Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rv Sunshades, Manatees and Rv Lots

Sweetwater Rv Park – Zephyrhills, Florida
It was a cold Tuesday night and  when we got up yesterday, it was only 39 degrees.  The past few weeks our overnight lows have mostly been in the 60’s, so it felt pretty cold.
It was supposed to only get into the low 60’s yesterday,  so we didn’t think we’d try to go kayaking.  Al has a pest control account he needed to do on the Homosassa River.  We had wanted to take our kayaks  and take a paddle while we went up there.  These are our friends and we had permission to do so.   We decided we had put it off long enough and he needed to spray the house so that was going to be on our agenda….minus the kayaking.  That turned out to be a mistake.
I wrote the other day about a place locally that sold fabric for rv sunscreens and rugs.    Our neighbor told us about it but she wasn’t sure exactly where it was located or the name of the place.  She finally found a business card this morning and we got an address.  It’s in Center Hill, Florida  which is near Bushnell and Webster.  It’s called Beasley Manufacturing.  Our GPS took us right there.  Here is their business card.  You can also order this fabric and even with shipping, it’s very inexpensive.  Their store is only open through April 30th, but they can meet you there by appointment after that.  They are in town, but don’t get much business after the snowbirds leave!
This place had tons of fabric and it was $1.50 a linear foot for the first quality rolls.  They also had seconds and remnants for $1.00 a foot.  There was about every color and pattern you could imagine, including florescent orange and pink!
This fabric works great as a sunscreen on the front windshield.  It blocks the sun/heat.  You can see out but no one can see in during the day.  Of course at night people can see right in…so close your curtains!  It protects your interior from fading from the sun and helps to keep you cooler inside.  It’s used also to block the sun on tires, windshield wipers and mirrors.  We just bought some mirror covers for $20, I think.  I could have easily made them if only I would have known about this place!
Rv Sunshades fabric
Fabric for Rv Sundshades and Mats
They sell a few premade rugs and patio shades.  The edges are sewn and complete with grommets.  They were a lot more expensive and we felt we could get by without the stitching and we could anchor the rugs if we needed to. 
They mostly sell  just the sunscreen fabric, but they do have a few pre-made mats/rugs and  shades that you attach to your awning and then anchor down.   A lot of people in our rv park have these shades attached to their awnings.  It provides privacy and a sun block also.  That may be something we will get at a later date. 
They sell suction cups, grommets, rug anchors and a few other things so that you can make your own projects.
Accessories for mats, sunscreens, etc
We were told this fabric makes a real nice patio rug.  It doesn’t kill the grass, lays down flat and doesn’t blow away.  Our neighbor uses the fabric for a rug and loves it.  She said it’s much better than the Camping World Rugs.  We decided to give it a try and got a nice textured medium brown rug that’s 16 feet long. It was only 4 1/2 feet wide, so we got two and set them down with a few inch overlap.  It actually looks very nice.  It’s smooth lays flat down on the ground.  You can barely tell where the two pieces meet.
Here is a picture of our new patio rug.  You can barely see where the two sections meet.  At 16 feet, it’s plenty big.  So far, we like it!
We also got an off white piece to make tire covers.  We’ll cut them to size, attach them with suction cups and roll the bottom in a pvc pipe to weigh the fabric down.  We bought a little clip to keep the pvc attached.  I’ll post some pictures when we get them done.  It should protect the tires from the sun.  We were told this fabric can be cleaned with any kind of chemical and it wouldn’t hurt it.  Our 6 year old sunshade is still like new.
Our next stop was to Homosassa Springs so that Al could spray his account.  It kept getting warmer and nicer out and surpassed the 62 degrees that was predicted.  Dang…where were those kayaks??
The Homosassa is a spring fed river and there are usually manatees there this time of year.  Manatees head to the springs from the Gulf of Mexico during the winter months because the waters are a “warm” 72 degrees year round.  It’s much warmer than the gulf waters.  Cold weather kills many Manatees each year, but by far their biggest threat is boaters.
While he was spraying I went out on their upper deck and watched manatees swimming by.  The first ones I saw were a mother and calf.
Manatee and Calf
Manatee and calf
The river is pretty wide here and there was a fair amount of boat traffic.  Manatees are frequently injured and killed by propellers and there are usually no wake zones when Manatees are present.
This next guy was speeding.
speeding boat
These guys were seeing the river the best way!
February 9, 2011 2-9-2011 3-18-49 PM
Manatees can get upwards of 10 feet long and weigh over 1000 pounds, but they are slow moving and no match for a speeding boat.

I was glad to see that the manatees were staying out of the main channel and were hugging the shore.  One even swam right under the dock I was standing on.  We were sure sorry we didn’t bring our kayaks because it ended up getting up to 73 degrees.  Sure would have liked to have  gotten in the water with those manatees!  We ended up seeing at least a dozen manatees swimming right by the dock.  What a beautiful place they have!

Our final stop yesterday was to Chassa Oaks Rv Resort.  It’s also in Homosassa, Florida.  It’s on the Gulf coast, just north of Tampa.  It’s a beautiful part of Florida with lots of beautiful spring fed rivers and close access to the Gulf of Mexico.  This area and Crystal River is one of the best places to see Manatees.  You can even swim with them.   We’ve done that many times and I can tell you, it’s an amazing experience being up close and personal with these amazing and gentle giants.  The babies are like big friendly puppies and love to get their belly’s scratches.  Of course there are strict rules about swimming/diving/touching/following these animals because they are endangered.

Map picture

At the Tampa Rv show, we picked up a flyer from Chassa Oaks resort.  They sell lots and if you came by to look at the resort, they would give you two free tickets to Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

Since we’ve been planning a visit there, we decided free tickets would be nice!  We’ve been there many times, but always enjoy it. 

Chassa Oaks was a new rv resort and very nice. We took the tour and there was absolutely no pressure or hard sell.  We walked around the place and had a nice conversation with the caretaker/salesman.  The lots are about $50,000.  In our opinion most of the lots were a little small and close together.  The few larger lots were sold.  They will soon be opening up a new section with larger lots and more amenities.  You still have to pay association fees and property taxes, so your monthly fees would be around $200.  We may end up with an rv lot some time in the future, but for now, we were just looking.  He invited us to stop by anytime for a couple nights free if we were traveling through!  Nice guy!  We enjoyed our visit, but it was time to head home after a long day. 

It turned out to be a beautiful warm day and we sure regretted not taking the kayaks.
Today, we awoke to rain, but warm temps.  We aren’t nearly as concerned about rain now that we have the new slide toppers.  No water leaks….so far… knock on wood :)


  1. $50,000 for somewhere to park your RV? And then $200 a month afterwards? We simply can't imagine spending that kind of money.

  2. Thanks for the info on the fabric-that'll be worth a trip for us. Reading of your time in the Homosassa/Crystal River area with the manatees etc reinforces to us the reason we love this area so much.

  3. Someday ... Someday I will see a manatee ... Until then i'll just share your experiences!

  4. Using that material for outdoor mats looked pretty interesting. I'll have to look into that - thanks for the tip!

    Nice shots of those Manatees!

  5. How wonderful you still got to spend the day with some manatees, even if you didn't get to bring the kayaks!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  6. Love the pictures of the manatee. We never got to swim with them but we did swim with dolphins and it was such a wonderful experience.

  7. SunshinecruiserTN has left a new comment on your post "Rv Sunshades, Manatees and Rv Lots":

    Karen, thanks for posting about the fabric. I'll have to check it out. I've been wanting to do something for tire covers. Love the manatee shots and I can't believe you didn't yak. That's why you need inflatables.

  8. I just can't see paying that much for an RV lot! The lots and association fees seems to be so much more there than in other areas.

    Here, a single RV lot runs about $5,000, you do own it, not a long term lease, and the dues are about $20 a month. The subdivision has a big pool and private boat ramp on Lake Conroe. But to have a house or large park model you have to buy more than a 30x70 RV lot, and we don't have manatees!

    That fabric place seems like a super place, I will have to look into that. Thanks for the info.

    Happy Trails, Penny, TX


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