Florida 2009
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

We’re on the road again after two months of staying at home for the holidays.  We left at 6:15 pm after going to church and eating with our friends who we will not see for several months.  We arrived in Walterboro, SC to spend the evening in the Wal-Mart parking lot with about 8 other motorhomes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

We are on the road by 8:30 am, headed for Lake Griffin State Park close to The Villages, in Florida.  We woke up this morning to ice on the car windshield and steamed windows on the RV.  I cleared them with the shower squeegee to speed up the process.  We hit the Florida Welcome Center just about noon.  The weather is cool and brisk, with total cloud cover.  Not the nicest weather for Florida. 

I’ve forgotten to mention we have an extra traveler with us this year.  Out cat Spike, a Maine Coon Cat is going with us this year.  He is about10 ½ years old, and a daddy’s little boy.  He does not like the movement of the coach, so he has found a cubbyhole to hide in under the sofa.  Even when he does venture out, the first time we hit a pothole in the road and the coach shakes, he flies right back to the soda.  When we stopped at the rest center, he came out, but lay right next to the sofa so he could jump back under.  Bob calls it Spikes “bomb shelter”.

We arrived at Lake Griffin State Park; a small park with about 40 campsites with water and sewer hook-ups.  The road is not paved, our site was huge and there was a lot of vegetation between sites.  The bathhouse was older, but very clean and had timed heaters you could use while taking showers.  A very nice set up.  This is just an overnight stay for us as we prepare for the RV Super Show at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Rode back up the road about 5 miles to a Wal-Mart and purchased a rotisserie chicken for dinner.  We also found a new Sam’s Club, but it doesn’t open until January 22nd, so all we got was a car wash. (We are not your average shoppers – smile). We do not have satellite at the moment.  (We are experiencing a technical difficulty at the moment, so we had to use our antenna…and got so-so reception.  How quickly we get used to advanced technology and what little tolerance we have when things don’t go right.  (You all can read between the lines there.)

We got a new mattress while we were home, and it seems to be working much better than the old one.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Got packed down and water loaded up before we headed for the Super Show where all we will have is 30 amp electric.  Just as Bob was draining the tanks it started to rain.  That’s the weather for today, rainy and cloudy.  We arrived at the RV Super Show in Tampa about 3:15 pm.  We are here for the Newmar Kountry Klub Rally.  Found out there are about 125 other Newmar’s staying here also.  It’s a good chance to meet other Newmar owners.  There was a general meeting at 4:30 to learn about the rally and the rules and regulations while we are here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ah…the largest RV in the United States.  It’s cold, windy and overcast, but it doesn’t keep all the Rver’s from attending the show.  We have a trolley to carry us to the entrance so we don’t have to walk so far…wonderful.  This place is huge! There is definitely a lot to see.  We did find our way to the Newmar section.  They had one of the All Star’s with the rear kitchen and fireplace.  I think it’s a really nice layout, but there were some who say the mid-engine diesel can cause problems.  Since we are not in the market for one at the moment…I can drool all I want.  By two-thirty we were bone tired from all the walking.  By the time we make it back to the trolley, it’s about 3:30. We got back to the coach and Bob noticed we did not have any electricity.  Since we are all running off of electricity powered by generators, Bob went outside to check the plug.  To make a long story short……..we got big problems!

At first it looked much worse than it was.  Fortunately, Newmar factory reps are here for the show.  Seems our transfer switch in our rig got burned out from some kind of power surge and the Newmar reps had a transfer switch on their truck and repaired it for just the cost of the switch.  The rig behind us (a King Aire) got burned also   Bob spent the rest of the afternoon looking at all our equipment, and he determined we lost the power supply on my computer, the receiver for our roof top satellite dish, the electrical panel on our refrigerator (it still runs on propane, and a surge protector, clock, and weather radio, as well as our X-10 module for our lights under the kitchen cabinets.  I am really upset about all this. Especially my computer. I am sitting here typing on Bob’s computer.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We forgot that this morning was the day the Newmar officials were here to talk to and ask questions. So we missed that first thing this morning. We are meeting up with John and Tillie (Carol) today.  They are coming over from Tarpon Springs for the day.  They made it to the show before we did, but caught up with them very quickly.  Today was even colder than the yesterday but at least the sun was shining. Then we all got something to eat, and then parted ways so we could all see what we wanted to see.  They had no problem with that and they were coming over to our place afterwards.  They came by for wine and crackers and checked out our TV set up before heading back to Tarpon Springs.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rick and Becky called to let us know they were waiting for us inside the Super Show.  When we got there, they were still going through the first vendor’s tent.  From there we headed over to look and the new Montana Fifth Wheels, which is what they have.  Afterwards, we had seen enough for the day and went back to the RV.  They came over later that afternoon.  We ate a quick dinner then headed over to the Club Pavilion for the evening entertainment, Music City Brass Band, a three man brass ensemble with a New Orleans Jazz feeling. Rode the trolley over and the tram back with other Newmar owners.  Fun group.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Had to get to a post office today to get some things mailed off to Stephanie, then on to Wal-Mart to stock up.  When we got home Bob had to install an electrical management system with Smart Surge. We just relaxed for a while until we headed back to the entertainment pavilion to see Ron and Kay Rivoli.  They are really great- they know all about Rving and all the songs they sing reflect that.  We again ended up riding with the same Newmar owners as last night.  Great Group!  Late this afternoon we got some great news….Our daughter Stephanie has accepted a job with Banana Republic at the Mac Author Center in Norfolk.  I have been so worried about her getting a job what with the economy and all being the way it is. Anyways…HURRAH FOR STEPHANIE!!!  We love you girl!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Today is the last day of the show, but we have until 5 pm to leave the Newmar camping compound.  We went back to the show for an hour to collect pamphlets of the RV’s we are interested in.  When I get my computer back up and working I will be  adding picture for some of the more interesting motor homes we enjoyed looking at.  Took off about 2:00 pm for Wekiwa Springs State Park about 90 miles away. 

The Garmin may be great, but I sure don’t appreciate riding through neightborhoods of homes with children playing when we can stay on main highways to get to the same places.  Some of the streets they wanted us to turn on was not wide enough for our RV, and we are only 38 feet!

We arrived at the state park about 4:30 pm and were able to get settled in before dusk.  The roads are paved thru the campground and our site had been raked clean.  We felt like we were walking on the moon as our footprints were the only ones you could see.  The site it nice and large and able to accommodate us with no problems.

Monday, January 19, 2009

This morning the temperature was already 55 degrees, one of the warmest mornings we’ve had so far.  Bob cooked breakfast this morning before we took off to explore the park and springs.  The springs was really neat.  The water was coming up so quickly, the water was a rolling boil. (again, pictures will follow later).  Then we took off to find us a Wal-Mart. (you know, we really should buy some stock in Wal-Mart.)  It was a beautiful day with temps about 71 degrees and sunny skies.  This is the reason we come to Florida.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The insurance claims adjuster came by this morning to look at the damage we incurred from the power surge last Wednesday.  He set us up with an appointment tomorrow at Giant RV Recreation World in Winter Garden to see about getting our refrigerator fixed.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Having to break camp early is not a happy prospect, but it must be done.  We headed over to Giant RV for the inspection of our fridge.  The mechanic said it was the control board, but they would have to order one and they could have it by tomorrow.  That sounded like good news to us.  We were headed back to the campground, when I suggested we try going over to Cummings Repair Facility and maybe they would let us spent the night there so we would not have to break camp again and drive to another place. (Bob wanted to get our front brakes checked out). That worked out very well for us.  They were able to inspect and diagnosis our problem with our brakes.  Oil had leaked onto the brake drums, had gotten hot and glazed and ended up cracked.  They would have to be replaced.  But we were able to spent the night at their facility in the back of their lot where they have hook-ups for RV’s.  It was quite a site.   50 amp electric, water, paved site.  It was situated on a small lake (pond).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Had to be up by 6:30 am., so they could put our rig into the shop to pull the brakes.  They start work at 7:30 am. We went out to breakfast and then came back to sit in the RV Care Lounge at their facility.  We had put Spike in the car.  We were not real happy with that situation.  I was concerned about him not having access to his litter box or his food and water. 

At first they thought the brakes were from Belgium.  When they realized they were the wrong ones, they ordered shoes from the Cummings place in Michigan and would air freight them in over night at no expense to us and would be able to get them on tomorrow morning; so back to our site on the lake.  There was a beautiful sunset (picture  to follow.)Also got the call from Giant RV and said the card for the electrical panel was in and they could install it tomorrow.  This was two nights we could have stayed at Wekiwa State Park, which we had already paid for.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Up at 6:30 am, wait in the RV Care Lounge…should be done by noon.  We bought a soft-sided carrier for Spike so he will be easier to carry around when we have to move him.  He stayed in the lounge with us.  Good to their word they were done by noon, then paperwork and out by 1 pm.  And off we head to Giant RV to fix the fridge. By the time we get out of there, it looked too late for our drive over to Jonathan Dickinson State Park over in Jupiter, Fl., which is where we were supposed to be Thursday nite.  One more night won’t kill us.  This will give us a chance to see if the fridge is working properly before leaving town.  Cummings has graciously allowed us to stay one more night at their lovely facility.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Late last night, we realized our fridge was not cooling down, so Bob switched to gas to keep the food cold overnight.  This morning the temperature is reading in the 20’s !!.  That’s below freezing.  So, Bob did some checking and found out the  AC heating element was bad. He also found out that the thermister that controlled the temperature in the fridge was not plugged in correctly to the new contol board, which was causing the fridge to run constantly and therefore was getting too cold. He was able to correct the plug connection which would allow the fridge to cool correctly on propane.  So we called the adjuster and left a message we were on the move again. We left Cummings and headed over to Jonathan Dickinson State Park.  We decided to drive down US Hey 441.  In some parts of Florida there is nothing on that road and it is straight as an arrow.  A nice easy trip.  After stopping for lunch and diesel we arrived at the state park about 4:00 pm to warm weather.  Finally, SHORTS weather…at last.

Sunday, January 25, 2009
Carol's Birthday

 Today is my birthday!!!!  Most everyone called yesterday.  Betsy called from Hilo, Hawaii; first stop on her around the world cruise.  Mom and Daddy, Margie and Stephanie also called.  Tricia called today and I got to hear Rachel wish me a happy birthday.  She also sang the birthday song to me.  She is really growing in her vocabulary.

Sandy cooked breakfast and then we took off looking for the Lutheran Church and a quilt shop.  Then we drove over to the beach.  We are in Palm Beach County.  They have lots of free parking, rest rooms, playgrounds and paved access over to the beach.  All of that is much better than Wrightsville Beach.  But WB has better sand. Following that we drove up Jupiter Island.  Very lush and mansion style homes with private drives.

Sandy cooked steaks on the grill for dinner with baked potato and salad.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

Monday, January 26, 3009

Our time here was shortened by two days because of repairs.  We were going to do laundry today, but there are no facilities here for that.  So we drove down to the river and checked out the bike paths and trails and looked for the dump at the river campground since ours is closed due to a drain field collapse.  We also visited the education center.  They had a nice exhibit on the park.  When we return to the RV, Sandy went and rode his bike while I caught up with my TV programs.  It was too hot and sunny for me to ride my bike in the middle of the afternoon, and I didn’t have to feel like I was holding him back. Sticking to just the paved trails, he rode over 12 miles, which would have been too much for me.  There is always a breeze at this campground, which helps to keep the bugs at bay. It has been an absolutely beautiful day.  This campground is closing February 1, for complete renovation, which is needed because of all the damage from the hurricanes several years ago.  All the lush vegetation is gone.  Can’t wait to see how it will look when it is finished.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We are off again, today we are heading for COE Ortona Lock & Dam Campground.  This will be our second time here.  It’s got to be one of our favorite campgrounds.  To get there we drive west to Lake Okeechobee.  We stopped along the way to walk to the top of the levee to actually see the lake.  It really DOES EXIST! We took pictures to prove it.  We drove through Clewiston.  This is where US Sugar Corp. has agreed to sell their land back to the US government so that the government can return the land back into what should be The Everglades. It’s also our last stop at Wal-Mart to stock up on food supplies before we reach the campground.




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Last updated 01/31/09