Tuesday, April 01, 2014

And So it Begins


Florida Keys

It was cloudy nearly all day yesterday and the winds never died down until late afternoon.   Needless to say, it wasn’t a good boating day.

We decided to stay home and do a few projects.  I decided to tackle the dirt and grime inside, and Al decided to put new wheel bearings on the boat trailer. When you regularly dunk your trailer tires into salt water, you have to really watch those wheel bearings.   We’ve seen a lot of boat trailers on the side of the road with bad wheel bearings.  

Here in Sunshine Key, we only have to trailer the boat a block or two to the water, but of course that’s still  enough to lose a tire.     In the past whenever Al would jack up the boat to do the bearings, he would always also use something else to block the boat,  in case the jack failed.  He has had jacks fail so he always took that safety precaution.  When I noticed he was using nothing but the jack I questioned him. He said he had nothing else to brace the boat, so he was trusting the jack not to fail.  I didn’t like it, but kept my mouth shut (mostly).

Fortunately, the jack held.   Years ago when we first started boating, we had a good boat mechanic, who was  killed when a boat he was working on fell on top of him. 


Today is the beginning of the mass exodus.   There are a LOT of snowbirds starting their annual northern migration today.  The custom here is to honk your horn when you get up on the highway.  I already heard the first air horn at about 6am.   I expect to hear many more.  The state of Florida is going to let out a big sign of relief when some of the weight is off!   Another year that Florida didn’t sink into the ocean from all the weight.

We thought we’d have a few days with a fairly empty park, but it turns out there is an Airstream rally starting, and they expect 100 of them.    Our new neighbors have a big triple axle Airstream.  It’s huge.


We haven’t yet heard if our tenants at Venture Out have gotten their motor home repairs done yet, or not.  They were supposed to be leaving today, but it will depend on whether their new alternator arrived yesterday as it was supposed to.  I guess, we’ll know later today.    We’re not in too big of a hurry to move over there and we’re paid through the 8th here at Sunshine Key.  There are some things here at Sunshine Key that we like better than Venture Out.   One thing was the fishing bridges, which are now closed, so that’s not an issue any longer.

The other thing we prefer here at Sunshine Key is the marina.  It’s in a little cove that is completely blocked from the wind.  The ramp is long and the water is plenty deep, even at low tide, so you have no problem pulling the boat out of the water.  The docks are floating with rubber edges so you don’t have to worry about damaging the boat if you come in too fast.

The marina at Venture Out has short, solid concrete docks.  The water is not as deep and we’re wondering if we’ll have trouble loading the boat during load tides. The only real advantage at Venture Out is they have non-ethanol marine fuel at their marina and they don’t here at Sunshine Key.

We refuse to use anything but ethanol free gas, so we currently have to take five gallon tanks down to a station in Big Pine Key that sells non-ethanol marine fuel.  It will be much easier (although more expensive) to fill up at the marina.

Ethanol is bad for outboard boat engines and despite the fact that the non-ethanol costs $4.93 a gallon at the marina, it’s well worth the extra cost.  Ethanol gas is very damaging to the rubber hoses and gaskets and internal parts in small engines.  When we lived in Georgia and had the big Grasshopper zero turn mower, we had some problems with hoses kind of melting.  Once we realized there was a gas station in town that sold non-ethanol gas, we started using that and never had any more problems.  Of course, before we changed fuel,  we ruined a new gas edger, damaged a gas pressure washer, and a few other things.  You can use an additive to counter the ethanol, but we prefer to just not use it at all if we don’t have to. 

We are  hoping to go out in the boat today, but I guess no one told the wind gods that it’s April and the wind is supposed to die down!


  1. I definitely agree that the use of a Jack Stand, Concrete Block or a Fire Log used as a backup for the jack is always a wise idea.
    Unfortunately we'll be joining the Exodus this week making a few stops along the way.
    That is an interesting fact that I didn't know about Ethanol Gas.
    May the Wind Gods realize what month it is soon so you can enjoy the rest of your stay fishing.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. Today's Safety Tip - STAY OUT of the PATH of MIGRATING SNOWBIRDS. So glad not to be on I75 or I95 headed north.

  3. Amazing the mass exodus that happens today. We're even noticing it up here in Central FL.

  4. Even the gas generator in our coach is effected with the ethanol in the gas. Need to run it now every couple weeks or the gas in the line get stale and it hard to start.

  5. I would have had a fit if Paul did that. You are a better woman than I.

  6. I'm sure that some kind of boat stop is on your shopping list. Jim uses RV chocks on his. I asked him about Ethanol but he already knew about it. We are having wind and more wind here also. Jim is not happy because fishing isn't going to happen.

  7. As everyone ends their RV winter, we start our new life.

  8. We stayed at Portal RV Resort in Moab, UT when an Airstream rally was happening (http://bigdudesramblings.blogspot.com/2013/09/2013-western-trip-heading-down-to-moab.html) and I was impressed with the 40 trailer event, so I can imagine how a 100 of them will look.

  9. Leaving the Keys after a nice winter might be tough but like everywhere else snowbirds have to fly home eventually.

  10. Not wind here today so perhaps it will filter down to you. Can't wait to see you moving into your new place. Thanks for the ethenol info. I quizzed David and he said he put some additive in the chainsaw and all those little engines but that sounds sketchy to me.

  11. So I guess snowbirds going North are a bunch of blow hards! :c)

    You are right on target with that ethanol, it's caused more damage than anything else to engines. And now the EPA wants to up the amount in gas from 10% to 15%. Yikes!!! :cO

  12. We were on I75 for about 5 miles today, I lost count of the number of RVs we saw northbound! I think it will be quite thinned out when we leave in 3 weeks!


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