With the end of winter, we begin our 2017 travels through the US, starting with family and friend stops in Florida

As of this writing we are exactly one month behind on the blog.  Travesty!  And made worse so by my frequent promises to catch up!  So let’s do catch up by almost two weeks right now.

We faced but one short delay on the road to Cutler Bay: this guy would not get out of the way until Rosemarie got out of the RV and scared him away.

After our 73 day stay in Key West, we departed in March, making a one day stop in Cutler Bay (a score miles south of Miami proper) to visit the Nieves.  They again arranged for us to parking lot camp in their subdivision’s club house area for a night.  We enjoyed a great meal together, and hope we get to see them all again sooner than our return to Florida in the fall.

Our parking lot spot at the Nieves’ club house: not bad for dry camping!

From there it was a short run up to Coral Springs for three days at Xavier and Joy’s, with Serenity parked in their just-long-enough driveway.  We had a comfortable few days in an actual house with cable TV and unlimited Netflix, you know, all those first world amenities we missed in The Keys.  I continued my quest to find all the nearby areas of geocaches, and we had a visit from our Miami Beach friend Alex, who drove up to see us after work one evening.  Perhaps most importantly, we were finally able to visit a bridal store for Rosemarie to select a bridesmaid dress for our friend Roseann’s July wedding.

PKM “making friends” with the Nieves’ hamster.  What could possibly go wrong?

Then it was across Alligator Alley and up the Gulf Coast to Venice.  Gloria and Bill found us a place to stash Serenity: an RV park right across the street fronting their subdivision that let us park the rig (no hook ups) for less than $4 a night. While there we got to visit with Jerry and niece Laura (boyfriend in tow) and Bill’s daughter Bobbi and Steve for a big St Patrick’s day meal.  We had Puerto Rican style food, as is traditional.

St Pat’s meal at Bill & Gloria’s

While there we took Gloria on a spree through several local thrift shops, and we finally resolved our sporadic 12V issues by replacing both of the deep cycle house batteries.  We pretty much blew our budget this month as a result of significant motorhome related expenses.  Three new tires, house batteries, and a minor mechanic bill really added up despite our frugality in other areas.  Ah well, there is always April.  Oh wait, taxes…

We pulled out our very best jewelry for the occasion…

One very disturbing aspect of our visit: there has been a change in rules regarding Pad Kee Meow’s roaming area.  Whereas previously “Grandma” let kitty have the run of the enclosed pool deck area, now she has to be supervised because Gloria has partially tamed two enole lizards by feeding them tiny grub worms she found in a bad papaya.  Yes, this happened.  She fed one of them so much it fell over on its side in a food coma for a couple of hours.  PKM is most displeased by this new state of affairs.

A barely supervised tour of the pool deck.

We left with their usually insistence that we take a bunch of food and other sundries with us; this time it was a container of bacalaito (cod fish fritter) mix, a couple of big freezer bags filled alcapurrias, pasteles, empenadas (come on, you know what those are, right?)  Bill contributed a huge helping of his home made cole slaw, Italian soup from Amores Restaurant, and a bottle of horseradish.  Loaded for bear, or at least able to feed them, we continued north.

Another fantastic spot at Trimble Park

From Venice it was back to Central Florida and four days in one of our favorite places, Trimble Park near Mount Dora.  Our departure date and itinerary to this point had been driven by my Mom and Stepdad’s (Tim) trip to Florida from their home in North Carolina.  Down for Tim’s daughter’s wedding near Jacksonville, the pushed further south once those festivities were complete.  We even convinced them to stay one night with us in the RV, a first, but hopefully not a last.

Mom & Tim by the fire at Trimble.

Mount Dora is within convenient striking distance of much of my Florida family, which we took advantage of with a big dinner at Aunt Judy’s with son Jackson, mom, Tim, Uncle Bill, and cousin Brian.   We missed seeing Uncle Bob and Aunt Terri this round, so next fall we’ll make that a priority.

The dock near our site at Trimble

So that’s it, now we’re less than three weeks behind.  Next post: Our route plan for 2017.

One of those “bears” for which we were prepared.

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3 thoughts on “With the end of winter, we begin our 2017 travels through the US, starting with family and friend stops in Florida

  1. Pingback: 27 Months Fulltiming: March 2017 Report | Shell On Wheels

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