Most of the 195 mile drive from Lake City to Dunedin, FL was via I-75, and then we hit the Tampa Bay area city traffic, with construction zones. The last 25 miles took a long time, probably 1-1/2 hours with Diane driving. We had decided to drop down to the Tampa Bay area since we really hadn't explored it in the past. Dunedin is in the north end of the area. After dry-camping in Lake City we had full 50AMP hookups with cable TV, which let us put a full charge on our new batteries. Here is near our site at Dunedin RV Resort, which we were getting at a discount using Passport America.
We went to Costco in Clearwater, we ate Indian food (not worth reporting the restaurant), we got some espresso beans, and we got the bikes lubed. It was a good three night stay, but we found Tampa Bay is not our style. Somehow it feels like it has already been spoiled with all the traffic and the high real estate prices. Some areas hit us that way, we don't mind the busy pace of Miami.
We moved on to the Escapees Rainbow Park, Sumter Oaks in Bushnell, FL. We were going for a small internet dish rally organized by Gene for us who would be in Florida. Most of the group were going to miss the big rally in Arizona in February. It was a free rally and we had some cancellations, but it turned out even more didn't show up. I think we had nine attendees, not counting spouses. We still had a good time and ended up with Gene and Bill doing most of the seminars. We had a couple automatic roof mount people, Datastorms, and the rest were Direcway tripod users and one attending to learn if internet satellite was the right choice. Here are pictures of our setup and a few others, I didn't get pictures of all the dishes and missed getting the Datastorms:
You can see by the skew differences (how tilted sideways the dishes are) that many satellites were being used, since there are eight different satellites (at this time) that Direcway uses, with ours being the western most, so the most skew, and the last one was on the eastern most (I think), the least skew and it had the highest elevation since the satellite was almost straight south.
We had a good time with the attendees and got to know Jim and Mary especially well. Once the rally was over we stayed a few more days, this is a very friendly park and we felt quite welcome to stay all season if we wanted. Evita loved it, there were trees and there were lizards, birds and squirrels to watch and try to chase.
Now it was November 18th and we were due at a Nutty Buddy's rally about 65 miles north. We attended another Nutty Buddy's rally in January 2004 in Clermont, FL, because our friends Ken and Carolle are members. They are a fun group and if we lived in Florida we would be members. Ken and Carolle were having inverter problems with their motorhome so they stayed at a park model. The campground is Grand Lake Golf and RV Resort and is highly rated by the Trailer Life Directory, and was typical of such places. It was flat and looked like a golf course, great for getting your RV parked and spreading your chairs out, not great for character. Many of the Nutty Buddy's are golfers and it had rally facilities, so that is where we were. We had a good time at the rally and here are some pictures:
The weather was not very good during the rally so we stayed inside most of the time. Many people remembered us from two year earlier.
Once the rally was over we headed to Jacksonville, FL, to a place we knew well, Cummins Southeastern Power. We had spent 3-1/2 weeks at Cummins waiting for brake parts in November 2003 and trusted them to look at a couple things on the motorhome. Here are pictures, it was raining when we arrived and much of the next day when the motorhome was being looked at:
They didn't find anything wrong, so we felt better. Because they didn't find anything wrong they didn't charge us, so we felt really good. We moved onto to Pecan RV Park, just north of the Jacksonville airport, they had room during Thanksgiving and our preferred campground was full until the Saturday afterwards. It was a nice campground, except for this:
I took that picture of the plane straight above our motorhome and the second picture shows the same plane heading west. We had planes overhead all day long, luckily they were not taking off and landing at night. Bill gave Ken a second opinion that matched Ken's on the inverter, it was dead. Ken called the company and they sold him a refurbished unit and didn't want a trade-in, and they over-nighted it. The new inverter arrived on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
We again had Thanksgiving with Carolle's extended family at Ken and Carolle's house, many remembered us from 2003. We helped setup and tear down all the extra tables and chairs and Diane provided desserts. It turned out the big dinner was at Carolle's sisters place in 2004.
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