Sunday, November 10, 2019

Theme World RV Resort, Davenport, Florida

It was time to move again, so we headed over towards Davenport and into a park known as Theme World RV Resort.  Everything down here is an RV Resort whether it is or not! LOL This is right on I-4 and SR 27. 

There is another large RV community here known as Deer Creek. It is very nice and made up of several separate communities each with their own distinct personalities. They all have their own hall with pool and then there is the main hall and pool. Once again, you own your own lot, but the park is owned by the developer. The lots are very small for the most part and there are a lot of limitations. You can have stick built casitas next to your port, but the ones that we liked had very short ports that Phaeton Place would barely fit under. No space for all our stuff and two motorhomes on one lot not allowed. We liked some of the lots themselves, but they would require building something and then we still couldn't have what we needed anyway.

We had promised Brandon and Megan we would watch Brynlee Saturday night so they could get away for a night to celebrate their 8th anniversary. On our way down there we stopped at The Great Outdoors Resort in Titusville, Florida. This is a huge RV community where you can buy your lot. I don't know how many people live here but it's probably in the thousands. It is way huge. We had a very nice realtor show us around the place. Once again, first impressions are important and everything we looked at required work and prices we were quoted for that work were way more than most places we inquired. And prices were pretty much double everything else we had looked at. And also, you can't live in the casita if you have one, but there are port homes where you can. But those are mega expensive. They have so many amenities in this park, but most we wouldn't use, including the golf course. So we decided against this park.

We traveled on to Melbourne and arrived in time to visit with the kids before they left. We had a great time with Brynlee, taking her to McDonald's and playing with her and Lily. Once the kids returned the next day, we ate out at Sonny's with them, then returned to Theme World RV Resort at Davenport. It was about a 2 hour drive, but that was with stopped traffic on I-4. We only had about 8 miles to go on the interstate, but it was stopped. The next day was Veteran's Day and there was more traffic going to/from the theme parks, so that was apparently the problem. We did spend time talking with Brandon about the Mount Olive Shores property and we decided we would take another look.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Majestic Oaks, Zephyrhills, Florida

When we left Sebring, we drove up to Majestic Oaks RV Resort, in Zephyrhills, Florida. There were several places here we wished to check out and once again, this is a Passport America park, so camping was cheaper here. Most of the parks that honor PPA do not offer it through the winter, so we had to look around to find one that accepted it now.

Majestic Oaks, as Buttonwood Bay, did accept seasonals all winter. Their rates are fairly expensive, as is anything in Florida during the winter. It is a nice park, however, and they throw in some perks if you wish to stay for the winter and come back the next year, etc.  Once again it was a very nice park and we could walk the flat streets every day. On our last day here, I rescued a turtle. . . seemed to be a leatherback of some sort. He was covered in mud, so obviously just dug out from a bank. We had a lot of rain the day before, but he had found himself in the street. I didn't want him to get killed, so I used my towel I had to move him up onto a driveway. Later I looked for him and he was gone so hopefully he made it back to one of the ponds in the park.

Right across the highway was the Emerald Point RV Resort which I had heard about. It also was a very beautiful park, but once again, extremely small lots, and no space to put all our stuff. Two RV's not allowed, etc., etc. Dogs were not an issue; we saw all sizes. We talked to one owner whose place was for sale. Like our Texas park, you can have stick built casitas next to your port, but you cannot live in there. Not a lot of storage, etc., so we passed on this park. Good thing we decided against this place, because I don't want to have to spell Zephyrhills all the time. I always misspell it.

One park where I was sure we could find something was one I had seen on line this summer. One residence had multiple RV ports and I was sad I had missed it before it was sold. This is Hampton Courts/Country Aire in Dade City. Another seemingly great park, with very little for sale, but a few interesting places. We stopped in at the office thinking we would get a list of available properties, but since owners own their lots, they don't work with the office when they want to sell. They use outside realtors or for sale by owner. Which is okay, but it just means you have to drive around and hope to find an owner home. The real problem we found out by visiting the office is that the park is not owned by the residents. They own their lots, but the owner/developer owns all the common areas and the park in fact is for sale. The secretary said it wasn't going to happen and it had been for sale for the six years she had worked there, but this opens up a whole 'nother can o' worms. Some of the roads were falling apart and there were upgrades that were needed with the community center, etc. Easy to see the owner wasn't putting any more money into it and if it happened to sell, a new owner could raise the monthly fees to anything he wanted, justifying it by saying they needed to upgrade roads, sewer/water system, etc. No thank you. While resident owned parks have their issues, everything to be done requires the membership's approval. Not so when you don't own the park. You are at the mercy of the owner.

So we crossed Emerald Point and Hampton Courts off our list. Only one other park was still on the list. . . Mount Olive Shores, in Polk City. We had visited there a year and a half ago but weren't real impressed, so we were kind of down about the lack of progress. We could buy acreage and build a house, but we would prefer something in a park with people around us. This would afford security and also many parks catering to snowbirds provide mowing/lawn care, etc. Anything remote would require more security and vendors to handle the work when we aren't there. And we plan to continue traveling.

So we took a day and drove over to Polk City and up to the gate at Mount Olive Shores. Couldn't get in. I quickly looked up their website and found they had a signup sheet going for an outing. I figured the phone number for the person in charge would likely be answered, so I called. Sure enough I got a live person. When I told her we would like to come in and see the park she asked me to wait a minute. Turns out her friend, a realtor handling properties in Mount Olive Shores was there visiting. She said she would come to the gate and let us in. We connected with her and fortunately she had time to show us around. The few places she showed us that were for sale did not fit the bill for us. They were some of the cheaper ones and others there had double ports, etc. There isn't much for sale in here and it usually doesn't last long. So she took us to another more expensive property.

First impressions mean a lot and I compare everything to how I left our property which we sold in September. This home was not empty, being sold furnished. I didn't care for some of the furniture, but I have no furniture, so it's a plus to have something to use until I can buy what I want. Most importantly it has a huge RV port and a shorter port and you can put anything you own there as long as it's on the concrete. It gave us a lot to think about. So after two weeks of looking, we had one possibility. It was too much to think about on the fly, so we said our goodbyes to the realtor and left. The hunt continues.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Monday, November 04, 2019

Buttonwood Bay, Sebring, Florida

When we left Ortona Lock Campground, we traveled north through Lake Placid to Buttonwood Bay RV Resort between Sebring and Lake Placid. That allowed us to explore the area and check out the campgrounds we were interested in checking out.

Of particular interest was Camp Florida Resort in Lake Placid. We have friends who have bought in here so we wanted to check it out. The sites, however, were small. The camp was well laid out and people seemed really friendly. The camp is divided into circles each with it's own identity. The problem we found was that of the five circles, only two allowed pets and we were told you could walk your pet in your circle and perhaps the common areas, but not in the other circles. Not a bad rule, but then your pets are limited to 20 pounds each. My Scotties were all over 20 pounds. That limits you to the smallish dogs and many of those are problematic, but since they are small, people accept that they cannot do much damage. And we could not allow our granddogs to visit because they are both over 20 pounds. And we couldn't park all our stuff there. We liked the location and the amenities, but decided it wouldn't work for us.

looked at other possibilities in the area and out around Lake Istokpoga, east of Sebring, but that was a washout. A sad note, however, while driving around the lake we saw a dead black bear on the side of the road. From the size, it looked like an adult, and a recent incident as scavengers had not yet descended upon it.

We did some exploring around Sebring. We owned a condo here and went by to see what it looks like now. It is still in very good condition, but the community has need of some upgrading. Some of the homes needed work. Terry's parents lived here for many winters, but it wasn't a place we were interested in. We never lived there other than to visit the folks at Christmas time. We also checked out Uncle Bill's home where he and Aunt Francis lived in the winters and also Uncle Dan's place. It was a trip down memory lane!

We also drove out to the Highlands Hammock state park west of Sebring. It is exactly as we remembered it although there have been a few controlled burns in the hammock leading up to the park. They do that to help save the environment in the event of a wild fire. We also visited the museum on the grounds. It is a history lesson on the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corp and how parks like this one were built by individuals being put to work by the government in order to turn the tide of the Great Depression. The workers were paid a wage but much of it was returned to their families. They were given enough to spend, but all their needs were met while they were working on the various projects the government had created. An interesting time.

Buttonwood Bay was a very nice park. We were able to wash the motorhome and the car while we were there. Most parks do not allow that. And we were on a double concrete site, so we parked everything on pavement. They accept Passport American which means we camped for half price! Score! Very nice. The neighbors were friendly and we chatted a bit. The park is on a lake, Lake Josephine, which was very pretty and they had a nature trail/walking path along the canal going into the lake. We were able to walk a different route here every day. Every park here has sand hill cranes that hang around. Not sure why they like the parks, but they do. They aren't skittish, but I would imagine if they feel threatened, they could chase you away!

From Sebring we drove on up to Zephyrhills to check out some other parks.

Till next time. . .

Dale


Friday, November 01, 2019

Ortona Lock

Once we left Brandon's, we traveled south down around Lake Okeechobee to see what RV lots and property might be available. We passed by the lake and traveled on west to the Otorna Lock and Campground on the waterway that runs from Fort Myers to the lake and on through. It has a system of locks which make it possible for boats and barges to traverse the state. We were camped at Ortona Lock which is a COE camp.

What a gem! This campground is immaculate and we scored a site right on the canal! The lock is open from 7:30 to 4:30 daily and all manor of boats and ships travel through the locks in both directions headed for their day's adventures. They take the annual parks pass so we camped for $17 a night! Whoo hoo! Water and electric only, but a great place.

We got up to walk in the morning which we have finally been able to do again. Terry is starting to feel a lot better and started walking while we were in Melbourne. We walked over to the lock and watched some boats come in from the lake side. We talked with the one couple. They winter down here from Wisconsin, but instead of an RV or a trailer, etc., they live aboard their 52' yacht! How cool is that. I would LOVE to do that. They had just arrived in the state the day before, got aboard and were now headed to Fort Myers. They were a very nice couple and we enjoyed chatting with them. I think over 90% of the traffic through the locks is made up of pleasure boats and we didn't see any barges or anything. . . only pleasure boats. . . but what an array!

We also had a resident EAGLE who spent time in a dead tree opposite our site on the canal. He was really beautiful and could be seen there most days. The campground host also told us we could see feral hogs in the fields to the east of our campsite, but we never saw any. Would like to have seen some, but I know to stay away from them. I only looked from the safety of the motorhome! Also, to get to our site, we had to cross a bridge over a small creek and there were so many birds down in the creek all the time fishing and digging around for morsels to eat. We saw what I thought must be a muskrat, but was told later it was an otter! Whoo hoo!

We did some exploring around the area and visited a couple campgrounds, but nothing intrigued us. The place we are looking for must have enough space to put all our stuff. We will probably downsize from two motorhomes and get rid of our cargo trailer, but not yet, so it will have to be a special place.

One exciting event happened while we were exploring the lake around the Clewiston area. We had driven out of town and turned around to come back. It was four-lane divided but as we approached the town, movement on the side of the road caught my eye. Terry didn't see it, so I did a U-turn and went back to look again. As we approached the spot, DOZENS of black iguanas came up from the ditch on the right side of the road, heading for the pavement. They weren't close enough to get hit, but we could see them very clearly. I mean DOZENS of them. This was right out of a scene from Jurassic Park! And then we saw it! This was a green iguana, but was orange in color and was HUGE. He would have given any one of my Scottish Terriers a run for their money. As we passed by, he turned back toward the ditch and we got a really good look at him. This must be a frequent occurrence because there are signs all over not to stop on the road or the berm. So taking pictures was out. It is a heavily traveled road and taking pictures on the fly just wouldn't cut it. So we had to be content with our memory! What a sight, though. Later I did some reading up on these creatures. Unfortunately they are an invasive species, not native to the area, and wreak havoc on the environment. They have no natural predators and create problems. So it is open season on them, you can kill any on your property, no permit needed. If you have them and don't want to kill them, you can call someone who will. Kind of sad really. They just want to live. And the reason they are moving right now is because it is mating season! It was an interesting encounter for sure!

Before we left, we saw an alligator cruising down the canal. He wasn't real big, but he was there, nonetheless. They say anywhere in Florida you find water, you can find a gator. LOL After a few nights, we traveled on up to Lake Placid to explore some parks we know are there. Wish us luck!

Till next time. . .

Dale

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Melbourne, Florida!

We arrived in Melbourne safe and sound and got set up in Wickham Park. We actually arrived a day earlier than expected, but we were able to add a day on to our reservation. We had some trouble with our lights on the toad (when hooked up) and Terry needed to troubleshoot it.

The kids are really busy. Brandon works from home but while we were there, he was having to do some travel. Brynlee was in school every day and Megan is busy doing volunteer work at Brynlee's school. She does a number of things to help and it's almost a full time job for her!

I did get to spend lunchtime with Brynlee one day and that is always a treat. She likes having her Grandma's come and we both enjoy it. I also got to sit in on another ukelele lesson. She is doing so well with that. She has picked it up quickly and she has a really good instructor. She pays close attention to him and on some songs she plays he will sing along and sometimes play his guitar. He is extremely talented as well and I hope she continues her music education. He is teaching her to read music and to play by plucking the strings and strumming both. He is a great teacher and she is a great student.

We returned to the Partin Farm Corn Maze and Fall Festival. We had gone last year and it was fun. It was warm, but not as warm as last year. We usually stay in the shade and eat lunch and stay hydrated!


We went out to eat several times with the family and we also include Diane, Megan's Mom. She lives about a 30 minute drive away. We also watched Brynlee some when the kids were gone. We enjoyed Lily, too. She is their Golden Doodle. She is a real trip. She loves to play ball. I also bought her a frisbee. She didn't know what to do with it, but eventually got the hang of it. She will bring it back, but she likes to run with it for awhile before letting you have it back.

There have been many changes in Wickham Park as far as camping goes. There have been two deaths in the campground in the last year. One was a man who was murdered and left in an RV and the other was a woman who died in her RV while camping there.  They have made stricter rules for behavior and more restrictions for tent campers. There were a lot of homeless who just stretched tarps over picnic tables and lived under them. Not a good situation for anyone.

We took time during the day to visit some RV communities where we were looking for a lot to buy. We would like to be able to come to Florida anytime and not worry about getting a campsite. But also, since we no longer have the place in Indiana, we would like to find someplace to call "home" where we could spend some time in the event one of us became ill. Indiana was not good for that because it got too cold in the winter. Texas fits the bill weather-wise, but we have not found good doctors particularly for Terry down there. Since Brandon is adamant he wants us near him, we decided to start looking in Florida. As it was, none of the places we looked had anything that fit our needs, so the quest continues.

We left Melbourne on the 28th and planned to start a "winter roost spot" search in earnest. We are not going to give up our travel, but just find a place to put all our "stuff" and where we can spend winter particularly.

Till next time. . .

Dale


Friday, October 18, 2019

Charlottesville, Virginia!

We arrived in Charolottesville on Monday, October 7, and spent a week visiting with Jocelyn, Tom, Ronan, Aenea, and Pepper. We had a great time but we had some snafus along the way.

We had to drop some mail at the post office so we went there before going on in to the kids' house. Took our stuff in, got it mailed and went back out to the car and it wouldn't start. It tried, but would just not turn over. So we called our road service, then called Jocelyn. Jocelyn got there before the tow truck driver and had everyone with her. So they kept us cool and collected in their car while we waited. It didn't take long and the tow truck driver sent us on our way and towed the car to the Ford dealer.

Jocelyn took us around to car rental agencies and every one of them wanted $65-$110 a day for car rental. So for 3-4 days it could cost several hundred dollars because, of course, they didn't have any of the "cheaper" ones available. The kids have two cars, but the Crown Vic they don't drive because

they said it needed tires. We decided to cut our losses and take the Crown Vic and put tires on it so that it would serve our purpose and be back in service for the kids. A win-win.

While we were there and I was visiting with the kids, Terry finished the job of hanging the storm door on the front of the house that Jocelyn had started. She is not afraid to tackle anything and she did a great job hanging the door, but needed help with the hardware. Terry was able to get that job done for them.

We had some chilly weather while we were there, so Terry and I didn't do any outside activities with the kids, but they enjoyed coming out to the campground a couple times and we had a fire and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. Fun times with the kids for sure. We spent some time at the farm where the kids have a "share." We help pick fruit and pet the farm dogs.

We got our car back in the middle of the week. It was the fuel pump and a fuel modulator. Expensive stuff, but thankfully, they got the job done right apparently because she's run fine every since. It was amusing to a couple of the service writers because they were talking about how they never see any Ford Flex's come in on the hook. . . everything else, but never the Flex. Then they looked up and  saw ours come in under tow. LOL Oh well. She couldn't have broken down at a more opportune time and I am grateful for that. We weren't out in the middle of no where. . . we were where family was just a phone call away.

Our time with the family was soon over and we left on Monday, the 14th of October and headed south to Florida. We took our usual route down 321 through South Carolina, staying off I-95 for this part of the journey. It was an uneventful trip and we arrived in Melbourne, Florida on the 17th.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Time does fly. . . .

When I last wrote, it was before the closing. The closing went off without a hitch on Tuesday. It helps that we know the buyers. . .  they have been friends for many years and they bought the other four duplexes, so it wasn't our first rodeo. They have been great to deal with and even helped us get stuff out of the basement of the house. They have made no demands on us and required no inspections. In turn we gave them a great deal on the house. So everyone was happy.

We never went back to the house after that. No need to. We did go by one day when we went to see Uncle Dan one last time. The buyers have not started to do any of the changes they mentioned because they are busy correcting some major concrete work with one of the other duplexes. They do plan on updating the interior and changing some of the landscaping. When we return to Indiana next spring, we will see what things look like then.

We finished out that week at Elkhart Campground and said goodbye to all our friends there. We then moved over to the Goshen fairgrounds. We were still finishing up some doctors for the summer, closing a bank account, and visiting Mom when we were able to. After a week there, we moved on down to Warsaw. We spent every day then with Mom. She sleeps late, so we usually went in to see her in the early afternoon and then stayed till after dinner. Sometimes we went out and sometimes we cooked. Brandon flew up to go to a Purdue game and while he was here, we took Mom and went to Lafayette and had dinner with him at Red Lobster. It was great to get together again.

At the end of our time there, we moved on down to New Castle and stayed at Summit Lake State Park. This is near where we lived when I was working and the kids both worked summers at this park. We were there to see our internist. Everything is well and we left there yesterday morning.

Yesterday and today were driving days. We stayed last night at a small park near Grayson, Kentucky, where we had stayed one time before. It's called Valley Breeze and I do remember the park once we were in and set up, but I hadn't remembered going there. While there, we met a couple from Ontario who were going to Gilbert, West Virginia, for a trail riding event. I read up on it and it is quite a fanfare. It seems they have events and things to do for everyone. Lisa and Larry visited us in the evening to talk about fulltiming, boondocking, and trail riding! It was great fun and we enjoyed visited with them. Happy Trails, Lisa and Larry!

Today we left Kentucky and are settled in a "new to us" park in Wytheville, Virginia. We will be here two nights and then we move on to Charlottesville. Our reservations there start Monday and we will be there for a week. We are really anxious to see the kids and grandkids.

So that catches you up with us. Now that Terry is more stable and we have the landlording business behind us, I hope to keep up with the blog better.

Till next time. . .

Dale