Jan 10 - Feb 28 - Not Doing Much in Central Florida
Seems kind of silly to take up a whole report about not doing much for a couple of months, but here goes. Why, you say? This Wizard of Id cartoon from a few weeks ago pretty much says it:
Having completed our holiday trip, we settled back into our routine, such as it was, at the 1000 Trails Orlando Resort (1). The day before we left for the west coast, we had a new satellite dish installed on the RV roof. Unfortunately, the dish was defective. So over the holidays, Al set up a warranty repair, had new parts shipped to Florida, and on our first Monday back, the techs showed up and put the new parts in. That didn't go particularly well, but after a few hours of fiddling and phone calls, all seemed well. Turns out it wasn't, but we didn't know that until later.
We went back to the eye clinic in Clermont, where Al picked up his new glasses, and Judy had her eye exam. And we began the process of disposing of the old satellite dish. Al eventually sold some parts to a guy in North Carolina, and some other parts to a guy in Oregon, so we hauled that stuff to the UPS store and shipped it off. The rest went into the recycling dumpsters at the RV park. Mostly, we didn't do much. Judy made her daily visits to the neighborhood Curves for her exercises, we rode our bikes around the RV park, read a lot of books, ate out more than we should, and generally congratulated ourselves on not having to deal with all the snow and sub-freezing temperatures some parts of the country were getting. Life is good.
On January 21, our paid stay at the 1000 Trails Orlando Resort completed, we hooked up and drove the 69 miles to the 1000 Trails Peace River Resort at Wauchula FL (2) for a week's stay. We'd spent a couple weeks at Peace River back in 2008, so we kind of knew what to expect. One day we had a fairly brisk wind, and afterwards our new satellite dish wasn't working right - it's supposed to pick up three satellites, and was only getting two. After multiple phone calls to the tech support people in Iowa, it was decided that maybe something had bent, and that more new parts were in order. Thus began a diagnosis process that would take another six weeks. Maybe more.
Part of the Peace River park is in the flood plain of the Peace River, and thus has pretty poor drainage. So after a torrential rain, we started noticing people needing tow trucks to get out of their sites - their rigs had sunk into the mud. Fortunately, we were able to get out without needing a tow. And so . . .
On Jan 28, we drove the 69 miles back to 1000 Trails Orlando (1) for two weeks and started another round of satellite dish fixing. More parts were shipped in and replaced, but to no avail. The saga continued.
There's a very popular, very large flea market that happens the first Monday of every month in the town of Webster FL, so on Feb 2 we drove over to see what it was all about. Al unloaded one of our mobility scooters and we began exploring. And then the skies open up. Wind and rain ensued. We managed to buy a couple of things we needed, and managed to stay under roof most of the time. But as we were getting ready to head back to the car (parked about a half-mile away), the scooter died. So we pushed it back to the car, loaded it up and went back home. The weather was kind of spotty the rest of our two weeks in Orlando, so Al didn't have much opportunity to trouble-shoot the scooter.
After we'd replaced almost every part on the satellite dish, the decision was made that we'd have to ship the whole thing back to Iowa for diagnosis and repair. So on our last day, the techs squeezed in another call to pull the whole dish off. We were hopeful that we'd get it back before our hoped-for spring migration northward. Meantime, we needed a backup, so Al ordered a smaller portable dish that didn't get all the hi-def channels, but at least got something. We had it shipped to our next destination.
Which, on Feb 11, was back to Peace River (2). Having seen what the mud could do to other folks, we were especially careful as we chose a site. We chose badly, and got mired down while trying to park. Fortunately, we were stuck across the street from a good Samaritan with a big pickup truck. He said he could get us out - he'd been pulling people out all week. That was both encouraging and troubling. But he hooked up a big chain and slowly dragged us back onto solid ground. We drove around looking for other sites and finally pulled into one that had just been successfully vacated by a rig larger than ours.
The following Monday we drove about 60 miles to Port Charlotte FL to have dinner with Al's brother Dave and wife Deb, who were in Florida for a week to both escape the Michigan winter and visit with Deb's relatives. We met up at a Longhorn Steakhouse, which was having some problems that night. Turned out our dinner took a full three hours. But we did get in a lot of visiting, and at the end the restaurant discounted our checks. And as we were leaving, the manager gave us a $25 gift card, which Dave handed over to us, saying there were no Longhorn Steakhouses in western Michigan. It was only later that we read the fine print and found that the card would also be honored by other restaurants - Red Lobster and Olive Garden among them. Sorry, Dave.
Our plan had been to return to Orlando after a week at Peace River, but there were no vacancies. So we managed to find a site at Toby's RV Resort at Arcadia FL (3), about 20 miles south of Wauchula. We checked in on Feb 18 to a park that is mostly long-term residents, many of them from Quebec. The park's signage was in both English and French. Lots of friendly people. We visited the local Presbyterian Church in Arcadia, where we were made most welcome.
Al finally got a chance to start trying to get the dead scooter revitalized. A call to the vendor we bought it from was not encouraging - he said the factory had "become unresponsive", and wished us luck. So we called the factory, who handed us off to their distributor in Tampa. They said they could and would diagnose and repair the scooter. So we drove the 90 miles to Tampa and handed it off. "Give us a week or so", they said.
After a couple of unusual "freeze warning" nights when we needed our furnace, we decided we'd better make sure our propane tank was full, so we had it topped off. We figured spending $3.50 a gallon for propane was a pretty good way to make sure it wouldn't get cold again. And it didn't.
After 10 days at Toby's, on Feb 28, we hooked up and headed back to 1000 Trails Orlando (1). It was an interesting couple of months - the rainiest winter in memory, according to Floridians. But the weather finally turned warm, spring had sprung, and life was good.
Judy took only a few pictures during these two months, and we've put a baker's dozen of them into a mini slideshow. Check them out here if you choose.