|This was our route home Altamont Springs - DeLand -|
Ocala Forest - Palatka - Starke -
Lake City - Tallahassee - 285 miles
|DeLand's pretty downtown and|
Stetson College surprised us
Our first stop was DeLand - a beautiful small city that is the home of Stetson University and also the county seat. It has a wonderful walking downtown - an old working theatre - and an opera house. It reminds you of Tallahassee a bit but with much better developed downtown.
|CCC builds great van campers from scratch|
Custom Coach Creations is about 10 miles west of DeLand on a 5 acre ranchette. The owners are Robert and Lois Murphy - they live on site. It looked like they had about 10 workers and they produced about 3 vans a month. The vans we saw are very plain on the outside like I prefer. Inside they had the latest electrical technology. Wade handles most of the electrical work - and he gave us an outstanding tour. If we ever do get another camper - this might be the best way to go.
|This old home sits on the banks of|
the superwide St Johns River
Our last stop was Palatka. We visited there before when we traveled from Philadelphia to Kissimmee on Amtrak Trains - when we took several groups to Disneyworld. Palatka sits on the St Johns River which is one mile wide at this point. We crossed the bridge to the east side to visit Corky Bell's - a famous seafood place. They had an extensive menu - thankfully it included ribs.
St Johns River at one time was the major highway to Florida starting at Jacksonville - one could sail all the way to near Orlando. Large paddle wheel steamers brought the first snowbirds to this orange blossom paradise. This is the largest USA river flowing true north.
Between DeLand and Palatka is the Ocala National Forest. Florida recently passed New York to be the 3rd largest state by population - but there are still places in this state where you can drive 40 miles and not see a house or get a cell phone signal. The Ocala National Forest is one of them. We passed right through it south to north. This area is Gator Country - both from real alligators - and the blue and orange football fans.
We got home before sundown - UPS delivered our electric bikes from Seattle while we were away. On to the next adventure. Oh yes - Sunday morning we had the greatest French Toast made from Italian bread from the Palma Maria.
|Building a camper kitchen|
|Giant battery pack and inverter|
turn 12 volt DC to 120 volts AC
|That area will be a queen size bed|
|¾ inch plywood floors - foam insulation|
|This one was going to be a mobile office|
|Plywood floor to be covered with laminate|
|Refrigerator and Freezer|
|Cutting area for plywood - carpet - lining|
|The whole shop was out in the middle of|
|Our Honda van did not miss a beat|
the whole trip - got 28 MPG
|Downtown DeLand Athens Theatre|