Sunrise over the water at Kolomoki State Park Those of you with a good grip on geography may reasonably ask: if I was in Alabama on my way to Florida, what am I now doing in Georgia? For once, it was not because I got lost.

But I realized Monday evening that Zelda had an ear infection. Sometimes, a good dog owner will notice her dog shaking her head or scratching at her ear, holding one ear oddly, maybe acting lethargic, maybe even a squishy sound coming from the ear, and think, “Hmm, I wonder if my dog has an ear infection.” I’m obviously dense as a rock when it comes to being a dog mom, because I missed all those clues and didn’t figure it out until black goop was oozing out of her ear. As the vet tech said on Tuesday, “That is a serious ear infection.” Yes, I’m a little mad at myself.

At any rate, from Gunter Hill (which is near Montgomery, Alabama) on Tuesday morning, I called the nearest Banfield. They couldn’t see her until 4, so I called the next nearest Banfield. They could get us in at 2:30 and were conveniently about two and a half hours away, so off I headed to Dothan, Alabama. Once there, I ran useful errands — grocery store, propane refill, purchase of ant traps and mouse traps*, delicious shrimp salad lunch in a parking lot — and then we went to the vet. $170 later, Zelda has some mega, high-tech antibiotic in her ears, and we needed a campground.

Kolomoki Mounds State Park was about an hour away, not quite in the right direction, but not totally in the wrong direction, so here we came. There were other options, of course, but it was already late in the day and I didn’t much want to chance having to keep driving while I looked for a place. Kolomoki had availability online and it sounded… educational. I thought it would be good for me as I headed back home after two months on the road to actually have done something tourist-appropriate.

Serendipity strikes again: Kolomoki is crazy pretty. The description talked about the historic mounds, but the campground proper is on a lovely lake. I have not just a view of the water, but easy access to get the kayak into the water. The campground itself is tiny — maybe 30 sites — and peaceful. I’ve seen cardinals and blue jays flying around and the bird noise is steady music. Plus, there are two little free lending libraries — one for kids, one for adults! How could I not adore it?

Little free lending libraries at Kolomoki State ParkEven the bathrooms look nice — I will definitely be taking a shower in the actual bathroom, instead of Serenity. Brief digression on bathrooms: Serenity is fine for so-called Navy showers. Get wet, stop the water, soap up, turn the water back on, and rinse off. If I try to condition my hair, though, chances are I will either run out of hot water or fill up the gray tank faster than is convenient. I’ve done it occasionally when I’ve got a full hook-up, i.e. can dump the gray tank without having to move the van, but mostly showers in Serenity are brief. So at every campground, I check out the bathrooms. At probably about 50% — not being a fan of dead bugs, dirt, mold, or icky shower curtains — I decide I’m content with Serenity showers. Sometimes that depends on how much my hair feels like straw or how desperate I am for a real shower — I can remember being pretty dubious at Palmetto State Park in Texas, where the bathrooms were quite run-down, but I really wanted a real shower.  They had absolutely fantastic hot water and water pressure, so you know, you never know what you’re going to get. Anyway, bathrooms here = nice enough to use without reservation. And that digression was not so brief, but whatever.

Last night I got the grill out and grilled chicken-apple sausage, and ate it with a salad of mixed greens, apple, cucumber, radish, black olive and shitake mushrooms. I think it’s the first time I’ve tried shitake mushrooms — they were on sale — and yum. So much of that earthy mushroom flavor. I’ve got more, so I may try to make that mushroom sauce again today and put it over brown rice. It’s definitely not weather for cooking inside the van, though. It might have hit 90 yesterday. Plenty warm enough for kayaking, not so great for using the stove or oven.

I’m not sure about the temperature because the internet here is impossible. No T-Mobile signal at all, and one bar on Verizon. I may or may not be posting this while I’m actually still at Kolomoki, depending on whether I can get Verizon to let me use data. Some people might find that a drawback… I am not so sure. I’m definitely starting to notice that my happiest campgrounds are the ones where internet is barely an option.

*Ant traps and mouse traps: Gunter Hill was ant city and by the time I left there, the van was filled with ants. Seriously, dozens, maybe even hundreds of them. I killed them as rapidly as I could but they came in faster than I could kill them. Fortunately I lived in northern California long enough that ants — at least that kind — do not freak me out. Although I was fairly grossed out to discover probably thirty of them crawling around the toilet when I went to use it. Ick! I seriously doubt that they had time to take up housekeeping, but I bought traps anyway.

On the mice, I finally gave in and bought glue traps. I think I’ve gotten rid of the mice, but the paranoia has been keeping me awake. So I set out the glue traps Tuesday night and nothing’s been caught in them. I will give them one more night then toss them with great relief. And a plan to use Fresh Cab mouse repellent absolutely regularly. I can live with the smell of Christmas much better than with the rustlings of mice in the cupboards.

In other news, Grace continues to make progress. Sophia is again being a determined little pain of a character but, I think, maybe, just possibly, I have found an ending that I can get to. (Yes, I’ve found endings before. This one might actually work, though.) If I’m right, it’s still about 20,000 words away and this will be the longest book I’ve written by a mile. I like short books personally, but I’m tired of fighting with this one, so a long book it will be. Either way, this morning I was running down my checklist of characters who need proper endings (eight of them — so many, too many!) and I realized that for the first time, I actually know what happens to each and every one of them and that was a remarkably satisfying feeling. So back to Grace I go.