71 Months Full Time RVing: November 2020 Report

The Distance:  After two months with zero mileage, we got back on the road, covering 1,055 miles as we made our way from Asheville back to South Florida. The map for this run shows about as efficient of a straight southern route as we could make until we moved close to the Atlantic Coast of Florida for our Blue Spring and South Bay stops. November’s mileage represents nearly one third of our 3,536 total for 2020, which will be our final number for the year as we don’t expect to move the big rig from our current location in Sanibel until 2021.

The Places:  After our last eight days in the Asheville area we visited family outside of Atlanta and Gainesville, with short stops affordable and convenient Passport America parks along the way. Once back in the Sunshine State we spent a week between two Florida state parks, Rainbow and Blue Spring, followed by six days at South Bay RV Campground on the shore of Lake Okeechobee. We finished the month back at Periwinkle Park in Sanibel, kind of our “go to” COVID spot this year once they closed the military campground at Key West.

The month included 20 days at public campgrounds (7 national, 7 state, 6 county,) 7 days at private parks, and 3 in the family driveways. We had full hook ups for 20 days and partial for the remaining 10. Incidentally, I include running a regular extension cord to friends and family’s standard 20 amp exterior sockets as “partial” services; it makes a big difference in keeping our house batteries charged up and ready for the road.

The Budget:  2.5% under budget. Our financial gravy train from our work camping gig at Lake Powhatan has come to an end, though that last 1 1/2 paychecks made a huge difference in keeping us on track this month, especially since we put in a lot of miles (with the associated gas costs.) Our free nights with family and the very cheap Passport America rates at our two short stops in South Carolina and Georgia played a significant role in keep us just under budget this month, particularly since we obviously had a lot more campground costs to absorb than the last couple of free months.

The director is uncertain this project should have ever been green lit.

The Drama and Improvements:  Our automatic entry stairs have been a headache for years, though I have gained enough knowledge to make them work whenever they get stubborn. Until we get around to replacing the controller, though, we will continue with this minor annoyance. Usually they work fine until the house batteries get a bit low, like after a full day of travel, but sometimes they just decide not to work even with a full charge.

Such was the case as we were preparing to leave Blue Spring State Park. Though we are pretty good about including a visual check for their retraction when we prepare to get underway, we forgot that time, they didn’t retract, and I damaged them driving forward over an exposed root. The bottom stair plate partially detached from the frame, and it took me several minutes to get them to retract sufficient to make our trip to South Bay. Once there my trusty Ridgid cordless drill and a stainless steal bolt made quick repairs of the bottom step, so all in all this was pretty minor drama, but drama nonetheless.

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