Sunday, December 11, 2016

Snuggling down for the winter

The sunset was spectacular with sailboats passing by and a Caribbean singer adding to the atmosphere. We met a couple from Finland Ria and ?? who were really enjoying the trip. Several well spent hours then a cab home.

We decided we liked the upper Keys but not Key West. That's OK, you have to experience things for yourself we find. We've been told to avoid places by friends only to find that we quite liked those same places.

Next major step for us is getting to our “Winter Quarters” in Leesburg FL, which is North West of Orlando. We chose the Holiday Travel Resort because a good friend of mine has stayed at this park for many winters and we decided that was a good starting point for us.

It's not easy deciding where you are going to spend 3 or 4 months, and winter is the busiest period for these resorts. Good ones can fill up fast and you need to make reservations early sometimes.

Of course you only have a website and maybe a glossy brochure to guide you so things may not be as good as expected when you get there. We got lucky last year in Casa Grande. We'd originally thought of staying at the Escapees park but as they don't take reservations we decided to go to another resort that did. Some research brought up Sundance 1 Resort. 2 years ago we tried it for Christmas and New Years while we were both still working. We loved it went back to stay our first full Winter there (

Once we were on the road seriously we had to decide where our next winter would be spent. Florida was the destination for the East Coast fulltimer/snowbird set. We did some research and then selected Holiday Travel based on their website, brochure, activities, price and the fact that my friends Harold and Wanda have been very happy here for several years.

Part of this trip to Florida and one of the reasons we got here early was to look at other areas of the state for possible future winter stays. Hence the Keys, Naples and our stop in Wauchula.

Wauchula is about smack in the middle of the state, not close to any major cities. It's a farming community that has several RV Parks around town. What drew us to this area was that there are 2 parks we wanted to look at. The Escapees Florida Resort and the Thousand Trails (TT) park.

We wanted to experience the Escapees (SKP for short) park because we've stayed at a few before and we're members of the Escapees RV Club. Unfortunately they too don't take reservations so we decided that if there were no vacancies we'd try the TT park where we could make reservations online.
Our space in Wauchula

We loved the library in the park, so cosy and well stocked.
Fortunately we got into the SKP park. Fortunate because we immediately bumped into friends who we met at the Rally last month and met some new friends - Judy who's a painter and her husband Ken, and a couple from UK Rosie and Mike who are musically talented and kept everyone entertained.

This was one of those comfortable SKP places with excellent facilities, wide spaces and friendly people everywhere. We immediately submerged ourselves in the atmosphere and swapped books and DVD's in the library, got into the Happy Hours each evening and attended their weekly Movie Night. We won a discount coupon in the nightly door prize drawing and as a result went into town to Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant.

I even broke out my art stuff and began a few more flower paintings. This is a place I could spend a couple of months I believe, Maybe if Leesburg doesn't work out we could consider moving here. They certainly seemed disappointed when we said we were leaving.

You can actually buy in to this park. If you are an SKP member you can buy a site. It's a Cooperative, so you buy from the Coop and when you sell you sell back t the Coop. Talking to people who are owners they are happy, and there's an 8 year waiting list to buy, so that says something!

I was kind of sad to leave Wauchula but we had reservations starting Dec 1st at Holiday Travel RV Park. A good friend of mine from motorcycle trips in Virginia Harold and his wife Wanda have spent the last 10+ winters at this park. As soon as we were settled in they came over and we started getting caught up on their news. They even have a ring binder full of places to go within an hours drive!
Christmas Parade at Holiday Travel RV Park
Next thing they had us walking the local flea market which is HUGE! Bigger even than the ones in Arizona. Next day Harold, Charlie and I were walking a Car Show/Swap Meet full of more stuff. Then we all got a ride on Harold and Wanda's boat the following day and explored the canal and one of the big lakes nearby. Although we didn't see any alligators there were plenty of birds around.
The fruit and vegetable area at the Flea Market
Lots of stuff on sale at the Car Show/Swap Meet
The Car Coral
We started Line Dance classes again too and we're seriously thinking about Pickle Ball and Shuffleboard. There is no darts league here so we're looking for alternatives.
Barbara and Wanda

Charlie and Dot

Captain Harold and the boat
And then there is the matter of maintenance on the rig. We have a few items that although not critical need to be sorted out before we head out again and having 4 months here gives us the chance to get them done.

First is the rear view camera. It's great for backing into spaces and to keep an eye on the Fiesta and bicycles when we're on the road. It's essential when overtaking something to make sure we're clear before we pull back in. For the last 6 months it's been acting up. If I wiggled the wires in the back of the monitor it would behave for a couple of days and them just when we'd get into traffic the picture would go all zig zaggy! So we ordered a new color camera and monitor but it requires pulling a new coax cable the length of the rig and so we've been tearing the inside of the rig apart to feed the wire thru. Quite a mess as the route goes thru all the overhead bins, the valances along the side at the roof and all the closets. Hopefully this will last 17 years like the last one!
Wires hanging down everywhere for the camera installation
We still have to tear the bathroom apart again to replace seals in the toilet and replace the floor again which it turns out wasn't meant for wet spaces. Live and learn there! We also plan on putting in a new internet streaming device for the TV, changing the oil in the engine of the rig and the generator and getting the Fiesta into a Ford dealer for it's seemingly annual transmission replacement.

That should keep us busy for a while!

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