What Area Would You Like to Be In?


Leave it up to a wife to burst a husband’s bubble, or to call I’m on his nonsense, or sometimes to simply point out the obvious! We were en route to a dealership we where we hope to get our door lock fixed.  I’m kind of anal retentive about where I put my coach in for service and I wanted to scope the place out before committing $$$ to a repair.  We looked the place over, I talked with the service writer and made a future appointment.  Looks like we’ll be back on February 2.

That  is the same date we’ll be moving to a different RV park.  It’s a case of minimizing the number to times we have to set up and take down camp.  Doesn’t always work that way but when we can do it it’s nice to keep things simple.

On the trip down to the dealership we had been talking about the idea of moving from one campground to another. As we pulled out of the parking lot my sweetie says to me, “What area would you like to be in?” …And therein lies the rub.

The problem is that I haven’t the foggiest idea what part of Florida I would like to be in.  I was saying something about in the middle of the night last night to a long time Life Unscripted reader, Notes to Ponder and her comment was so cute:

“Call me crazy but in my mind Peg’s query defines ‘life unscripted’ from where I sit, such a dilemma would herald the start of an outstanding day.”

Fact of the matter is, that after a month (by the time this posts) I have no better handle on Florida than I did when we drove into the state.  Is there a place that I really want to be from which to explore?  I haven’t the foggiest idea!

Truth is, Florida has me flummoxed

I’m not talking about the fact that we haven’t had much luck finding RV parks with month long vacancies (or two or three month long vacancies). I’m talking about the idea that this state is diverse enough and the rate structure pretty well formalized enough that I’m not finding areas that I find interesting where I also am willing to pay the tariff for rentals.

With rare exceptions the state of Florida RV campground rates run a sliding scale from North to South; cheaper to more expensive.  The part of the state that is most appealing to me — which I say after limited exposure is sort of from Ft Myers and south.  And the area with rates that I’m willing to pay is sort of from Tampa and north (note that Tampa is NORTH of Ft Myers).  It’s not that I can’t afford to pay their rates it’s just that there’s this part of me that refuses.

197206081646FAMILY259
Mom, Gram, Me, and Kathryn

Let me tell you a little story.  My maternal grandfather died a year before I was borne.  I never met him.  My mom’s mother was in her 60’s when husband died, and she lived alone in a Milwaukee duplex for another 20 years.  When she got too old to manage living alone she moved in with one of her daughters for a short time.

This is the duplex where Catherine Malinowski lived, with Helen, Ralph and Greg living downstairs from her.
This is the duplex where Catherine Malinowski lived, with her other daughter Helen, Ralph and Greg living downstairs from her.

Then she moved into our family apartment building and stayed there until a couple years before she passed.

Anyway… her house was three blocks from a shopping district called Mitchell Street — named after the great General Billy Mitchell — and every single day she took a walk of between 1 and 3 miles up and down the street for groceries and whatever she needed.  All she needed could be found in that 1 mile long stretch of Mitchell Street.  There were groceries, and department stores, clothing stores and pharmacies,  the neighborhood was rich with other Polish immigrants with whom she was friendly and comfortable.

But Gram had a way about her.  She only bought at her price.  She might pass on that pork butt that she wanted for two or three days until the price came down to her price.  She’d watch for sales of fabric until the cloth she wanted for her new dress was her price.  The same with other items of clothing and pretty much everything she bought;  it had to be her price.

I guess among the other things that I inherited from Gramma Malinowski one of them was my insistence on waiting till things came down to my price.  We were that way about our houses, and our cars; about our RV and how much I’ll pay for a campsite.  I don’t think I’m unreasonable about prices — people don’t call me cheap or a skin-flint — but I don’t like to be (what I consider) exorbitant.  Sometimes my ‘reasonable’ is lower than someone else’s ‘reasonable’ but not always.

Value is a very personal thing.  I’ve spent as much to buy a great camera lens as some people would spend on a car — I spend money.  But I’m selective about it.  We spend a lot of money on food — but individually every item has to be near my price.

My point in all of this is that just because I can afford something doesn’t mean that I’m always going to be willing to spend what some people consider the going rate.  When we were road tripping by car I almost never stopped at the top of the line hotels — only because we spent so little time in our room — or in the hotel — that the added expense was money we could spend on things that we also wanted to do.  The same applies to campsites.  We usually spend a lot of time touring around an area — we aren’t sitting outside our coach all day, or playing cards every night, or potluck-ing or taking line-dancing lessons.  We’re pretty much self-contained and self-amusing. So a long list of amenities isn’t all that important to us.Ah, but you see, that’s what an awful lot of RV’ers want, and that’s what a lot of RV parks cater too. There’s a reason the term “Clamping” has come about;  people want their glamorous camping trips — they want all the comforts of home and more;  but we aren’t ‘people’.  And we don’t usually stay at RV parks. This past 12 months has been the exception rather than the rule.  The last 12 months we spent about 9 months in RV parks and it has felt weird.  We miss our state and federal campgrounds.

But that is also the reason I haven’t the foggiest idea what to make of Florida.  This place is filled with veritable Disney World’s — the antithesis of Peter & Peggy; amusement parks and tourist attractions;  there’s a maze of chain restaurants and outlet malls and we like Dorothy we get disoriented and have a hard time finding our way back to the “real world” after getting lost in this Oz called Florida.

Let me tell you another story.  We like small towns and we like cultural towns.  The last time we visited Tarpon Springs we didn’t realize quite how much of a ’tourist trap’ it was and while walking down the main street all of the restaurants had their Enticers out on the sidewalk trying to encourage people to come into the resto.  I hate that.  I really hate that.  But, you know what, I thought about the Latin Quarter in Paris where they do the same thing.  Sometimes it’s just an ethnic thing — they want to make a buck and there’s competition so they’re out there competing for the business in the only you can (short of grabbing someone by the scruff of the neck and forcing them into the resto).  We ended up in a resto without Enticers and had a very good meal.  We probably would have had a good meal in one of the others had we chose one of them — but we did not. I just can’t bring myself to patronize a place that is aggressive in that way.  Maybe that’s one of the reasons I don’t like tourist attractions.  I don’t like aggression any more than I like violence.

So, back to the subject of where to ‘be’ in FloridaCrowdedWDW

Those parts of Florida that appeal most to me are fundamentally the areas that are warm.  ( duh… ) My attraction isn’t so much about places to go and things to do as it is about the warmth.  We find our own entertainment wherever we are.  I don’t need lots of ‘things to do’ because most of the ones lots of people are doing aren’t where I’m going to want to be.  So, I’m beginning to realize that my antipathy to Florida is because Florida markets itself to a different customer than me.

We still don’t know where we’re going when we leave here (the campground).  We have a couple ideas about where we’ll go at the end of this month but they still depend on our topper repair and we still haven’t heard back from our RV repair guy.  I’m hoping that will be soon but if we have to stay another month or find another RV repair guy we have until the beginning of April to get the job done.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

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