52 Months Fulltiming, April 2019 Report

With a spate of posts over the last few weeks we have managed to close the gap slightly from this blog being eight weeks behind to now only six. Progress!  I mentioned in our January though March quarterly report that we would return to a monthly reporting format, and so we have. img_3117

The Distance:  976 miles as we being our travels in earnest.  I counted the back and forth trips between Coral Springs and Venice in Loki, but not the flight miles to Cuba.  A bit arbitrarty but there it is.  We are up to 979 miles for the year.  We anticipate that May, June, and July will be big mileage months as well. april-2019-route

The Places:  We finally departed Key West but didn’t get far, just a few miles up the road for a week long stay at Bahia Honda State Park.  Then it was our carefully orchestrated pre-Cuba maneuvers around Florida with one night at Midway Campground in The Everglades and a few days each in Venice and Coral Springs.  Then it was our six day tour of Havana and Vinales, with a couple of days with Xavier and Joy, and Gloria and Jerry again in Coral Springs and Venice.  We started moving north again with a one day stop at Fort Desoto Park, two days with cousin Carlyle and family in Inverness, and finished the month up in Wekva Springs State Park. img_3107

We spent one day in a military campground, twelve in public parks (1 COE, 10 State, 1 County,) twelve in the houses or driveways of family, and five in our Cuban “casa” hotel.  We had full hook ups for one day and partial for 14. img_3459

The Budget:  Way over budget.  26% over, in fact, but we knew April would be a tough month financially due to the Cuba trip costs, repairs on Serenity, and having no markets to speak of at all.  Fortunately we are under budget for the year since we did so well in January and February. img_3298

The Drama and the Improvements:   Not much drama, but we did have a few things fixed while we were in Cuba.  Bill at Mr Mobile RV fixed our TV antenna connections, troubleshot our touchy hydraulics (will need future work, we did not have time to wait for the parts) fixed our windshield wiper connections, added some freon or whatever they use now to our dash A/C system, and a couple of minor things I can’t quite recall at the moment.  Of course the automatic stairs worked perfectly for him the entire time so he could not determine what was causing our problem, but suspects it is the motor controller box going bad.  We struggle with it occasionally, but I can usually make it work by just disconnecting and reconnecting two things and then starting the motor, which seems to reset the system. img_3417

Next up: a final stop in Florida with family before heading out of the state for our 2019 journey.


A post-Cuba run around Florida before starting our 2019 travel plans

Upon return from our excellent trip to Cuba Xavier and Joy picked us up at Fort Lauderdale airport and took us home for a two day visit.  Just like our stay with them before Cuba, it was really nice to do so without having to worry about the RV parked in the driveway or how the cat was doing out there all alone (PKM can’t be inside the house due to allergies.  Not the cat’s.  Someone else’s.)


Apparently we are doing this now.

We crossed back to the Gulf Coast and Venice, Fl, to stay with Gloria and Jerry for a two days as well.  PKM was no worse for the wear, and honestly seemed to really love having a fixed home with a screened in porch from which she could watch the rabbits that come every evening for Gloria’s carrot offerings.  Jerry treated us all to a big steak meal at Serious Prime Steak house, which had outstanding salads but managed to significantly under cook two out of four of the steaks we ordered.  No link for them!


Long distance phone photo of a deer.  Best I could do to clean it up.

I picked up Serenity from Mr Mobile RV (had a few minor things done while we were in Cuba) and a discussed with the owner, Bill, probable future repairs and upgrades when we return to Florida in the Fall.  After gathering up Rose and the cat back in Venice, we headed north of Tampa for a one night stay at Fort Desoto Park.  This Pinellas County Park has been on our “need to see” list for a couple of years, so we finally were able to fit it in.


Back on the road!

It is pretty large for a county park, including nearly 300 camp sites, miles of beaches, and the old Spanish Fort.  We only had a single night stay, but it was enough to confirm that we want to come back for a longer stop.  We stayed in Camping Area 2, and though the other two areas are a bit nicer with more water views, they are both no pet zones.  Plus Area 1 is for tents, pop-ups, and camper vans only.


One stretch of the miles of beaches at For Desoto Park

Our plan had been to get an early start and head to Weeki Wachee Springs to enjoy the shows.  If you are not familiar, this is a kitschy water attraction that became a bit famous back in the day due to the “mermaid shows” conducted by live actors in costumes for the benefit of an audience situated in an amphitheater below the water line, turning the spring into a giant aquarium.  It is actually part of the Florida State Park system, though the relationship FSP has with the concessionaires running the show is unclear, even after reading the Weeki Wachee Wiki page. 5-fort-desoto-breakers

I had been a couple of times as a kid, but Rosemarie has wanted to go for some time.  Unfortunately it will have to wait until we get back to Florida in the Fall: I failed to do adequate research, and we arrived only to find the park undergoing major renovations.  This meant no mermaid show, no glass bottom boat tours, and no wild life shows; only the swimming area was open.


No mermaids, so enjoy this gopher tortoise instead.

Ah well, it had only been a few miles out of our way on our route to Cousin Carlyle’s in Inverness, FL.  We headed there well before we planned, but fortunately Alex arrived home just a couple of minutes after we got there to let us in the front gate.  We had a great visit with them and youngest daughter Haley.  Alex and I also learned the danger of ordering take out pizza in a town that has both an Angelotti’s and an Angelo’s; make sure you know which one your spouse placed the order with before trying to pick it up! 7-inverness-spring-boats

Alex hooked up his shallow draft fishing boat and took us all out on the water on Saturday. We had great weather, and with a cooler full of beer and light snacks we enjoyed the ride and a swim at Homosassa Springs.  We finished the afternoon at a dockside bar, with boat moorings just down river from Monkey Island.  Yes, they have monkeys left over from old zoos and movie productions. 8-inverness-spring-carlyle

We closed out April and started May with a full week stay back at our main go-to Central Florida campground, Wekiva Springs State Park.  Having grown up in the area and visited this place many times as a child and young man, it never grows old coming back here, particularly since we get to enjoy the spring during school and work days when there is almost no one around.  Dad and Stepmom Marcia were there for part of our stay as well, and introduced us to one of the camp hosts, Bill, who made a strong pitch for us to consider camp hosting here for part of the Fall later this year.  We shall see! 9-wekiva-site

We had great wildlife viewings this visit!  In addition to the usual gaggle of wild turkey’s, gopher tortoises, and deer, we finally got to see an owl up close and personal.  A barred owl deigned to sit on a branch for over an hour near dusk, and was surprisingly cooperative with photo taking initiatives. 10-wekiva-owl

We only have one more stop in Florida before beginning our annual circuit of the country.  More on the rest of our 2019 plans in a couple of posts from now.