Start Of Our Fourth Year Full-Timing

After being stationary for five months in Florida there were mixed emotions about packing up and being on the road again.  Excited, yes (It was too long for Gene not to be behind the wheel) but I also became really comfortable where we were.  We had a great time with a lot of our friends that have moved to Florida over the course of the year so it seems like we were picking up in the South where we left off in the North.  Who would have guessed 5 couples would relocate near each other.

So, Tuesday, April 4th was Moving Day. We weren’t going far just two hours north to Thousand Trails RV Resort in Clermont, FL. Spending a couple of days in Disney World with our friends Tom and Barb. since we haven’t moved our house in five months, so I was a little apprehensive that everything would function like it was supposed to. I completed all of the maintenance that needed to be done; changed the oil, oil filter, air filter, Checked the batteries with a hydrometer topped off the batteries where needed, cleaned and lubricated the Roadmaster hitch, cleaned and lubricated the jack rods and check the tires. The tires lost about 2 psi per tire, not much but I aired up anyways. I replaced the oil pan plug with a Fumoto Valve, which will make changing the 7 quarts of oil much easier. I also ran the generator under load for a couple of hours every month and ran the engine at a fast idle a couple of times for about 30 minutes. (I’m not sure that did anything except make me feel better) Everything went smooth, the 3 slides came in without any problems, the jacks retracted smoother than they ever did, and the engine started right up. The only problem we had was trouble bringing in our awning. Last problem I wanted. We had the awning motor replaced in Virginia last September and I thought we were done with that. Well it was a simple fix. Each awning arm has a locking knob and I forgot to loosen them. Problem solved. Add that to the checklist.

Last year we traveled about 10,000 miles in our coach, Made 33 stops including stops in between our major stops, of which there were twelve. We traveled west, north, east and south and spent the winter in Nokomis, FL.

This year we are traveling in the complete opposite direction. Reason being we need to end up in New Mexico for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October and didn’t want to crisscross the US adding about six thousand miles to our trip (Thanks Kelly!). We also want to see the Oregon Coast. The mileage for 2017 will be the about the same 10k, but we will make 47 stops including thirteen major stops. WHAT?!!! (that’s me, Eileen, reading this)

2016 map
2016 Map

April 4th and 5th

We arrived in Clermont about 2 pm and it was pouring rain. That scuttled our plans for a trip to Disney that night. Wednesday was a beautiful day! We put Max in Day Care (love that place.  It’s like a country club with doggie pools) at Disney and met Tom and Barb at Epcot around 10 am.

Tom and Barb!

First ride we went on was Space Ship Earth and it was a 30 minute wait. Nice relaxing ride to start our day. Disney takes your picture at the beginning of the ride and make up a story about you and show it to you on the way out.  How silly.  See what our would-be grandchildren are missing?


We were at Disney in time for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.


Eileen and Barb flying on wings of butterflies!


After a lunch of Fish & chips in England and Brats in Germany we took a boat over to Hollywood Studios for Muppet Vision 3D. Probably one of the best 3D movies I’ve seen and it was the Muppet’s, very funny!

IMG_5764FullSizeRender (2)

We took the boat back to Epcot Mexico for a beer and see Frozen, but Frozen was shut down indefinitely.  From what I hear from friends, it’s been going on for a while.  Sad for the people with kids that have one opportunity.  Lots of little girls dressed up waiting in line.  We picked up Max after that and called it a day.  We had season passes this year and saw that for three days in the parks it would cost us the same for a years pass, plus free parking (a $20 savings).  Crazy!  Sometimes it’s good to be a senior.

Next stop Fayetteville, NC to see family.


Final days in Palm Harbor

We took the MH to Honeymoon Island on Friday I asked the attendant if there was a discount for seniors and she said “no we’re all seniors here.”  That was funny. It was nice having the MH with us at the beach, being able to take a break from the sun and have lunch. Loved Honeymoon Island.

Left click on images to enlarge.


I have to say something about the RV Park we stayed at. Bay Aire RV Park in Palm Harbor, FL. Our camp hosts Larry & Cheryl were great, they knew we were new to RVing and went out of their way to make our stay a happy one. From helping us setup to recommending places to eat and visit. Not that we needed them but the bath rooms and showers were very clean as was the pool and rec room. Next time we go back to Bay Aire we will be in our own MH.

Bat Aire RV Park

We finished up our trip Saturday. Returned the 30 footer to Cruise American in Tampa. We did everything we were supposed to do; fill the LP tank, bring it back with as much gas as we left with, clean the unit and empty the grey and black water tanks. We got our deposit back plus we saved money on mileage. They charge .34 a mile and since we had a car rental we saved about $68. Between that $68 and the saved $60 in cab fare to and from the airport the car rental only cost about $25! Reflecting on our trip we enjoyed ourselves, learned a lot and came away with better questions than when we started. In the Spring of 2014 we hope to have our own RV.

Motor home pictures.

From cab looking to bedroom. Fridge & freezer on left, kitchen on right.

Left click on images to enlarge.

DSCN8124 DSCN8121

DSCN8128 DSCN8129

With the door closed the shower and bathroom become one room. Looking from bedroom to cab.

DSCN8118 DSCN8117

Glass enclosed nerve center.                                                        Camper at night.

DSCN8116 DSCN8202

DSCN8138 DSCN8132 

                                                                                                        Does this bumper make my butt look big?!  

DSCN8139 DSCN8145


DSCN8147 DSCN8146 


DSCN8196 DSCN8191 DSCN8190 DSCN8184 DSCN8173 DSCN8172 DSCN8171 DSCN8170 DSCN8169 DSCN8168  

Sept 1st -5th

Sunday we did a little scouting for the week. The first place we stopped at was where Robin & Scott lived when they were in Palm Harbor. I remembered it because there was an alligator in the pond.    Left click on images to enlarge.


Speaking of alligators we had lunch at Molly Goodhead’s


and had an appetizer of alligator. Tasted like chicken!


Monday (Labor Day) we went to my cousins for a cookout. Billy grilled hot dogs, steak, chicken and sausage. Delicious! I haven’t seen my cousins Lisa and Christine in long time. Christine especially, she’s been in Florida for 23 years.

IMG_1614      IMG_1615

We took home some chicken which we had a couple of nights ago with rice.


We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and part of Thursday searching for a place to live when we retire next Spring. We found several Apartment and Condo communities in Palm Harbor, Sarasota and Venice that we were happy with. Tuesday we had lunch at The Lucky Dill in Palm Harbor. Great sandwiches we ate half and took the other half home.


Also on Tuesday we stopped at a 7-11 for a coke and as we were pulling out to go home someone hit our rental car in the driver’s side rear quarter panel.


Yesterday we went to Honeymoon Island and spent some time on the beach,


then had lunch.


A happy camper.


We went back that night to watch the sunset on the causeway.

DSCN8177 DSCN8164 DSCN8152 DSCN8190

Local fisherman.


Wednesday we had dinner with my aunt & uncle Theresa and Bruce at Pops Sunset Grill. More good food. It rained during dinner, but was considerate enough to stop when we were done.

Since we don’t have TV in the Motor home we rented a couple of movies from Redbox and watched them on our entertainment center (my computer) while sharing a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Worked out great!


Our first trip in a rented 30′ RV

We picked up a 30 foot rental yesterday. All went pretty well. The rental agency was closing by the time our flight into Tampa arrived, so we didn’t get as much instruction as we would have liked. But all in all it worked out OK. We also had a car rental. Eileene was driving and we each had a two- way radio. We rented the car because the cost for a cab both ways to the Cruise America rental was about half the cost of the car rental and we plan to do a lot of driving this week. As most people have advised we went to a large parking lot and practiced, practiced and practiced some more. I found a video on backing up on YouTube that was very helpful and we were confident when we left the parking lot. We had a few places to go before we stopped for the night. I found that keeping it between the lines was a lot  like driving a car, but cornering was a challenge at first. I only took out one corner, Eileen driving behind me says it was two corners, but I didn’t take out any signs, people or fire hydrants. Got in and out of a McDonald’s OK. Stop to pick up a package from Billy and Lisa got an invite from Billy to a Labor Day cookout.  When we got to the campground the host backed me in. Eileen says she could have done a better job ha ha. One thing we found is a lack of 110 outlets in the rental. We usually bring an extension cord with several outlets on the end when we travel and we’re glad we had it this time. We found the A/C to be loud, but no more annoying than the A/C in a motel room. We’re not in a shaded lot so the A/C struggles to keep up with the 90 degree FL heat.