We left Sanibel Island on Christmas Eve, heading 80 miles north to Venice in order to spend Christmas with Rosemarie’s mom, Gloria and stepdad, Bill. When in Venice we tend to spend a couple of the days in their driveway, but the bulk of the time at Rambler’s Rest RV Resort so as not to wear out our welcome.
We first stayed at Rambler’s in our first motorhome for a rally with the Sunshine Statesmen GMC club, and impressed with the park we have come back a couple of times each year for the same reasons we come back to Periwinkle in Sanibel: a real and rare welcoming sense of community, with added bonus of getting the Passport-America 50% discount on up to two weeks there a year, excluding January through March.
It is a large park with a couple of hundred sites, the bulk of which are near permanently occupied by “park models.” A park model, as I recently learned, looks like a small version of a pre-manufactured home, but is technically an RV, complete with axles and running gear underneath. The advantage of this over a “double wide” mobile home is that they are not subject to property in Florida, and the restrictions and regulations on them are less onerous for both the owner and the park on which they sit. The disadvantage is the size; they are restricted to 400 square feet in most states, though Florida allows up to 500. This effectively means that you will have roughly a 12′ x 37′ foot home with a couple of popouts. Most owners tend to compensate for the limited size by adding a full length enclosed lanai along one side.
About a quarter of Rambler’s Rest is set aside for the more traditional type RVs: 5th wheels, travel trailers, and motorhomes. Most of these sites are together in the loops on the west side of the park, though there are a few spots scattered through the other sections as well. We always request a spot down near the Myakka River, finding that we enjoy the quick walk to the dock and the social atmosphere of that section, sacrificing proximity to the club house and pool.
Rambler’s Rest has a plethora of social activities, one of the reason we like to come here. With the holiday schedule and family events, we weren’t able to participate in much of them this year, but we made sure to get back to the park in time for the golf cart Christmas parade. This year 28 carts powered through every street on the grounds with heavily decorated holiday themed carts.
I spent maybe half of the evenings down at the dock for an unofficial cocktail hour, watching a handful of the avid anglers fishing in the river. Live shrimp seemed to be the bait of choice, with one of man pulling in a 23 inch red drum. We also continued to work on leash training the cat, attempting to get beyond the “she will wear it but we have to follow her around stage.” Unfortunately we end up with a lot of this:
We spent Christmas with Gloria and Bill, all of us pitching in to make Christmas dinner for the four of us plus their neighbors Chris and Tom. I made a turkey; brined and spatchcocked of course, while Bill and Gloria made all the sides, including gravy derived from the turkey parts and drippings. This meant a fantastic meal with lots of turkey leftovers from the 14 pound bird. We still have some 0f Bill’s turkey soup in the freezer.
The week was a continuous feast, with Bill taking us to a great New York style pizzaria of which even Rosemarie approves, and the 50 cent raw oysters Wednesday special at Left Coast Seafood Co. We closed out the year with a New Years eve dinner with the four of us plus Rosemarie’s nephew (DJ), niece (Laura), brother (Jerry) and his brand fiance (Kim.)
All in all a very satisfying final stop for 2015. I know we never got around to posting our “11 months full timing report,” and we are now overdue for the 12 monther and an end of year wrap up. All of that coming soon, so just hang in there: