My very first campout was at Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest in Florida. I was just a few years old and I still remember bits and pieces of that trip. It inspired a love of nature and crystal clear springs at a very young age.
I’ve returned periodically throughout the years, but never with our Airstream – or Justin for that matter! When our friends booked some campsites at Juniper Springs as a home base for some freshwater paddling, we knew we’d have to bring the Riveted Roost.
As anticipation of our trip escalated, the weather forecast grew gloomier. The beauty of camping in an Airstream is that rain is not a deal breaker (as long as you don’t have any major leaks – which we addressed after the last rain storm we camped through). Our friends ended up reserving a cabin in Salt Springs for the first night – a 100 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms was the deciding factor.
We left on the Friday before Easter, making a stop at my parent’s house to borrow their canoe and have some lunch. My SUP was already stashed inside the camper. Because we wanted to do some one-way paddles, we decided to bring two vehicles. I drove the SUV with the canoe on top and Justin drove the truck with the pups and Riva in tow.
As I followed Riva to Ocala, my love for her grew stronger. I know… it’s cheesy to feel this way about a travel trailer, but her classic beauty, the wanderlust she symbolizes, and the freedom she brings to our lives really hit me. Our silver home on wheels has opened up so many possibilities. Our plans for her are much bigger than weekend camping trips. This is just the beginning. I think this is what Airstream had in mind when they coined the term, “Live Riveted.”
But I digress… We didn’t hit rain until we got into the Ocala National Forest on Highway 40, smack dab in the middle of Florida. It was nice to go from interstate, suburbia and pastureland to green forest (and minimal cell signal). Thankfully, the rain lessened to a drizzle as we pulled into Juniper Springs. I was setting up inside the camper and Justin was setting up outside, when I realized the dog food was missing. Ruh roh! As much as the dogs would enjoy living on table scraps for a weekend, I knew I had to find them some kibble.
The closest pet store that carries the Blue Buffalo brand our pups eat was 26 miles away. We also needed a few grocery items, so I set off on the 30-minute trek to the town of Silver Springs. By the time I returned, Justin had set everything up and managed to rig the 12-volt power to the battery so we had some light inside the camper. *Juniper Springs does NOT have water or power hook ups, so this was a nice luxury.
We had every intention of cooking, but it was late and we were tired. We heated up our leftovers from lunch on the propane grill, had a few beers, and then settled in for the night. All the windows in the Airstream were open, but thanks to an industrial sized tub of DampRid, we stayed nice and dry.