Our Travel House

Our Travel House

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Last Day In Our Winter Paradise !

  Sunday April 27th should be our last day in our winter paradise, Matlacha Florida. Mother nature will be the only final deciding factor. We've been watching the weather forcasts closely and it's looking like a "go" so far.
   We pulled into the resort about a week before Thanksgiving 2013 and, as usual, winter has flown by. It's hard to believe our wheels haven't turned in 5+ months.
 Of course our last weekend here is loaded with plans. Got some evening music tonight and on Sunday we have a benefit we're attending. 
   Our friend, Paul, got surprised at 7AM on Friday as he was heading out to his last day of work. He's officially " RETIRED" now. A bunch of us barricaded the road with balloons and had party hats and noisemakers and poppers. He had to have a surprise sendoff that day.
  Fellow travelers will know that there's a bit of prepatory work involved prior to spring travel after sitting for awhile and that's just what we've been doing the past few days. I always find it amazing how much stuff needs to be restored to it's normal place. Our patio was sure set up for having outdoor fun. Grill, smoker, tables, chairs, etc. were well used this winter.  It looks rather empty now. The last thing to do is check all the tires air pressures and secure inside stuff.
    Tires checked, only had to add air to one on the MH but the two new tires I put on the trailer had not been inflated by the tire shop correctly. I special ordered heavy duty trailer tires and correct inflation is 65#'s, and as is usual nowadays, they only put 32#'s in them. I thought they looked kinda low after I remounted them ! What's happening to "pro's" ?? You gotta double check everything! Surely would have caused trouble down the road.
   Been watching the storm forcasts and I think we'll stay South of the trouble area. Only travelling as far North as Spring Hill, Fl. It looks like the storms will be further up than that.
   Our friend, Todd, said he's cooking dinner tonight. Yahoo.
Won't have to wash dishes in the A.M. !!
   We'll be saying our goodbyes tonight and in the morning.
 We always get a bit emotional but we'll see our Florida friends again this fall.
  Are ya ready for some travel blogs again?? I'm ready to write 'em !!
  Takeoff planned at 10 AM Monday and a 3 hour trip to Spring Hill should be a piece of cake.
Charlie & Heather


   Now that we have a few days of driving in since we left our island, we're grinnin' cause we're rolling for the summer.
 It's nice to enjoy some new scenery after being "moored" for 5+ months. It seems refreshing again and again every year.
   We drove, Monday, from Matlacha, Fl. to Spring Hill, Fl. and ordered some repair parts then spent the night at Cody's Catfish Pond RV Park just North of there. Tuesday we went 
back to Harold's Repair Shop and had 2 new front tires, an engine battery, a new starter and heat shield installed and a few other minor things done. Had the rear brakes adjusted too , that was really noticeable. As usual, the work those folks do is incredible and affordable. We always wait til we get nearby this area, if we can, to have stuff done there due to their professionalism. Highly recommend them.
    Tuesday, a quick drive North to Homosassa, Fl. and a 1 night stay at another favorite stop, Manatee Pub & RV. It's always a pleasure and we saw a lot of old friends there. Would have liked to stay longer but we've got more repair work planned.
   Up and running in the morning after goodbyes and a 90 mile drive to High Springs, Fl. ( what the heck does that mean???)   We had planned on staying at an RV Park called
River Rise Resort but after we pulled in and scoped it out decided to leave and find somewhere else to stay. That campsite was " in the ruff" to say the least. Now, we're not at all fussy but it was " the pitts "....Certainly not what they advertised.
  We've been communicating with a place called 'Waltrip RV" in regards to replacing our generator. Our Onan Genny has seen better days and it'll be easier to replace than repair. That's the main reason we came to this area.  Since it was nearby, we stopped to meet them and see what kind of plan we could come up with. Going to finalize some arrangements in the A.M..
   Now we had to find another camp for the night. Just 2 miles North we found a Florida State park called O'leno S.P. so  we boogied up there and found a spot for a couple days.
Nice, in the woods setting. Nice for under $20 a night !! The ranger said we would have to vacate Friday.
   I'll guess the next few days we'll be busy updating our generator so we can get back to boondocking. Kinda miss that ! One of these days we'll probably go solar.( maybe on our next rig.
  Holy Crap!! Just had a large tree limb come crashing down !!! It fell in between our rig and the trailer. Kinda big too, about the size of your arm and 6 ft long. No damage, luckily!! That certainly got our attention!!
 Our friends, Jerry & Kathy, are in the Florida panhandle and have had a LOT of rain. After seeing the flood pictures at their park I'm wondering if'n they oughta have pontoons installed on their 5th wheel !!! Hope the water receeds soon!
Be safe, my friends !!
  Heather & I are definitely in our element in the woods here.
It's quite a change from being parked on the ocean all winter.
  I'm hoping the nasty spring storms leave quickly. Sure don't want to get into that mess when we move further North.
Charlie & Heather.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

End of April approaches !

   Here we are nearing the end of April ! Temperatures here in SW Florida are approaching the mid 80's regularly. We've kicked the AC on about noon every day.
   We've been getting a little pre-travel packing and organizing done every day for a week now to prepare for our summer travels. It's amazing how much "stuff" was out of place !
  The patio, of course, had all our outside cooking and smoking gear spread out. I power washed and scrubbed all of it yesterday and we loaded it up in the trailer this morning before it got too hot. The trailer can get pretty warm baking in the sun.
  I had to pull the entire rig & trailer forward about 12 feet to gain access to the rear trailer ramp. That's the first time we moved it in 5+ months.
  I purchased 2 new tires for the trailer and put them on a couple days ago. Decided the original tires were of cheap quality and noticed some sidewall cracks after only 20 months! It's amazing how poor those tires were! This time I bought 10 ply trailer tires as they have more rigid  sidewalls.
   I bought this trailer because it was " made in Michigan " and have been very disappointed with it's quality. There's been a number of issues with it.
  Had a surprise visit by my friend, Jean C and her daughter Amy and her grandbaby ! We haven't seen each other for 10+ years although we chat on FB regularly. They were staying nearby and stopped in. Nice visit.
   We had a great park party last Easter weekend. Our friend Carl made up a double smoked, rum infused ham with mashed potatoes and a baked bean casserole. His banana pies were great too.
   Heather and I completed out annual physicals and the numbers were good so no follow up appointments means we can leave anytime now.
   Our "jello" plan when we head North is :
   1- chase 75 degrees
   2- make a few stops in Florida for visits with friends.
   3- Annual physical  & some minor repairs for our rig, Rolling Earthquake, in Spring Hills, Fl.
   4- Have the generator fixed ( keeps stalling) or install a new one. (It's a Onan and it's 30 years old) Getting near impossible to get parts.
   5- Head West to SW Mississippi.
That ought to use up a few weeks then we'll go up the Mississippi River.
   Once we get rolling again we'll be updating the blog more often.


PS- tried to load some pics but it's a no go today !!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

PREPARING for the summer.

 Seems like the winter has flown bye so quickly. I guess that's why we come back to "our" island every winter. You can't find any place else to stay entertained and occupied like our wonderful Matlacha !
  I'm a regular reader of other's blogs and I can feel the anticipation they write about at this time of the year. If you wonder what I'm saying you should go to  www.hitchitch.com and see what "us" travelers are experiencing. But, let me warn you, that's how we got interested in our present lifestyle in the first place. You see, there's thousands of " us gypsies" out here, not just retirees either!
  Last blog I said we were going to get rid of our storage unit and guess what? It's DONE ! We did a yard sale and gave away what was left. YAHOO...that'll put $1200 dollars a year back in our pockets. ( HMMM...300 gallons of gas?)
  Everyone here says the fishing changes when the water gets warmer. We're seeing that as this is the latest we've ever stayed. The mullet fishing is getting into high gear. One of our friends caught and gave us about 30 nice mullet which we cleaned and smoked. Man, that's some good eating !! They clean easily like a trout and are really tasty.
   This will be the first Easter weekend we've spent here. Got a community cookout planned. Any of our RV Park get togethers have always been fun and we're looking forward to another great day.
   Heather has been having a blast with her crafts this year and has even made a few dollars selling her custom jewelry. She started a facebook page called "Heather's custom jewelry". It's all one of a kind stuff. I keep telling her to ask for more money but she's happy just covering her costs.
   On Monday I'm going to the tire store nearby and getting new tires for the trailer. I can't believe the 1 1/2 year old tires are in such poor shape. All cracked and worn. Never saw tires wear out that quick.
  " PREPARE" is the key word for the week as we only have a few weeks til takeoff for the summer. We had the oil changed and a grease job done just before we parked for the winter. The rig hasn't moved since Thanksgiving and except for starting it up a few times we certainly haven't worn anything out. I did top off the batteries about a month ago and today I greased up the trailer bearings. I'll double check all the fluid levels sometime this week. Other than that we only have to store our outdoor gear and secure everything in the trailer.
  I'm glad we hesitated on our takeoff date this year as the weather has been crappy up North. All our friends that got hitchitch early have commented on how nasty it was back up North.
  We hope all of you have a happy & holy Easter weekend. Enjoy your family time.
Charlie & Heather

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Migration has started.

   April !! Already !! Wow !!
   I know our Northern friends are still cold and are getting tired of winter. But, here in Florida it's stating to get very warm, daytime temps of near 80F !
   We can see the main road in front of our Resort and have been noticing a lot of RVs headed off the island. Just this week we had 3 families leave our park. My friends that were in Wachula, Fl. said their county park only had a dozen or so rigs left out of 150+.
   I'd love to leave but I'm in no hurry to catch up to winter so we'll stay for 3 or 4 weeks more. Besides, the daily rates don't get back to sanity levels til the end of April. Plus we'll miss all that crazy traffic in the Northbound lanes.
   A  new friend of ours, Gary, pulled out about 10AM today and is taking a slow route out of Florida and we wish him luck as he travels. He's a newbie to RV'ing and his 40ft motorhome is a lot of rig. We enjoyed meeting him and his doggie companion, Bear..
   We got to start having more bonfires as we have a lot of wood to burn. The Pine Island Pine burns like Oak! Lots of BTU's. It's fun when everyone gathers around the fire and tells lies to each other (grin) ! Did you know a bonfire makes beer taste better ??
   I'm hoping to do some scrounging around in an RV Salvage yard on our way North. There's 1 enroute and they let ya get your own stuff. ( Boy, does that bring back memories of the old days!) I found a great internet site for salvage yards and I love scrounging.
   We have a small storage garage here in Florida and after a quick inventory I've come to the conclusion that $500 of "stuff " just doesn't justify $1200 a year storage fees. Time to dump some more treasures!
   We're finally coming up with a plan for the summer and it'll be great to get back on the road. Last summer we travelled 8400 miles and I bet it'll be about the same this summer. Gonna travel back up the Mississippi River and take advantage of Corps of Engineers (COE) parks again. We found them to be well cared for and very affordable ($8/nite) with my senior discount.
   Hope to see our Michigan friends & family and will make a stop in Paducha,Ky. to see Ms. Heather's kids too. We actually have several folks to stop and see.
  The fishing scene here is changing with the water getting warmer. We are recently seeing many more fish and a wider variety. The water clarity has improved dramatically and our "luck" is getting better. Came up with some innovative ways to catch fish too! My "live bait box" had been handy to have, not too many bait shops open at 10PM.
   The temptation to buy a car this winter is finally waning. Phew!! That was a tough temptation to get around! Thank goodness for Dennis and Archie loaning me a vehicle for shopping! Wonderful friends!! 
   Our resident manager and friend, Carl, has , as usual, made our stay here very enjoyable. Glen, the owner, has been very friendly too !!
   Okay, enough blah blah blah for today!