The day after our first of four Lake Mary markets we headed south to visit Rosemarie’s mom in Venice, a seaside town an hour or so south of Tampa. We have visited many times, going back years before our RV life, enjoying a few very welcome consistencies: bacalaitos upon arrival, a steady flow of other Puerto Rican food during the stay, and one or two local restaurant meals. This visit would provide all of that in spades.
PKM managed to find a gap behind Gloria’s kitchen counter, and covered in cobwebs, required assistance to get out.
Each visit there are often changes. This last Spring saw Gloria moving in to her own house in a mobile home community. During that visit we helped get things squared away both inside and in the garden, and I sold a bunch of her excess items on craigslist to provide her more space and a bit of extra cash. This visit Gloria introduced us to her new steady, Jerry. Upon arrival in town I parked Serenity in the usually empty lot beside her house, which the park manager allows me to do for $5 a night as long as we make no connections. We got ourselves and the cat situated inside Glorias home, and then headed over to Jerry’s for the aforementioned bacalaitos. Oh yes, and also to meet the man.
An ever blooming orchid of some type we brought for Gloria’s Birthday. When the bloom falls off, another one is right behind it ready to open. In theory.
We had a great five day visit; Jerry was very welcoming and we enjoyed his company. We spent part of an afternoon lounging by his community’s large pool complex, hit a couple of thrift stores, and had dinner at one of their preferred spots, Bogey’s, a local sports bar with excellent food and service.
For Gloria’s birthday Jerry took us all out to one of our favorites: the upstairs dining room at The Crows Nest. Our timing was poor as Gloria had been coming down with something that peaked that very day, but she wanted to soldier through rather than reschedule, so we did.
We also attended the pot luck Halloween dinner and dance at Jerry’s community center, costumes highly encouraged. We settled on something we had pulled off to great success years ago in Miami Beach: Dia de los Muertos “sugar skull” make up with clothing flourishes to match. Our horror make up kit was of far lower quality this time, so we were a bit disappointed with the results, but it was enough to win the costume contest!
Still in full make up, we capped the evening with a visit to the local Moose Lodge. For years, since well before we were full time RVers, the Venice Lodge had played a central role in Gloria’s social activity, and our visits usually included multiple stops there. In recent years not so much, but we have enough fond memories of the place (and appreciation for the affordable drinks!) that we try to stop in at least once each visit to the area.
We met another of our kind at The Moose.
Backing up a bit: the morning after our arrival I drove Serenity half an hour further south to Mr Mobile RV Center in Port Charlotte. Bill did a small bit of work on our rig 18 months ago, and at a later point provided over the phone technical advice free of charge. I was impressed with his honesty and work quality, and resolved to use him for repairs and upgrades if at all feasible. Since then he has shifted from a purely mobile operation to a fixed location with mobile response capability.
Weeks ahead of our arrival I had made arrangements for him to have parts and time available to replace our torn main awning and one of the strut brackets, fix our front AC, which had stopped even trying to come on, and inspect the roof, which given the age, climate, and appearance, we expected would need a good bit of Dicor sealant work on the seams, at a minimum. Upon arrival he did an immediate inspection, and said I could nurse it along and put a bunch of tubes of Dicor on it after a thorough cleaning, but he strongly recommended a roof reseal using the relatively new silconized elastomeric material, the main thing he works with these days.
Damn that roof looks nice!
Reviews on RV websites confirm the advantages of this material: a more reliable and long lasting roof (which Bill warranties for a full year, extendable each year he provides a $75 inspection and adjustment) it is easier to clean because things tend not to stick to it, has better interior coolness due to high reflectivity, and gives the roof a very neat and uniform appearance since elastomeric reseals are seamless. The roof has been my biggest concern for a while now, so we sprung for this full reseal.
New vent fan and vent pipe cover.
Within four days he called to let me know everything was done and Serenity was ready for pick up. He had replaced the AC motor, installed and repaired the new main awning, replaced the crank up TV antenna with a fixed bat wing (per discussion), and for no extra labor charges installed a new vent fan cover, black tank vent pipe cover, and a rear running light reflector to replace damaged or missing ones. We got all this for $2,220, all in. Yes, that will put us way over budget, but it needed to be done, and we are very happy with the work. We plan on working our annual repairs and upgrades into our future Venice visits.
New fixed TV antenna.
The last night of our stay we headed to the local bowling alley to watch Rosemarie’s brother Jerry (yes, this will continue to be confusing) play in a league match. Nephew Dj and niece Laura were also there, so it was a fun family event, and I learned a lot about bowling in general and league play specifically.
So that’s it for Venice and for October, putting us only 28 days behind assuming I get the end of month report out quite soon. After that, we return to Central Florida for three more Lake Mary markets while bouncing between Wekiwa Springs State Park and Lake Monroe County Park.
PKM loves Gloria’s patio.