Thursday, June 30, 2011

Connecting the Dots

Seffner, Florida

We’re sitting here at the Lazy Days Campground waiting for our “new” motorhome to be prepped for us.  It’s taking a bit longer than expected because we’re found a few things we want fixed and changed, plus we’re having a satellite system installed.  We’re in no hurry as long as they keep giving us free nights in the campground!  The free breakfast and lunch has been pretty nice.  Al never lets us miss one either!  Hurry up, we can’t be late for breakfast!

Lazy Days offers a lot of free classes.  Actually they are free if you have ever bought an rv from them, or if you are currently buying one. 

One of the most popular is the “Driver Confidence Course” taught by Barney Alexander.

He just had a milestone, as yesterday, one of the students in our class was the 42,000 student he has taught….accident free!   He will be retiring in a few months and Lazy Days will lose a big asset.  Barney has a helper that he taught his dot system to, but he will be going to the new Lazy Days Rv center in Tucson, Arizona.

We had  an hour and a half  of class room time and then after lunch we met by the “big boys.”  There were two big diesel pushers that the class was to drive.  One was 38 feet, the other was 41.  They both looked huge and intimidating! 

One lady in our class, Mary, just flew down from Connecticut to purchase her new 28 foot Tiffin Diesel pusher.  The main reason she came to Lazy Days was because of this class.  She flew back home last night, and her motorhome was being delivered to her on Friday.  I think she wasn’t quite ready to make that big of a trip by herself.  She travels the dog show circuit with her Collies and she thought a motorhome would be nice to have.  She had never driven any type of motorhome, and at the end of the class, they took a little extra time with her and she actually backed that 41 footer into a parking space, 3 feet from the other motorhome.  She was straight as an arrow in the site and just whipped it right in.  Of course she had Barney telling her what to do, but it was quite an accomplishment for her.  The rest of us didn’t get that lesson.  There is a video on how to do that though.

Each one of got a few minutes of  “drive time” in the motorhome.  We didn’t go out on the highway, but stayed in a parking lot at Lazy Days.  Barney says this is the hard stuff and if you can make sharp corners and successfully navigate curvy roads, you can drive on anything.   He said every motorhome is either a “hip” coach or a “bumper” coach.  Most are “hips.”  What this means is  before you make a right or left turn, you need to pull forward  until your hip is level with the edge of the road.  If you turn too soon, the tail of your motorhome will clip a sign, car, or run over the curb.  It was a good lesson and is explained more in the online classes.  I put a link below.  I recommend everyone who drives a motorhome look at his classes.  Al learned a lot and he has been driving our motorhome for years.

Barney’s system uses a series of little “dots” that you place on your rv.  One is on the front glass in front of the driver.  It helps you know where your front bumper is when you’re turning a sharp curve.  If you line up that dot with the right edge of the road, the rear of your motorhome will stay in your lane.  There are dots on each mirror, which show you exactly where your rear tires are while you’re driving.  That’s kind of a good thing to know, isn’t it.  Of course you have to know exactly where to place the dots so that they give you the correct information, and that is what he teaches you.

He mentioned “tail swing.”   We already knew about it, but he reinforced it.  The tail of a motorhome swings about 2 1/2 feet when you turn.  He recommends everyone tests their own motorhome by just marking where the rear tires are, then turning right and left.  See where your tail ends up!  When you stop for fuel and get too close to the pump and try to turn right….what happens?   Yep, your first collision.  He suggests stopping  3-4 feet away from the pumps to allow plenty of room for tail swing. 

There are a series of videos, here that Barney has made.  They will teach you everything (and probably more) that we learned in the class.  I had watched a few of them before, but actually being there made them a lot more clear.  You may need to watch them more than once to understand the dot system. 

Check out Better for some good information on rv’s.

Today, after breakfast, we’re taking a course on cooking with a convection oven.  Since our new motorhome has one, we thought it would be helpful. 

Gotta go, Al is bugging me to hurry so he doesn’t miss breakfast!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lazy Days Campground

Seffner, Florida

We made our “long” 20 mile move to Seffner, Florida yesterday.  We’re in the Lazy Days Campground, which is just east of Tampa.  The weather held up until we got here, then it started to rain off and on.   Fortunately the showers come and go so it doesn’t ruin your day.

We are here waiting for them to prep our “new” motorhome.  Yes, we have decided to buy the Monaco! 

We have 4 complimentary nights at the campground here at Lazy Days.  Their rates are from $32.99 through $42.99, depending on the season,  and not including taxes.  It’s a bit pricey, but you do get a complimentary breakfast and lunch every day, as well as a free newspaper, so I guess it’s not too bad. 

Lazy Days is such a huge dealership, and they have gotten selling rv’s down to a science.  They make it real easy!  We found a good salesman that worked with us in trying to find what we wanted and could afford.  We did a lot of  “internet” looking last winter and while still in Georgia.  Lazy Days doesn’t put their prices online though, so if you don’t have a salesman that can help you, then it’s very difficult to know what is available in your budget.  

If you’re not internet shopping, you can come to Lazy Days and feel free to look inside any of the 1000 plus rv’s they always have on their lot.  Employees are on golf carts running around the place and usually and someone will stop and give you a ride if you want.  If you get thirsty,  just look for the guy on the golf cart with ice cold water.  If you have a dog or cat, they have a little building with a day care for them!  There are no pushy salesmen here and a lot of people just come to look and dream.  Kind of like Disneyland.

Lazy Days offers a lot of free classes.  This morning, there was one  on the Spartan Chassis.  There is one I’d like to take on the convection oven.    They also offer rv driving classes 4 days a week.  We signed up to take the class tomorrow.  You get a few hours classroom time then they let you practice on one of their large diesel pushers.    I understand it’s a very good class and even experienced drivers (like Al) will pick up a lot of useful information.  I certainly need to take it because I’ve never really driven our current motorhome, except they day we bought it and only around the Lazy Days parking lot.  This new motorhome is so much larger and very intimidating, even to Al.   It’s a lot bigger than the one we currently have and it will take some getting used to, I’m sure.  No woodsy campgrounds for us for a while!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Moving Day

Land o Lakes Florida

We’ve been here at Winter Quarters Rv “Resort” for 2 weeks and today we will be moving.  I don’t know why these places insist on using the word “resort” to describe themselves.  I have a few other words in mind but after reading  Rick's blog, maybe I’ll just keep quiet!

We have 4 free nights at Lazy Days Campground, so we’re heading down the road about 15-20 miles.  Now that place is more like a resort!

I have read a couple very disturbing rv blogs the past week or so and both have got me thinking.

First, Howard and Linda had mentioned about a terrible fire that caused the total loss of Ed and Marilyn's 5th wheel.   Apparently a brake locked up, and before they could do anything about it, their home was destroyed.  They had a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, but it happened to them anyway.  We are believers in having this system for your rv, whether it is a 5th wheel or a motor home.  Our tire monitoring system reads the heat of the tires, as well as the tire pressure.  We  keep a close eye on the tire temperatures as well as the air pressures.  Ed and Marilyn were able to save their tow vehicle, but not much else.  What was so sad about this, is that he had a fire extinguisher, and had almost extinguished the fire when the extinguisher ran dry!  One more extinguisher and he might have been able to save his rig.  Do you have enough fire extinguishers?  Do you know where they are?

Last night I read a blog post from the Geeks on Tour and they mentioned a fire that occurred a few years ago to Gary and Karen's beautiful motorhome.  It took less than 20 minutes to go from this

Geeks on Tour Blog

to this

Motorhome Burns in 13 minutes

Scary, isn’t it?  Check out their blog to find out more information on the cause of their fire.  That issue hit home to us as the motorhome we’re considering has this same type of radiator….we think.

The Geeks mentioned that they are parked next to Mac the Fire Guy.  We have never been able to go to one of his seminars, but evidently he puts on an excellent rv fire safety seminar.  We did purchase 3 of his recommended rv fire extinguishers.  When we would go to Home Depot or Lowes to look at extinguishers, there were so many different types, that we just got confused.  We ordered some from Mac and trust that he knows what kind we need for our rv.

He also sells an automatic system that can be mounted either in the engine compartment or by the refrigerator.  These are the two main areas that rv fires occur.  It is heat activated, so if the system senses excess heat, it will activate the extinguishers.  It’s a bit pricey…over $500, but cheap compared to losing everything you have in  a fire, or your life.

One thing we all need to do is inventory everything we carry in our rv’s.  Can you imagine giving your insurance company a detailed list of everything you had after going through something as traumatic as a fire?  It is important whether you live in a house or an rv.  Of course the list needs to be somewhere other than the house or rv.  Another thing to consider… you have enough “personal property” coverage on the contents of your rv?  I think the standard is only about $3000.  Anything that did not come standard with the rv would not be covered as part of the rv.  Things like dvr’s, kitchen items, sheets, personal items, air compressor, tools, chairs, etc.   If you have a regular home your homeowners insurance would cover these items…subject to your deductible on your home owners policy.  So you would have the rv policy deductible, plus the homeowners deductible.    If you are a fulltimer the only  coverage for your personal items would be from your rv policy, so you’d better make sure the amount is high enough to cover all of your personal belongings.

These two terrible stories are a good wake-up call for me.  Even though I was an insurance adjuster, I have to admit, I do not have a detailed list of all of the contents in our motor home.  We do have higher personal property coverage, but not it’s probably not high enough.

We have good fire extinguishers (from Mac), we have a tire pressure monitoring system that monitors both air pressure and temperature, but have we done enough?  No, we need a detailed inventory  of our personal property and a video would be better.  You need sales receipts for more expensive items.  We have some of those, but they are in the rv, so in the event of a fire, they would be lost.  I guess a photo of these receipts stored off premises, would be a good idea.

What about you?  Are you prepared?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

We Did Find John Travolta

In a previous post I wrote that we had been on the look-out for John Travolta, or his house while we were staying in the Ocala, Florida area.

One day, we decided we didn’t have anything else to do so we decided to drive around and see if we could find his place.  We were still in the r & r mode so anything more strenuous than driving around was out of the question.

With the help of my Droid GPS system, we were able to find the house….but unfortunately, we never saw John!

This is what we saw on the GPS….so we knew we were close.


He lives in a “subdivision” called Jumbolair.  We found that.  This is the main gate.


We drove around a while, determined to find this place…  It was fenced, but we thought  by looking at our GPS,  that his place was somewhere back behind this barbed wire fence.


And here it is.  The highest portion you see looks like a control tower to me.


Here is a close up and at a different angle.  Notice the red thing in the middle of the picture?  That is the tail of his jet airplane.   Must be nice to be able to park your jet at your front door.


And a picture with “stalker cam” zoomed in a bit closer.


Look closely, do you see John looking out the window? 


(I didn’t either)

This next picture is a closer shot of the control tower.  This is the back of the house.  Nothing very interesting, but it was fun to see.


From the GPS satellite picture, we knew we weren’t going to be able to see anything else, but it was something different, and kind of fun.


Today it is raining pretty much steady.  There is a front coming in from the Gulf of Mexico and it looks like it will be here most of the day.  Yesterday, the rain was very sporadic.  We’re not getting any thunder or lightning,  just a steady rain, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.  It will help to ease the drought, but unfortunately, it will also bring out the frogs!

We want to go back to Lazy Days today to visit our “possibility” again….but I hate getting on the interstate in the rain….with all Tampa’s crazy, crazy drivers. 

Here are a few more pictures of our “possibility.”

2003 Monaco Windsor

2003 Monaco Windsor - bedroom

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Good Day for Movies

It’s raining. 

Not the lightning and thunder that Tampa is famous for, but just a steady rain (at least so far.)  Tampa is the lightning capitol of the world and I always get a bit nervous.  Actually, when we lived here in our concrete block house, I got a bit nervous…in the motorhome, I get very nervous!

It looks like it’s going to be a good day to watch movies and stay home. 

The campground is convenient and close to Mom’s house, but is definitely not the greatest campground we’ve ever seen.  We are paid through Sunday night, so Monday we’ll have to figure out where we need to go.  We’ll probably go over to Lazy Days Campground and use our 2 free days.  We need to make sure we have a home for the 4th of July week-end, and fortunately in Florida there are so many snowbird parks that something will be available.

Not much going on and no issues with Mom (knock on wood), so hopefully we will have a peaceful week-end.

Here are a couple sneak peak pictures of the Motorhome we’ve been looking at.

2003 Monaco Windsor


We’re still checking things out…time will tell Smile

Friday, June 24, 2011

It’s Been a Busy Few Weeks

A lot has been going on and I haven’t had a chance to update my blog.

First of all, my Mom has been in the hospital…twice.  She’s home now and hopefully will stay away from the hospital.  It’s not a fun place.

She had been having the same old problem that she had been complaining about for months.  When we were here last winter we tried to get it resolved.  She felt it was her heart but two different cardiologists told her that her heart was fine.  It got to the point where they didn’t appear to believe her.

She finally went to see a favorite doctor of hers that she thought had retired.  He’s a wonderful doctor, very caring and listens to his patients.  Imagine that!   He consulted with her cardiologist and they put her into the hospital to monitor her.  Her blood pressure was low, like 99/50 with a heart rate around 50.   She still has these spells where she has discomfort in her chest and it makes her feel very very weak.   They finally (reluctantly) decided to do a heart cath and discovered that she had a 95 -99% blockage in one artery.  Yes, I guess there was something wrong with her heart.  They placed a stint in the artery right away and released her 24 hours after the procedure. 

As soon as she got home, she started having her “spells” and very low blood pressures.  This time 90/33 and a few even lower.  Back to the hospital for a few more days.  They continue to say her heart is fine and these spells are some kind of gastric issue.   So we still don’t know what is  causing these spells, but we think the extremely low blood pressure problem has resolved.  They are now treating her for stomach issues.  I don’t have much faith in doctors after so many of them telling her she was fine when she obviously had a major artery blockage.   Her internist,  Dr Cichon is a wonderful man and great doctor.  We feel sure he will get to the bottom of this.

Anyway….between hospital visits, we have made a few trips to Lazy Days looking at rv’s.  Lazy Days is the largest rv dealer in the world and is a great place to buy.  All the rv’s are open and you are welcome to inspect them.  There is a guy on a golf cart that rides around giving you cold bottles of water.  They now have a Doggy and Kitty Daycare on premises so that you can shop even if you have a pet!  They make it real  easy to buy!

We also went to Bates Rv and Longview Rv which are other local rv dealers.   I really don’t know how either of those places stay in business.  They turned us off in about 5 minutes.  Back to Lazy Days where they know how to treat customers!

We looked at a lovely 2004 Beaver Monterey with 4 slides.  It was pretty nice inside and drove very well.  It was beautiful inside, had  beautiful hard wood cabinets and tons of storage inside and outside.

We had a hard time locating the information on the carrying capacity weights,  so we asked Lazy Days to have it weighed.  It came back that we’d have a whole 671 pounds of CCC (cargo carrying capacity).     We immediately ruled that one out.  We had talked to the previous owners on this coach and they told us they had taken that motorhome to Alaska three times.  When we asked them how much carrying capacity they had, they didn't know but thought it was a lot because “the coach was so heavy.”  That made us a little nervous!  For those of you who aren’t familiar with rv’s (Merikay), this is an important thing to look for.  You can have all the storage you want, but if you can’t put anything in them other than marshmallows, you have a problem. We couldn’t even have gone on a short vacation and kept our weight under 671 pounds.  The coach chassis is only rated to carry a certain amount of weight.

It’s extremely important everyone understands these figures before you purchase an rv.  If you don’t you  might be like the Beaver owners and drive around in a dangerously overloaded coach. 

 Here is a link from Howard and Linda’s RV Dreams website.  Howard breaks this information down very well.  This is very important information and all rv’s should be weighed regularly as weights change.  One other issue, is each axel (front and rear)  and each tire is designed to carry a certain amount of weight.  Your weight for that particular axel can be correct but  unless you get a four corner weight you may be heavy on one side and over load  the tire.  Could this cause a problem?  Yes if the front left corner is over weight and that causes that tire to blow,  you have a big problem!  You need to know the weight of each axel and air your tires up to match the weight you’re carrying.  Unless you get the four corner weights, you won’t know exactly how much to inflate your tires.  Unfortunately finding somewhere to get a four corner weight is hard.  You can get a  front and rear axel  weight at any Cat Scale.  This link will help you locate one near you.  You can find the four corner weighing at many rv rally’s and Howard and Linda are now offering that service for a reasonable charge.  That’s one thing that we want to have done as soon as possible.

After we ruled out the Beaver, our terrific salesman Keith,  found another one coming in on trade.  It was a 2005 Country Coach Inspire, with 3 slides.  This coach was rated pretty well, and the exterior was gorgeous and like new.  We couldn’t wait to see inside.


We had to wait a few days for the owners to move into their new coach before we could see the interior, but we sure loved the outside.    We were so disappointed when we got inside.  It was okay, but had a lot of issue and was pretty beat up.  It turned out the cargo carrying capacity (stuff you can bring) was only around 2600 pounds.   We loved the exterior of this coach, but couldn’t get past the low CCC and interior issues.  So, back to square one…again.   We were so disappointed because we thought we had found the “one.”

We continued to look online and at a few local dealers and of course kept looking at Lazy Days since they have such a big turnover and “new” trade-ins come in all the time.  They sell between 350 and 500 rv’s a month!

We are now back to Lazy Days,  looking at a Monaco Windsor…and this may  be the one.    More later Smile

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Arrived “Home”

Lutz, Florida

We left Ocala yesterday about 11 am, and drove the 90 miles to the Tampa area.  This driving the car following behind Al and the motorhome/toad is getting old.  We hope to get it sold while we’re in Tampa.  There is a guy here locally that wants to look at it.  I hope he buys it so that we don’t have to do that again.

We are technically not in Tampa, but just north on the outskirts.  It’s about the closest rv park to my Mom’s house though, so it’s a good fit. 

We’re staying at Winter Quarters Rv Park.   They give a good discount to Thousand Trails members so that discount was better than the Passport America discount.  We paid $120 for the week.  It’s nothing fancy.  There are a lot of permanent residents and many older park models and modified rv’s.  Definitely nothing special, but it will serve our purpose while we’re in Tampa. 

Al left already this morning to go do some of his pest control accounts.   I’m spending my birthday (big 60) by myself….but that’s okay because I’m enjoying the chance to stay put and relax.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Searching for John Travolta…and Motorhome

Silver Springs, Florida

Yesterday after our blueberry pancake breakfast we decided to see if we could find the motor home of our dreams,  since there are a lot of dealers in the area.

We went to 4 rv dealers yesterday, but we didn’t find anything we couldn’t live without.  We’re looking for find a 40 foot Diesel pusher in the 2002 range.  If anyone knows of any good bargains, let us know!

On the way back to the campground, we saw a beautiful gated residence and we remembered that John Travolta has a place in this area.  We checked it out to see if there was a place to park a 727 jet and since there wasn’t, we figured it probably wasn’t his place!

He has a huge landing strip where he can land his 727 jet.  It’s supposed to be quite the place.   We didn’t really go looking for it, but we kept our eyes open,  just in case.  Here is a picture of the place I got from the internet.  Quite a nice place, isn’t it?

John Travolta s House

He parks the jet right up next to the house, so that he can just run right in.  Convenient, huh?

Unfortunately, we have to leave our lovely campground tomorrow and head back to Tampa.  If we could, we’d stay a few more weeks.  It’s been such a pleasant stay with no aggravations or hassles.  They definitely try to keep their customers happy here.  The weather has been relatively pleasant with a nice breeze during the day and cooler temps in the evenings.  We’ve been able to turn off the a/c  every night.  There are some fires in the area and early this morning the smoke was blowing our way and it was a bit bothersome.  I’m not exactly sure where the fires are, but I don’t think they are close.  We’re not getting any local tv here, so we aren’t in the loop.  I think I will call Directv today and see if they can change our location to the Tampa area so that we will get Tampa stations.  I understand they will do that occasionally. I guess I’ll find out.

We’re not sure what we’re going to do today.  We may hang around here today since we’ve been running the past few days.   Sometime today we might just need to decide where we’re going to be sleeping tomorrow night!  Yeah, we’re not big planners. Smile

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Two Very Good Days

Silver Springs, Florida (near Ocala)

We’ve been busy and are really enjoying our stay here at Wilderness Rv Park Estates.  We got the Passport America rate of $22 a night.  I  heard that they give a couple nights free if you take their tour and sales pitch.  Before we paid for additional nights, I asked about it and sure enough, we got two free nights!  I’m trying to learn to be “cheap” and I guess I’m picking it up pretty well, huh?  All it takes is to have no shame .Smile 

This is a great place to stay and more like a resort than a campground.  They have all the amenities and everything is very nice.

There is not much shade, but in the winter that is a good thing.  They have one section where they allow Park models, one section they don’t and a “Class A” only section with some really nice sites, some overlook the river.  That section has it’s own private pool.  They start at $47,000.  The ones where we are parked start at $27,000.

Here is a tour of the grounds.

The campground:

Wilderness Rv Estates Campground


Wilderness Rv Estates

Wilderness Rv Estates Campground


nice dog run with pond

dog run

Class A Section


fitness center


sauna and steam room



pool and dart room


Kayak and canoe rentals and the   launch into the Oklawaha river.  The water at the “put in” area is a little scummy,  but it quickly flows into the Oklawaha River, which runs into the beautiful Silver River.

kayak launch/rentals

Oklawaha River

Oklawaha River

It’s a very nice campground and we are thoroughly enjoying our stay here. There is a lot to do around here (hiking, kayaking, bird watching) and we would like to stay longer.  Unfortunately, we have to leave soon.

They even let us wash the motorhome, so we got that done on Thursday.

We took a drive over to Salt Springs and toured the springs and campground.  I’ll post some pictures tomorrow…this post is getting too long. 

We also went to a u-pick Blueberry place and got some real nice berries.  They were $2.50 a pound and quite a bit more expensive than our place we used to go to.


Al picking blueberries

It didn’t take any time at all to get $12 worth of berries!


Al is rushing me to finish because he was promised blueberry pancakes this morning!

Al found a Brown Thrasher sitting in a nest right in the middle of a blueberry bush.  I got a picture of her, but I didn’t want to bother her anymore than I did, so the picture isn’t too good.

Brown Thrasher in nest

Al is looking on line and has discovered another rv dealer here in Ocala, so that might be what we do today!

After breakfast of course!


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Arrived at New Destination

Silver Springs, Florida

Map picture

We made the “long” 95 mile  journey to Wilderness Rv Park Estates,  and arrived mid afternoon.  It’s a huge snowbird type park with 412 lots that you can buy or rent.  There are a lot of rv’s parked here with no one living in them, but there are a surprising amount of people actually staying here right now. 

We asked for a shady lot and we were told they had a few that were shady.  They led us to a completely sunny lot,  so we switched to another spot that has  shade on the drivers side.  That was the best we could do. 

The Passport America rate is $22 a night.  There are two pools, exercise room, hot tub (not working right now), shuffleboard, lodge, clubhouse, laundry, kayak and canoe rentals (there is river access), and cabins.  It’s a very nice park, but it is not the park setting like we prefer in the state parks.

I guess there is a trade off  though.  You get the beautiful park like settings of a state park, or the amenities of a private campground.  Right now, full hook-ups and the pool sound pretty nice. 

I’ll get some pictures of the place today.  It’s really a very nice place and super easy to get to from I-75.  There is access to the Oklawaha River, which runs into the beautiful Silver River.  This is a picture from several years ago.  Notice the clear blue water?

Kayaking on Silver River

We got settled in pretty quickly.  It always amazes me how quickly a new place can feel like home and that you can settle in so much quicker then prepare to leave a place.

We went and had lunch then went to a few local rv dealers.  We are still considering a larger coach.  We didn’t’ find anything we loved.  I think we may end up down in Fort Myers (Gulf Coast, south of Tampa) after we finish in Tampa.  There are a lot more rv dealers there, and one is a Newmar dealer with a huge inventory of used coaches.

I’ve been corresponding with a guy in Tampa that is interested in buying our Honda  CRv.  Hopefully we can sell it while we’re in Tampa, so I won’t have to tag along behind Al.  We are planning on renting a small storage unit in Tampa, and next fall moving our stuff out of our Georgia storage building, into the one in Tampa.  We need one more centrally located to where we’ll be.  Once we get the new building in Tampa, I’ll be able to remove all the stuff from the Honda and we can sell it.  Between the kayaks, gear, scuba gear, important papers, and Al’s pest control stuff, we have two cars that are full!  A larger motor home, sure would help with our storage issues!

It was nice and cool last night, getting down to 64 degrees!  Love those cool nights with the windows open and the breeze blowing in on us!  It’s only supposed to be 89 here today, so maybe it won’t be so miserable.

I don’t know what we’re going to do today…have to have a few more cups of coffee and then we’ll decide.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Heading South

White Springs, Florida

We think we’ve finally rested up enough to continue our journey south.   

We are going to head towards Ocala (horse country) and stay a few days before heading into Tampa.

Silver River State Park is in Ocala, and one of our favorites, but is full this week-end  That’s one of the hazards of not making firm plans and reservations.

Some friends of ours recently stayed  at Wilderness Park in Silver Springs, Florida.  They said it was one of the nicest parks they have ever stayed at.  It looks to be a typical Florida snowbird park with all the amenities.  We always used to prefer state parks with but have come to appreciate sewer hook-ups more and more. Smile  I think that’s where we’ll be heading later today.

We have enjoyed our stay here at Lee's Country Campground, here in White Springs, Florida.  It was perfect for our needs after we left Georgia.  It is definitely not a “destination” campground, but a great place to relax a few days or overnight.

It’s  less than a mile  off interstate 75,  just  southeast of Live Oak, Florida.  It’s only about 40 miles south of the Georgia/Florida border. They accept Passport America, so our stay cost us $17.50 per night with sewer.  There are sites without sewer hookups and they are $16.50.  We are in a nice pull through site with some afternoon shade.  I think it’s site number two.   There are no concrete pads, just sand and they don’t allow “big” rugs for over one night.  I guess they don’t want their grass damaged.  Not one of my favorite rules, but for our purposes on this trip, I could deal with it. 

Lee's Country Campground, White Springs, Fl

They do not allow permanent residents, which is definitely a plus in our opinion.  Some of these campgrounds that have year round people can get kind of trashy.  Most of the people who stay here only stay one night.  It’s been very quiet and there are not many other people here. 

Lee's Country Campground, White Springs, Fl

It’s big rig friendly.

Lee's Country Campground, White Springs, Fl

Lots of “wildlife.”

Lee's Country Campground, White Springs, Fl

Lee's Country Campground, White Springs, Fl

There are some pretty wooded areas to take a short walk, and a couple of gazebo’s and sitting areas.  There are separate areas for a campfire.

Lee's Country Campground, White Springs, Fl

There is no pool, shuffleboard or hot tub, but is a great overnight stop, or for a few nights rest.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Rest of the Story

White Springs, Florida

We’ve been here at Lee's Country Campground since Saturday.  Our plan was to do as little work, as possible and just relax.  That is exactly what we have done, with the exception of yesterday when we had to make a quick back to Georgia.

Al  realized that we were missing some of our scuba gear.  We decided we must have left it in the storage unit. We’re only about 100 miles from our old home, so we figured it would be better to go get it now, rather than later.  We got up early yesterday and made a quick trip back.  Fortunately the missing tub was right up front and we didn’t have to rummage through everything in the storage building.

We  decided that we don’t have enough time to go to the St. Augustine area right now.  There is a lot to do there and we don’t want to be rushed, so we have changed our plans yet again!  These are those plans set in jello that I had been hearing about.  We’re still up in the air on where to go, but likely we will be heading south towards Ocala.  We need to be in Tampa next week, so we’ll just have a few days.  We may go to Rainbow Springs State Park, or Silver River State Park, or a Passport America park nearby.  I sure like traveling this way!

Okay, now for the rest of the story, I started the other day.

As you all know, we had been working extremely hard the days before we left Georgia.  It was extremely hot and we were working and sweating like dogs.

When we left Georgia, I followed behind Al and the motor home,  in my Honda.  We got onto I-75, crossed over into Florida and stopped at the first rest area.   We had run our generator with both a/c units during the trip down, but Al said it had quit running.  We wanted to check it out. 

I got out of my car and headed over to the door of the motorhome.  I heard screaming.  Al was in the doorway of the motorhome, with the door open and he was making all kinds of noise.  I didn’t know what was going on…did a cat run out?  What horrible things would make him carry on like that?

He was standing on the upper inside step, and not moving.  I ran over and found out that when he started to walk down the steps, he got terrible muscle cramps in both hamstrings.  He couldn’t move without making it worse.  I wanted to be able to shut the door so that the cats couldn’t run outside, but he couldn’t move for fear of making them worse.

You have to picture exactly where we were both standing to understand what happened next. I was standing on the ground facing the door to the motor home.  He was standing on the top step of the motor home, facing outside with the door wide open.

I decided to try to massage the cramps for him.   I wrapped my arms around him to get to the back of his upper legs.  The muscles in both legs had formed into  huge hard knots.  No wonder he was screaming. Every movement made it worse.  I am standing there, with my head belt level (or lower) and my arms wrapped around his upper legs.  I started kneading the  hard knots in his muscles.    All the while he was yelling, “oh God, oh God….ohhh, ohhh. 

It started to occur to me that this might look a little odd, so (still kneading)  I turned my head to see if anyone was around.  I saw that the interstate was very close and many cars were zipping along right beside us with us in full view.

Uh, oh…what are they thinking?  I tried to move back a bit and still continue my massage, but it didn’t work that way. Fortunately there weren’t many people in the rest area nearby, so hopefully they didn’t hear Al’s moaning. Smile  The spasms soon eased up enough for him to get down the rest of the steps.  I ran inside and got some Joint Flex cream and he rubbed some on his legs.  I  got him a Gatorade and he drank that down.  The spasms eased and he was okay.  I was a little concerned about him trying to drive.  I don’t know what would have happened if that would have happened while he was driving. 

Al has a lot of problems with muscle cramps, and the more he sweats during the day, the worse it is.  He had been having some problems before we left home and we started giving him lots of Gatorade, which really seemed to help.  Fortunately, he was okay the rest of the trip.  So, that is the rest of the story. 

Sunday, June 05, 2011


White Springs, Florida

Well after a lot  of work, we finally rolled out at 2:30 pm  yesterday. 

It was stifling hot at 100 degrees and we were ready to get out of the heat.  Thank goodness for the generator.  It allowed us to keep the motor home cool after we unhooked the power and got the toad hooked up. 

I followed behind Al in my Honda Cr-v.  We intend to sell it, but as with several other items, we didn’t want to sell it until after we knew we were going to close on the house.  In the meantime, we’ll be taking 2 cars with us.  It’s not the preferred plan, but we just didn’t have the time to mess with trying to get it sold. 

As we drove slowly drove off our property for the last time, I shed a couple of tears.  I have no regrets, but it did bring up some memories.  Fortunately, I have tons of pictures.

We headed east on Hwy 84 towards Valdosta, Georgia, then south on I-75 to the little town of White Springs, Florida. 

The state park ( Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center) is one of the nicest of Florida’s State Parks, and we have been wanting to stay there.  I didn’t want to make reservations though, given our history with reservations.  It looked like they had quite a few vacant sites, but I decided to just call them on the way and verify.   I kept calling, and calling and never got an answer.  In the meantime, our generator quit on us under load.  With the high temps, we knew we needed to be able to get in and hooked up quickly to keep the cats and ourselves from heatstroke.  We decided to go to “plan b.”

Our “plan b” was a private campground we had seen a few years ago.  We just needed some place we could quickly pull in and hook up the electricity with a minimum of effort. We are at Lee’s Country Campground.

We drove in, paid the $17.50 Passport America price and were led to a very nice shady, pull through site.  It’s sandy, but level and plenty long for the toad and the Honda.  There are two washers and dryers right across from our site in an “open air” setting.  I’ll take some pictures of the campground today.  It’s a very nice, clean place and we think we’ll just hang out here for several days.

We intend to do a lot of relaxing while we’re here, but we did need to do a few loads of laundry.  First thing this morning we walked across to the laundry area.

My first thought was, open air = critters.  Need to be careful of the scariest creature on the planet. 

Alligator's, sharks?   No, I said the scariest!

I carefully opened the lid for the washer, ready to run if anything came at me.  I surveyed the situation and found nothing.  I stayed on guard though, just in case.  I could sense trouble. After I put the clothes in the second machine and was setting it, I happened to notice this terrifying creature stalking me.  I know he was just waiting for the right moment to make is presence known.  I ran off screaming like a girl,  and Al knew immediately what had happened. 

green tree frog by washing machine

Yep, the dreaded Florida tree frog!

I think I’m psychic where frogs are concerned.  I always seem to know when I’ll likely find one.  It looks like Al will be taking the clothes out of the washer.

I want to thank everyone out there in blog land for all your good wishes.  We finally got it done and are so  happy to be “on the road.”  I want to especially thank  Jim and Sandie for your sacrifices in doing the celebrating we were just too tired to do!  It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it, right?  Sorry you had a headache celebrating for us.   We were in bed last night at 8:45.   There was no celebrating going on around here.  Just exhaustion!  Tonight, however, will be a different story!


BTY, if you hear in the news about any perverted activities going on at a rest area along I-75 south of Valdosta, Georgia….I can explain, but not today…I’m tired of writing!