Friday, April 30, 2010

Juno Ocean Walk, FL

Morty sailed right across the state today ending up on the East coast. We picked a small inexpensive park that had both ocean access and a heated pool. It also happened to be a condominum where the individual sites are owned by individuals, and some are rented to travelers. This is by far the nicest park we have experienced to date. Amazingly, it is modestly priced at $32 per night.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Periwinkle RV, Sanibel Island, FL

Morty helped me finally experience Sanibel Island today. We are in a park that is so dominant that it can refuse dogs and credit cards and still charge $45 per night. That includes good WiFi and adequate restroom facilities. The sites are a little compact, but most are separated by mature trees. The park also includes a bird refuge for mostly ex-pets that never learned to fly. It is a little sad to see these magnificent birds get around with only their beaks and legs -- feathers and wings are just ornaments.

We explored the beach for a couple of miles, and found a some pretty shells that might be keepers. Also saw some huge blue craB shells, and some very strange plants that look like snakes on the beach.Thanks to Tootie for the comment that these are probably tube worm casings.

Monday, April 26, 2010

An RVing Advantage

Last night's forecasted thunder boomers materialized in duplicate. We rocked and rolled in Morty's bed. Today's continuation of that weather forecast however was completely lacking. As a result we decided to stay in place to get the maximum benefit of some perfect weather. The added bonus is this evening it is cooling off into the low sixties.

Tomorrow we may roll on to Sanibel, or not.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bradenton, Florida

Morty spent a relaxing weekend in the Manatee Encore RV Resort in Bradenton. When we were faced with a certain move to just a potential site for Saturday in Fort De Soto, we voted with our wheels and found a great park that is a part of a national chain. With the AAA discount we paid $27 a night.  The drill starts with a golf cart ride through the park to pick out your space -- very nice touch. Nice pool for laps, WiFi, and complete restroom facilities were among the high points.

We were initially doubtful that the park lake would support much wildlife since there were so many permanent RVs right around its full perimeter, but that didn't jibe with the local herons and egrets -- that were practically being hand fed by a couple near the pool.

Rain and thunder are in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow, that means a little longer travel day. We will aim for about 120 miles to Sanibel Island.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fort De Soto County Park, Pinellas, FL

Do not drive to Fort De Soto without a reservation for a campsite or you will have a big backtrack in your future. We were lucky in that we got the last site available on a Friday afternoon. This is a magnificent camping venue that should no be missed! The sites are just barely isolated from each other by the thick vegetation. The island of Tierra Verde forms an inverted  "T" with each segment running about a mile and a half. The camping is on the central shaft and the beaches and fort are on the cross bar. The huge Tampa Bay Bridge is the main visual element from the eastern portions of the beach. There is a small museum commemorating the quartermaster operations at the fort.

The afternoon temperatures are creeping into the mid eighties, but relaxing in the shade is still very enjoyable. I'm hopeful that the evening will cool to the mid sixties, or else we will be running Morty's A/C. We are in the pet area, and the ranger says that is good because the raccoons are much less aggressive here.
This is the first time we have had the opportunity and space to fully unfurl our new patio carpet, and it is fully up to handling the job.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pinellas County, Florida

We have spent four days here relaxing and recharging. We ventured out to nearby parks a couple of times. One park has an agricultural extension service, and a historical venue named Heritage Village. It also has a defunct art museum with magnificent buildings and classrooms which closed its doors permanently in January, 2009. A very depressing sight -- the building complex was worth over $5 million at the time it was abandoned to the county.

Heritage Village is a much happier place, although its attendance seems too low to maintain its viability. We had a personal tour by Deborah the Docent. The pictures are mostly self-explanatory. We saw a Common Moorehen come swimmin' by.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Indian Rocks RV Park, Largo, FL

The weather cleared up miraculously as we were getting ready to depart this morning, and it turned out to be a perfect day. A few puffy clouds in an intensely blue Florida sky. Temperatures in the mid 70s. An easy 28 mile drive. And a sleeper destination.

"Indian Rocks" is in the name of half of everything here, including the RV park. This is an older campground  just as seasoned as yesterday's but with just the opposite feeling -- we were welcomed and made totally at home. We are in a small wooded lot, that has all the hookups, and is just a few feet from the small but heated pool. We paid with Visa, got the AAA discount, and have free WiFi with absolutely, no hassles. The park is pet-free and motorcycles are banned -- features that really seem to enhance the friendliness. According to the map we are within a block of a local park, and the Gulf. The day the WiFi stopped working, we found out that is wasn't the park's. The cell signal is strong enough to be almost as good as WiFi.

I have since biked through the park and the county's Botanical Garden, complete with art museum that opens tomorrow and can report that both are fine experiences.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Seven Springs Travel Park

New Port Richey is the locale for this RV campground. This is an experience: no credit cards or checks, and you must bring correct change for your $30.52 nightly fee. When I heard that on the phone, I thought it was someone's private little joke, but no, that is exactly how business is done here. There is WiFi but an extra $3. There is trash recycling, but the containers are so far away and the rules so complex that none but the heartiest walk it. There is a security gate, but it only keeps out things bigger than a car. At least the hookups seem to work.

We seem to be at the beginning of several days of slow rain, so that has us all in a bit of a funk. Morty though is warm and dry with the help of the A/C running for the hour-long trip from Lakeland. The freeways were a little slick and there were multiple-vehicle accidents dotting the route. Seems like the first snow back home.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sanlan RV Park, Lakeland, FL

This is an exceptional RV park with golf course and lakes -- large and very well run. We are still in the high season, but the rates are especially reasonable -- $26 with full hookups, and WiFi. The restrooms are clean, and stocked with soap and the showers work well. There is even an olympic-size swimming pool, with an extensive solar heating arrangement.

But what most impressed us was the appearance of a pair of Sandhill Cranes on Saturday evening. We were feeling like we missed seeing them in Texas, but boom they practically came walking up to us to see what was going on. These birds are about a foot shorter than the Whooping Cranes, but still a large and very impressive first encounter. We were especially taken by their calls, which were a duet. Really an exceptional experience.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sun n Fun

On Friday, we rode Morty to the Lakeland airport for the Sun n Fun air show. We were a little put-off by the admission line wait -- over 45 minutes at 9:30. First there was endless discussion as to which discount program applied to each attendee -- all for the difference between $35 and $30! Then, they were computer-entering your identity and credit card information by hand  and it was oh so painful to watch. Then they wanted to individually apply your wrist band so that you shouldn't depilate yourself. The goodies inside would have to really be special to make me want to endure that process again.

Well, we did see a fair selection of planes, and parts, but not really comparable to what they do in Oshkosh in July. Amazingly, they were parking planes on the flight line between the runway and the spectators significantly degrading what you could see on the ground. We did have a good parking spot for Morty, and we were able to watch most of the flys-by from the comfort of his shade. On the whole, it was more of an affair for the hardcore plane aficionado than for our casual selves.

The Air Force Thunderbirds were especially good, but that is what we expect from them. In the evening we went to a very enjoyable performance by the band Aire Traffic -- all air traffic controllers who were excellent musicians. Unfortunately, this performance was attended by only about 50, a good portion of which were "with the band." They do mostly charity work and the air show organization could have done a much better job of promoting their performance.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

South Carolina en route to Sun n Fun

Morty hit the road around 2 yesterday afternoon. This morning we are in South Carolina about 450 miles into our trip to Lakeland, Florida. We are going to the Sun n Fun airshow to see some aeroplanes! We overnighted in a truck stop and left the heat off. Now the temperature is slowly climbing through the 40s. The weather is fine, but there are still a lot of miles to roll...