On Sunday, February 22nd, we drove eastward to Okeechobee. Years ago when we first started traveling in a motorhome we had met Ray and Agnes Elderd at a Newmar rally. Over the years we have other memorable encounters with this couple. Ray and Agnes live in West Palm Beach when not on the road so Okeechobee was a halfway point for a meeting and lunch.
Monday morning we struck out toward the west coast to the town of Anna Maria. This is a resort town on the Gulf. We parked along the beach and walked around the area going on the pier and then visiting shops. Surprising, the weather in Wauchula was warm and sunny but along the Gulf there were low hanging clouds keeping the air cool. We ate lunch at a restaurant, Sandbar, which was quite busy and, apparently, very popular. After returning to the campground in the evening we went to the campground office building that has a nice porch where we visited with Buddy and Joan Redman, friends from Maryland. Buddy and Joan overlapped a few days with us while we were in Orlando Thousand Trails and now our paths were crossing once again. We had all been so busy that this was the first opportunity to get together. We did have to call it a night when Joan and I started feeling that we were being eaten up by mosquitos.
Tuesday morning was moving day for us as our 2 weeks at Peace River Thousand Trails was up. We moved back to the Orlando area but since we were unable to get into the Thousand Trails park until Wednesday we had reserved a site for 1 night at Lake Magic Encore park. We got to the park about noon and with a pull through site we did not disconnect the Jeep from the motorhome. It was warm but cloudy with a few showers.
Wednesday morning we left Lake Magic to travel a short 5 miles to Orlando Thousand Trails and got there before 9am. We were told that this park was booked full for the month of March so we wanted to be early to get a good site. There is an area in particular in this park that has RVs packed together which we hoped to avoid if possible. Tom checked in and was told to drive around to find a site and then return to inform the office of the site. The last time we had been assigned a site. Tom decided to get our propane topped off before seeking a site so while he was doing that I walked up to the entry gate to see if I could get a list of the sites that had been vacated this morning. The person in the gatehouse had left but a motorhome was leaving and I asked them where their site had been. It was I-52. So looking on the map we saw where it was located and it was one of the limited 50 amp sites. We made our way to the area and got our motorhome parked. We had not eaten breakfast so we drove back to the office to report on our site choice and then on to Denny’s. (Now this park is a membership park which we pay yearly fees and are then to be able to camp in these parks without any costs. When Tom informed the office that we were in site I-52 he was told that there was a charge of $3.00 per day for 50 amp service in this area but the office staff said they didn’t know why. There is 50 amp service in other locations in the park but no fee is charged there. Of course, we could move after being set-up on this site, if we wanted, but again we would need to drive around to find something. The fee was paid and we will remain on this site. Later in the evening Tom was told by some other residents here that this area is a newer section and this fee is charged to recover the cost of the 50 amp service. What a crock!! We are so looking forward to getting out of this membership which is another story.) Oh my, those mosquito bites from Monday evening have been driving me wild with the itching. I have more than 20 welts on one leg. Tom has a couple but nothing like what I have. I also found a “Great Clips” to get a well needed haircut.
Thursday morning about 6am we heard a loud crack of thunder and then a heavy downpour of rain for a few minutes. A cold front had moved through with the temperatures only getting up to the high 60’s- still better than the snow falling north of here. I received a message from Joan that she also is suffering from the mosquito bites. We went to the movies in the middle of the day and saw “McFarland, USA” with Kevin Costner, a real heartwarming movie. We then went to our favorite barbecue restaurant in this area, Oakwood Smokehouse, for a late lunch.