Tomorrow we’ll head out on what will probably be our last Florida roadtrip of this visit. Sticking to the route I mentioned last week it won’t be much work for three days out and two nights out. We’ll be back before we know it, almost.
I’ve been a Wyndham Rewards user for … oh golly … a longer while than it’s been WYNDHAM rewards. I used to use Super 8 hotels for work and they got bought up long ago. Anyway, one of the Wyndham new quirks to their rewards program is to offer you an option to use points only to earn a free night, or to combine points and $$$ to do the same. The points only option has been declining in value over the years: more points against fewer dollars on redemption. What I had not been paying attention to is their choice to spend 3K points + some $$$$ to get a reduced price night. I happened to look at that option in connection with this trip and I was interested to note that the value of points varies signficantly from location to location.
I had been looking at the idea of a quick trip to Ft Myers next week — one last hurrah — and compared the AARP rates with the rates for their 3K + $$$ plan and thought, ‘hey that’s not bad’; but then I looked at our reservation for this week and searched the same hotels out with the 3K points + $$$ rates and they worked out very differently. Evidently the chain is willing to give more value to varying locations depending on how much they want to sell rooms in a given area. Lesson to me: buyer beware!
We’ve been talking about next winter again. Of course everything will depend on whether we get hung up by the doctor again in Milwaukee, but our idea has been to try the desert SW next as a winter destination. It dawned on me that an alternative to researching the climate numbers for any given location one of the “pre-made” tools that you can use is the USDA Plant Hardiness Chart. It won’t tell you anything about maximum temperatures, but it will give you good information about the low temps.
While we were looking at the map (for reasons that initially had nothing to do with where we were going) I decided to look at where we have spent the winters. It’s interesting that the climate numbers for Ocala are very similar to the climate numbers for Westlake Oregon — where we were during our volunteer time with the Siuslaw National Forest. They have more rain there, and more fog, and we enjoyed ourselves terribly — but we also had a gig that kept us hopping most of the time we were on the ground. I question that we ever want to be that busy again in retirement.
It also turns out that S. Texas (where we were) is consistently warmer than Ocala. In order to get the same wintertime temps in Florida we’d have to be pretty much South of Ft. Myers — down there in the higher rent zone.😀
Another neighbor moved on today, actually several of them. And watching the comings and goings causes me to reflect on the idea of courtesy and awareness.
How high your awareness level is determines
how much meaning you get from your world.
Photography can teach you to improve your
You know that I am a great fan of Ansel Adams. Not only does his approach to photography appeal to me, so does his approach to life. As I watched the circus here at the park this morning I couldn’t help but think about how not all are equally aware of their surroundings. We aren’t talking about intelligence here. Nor about wisdom. This is all about animal awareness — one of the most basic elements of our nature. Could we survive in this world as animals.
It seems that a lot of RV’ers (young and old, male and female) must live in some kind of cocoon that insulates them from their fellows. How true that is can easily be seen by watching the departure routines of various campers. You get an inkling of one’s awareness by watching folks set-up camp when they arrive. You can tell at that point whether they are aware of what they are doing, or whether their actions are polite or rude to their neighbors by how their position their rigs. If you can’t get your vehicle off the roadway when you’re setting up it’s a sure thing that you’ll be blocking the roadway when you’re hooking up again.
This morning we watched while one neighbor tried to hook up (blocking the road) while another neighbor was waiting (not so patiently) for the road to be cleared so they could leave. Was it a long wait? — about 10 minutes I’d say. Was it a terrible imposition? Not hardly. But the fact of the matter is that the camper who was blocking the road was lost in his routine and paying little attention to others. Surely those couple trips from the 5th wheel back into the trailer to get and return your Windex bottle so you could clean off a couple smudges on the side of your trailer could have been done after you were hooked up and off the pavement? The idea that they pulled so far onto their long site so that they could park their pickup at the rear of their trailer — meaning that when they were setting up and hooking up they were blocking the road for others made no impression on them. And I can’t give them credit for setting up their trailer in a spot that was dependent on a rooftop satellite dish obtaining a signal — as their satellite dish was a manual version set up on a tripod 20 feet from the RV.
No, Mr. Adams, it’s not just about photography, this ‘awareness’ thing. Awareness does impact how much meaning you get from this world– for sure. In every way we interact with others. Politely, rudely, with care or neglect. Our awareness determines our humanity to a great degree — are we attuned to the needs, the weaknesses, the pain of others; or are we self-absorbed. I’m sure we all have moments of self-absorption — that’s only human — it’s the essence of being animal. But humans have shown the capacity for so much more than just being animals sharing this planet with other creatures.
The little circus this morning reminded me to be careful about my own actions. I try to be considerate of others when I’m setting up and tearing down, when I’m out in my site grilling (where I put my grill when I’m starting it up — not right under someone else’s open window where the smoke will blow in), or playing the radio at a level where the sound stays in my campsite and doesn’t pollute the entire campground. I know that not all campers will do the same; but I can do my part to make the camping experience pleasant for those around me.
Thanks for stopping by, let’s talk again tomorrow.
“I travel the world,
and I’m happy to say that America is still the great melting pot
– maybe a chunky stew rather than a melting pot at this point,
but you know what I mean.”
– Philip Glass