen Foster had never visited nor seen the Suwannee River but was in need of the name of a Florida River with 2 syllables for the song he was writing. He and his brother consulted an atlas in his brother’s Pittsburg office in 1851 and there began the song titled “Old Folks at Home” and made “de Swannee Ribber” famous around the World and destined to become Florida’s State Song.
The Museum contains memorabilia from Foster’s life, some personal writings, song sheets, photos and a number of old pianos. The highlights of the self-guided tour are the 10 “dioramas” depicting scenes that show life as imagined during the times of his most popular songs. Each scene has moving parts such as a riverboat passing by in “Way Down Upon de Swannee Ribber”, horses moving around the track in “Camptown Races”, and a donkey cart driving by in “Old Black Joe”.
The gazebo and stairways leading to the river offer picturesque views of the river and even some armadillos searching for lunch at the riverside.
After an afternoon with Stephen Foster, we had dinner at The Gondolier Italian Restaurant in Lake City. They’ve very good salads and pasta dishes as well as a nice selection of Greek food. Save room for dessert though as their dessert case is full of delicious selections.
Our next stop will be Brunswick, Georgia.
More info about:
Oaks ‘n Pines RV Park PA/$18/night 1/4 Mi from I-10 at
3864 N. US Hwy 441, Lake City, FL, 32055 Phone: (386) 752-0830
PT (Pull-thrus), 20/30/50Amp, FHU, Free WiFi, Free cable
Passport America discount is valid for three nights and no weekend restrictions. Cash, checks, and credit cards accepted. Additional charge for using a Credit Card.
Oaks n’ Pines Website:
Passport America Info on this campground:
Things to Do & Restaurants in Lake City, FL: