Friday, February 27, 2015

Manatee RV Park, Ruskin, Florida

This photo was taken by my most recent upgrade - a dash cam.  I took the still after backing into our site and Joanie parked Hope in front of Phaeth.  The dash cam was invented for drivers in Europe especially Russia where proving that driving mishaps were "the other guy's fault" and becoming that way in this country, too.  It is hard to dispute video evidence.  Many motorhome owners have added this tool because bad people see the big shiny vehicle and see $ signs and risk their lives with a break check on us. 

We are parked in a section of still moveable RV's.  Most of the park is permanent.

There are  several "lakes" throughout the property and each has alligator warning signs.  I haven't seen any of the reptiles yet although Joanie has.

Sites are very close together.  You need to be careful putting out your awnings.

Last Saturday we pulled into this campground.  There are literally hundreds of these kinds of communities through out the United States.  Private RV or trailer parks with private streets that have been upgraded little over the years where people have become permanent residents.  They have parked their travel trailer, 5th wheel or single wide mobile home for the last time, putting it up on cinder blocks then adding rooms, skirts, roof, gutters and down spouts that make them look more like stick and brick houses than RVs.  In some cases all semblance of their former purpose is gone.  In a way it kind makes me sad but on the other hand I marvel at the ability of man to repurpose the environment or things he has made.

Somewhere under all the added structural elements is a travel trailer. 

This 5th wheel has an added room on the side, a little porch and steps.  Some day when they add a roof over the whole thing, add more walls, it will look like any other "Florida" home.

A small travel trailer with a slide out now has a skirt and a roof. 

Some of the remodeling is very nicely done.

This one kind of made me sad - Yes, that is an Airstream being digested.

At least half of the "perms" have a Florida license plate in the front window.  I don't know if the owner of the "home" is required to register the "vehicle" by law.

The closest post office is one.  Sun City, Florida incorporates a large area and it is near mostly rural Ruskin.  Only one post master, no waiting in line.  Efficient little post office.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Passport America Rally in Sarasota
Last Tuesday we arrived in Sarasota, Florida at the county fairgrounds to participate in the RV rally held by Passport America and left on Saturday morning.  This was only the third rally we have ever attended and it will be our last for awhile.  It was advertised as a "fun rally", a term we did not quite understand because we are still novices.  
Our very first rally was a large one, the FMCA Family Reunion held in Perry, GA last March.  We thought that this Passport America rally might be something similar.  It was not.  There were only a handful of vendors at the recent event and none really interested us.  At the FMCA rally we saw hundreds of vendors, seminars, motorhome manufacturers showing their wares and entertainment events; so many that we could not even attend them all.  For almost the same amount of money, the Passport America rally was very disappointing.  But we made the best of it and had fun with the other campers.

There was more than enough room at the fairgrounds.  The size of this event was disappointing.  Instead of hundreds of RVs, there was only a few dozen.

They did feed us each night, had coffee and doughnuts each morning and had live entertainment every evening.  RVers like to eat and dance.

This is Boots, an old friend.  We met Boots and his wife Joan at he rally and had a great time.

Winter hit Florida on February 19 and 20.  That's about how long winter lasts in Florida.  It was windy and the temperature almost went down to freezing one night.
Liz Bergton Collett's photo.
Saturday we drove about an hour north to Ruskin, Florida and found a spot at Manatee RV Park.  We have all the windows open and the awnings out.  Some of our neighbors in this RV park have their air conditioners on during the afternoons.  We will enjoy the warmth of this sub-tropical latitude for a while before turning on ours.
There are a few small "lakes" (more like ponds) in the campground each one occupied by it's own alligator.  I will try to get you some photos of the resident gators.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Movin' on...

Our stay in Ocala, about 3 weeks, has gone way too fast.  It was supposed to have been a "rest period" for us after all our time up in the frozen north.  However, the community here had us doing stuff we hadn't planned on so "resting" we did not do enough of and will have to be put off for a while because we will break camp tomorrow and spend the rest of the week BOONDOCKING.

Look, Ma!  No snow!

Ring around the moon one evening.

Lights around the camp. 
Valentines Day Dance at the rec center here in camp.  This photo is courtesy of  our friends Gary and Dawn.
We will drive South a few hours to Sarasota, Florida to an RV rally.  This event is sponsored by Passport America.  This organization offers RV directed benefits to members for a small premium.  Besides sponsoring these social get-togethers, Passport America offers 50% off camping at a lot of campgrounds which is the master reason for being a member.

Boondocking, AKA dry camping, simply means one uses the self-contained character of RV's and live "off the grid" for awhile.  Instead of being hooked up to electricity, we will make our own, use water from our own fresh water tank and hold our own waste water until several days later.  We go into a remarkable water conservation mode.  The trade out is that we will use more paper plates and paper towels than we do when living "on the grid". 

We will tell you more about the rally in the next post.

Oh, yeah! Have to tell you about the big hit of the Valentine's Day Dance:  The DJ played only old hits from the 50's and 60's and when he played "The Stripper" by David Rose this lady was moved to go out on the dance floor and do an improvisational routine (no items of clothing removed, of course).
One of the guys was so moved he ran up to her and shoved a dollar bill in her back pocket and the audience roared and gave her a standing ovation!  We had a blast from the past!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I confess...

I have been very remiss in paying attention to my blog.  But I have a good excuse, sort of...  We have been busy doing a thorough cleaning of the inside of Phaeth.  We have gone through more of our stuff and have made a deposit at Goodwill and I have made a contribution to my "rag bag". 

We also have been enjoying our selves thoroughly in the Florida sunshine.  We stayed in one place long enough to received our new foldable bicycles and have spent time getting reacquainted with a velocipede. We ride around the campgrounds stopping occasionally to talk; even to folks you have never met before because every RVer is a friend.  That's just the nature of RVing.  We all have the road in common.

In the RV community, being outdoors means you are available for conversation from any other RVer.  Even if you are reading a book, washing the dog, cooking on the grill -  everyone and anyone may say, "Hello!". Conversations can go on for several minutes or be just a quick, "How ya' doin'?"  So if you don't want to talk, go inside or pretend you are sleeping in your easy chair.

Many RV communities create their own social atmosphere.  The campers will schedule craft classes, movie nights, dances and institute free lending libraries of books and DVD's.  They put together health and fitness groups using the pool, shuffleboard, bocce ball, darts, horse shoes and other games of skill. The RV park only furnishes the pool and meeting room. 

Last night we danced to live music and had a blast.  The cortisone shots made me a dancin' fool.

Joanie stayed out on the dance floor while I gave my knees a rest.

Us old folks can MOVE, baby.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

6 More Weeks of...

Ok, this is might be rubbing salt into an open wound for some of you but "Greetings from Ocala!". Here is what happed this week:

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Backup

Back in January, while we were staying in Hardeeville, SC which is just north of Savannah, we took advantage of running our errands in Savannah and enjoying it's Southern charm.  We also had dinner one evening at one of the premier seafood restaurants in that city - Pearl's Saltwater Grille. Pearl's sits on the banks of a saltwater estuary with a panoramic view the salt marshes.  The sun was setting behind us, a couple of pelicans were taking advantage of the in-coming tide to provide their evening meal and provided our entertainment.  Our food was great, too.