Peter & His Stealth RV


It looks nice and idyllic, doesn’t it?  Somehow horse farms have that effect on me.  I’m not an equestrian; I don’t ride and I don’t bet on ‘em,  but those long fences and open grassy fields sure do look inviting.  Sunday, as we drove into horse country I was feeling pretty mellow.  Mellow and stealthy.   Yup.  Stealthy — and that’s not a term used easily with a guy my size.  I tend NOT to be very stealthy.  But Sunday’s drive over to Reddick had me feeling as if we snuck into Florida without having been caught!

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Sometimes it’s more than perception that we travel under a rain cloud… the only significant rain today is where we’re driving!

In my lifetime I have probably spent less time in Florida & Alabama than any other of the 48 contiguous states — but I have experienced Florida traffic, most recently in ’12 when we did a month long auto trip to the state. There were cars to spare on that trip and traffic to make you pull your hair out.

Sunday — well, on Sunday for our last 120 mile drive in the coach for what we’re planning to be three months — the roads were practically empty, we didn’t go through any significant cities, and it really was as if we were driving some stealth RV and sneaking into the populated part of the state!  I like.  I like.

I fueled up for the last time in the next 3 months in Perry. We were down to almost 1/2 a tank from our last top off @ $1.98, and I won’t complain about $2.05 for diesel.

The continuing, nagging rain stopped just before we pulled from the campground over to the convenience store adjacent to fill our tankJan 3 16.  And we stayed dry all the way to Reddick.  The threatening radar capture failed to drench us and for that we were thankful.  However the roads were wet and by the time we pulled in the car looked like it had been through a mud storm.

Initial impression?

I guess it’s more of a thing for RV park offices to be closed on Sunday’s here than it is in S Texas, but upon arrival we found instructions for where to camp, etc., taped to the office door.  We don’t normally spend much time at commercial RV parks (this last few months being the exception) and closed-office-Sundays are not a big part of our experience.

Plus the fact that we rarely travel on a Sunday — so checking in on a Sunday is even rarer. That we have traveled each of the last three Sundays is completely unheard of for us.  In 4 years of fulltiming those are the only Sundays we have traveled to the best of my recollection.

After unhooking our tow in the arrivals lane we found our site, and started settling in for the winter. About 10 minutes after arriving it started raining again.  Our neighbor to the North is friendly — or he’s lonely.  He sent his wife back home to Upstate NY before Christmas, wifey’s mother had a stroke and I think he’s pining for his partner because as soon as we drove in he was outside to chat with  us even while we were still setting up.

close to the interstate
From the back of the property it’s only about 400 yards to the Interstate — yet it’s surprisingly quiet.

Our site has a concrete pad, but the park has to be 20 or 30 years old as all of the concrete pads that I have seen are getting pretty well broken up.  There are a lot of mature trees with Spanish moss hanging from them.  It’s really quite a picturesque place I guess.  Nice enough that I think I’ll like being here.  We are literally adjacent to the Interstate (I-75).

With the trees and the intervening RV’s between us and the county road that runs alongside the property for access to the park I have to look hard between other RV’s to even see the light traffic on the county road.  We can’t see the Interstate, and we only get glimpses of the sky to the North.  I’m not sure what it is with us and campgrounds that inhibit views of the Sunrise but we seem to find them without trying.  Highland Ridge is like that, and our entire 10 months on the Oregon Coast were like that.  All the campgrounds on the Mississippi have impediments to the East. And even the campground we stayed at in Frisco CO kept us from seeing the sunrise.  Sheesh…. gimme a break.  I’m going to have to start asking about sunrises when we look for RV parks!

I don’t think we make it much over 50º Sunday but hey, it’s a lot better than back home and I don’t have shovel rain.  We are also on an incline — and about 1/2 way up a gradual hill — so I doubt we’d have to worry about flooding unless they had a Noah-esque deluge.

I had been told that this is horse country.  I had no idea what to expect and with the presence of the horse farms I really do feel like we snuck into Florida.  About 12 miles before our arrival we turned off the US Highway onto a country road; narrow and a little twisty.  We quickly transitioned from flat terrain to lightly rolling hills and suddenly we were IN horse country.  The change was really quite dramatic;  like turning a page from a lower class rural neighborhood to a decidedly upper class world of genteel horses and owners.  Moreover, we drew closer to the campground we didn’t pass through any towns. Suddenly after turning onto yet another country road we had arrived.  This was so antithetic to the clichéd Florida people talk about that I was quite taken aback — pleasantly.

Ocala North MapThere are about 130 RV sites here, as well as another +30 park models.  Considering how little we knew about this place when we made our reservation I’m quite happy with what we found.  I was really uncomfortable about the fact that there were few photos on their website — I like to SEE where I’m going.  But reality is OK too, and I can see it just fine now.  🙂

Not so happy about not being able to find a DISH signal at this writing.  And the Verizon cell signal is only 1 bar.  There’s LTE here but the park WiFi is exceedingly slow and even my hot spot (without being boosted) is pretty kludgy.  Overall? Generally content.

On the positive side, we aren’t cheek by jowl with our neighbors.  I’ve got about 15’ on one side and about 12’ on the other to the extended awnings of our neighbors.  Compared to some RV parks where you can get your coffee cupped filled by your neighbor in his kitchen without even leaving your lounge — this is really nice.  Perhaps, it is not quite as roomy as Palmdale but it’s definitely a comfortable spacing.

For another thing, it’s not a strict grid layout.  That’s partly due to the geography of the property.  A grid would not work here without having hacked some wonderful old trees — so there’s a reasonable amount of tree cover throughout the park.  We had asked for and understood ours would be a site open to the southern sky — we aren’t tree covered but there’s a gorgeous few tall trees obstructing our satellite view.  Is it enough to make us fuss over it?  I don’t know;  I doubt it. We may just be satisfied with the local TV channels, ignore the slight misrepresentation, and get out our signal booster — particularly because it would be hard to find an alternative campground at this late date and I don’t want to go through that.  I’m ready to relax for a while.

Upon arrival I noticed that this park like every one has it’s maintenance issues.  There was a sign posted on the office door that the pool heater is currently broken and that a new heater is on order — you know how those things go — sometimes it can take a long time to get ordered parts. 😳  I remember last winter at Palmdale the same thing happened and the residents got mighty upset in short order!

We didn’t go snooping Sunday.  The weather will be nicer tomorrow and it will be more fun to look around on a semi-sunny day (so we are promised).

bicycleI found a place in Gainesville called the Recycled Bicycle — we might go looking for bikes while we’re here.  We’ve been talking about that for a while.  Not sure if we’ll break down and do it, but it’s under consideration.  So many RV’ers we know carry their bikes along, and it always looks so much fun, but we need to find a simple one for Peg who doesn’t want to have to think about changing gears.  Then again, this place is a little bit hilly and any kind of bike path will be a long way away.  From here we go to Highland Ridge where the whole campground is hilly and there aren’t aEasy Does Itny bike paths for quite a distance — so maybe this isn’t the right year to add more weight and ‘stuff’ to be carried about.  We’ll see.  I sure do envy bikers when I seem them pedaling past.  Bad Peter!  Bad Peter!  Thou shalt not envy.

Now that we’re here there are things we want to do, but we aren’t going to go crazy about always DOING. I have a library of books I can read, projects I can undertake, places to see and go, and we’re going to tackle as many of them as the moment suggests.  Easy Does It.  (That might be an AA slogan but hey, we all have our addictions and sometimes being busy is my drug of choice.)

Adventure Zone
Without setting an arbitrary limit this is about our exploration zone for the winter. Far enough to explore in a day…. And by the way — I doubt we’ll do ANYTHING in Orlando or Kissimmee — we’ll let the Disney-ites have that!

It took us three weeks to get here.  That’s about what we’ll have in the Spring when we head back North again.  It was a comfortable pace that we might have done a little differently had we left earlier in the season.  (different route) With three months ahead of us I have no idea how we’ll return, but we have a long time to think about that.  Something different would be nice.

Thanks for stopping by.  I’ll try to get photos of the new campground as soon as the weather dries and we get some sun.  I also want to drive that road we took to get here and show you some of the horse farms/ranches.  But we can talk about that and other things tomorrow.

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12 Comments

  1. Love it! Yes, that route you took is about as peaceful as they get. If it were in NC, you’d expect to see Andy and Opie walking along the road with a fishing pole. :).

    If you are bike shopping, see if you can at least get Peg to try a 3 speed or 5 speed. Something with only one speed, like you said, is hard to ride hills on. Diana and I have an 8 gear internal hub on our trikes, and the shifter on each is like a motorcycle throttle. It has 8 distinct ‘clicks’ as you turn it. Very simple. And don’t forget to invest in an article of day-glo clothing and a helmet. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you and Peg are finally settled in, at last. I will be interested to see your side trips in this area in future weeks. We’ve made a few trips to Florida but never really explored the area you are in. We absolutely loved Sanibel Island, though. Not sure why we have never been back either. Enjoy!

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    1. We are settled in. We are gradually feeling our way around; we did our third short little drive around the area today.

      On lesson we have learned already is that for who we are and the kind of things we’d like to explore we are probably a little far away from the areas we’d most like to explore — but that’s what happens when you make plans for Florida Too close to the beginning of January. Although, having said that we only had to pay one month at a time — if we found some place better suited we could move if we had the motivation to do so. Lifelong I have been rather ambivalent about Florida. In ’12 we made an auto trip here and enjoyed our time— that was actually only our second vacation in FL in our lives. In the 70’s we spent a couple weeks in Key West and really wanted to MOVE there. But after that we never returned. So I can see how you might have visited and not made it back.

      I’ll be interested to see how much we explore too! 🙂

      > >

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello from Daytona! Glad you made it…We’ll hook up some time before you leave, most likely towards the end of January or later. I have a client who grew up in Gainesville and happen to be seeing her today. I’ll check with her on any recommendations she has to offer. She and her husband are your age and have similar physical limitations.

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    1. Give us 48 hours so we make sure we are here. We are planning on being here every night but if we should happen to go somewhere and find ourselves further from home than we anticipated we could end up spending a night in a hotel somewhere and I wouldn’t want to miss you.

      We drove up to Gainesville today in search of a place called The Recycled Bicycle — which deals in …. duh … recycled bicycles! Alas, they were closed in the middle of the day with no sign on the door indicating hours and without answering their phone. There was stock in the store so it’s obviously still in business, and has good Google reviews, but for some reason were not open today. Oh well. Maybe we won’t look around for bikes after all.

      We do want to Check out St. Augustine and Tarpon Springs. We’ll prolly try to get down to Ft Meyers to look at other RV parks — if we could find a place reasonably close to Ding Darling N.W.R. I’d love that but I suspect our target monthly rentals are going to be North of Ft. Meyers. We can push our budget when we want but currently I’m not motivated to do that for just Florida. 🙂

      I’m sure we’ll spend time in the Ocala N.F. and Juniper Springs ( we almost did that on Monday but when we drove up we found that because it’s operated by a concessionaire there’s an added admission cost and while it’s minimal we had only thought to do a drive through and decided to pay the fee another day when we could spend a couple hours at least.) And I want to check out the N.F. campgrounds. While they are unimproved and/or primitive there appear to be some with sites long enough for us. But that too is a ‘job’ for more than just a drive through — one of them is 8 miles off the highway on gravel roads and the others are not exactly on 5th Avenue!

      I think we’ll prolly check out some of the ‘retirement projects’ too. There are The Villages and Del Webb locations — I don’t think they are for us but it never hopes to look and check things out. I really can’t see us doing that, but it’s not like we ‘planned’ for years to go RV’ing either. Kismet happens.

      Anyway… looking forward to meeting and getting to know who we’ve been talking to all these months.

      > >

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      1. Sounds great! we’ll keep in touch.

        FYI through the end of January, St. Augustine will have the Night of Lights in which the whole town is lit up in white lights. It’s very pretty.

        Our favorite tours are the Lightner Museum 10.00 per person (special item – Antique mechanical music demonstrations) and the tour of Flagler College $8.00 per person (excellent) and the fort is nice too but pricey. We didn’t see that until we were offered free tickets by someone who couldn’t use them.

        We usually have a good time just walking downtown. which is no cost at all…unless you buy something at one of the shops. 😉

        There is also the Old Town Trolley “historical tour” It’s a bout $30/per person but very good for getting the history of the city and it allows you to get off and on as much as you like. If you decide to do the Trolley, make sure it’s Old Town Trolley. The other one is not as good.

        When we go, we usually stay overnight at the Days Inn (located in town) and we order Pizza from Five Star Pizza (delivered) but I think you could go there to eat as well.

        I just talked to Rick and he said that he would love to meet with you in St Augustine – his favorite place. If you have any interest in doing that, just let us know. We can spend as little or as much time with you as you like.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good idea.
        We’ll probably try to get over to St. Aug. before the end of Jan. Next week I want to get a hold of the local mobile RV repair guy and see about him coming out to look at our door lock and toppers — if it takes waiting on parts I want to get the process started now when we have the most time ahead of us. Once I now where I stand on that front we may try St. A on the first sunny warm day we get — but will keep in touch.
        We did all the things you mentioned when we visited there years ago. Fact is we have been so many places that we don’t often do tours and museums nowadays. So often they are more of the same. We enjoy people watching, and getting the feel of a town by walking it, checking out the parks, sometimes the shopping, and the notables — like the great old Live Oak “The General”. I’ll let you know when we have a tentative date and if you and Rick are interested we’d be up for a day together.
        We’d prolly get out of here around 9 and try to be back here by 7 or 8.

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      3. All that sound good…we’ve done all the tours as well…and we both love people watching.

        Does this sound too morbid, we love the old cemetery and have considered volunteering to help maintain the grounds. 😀

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