I am writing this in the midst of our global pandemic, the day after nearly 2,000 people died in the US alone from COVID-19, a daily figure that is likely to grow over the course of the next week or more, and is most certainly an under count since it only accounts for positively tested victims and does not include those that simply died at home, untested. We did not start taking this thing serious enough soon enough. Two posts from now we will have moved into the proper mindset and begun social distancing, but until then I will write our true account of what we actually did while in Key West.
The Distance: Two miles moving from full hook up to dry camp and back, bringing our 2020 total to three.
The Places: Sigsbee Campground on NAS Key West for the entire month. We had full services for 10 days and dry camped the other 19.
The Budget: A great month as we ended up 12% under budget. Staying in one place saves on gas, we enjoyed low campground fees, and had a successful market, all of which countered our higher than usual entertainment and restaurant spending.
The Drama and Improvements: As mentioned in the last post, Linda succumbed to ALS after a five year battle. Its not really “drama” I guess but it must be mentioned in any summary of the month, so here it is.
In January’s report I mentioned how disappointed many of us are in the policy changes made for Sigsbee campground over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, those changes are rather dwarfed by the new policies announced this month for 2020 and out:
- Maximum length of stay is now 90 days, ostensibly put in place to make sure that newly eligible campers won’t be locked out of reservations because of long stay retirees. The gist of it is that a newly enacted law now allows any disabled veteran (with any degree of disability) to use Military Welfare and Recreation (MWR) facilities, commissaries, and exchanges, regardless of whether they are a pensioned military retiree or not). The problem I have is not with this new law, but with the implementation of a 90 day max stay policy being put in effect despite the fact that the campground empties out dramatically outside of the peak winter months, with scores to hundreds of openings available from March to December.
- The new base priority system for reservations has eight categories dependent on your active/retired/disabled status, along with whether you are a Monroe County resident or not. Let us put aside the question of why a DoD federal facility is giving priority to county residents, and just wonder how on earth the central reservation system, having screwed things up for two years, will now be able to handle the additional responsibility of addressing eight different categories of campers!
- While Sigsbee has been the main campground for decades, the nearby Trumbo Point facility also had a campground for those that were content to dry camp for their entire visit. We stayed there for two weeks during our first full time RV winter in 2015. Yeah, they closed it so they can have more storage space for boats and trailers and whatnot.
- Speaking of which: no one is allowed to store their boat, trailer, or RV at NASKW if they are not physically present in the Keys. Meaning a whole lot of retirees are scrambling to sell or move their stuff out of the keys towards the end of their stay, meaning the entire reason for shutting down Trumbo to have more storage is moot!
Next up: our final days in Key West.