We decided to try to camp at Kolomoki Mounds State Park again. Our first trip there, two years ago, coincided with Hurricane Irma. We checked in late because of the evacuation traffic on US 19 and set up the RV at site 18 only to learn the next morning that the hurricane turned and the forecast called for it to hit the area. After an hour on the telephone with a wonderful customer service person at Choice Hotels, we finally secured a room in Alabama and left the next day. When we checked in this trip we told the ranger the story, and he said we should have stayed. It turned again, as we knew, and their full campground, sold out the two nights we stayed mostly with fellow Floridians escaping the storm, emptied out as everyone left due to the new forecast. The second trip never happened. Hurricane Michael came right over the park a week before our reservations, and closed it for a few weeks. Two trails remain closed and need to be cleared.
We left on an overcast but pleasant Sunday morning, Mother’s Day. The new anti-sway bar installed the week before made a big difference in handling and in the ride. As we headed north on U.S. 19, the clouds began building ahead. We crossed into Georgia, and had a few drops of rain around Thomasville. We turned to head west on US 84, and the sky in the distance looked very threatening. Just outside of Bainbridge, GA we hit the line squall. We actually saw it coming. Suddenly the trees ahead swayed and bent, leaves and pine needles swirled in the air, the rain started and we felt it hit the RV. With no place to pull over, everyone slowed. The rain fell hard and considerably reduced visibility. We found our left turn and continued, the wind eased after the first hit and the rain, while heavy, backed off somewhat. We continued toward Blakely and the park.
Upon arrival at the park, the ranger met us in the parking lot. The line of storms we just drove through had knocked out their electricity. We went to our campsite without checking in and the ranger promised to stop by and let us know when the electric came back. We set up, and not knowing how long it might take to restore the electricity we decided to conserve the house batteries as much as possible so pulled out our battery-operated lantern, camping French Press and kettle, and solar phone charger. As we still had overcast skies and occasional rain, the latter item would not be put to use immediately. Our RV stovetop runs on propane, and we carry a two-burner propane Coleman stove to avoid heating up the RV on warmer days. Two hours later the ranger stopped by, we had electricity.
The campground sits on the shore of Lake Kolomoki. We prefer a site away from the water, near the path to the park. From our site we see the lake, but have plenty of shade and privacy. Several other campers joined us for one night, and went on their way the next day so for the most part we had the campground to ourselves. One afternoon I took my camera and notebook and sat at the picnic table at one of the empty lake front sites. I glanced up from my writing to see a snake watching me from only a foot or so away. I never noticed it coming. I slowly grabbed the camera, backed off a bit, and took a couple of shots, When it didn’t move I gathered my things and giving it plenty of room left and walked back to our site. The ranger looked at the photograph later and said it looked like an Oak snake, also known as a Gray Rat Snake. They average 5 – 6 feet, but can be up to 7 feet. This one I think was about four feet.