2016 Travels travel blog

Carpes in repose at Thousand Trails Peace River

Interstate 75 traffic

Interstate 75 construction

We moved to US 98 toward Lakeland

US 98 northwest of Lakeland

US 98 thru Lakeland was no picnic

We parked at the Bartow Lowes for lunch
We rendezvoused with Orrin &...

In Bartow we picked up US 17

US 17 between Bartow and Wauchula

Approaching the Escapees "Resort" Cooperative

Carpes boondocking at the SKP Co-Op

Carpe in the open and alone

All you need for an instant slum is a din of kiddies

There are still a few wet areas
These folks weren't having a good...

Sat, 27 Feb: Almost there...

Today is scheuled to be a short day. Our original goal was to drive 100 miles or so to Bartow and overnite at the Wal*Mart. We picked Bartow as it was a perfect lunch rendezvous with Orrin and June. These two folks were tablemates on our 2009 world cruise and are regular winter visitors in New Port Richie. They were heading back home and we determined that our routes would cross in Bartow. Perfect.

We departed Wildwood about 0920 & returned to I 75 via FL 44. I 75 south twenty or so mines to US 98. It was a Saturday morning but traffic was still heavy and included enough construction to keep things interesting. Once on US 98 it was a pleasant drive till we got to Lakeland where the traffic was heavy enough to keep Bob on his toes.

We arrived at the Lowes parking lot in Bartow about half past eleven and Orrin & June arrived a bit after twelve. It was great seeing them again and we had a most enjoyable lunch at the Broadway Diner. All too soon it was time for us to go our individual ways, and we elected to invoke Plan "B" and continue toward Wauchula rather than spend the nite in Bartow.

It is roughly 25 miles via US 98 to US 17 from Bartow to Wauchula. South of Wauchula we picked up FL 64 two miles to the Escapees Cooperative. We arrived at 1515 and were quickly tucked into a boondock site. As with most of the cooperatives this park's laundry was efficient and inexpensive. We got three loads behind us before Happy Hour. We also got to visit with Bob & Donna Clark, former leaseholders at RoVer's Roost.

Today's drive was 115 miles with a traffic-eating 6.9 mpg.

Sun, 28 Feb: Final segment...

Today was a very interesting day. We drove a grand total of 3.6 miles but it took us from 1015 to after two in the afternoon to get settled in. Seemingly, if it could go wrong it did...

Bob pulled out of the SKP Cooperative at 1015 and drove two miles to the Marathon service station where we filled Carpe's tank with 69.75 gallons of diesel. From there it was a mile to the Thousand Trails Peace River park. That's where the interesting part started.

This park has hundreds of sites, but the vast majority of them lack sewer. Once you check in you are directed to park in a sewer-less site and await an available sewer site. The available sites are allocated using a "lottery" system.

So, we found a 30 ampere sewer-less site and got set up. At one the daily lottery was conducted and we were able to get a 50 ampere sewer site. So, back to Carpe, get 'er ready to roll (and getting ready to roll is the same whether the trip is 100 miles or 100 yards), and relocate to our "new" site.

That's where the "fun" began. The site was large enough but not at all level. It took us two or three tries before we finally got sited to our satisfaction. Once we were all settled in it was most assuredly Happy Hour time! And, as if the day wasn't interesting enough, a family with five very young kiddies took the site to our left. Not too sure how that'll work out.

We'll be here till next Wednesday when we'll relocate Carpe to the storage area and depart for Fort Lauderdale and our cruise. Time is ticking down rapidly...

Our trip from Casa Grande took us 18 days and covered 2,252 miles. We spent all but four of those nites boondocking or at Thousand Trails (no cost) parks. Carpe consumed 272 gallons of fuel for an overall fuel economy of 8½ mpg.

Fri, 04 Mar: A busy, busy week...

When we scheduled our cross country trek we built in ten days at the end. This would, we figured, give us some wiggle room should there be any glitches (there weren't) and also give us time to get ready for our cruise. We're glad that we had that foresight.

We spent the bulk of the week dealing with what we call "life's business". In this case it dealt with getting our financial affairs in order so we could complete our 2015 taxes before we leave. It was a task, as it usually is, but we're happy to report that they're in the envelope ready for mailing.

We also relocated the coach from our 50 ampere full-service site back to a 30 amp water-only site. After we got settled in on Sunday a family with six very noisy children moved in next door. Sandi, who does not "do" kids, was pretty upset. When we learned that they'd be there for two weeks we invoked the "our house has wheels" doctrine and moved! It meant giving up our sewer and 50 amps, but Sandi's sanity was at stake here.

So, Tuesday morning we relocated to a nice level site in a wide-open area. We can live very well on 30 amps and our holding tanks are just fine. Most important, Sandi is smiling again.

Thursday we met new friends Cheryl and Dean L'Amoreaux. They're good friends with Gayle & Charles Parker who sent us both an e-mail connecting us. We met at Paul's Kitchen in Wauchula for an excellent lunch and spirited conversation. We look forward to visiting with them again down life's road.

Wed, 09 Mar: A very busy day...

We were two very busy retirees the past few days, and especially today. We were on a countdown to get our home, car, and ourselves ready for an eight week cruise. That is (at least to us) a stressful time and this was no exception.

We got our taxes mailed, bills paid, clothes washed, bags packed, Carpes in storage, and ourselves to Fort Lauderdale. Somehow it all came together and at 1300 we pulled our rental car out of the RV park and headed southeast toward the coast.

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