Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Gathering of friends and moving on

Our last couple days at Wilderness RV Resort were kindof rainy and dismal, but we still managed to get outside during breaks in the rain.  We finally made it over to Sweet Jane’s to check it out . . . and walked into whoopie pie heaven!

There were traditional whoopie pies and whoopie cookies with cream centers,


and then there were whoopie pies and whoopie cookies with ice cream centers – YUM!


Bryce tried a snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich, and I had a whoopie pie with cherry ice cream . . . they were both good!

On Thursday, Howard and Linda planned a small informal gathering of RV-Dreamers.  We met Tina & Steve from Ohio, not yet fulltiming, Lee & Edie, fulltimers since 2008 (I think), and Susan and Gary, new fulltimers who own a lot in Wilderness Resort.  Susan has been following my blog for years (She said – I know you – Roaming Free! -- that’s pretty cool when you meet somebody and they already know you!!).  Then there was the 3 of us, Howard & Linda, and Kris & Dan, who although we just met them this week, we feel like we’ve known forever! 

Everyone brought snacks and drinks, and we just hung out and talked while the rain poured down!

Lee & Dan, Linda, Susan and Edie


Steve, Tom and Howard



Howard was looking a little lonely over there,

so Bryce went over to talk sports with him!


Lots of RV maintenance talk going on in this little group!!


We had a really nice week here – met up with several old friends and made some new friends, but today it was time for us to move on.  We had a beautiful travel day, and a nice short drive – 77 miles!

We were all set up at Camper’s Holiday Travel Park in Brooksville, FL in plenty of time for me to call into a meeting and get some work done in the afternoon.

Camper's Holiday - site 37

It’s a nice little park with a campground on one side, and a neighborhood of park model campers and small homes on the other side.

Our neighborhood corner









In the middle is a park and a nice big pool.

At the pool

We might have warm enough weather this weekend to try it out!

There’s also a small fishing lake,













although apparently there’s a resident alligator to watch out for – we haven’t seen it yet!

Do not feed the alligator!

We’ve got a fun weekend planned – places to go and more old friends to catch up with – looking forward to it!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Around the Resort and dinner with RV-Dreamer friends


After a rainy Friday and a chilly Saturday, the weather took a turn for the better on Sunday, and we had sunny skies and warmer temperatures.

Tom and I decided to take a bike ride around the park and check out the bike path down by the river.     Bike Trail


The first section of the trail is maintained for golf carts, so it’s wide and smooth and clear of obstacles.  Our hybrid bikes did pretty good – we just had to watch out for occasional tree roots.






The river was peaceful on Sunday afternoon,

At the river











and we were the only ones on the trail.

Tom on the trail

Obstacles on the trail


After a short distance, the maintaned section of trail ended and we found ourselves on a narrow trail, often muddy, and sometimes with obstacles in our path.



We still did OK, and our bikes made it all the way back to the river at the beginning of the trail.





Monday afternoon was even nicer, with temperatures near 70 degrees and bright sunny skies.  Our friends, Walt & Tina, who we first met at the RV-Dreams Reunion Rally and have met up with several times since then, came by for a visit.

We sat out in the sun getting caught up for awhile, and then took a walk through the RV Resort.  We stopped to check out one of the pools.













Pretty nice!


There are several of these furry-looking trees in the park.  Much of the trunk and main branches are completely covered by air plants.


It looks really cool!





We walked through the motorhome section of the park, and down to the river again.  20160125_145018

There was a guy fly fishing on the bank this time.



We decided to walk along the first part of the trail.

Balancing Act

Bryce saw an orange in a tree, and decided he would try to knock it out.  With a little help from Tom, he got it!

Trying to knock down an orange

It was really nice to get caught up with Walt & Tina, hear about their travel plans and their new pickelball habit!

Shivering Frosty


On the way back to our site, we passed this guy . . . with the temperatures warming up this week, I think it’s almost time for him to get packed away!







We were all getting hungry, so we caught up with more RV-Dreamers, Kristina & Dan, and all went to a local Bar & Grill for burgers.  Most of us had the Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger, which was really good!

Dinner with friends

It was a great afternoon, spent with good friends!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

3 Months in our new home

Astor Landing - site 11

So, three months ago today, we wrote the check for the new RV and drove out of the Dealer’s lot.  It was a big change from the 5th Wheel that we had for 6 years, and had lived in fulltime for the last three.

There have been challenges . . .

  • We’re still getting trying to organize our “stuff” so that the things we need more frequently are more accessible . . . and trying to find the most efficient place to put everything, especially kitchen stuff.  Our 5th wheel had LOTS of kitchen cabinets, but now I have appliances outside and pantry stuff in the hallway by the washer and dryer.
  • Our bikes are exposed to the weather now, and it’s taking a toll on them.  They used to travel in the garage, and get stored under the 5th wheel when we were parked, so they were pretty well protected from the weather.
  • Casey was a challenge to have with us (her crate took up a huge space in the living room, and her fur got everywhere), but now she’s living with Nick, so things are better.
  • Bryce has the couch for his bed now, instead of his loft, but that seems to be working out OK – he hasn’t complained too much!
  • We love the ride in the motorhome, but I’m still a nervous passenger . . . especially on narrow roads with no shoulder . . . and we seem to be on a lot of them lately!! 

There are also many things that we love about the motorhome . . .

  • We have a lot more living space in the living room and kitchen – plenty of seating and counter space.  We even have room for Nicolas to sleep on an air mattress on the floor when he visits us!
  • I had thought about swapping my convection oven from the 5th wheel in place of the one in the motorhome, but then decided against it.  I figured I’d get used to it eventually – this one has a turntable, and my old one had stationary shelves.  I’m glad I kept this one – it actually cooks really well, better than the other one, I think, and once I bought a couple of round cookie sheets I’m even having better luck with cookies.
  • We LOVE the residential refrigerator . . . even though we need to be VERY careful to remember to latch the doors when we travel, and I often move things around when we travel to minimize the potential for things falling over or becoming projectiles the first time the doors are opened.  It has so much space, and we can actually buy ice cream now!  Our icemaker stopped working, so we’ll have to get that fixed . . . although a couple of ice trays work pretty well, too.
  • I wasn’t completely convinced that I needed a washer and dryer, because in 3 years of fulltiming I never really minded using laundomats, but this motorhome had a stacked washer and dryer, so I started using it . . . and I LOVE it!  It works great, and I love being able to throw in a load of clothes whenever I want to!
  • We’re still figuring out the Aqua-Hot system (diesel burner –vs- 110 burner) for heat and water heating, but we NEVER run out of hot water, so I guess it’s working pretty well.

We’re still figuring out what’s “normal” with the coach, so we’re going to a Monaco Rally next month and that should help.  After that, it’s just a matter of time to get familiar with everything.  Overall, we’re really happy with the change we made, and think we made a good choice.

We’re still shopping for a “toad”, and researching what makes the most sense.  For now, Bryce drives the car (he prefers driving separately anyway) and runs interference for us in traffic.  We’ll probably make a change by the time he leaves for college in the fall.

OK, so that’s the update on the motorhome.  We’re still in central Florida, enjoying somewhat warmer weather . . . although it’s a little chilly this weekend!

After our service appointment in Deland (which was completed in 4 hours, rather than the 3 days I had allowed for in our schedule), we moved over to a small campground in Astor, FL, on the St. John’s River.

There was just one loop of sites around a pond,


Looking out the bedroom window

Campers around the pond










and they had one 50 amp site left for us.  They also have a marina, with quite a few boats.  Apparently the fishing is pretty good in the river - there are a lot of fishermen in the area.  We took a walk down to the marina, where we spotted a Great Blue Heron hanging out.   

 Blue Heron










Taking off

On the dock










We enjoyed a couple of beautiful days there, and gathered every afternoon with a group of campers . . . most of them from Michigan . . . what a small world!

With the river and all the channels and ponds around, there were lots of birds that hung out in the campground.

White Heron


Drying his wings










We were due to leave on Friday, and there were big storms headed our way . . . so our plan was to get up early and get on the road before the rain.  We didn’t have far to go (only 30 miles), but the dirt site and unpaved roads weren’t going to hold up well in a rain storm.

We were up early . . . but not early enough to beat the rain!  We did manage to get a small window of time without rain to get the water and electric hookups undone, and we got on the road.

We drove in rain the whole way to the next campground, and set up in the rain, but at least we were on pavement  . . .  and the rain didn’t last all day, like the weatherman said it was going to!

Wilderness RV Resort


Howard and Linda (RV-Dreams) are right across the street from us . . . that was a fun coincidence . . . and there are some other RV-Dreamers here, too, so we’ll get to do lots of visiting this week. 

It’ll be fun!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Little Bit of Hiking on a Cool Day

Monday morning was chilly (especially by Florida standards!), but by early afternoon it had warmed up to almost 60 degrees and it was a nice, sunny afternoon.  We decided to get in a little hiking at a couple of nearby parks.

Our first stop was a Valousia County Park, Green Spring Park.

There was a paved walkway to the spring,  Nature Walk

and another longer nature trail through the surrounding woods.

We stopped at the spring first, where a group of teenage boys had apparantly just taken a swim.

Green Spring


I think those trees reaching out over the water are just too tempting to resist!

At the Spring Overlook













This large tree near the overlook looked like people had been climbing on it for many years – you can almost see footprints worn into the tree. 

Old tree over the spring

I asked Bryce if he wanted to climb up and jump off the tree, but he didn’t want to – too cold, he said!


We continued our hike on the nature trail,

Look at that face!

Love Bryce's hiking outfit!

and then circled back around to the spring to claim the Earthcache there by answering a few questions.  Geocaching is so much easier now that I have the app on my phone . . . although I still can’t read a compass!

From Green Spring Park, we circled around Lake Monroe and picked up Highway 46 in Sanford to the south entrance to Lower Wikeva River Preserve State Park.     DSC_0092


Stop 2 - Lower Wikeva River Preserve

There were several trails at this location, including the Sand Hill Loop, which is actually two loop trails that can be hjiked in a figure 8 pattern for a total of 2 miles.


We needed to start out on the orange trail, pick up the yellow loop and then halfway through switch to the white loop.  After completing the white loop, we would get back onto the yellow trail and take it back to orange and the trailhead.  Simple – right?

This was described on the “Florida’s Best Hikes” website as a “classic example of a sandhill trail”, but we weren’t sure what that meant . . . and we’re still not sure!


For the most part, we were hiking amongst the pine trees, on a pine needle covered trail.

WE saw lots of little mounds of sand that looked like ant hills, but we weren’t sure if those were the “sand hills” that the trail was named for.

Walking through the pine forest

We saw pine trees of every size --

from tiny sprouts that look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book,

Young Pine Tree

More young pines

to slightly taller ones,

Slightly bigger

and old trees without any life left in them.

Old Pine


We completely missed the white loop – not sure how – but were ready to get going when we got back to the trailhead.  It was starting to cool off, and we needed to start getting packed up when we got back to the RV. 

We’re hoping to get in more hiking this winter as we travel around Florida, so we’re off to a pretty good start!