While weekday stays at our preferred North-Central Florida campgrounds were still available, the weekends were getting quite difficult, and rather than do our normal “check for cancellations every day” routine, we decided to try out a private RV park in the area that offered a generous six days at the Passport-America 50% off rate. Orange City RV Park was not quite as centrally positioned as Lake Monroe, but it was just a couple of miles from son Jackson’s house and our Friday evening Deland market, so it worked out quite well.
With Rosemarie still in Virginia, I moved the rig to it on Friday in the mid afternoon, which left me just enough time to get hooked up before heading down to Deland for the Artisan Alley event. The park is quite large (over 500 sites) with a lot of semi-permanent park models and mobile homes. We had full hook ups, but the positioning of the water and power were awkward, requiring me to back in as far as possible to reach the electrical post, which left me 30 feet from the water connection. Good thing we carry extra hose!
Many of the spots are quite tight, the foliage and trees are limited (probably to cater to all the satellite TV owners) though the amenities were decent: free working WiFi, a nice pool and hot tub, club house, clean shower house, etc. At $22.50 a night it is a good deal for the area and season, but it kinda drove home how much more we enjoy the state and county park options in this region. A final downside: our spot was infested with pavement ants (what some call sugar ants) to the point that every single inch of crack and groove in the large concrete pad had the telltale low mounds and trails, and while we were there they made an aggressive migration into our rig, forcing us to really crack down on food protection.
I worked the Friday night market in Deland solo, so perhaps it was a good thing that sales were so slow, giving us our worst performance there so far. Despite this it was, as usual, a fun experience with great energy. During the event Rosemarie was making her two leg flight back to Orlando. The first leg from Norfolk to Charlotte went fine, then things got ugly.
A laptop battery caught fire at Orlando International Airport, everyone panicked, people running through security without getting checked, etc, and the whole facility shutdown for a while until they could get things under control. This had a cascading effect on all flights coming into Orlando, of course. Rosemarie’s flight sat on the tarmac in Charlotte for a while, then pulled back to a gate and deboarded. After some delays, and in consultation with the pilots, the flight attendants or gate agents told everyone to “check back in at 9 PM for an update.” So Rosemarie and many others wandered off to get a bite, and when they returned at 9 the plane had already reboarded without announcement and left. Nice job American Airlines, way to screw the pooch bigly.
Rosemarie and a score of other quite angry passengers from her flight were at first blamed for the problem before the weary booking agents managed to get some of them on the next flight. Once I got word she was actually taking off, I made the 50 minute drive to MCO and pulled into a very unofficial “cell phone parking lot” just outside the airport, along with what looked like a hundred other cars, and waited for Rosemarie to report she was approaching the pick up area. I completely underestimated the cramming effect caused by the airport being shutdown earlier and then trying to make up for it with constant arrivals deep into the night: it took me more than an hour to drive the last mile and a half to pick her up, barely creeping along with a thousand other vehicles. We didn’t get home until 3 am.
Does this mean we slept extra late and spent Saturday relaxing? No, no it does not. Rosemarie had to spend time sorting and making jewelry to replace what I had sold during the two events I did solo while she was in Virginia, while I had to do a Veteran’s Day run to a bunch of restaurants offering free meals to all vets. Over the course of the weekend I had four sit down meals on the house (except for the tip of course) and a few take out options for us to enjoy later. Thanks to the 98 restaurant chains that participated this year.
We did another Sweetwater-Wekiva market Sunday with decent results, and spent the remainder of our time at Orange City RV Resort alternatively relaxing and trying to be mildly productive as we approached the end of our Central Florida month long stay.
Next up: Blue Springs State Park, our last stop in Central Florida until mid December.