As I was reviewing our web site today I realized we never published this post about our time in Florida over the winter! It’s been sitting here for months just waiting to be published so here you go!
After leaving Tennessee and Amazon at the end of December we set our sights for Florida. We were fortunate enough to get an invite to stay with friends on private property for the winter and couldn’t pass up the opportunity!
We stayed at what we are referring to as The Ranch of Don Thomas. Our friends, Jim and Liesl arrived a few weeks ahead of us and prepared the hookups for two RV’s at her dad’s new property near the town of Mount Dora. We both had electric (although they were running their 50amp unit on a 30amp circuit), both had water and shared the sewer hook-up which dumped in to the septic system on the property. We even had use of Tom’s washer and dryer. What a nice RV park! It was a wonderful relaxing place to stay and we are so thankful to Tom for opening up his property and home to us.
The town of Mount Dora is a cute little town full of interesting shops, restaurants and with a variety of activities during the winter season. We enjoyed exploring the town and took in some of the events like the art show which was a fantastic display of talent across many different types of media. The surrounding area had a few parks to enjoy. One was a nice bicycle ride from “home” to a lakeside park with a nature trail. Another had a nice dog park and tennis courts so we bought some cheap racquets and took up tennis! One of the coolest places in town is a beer and wine shop called Mermaid Juice that has a huge variety of imports and craft brews with staff that help you pick just the right brew for you.
We just had to go see the manatees again this year at Blue Springs State park. They come in to the fresh water springs during the winter months while the ocean is too cold. The day we went there were 347! They are so fun to watch! The best part is watching the babies follow their mothers around – they are so cute!
We also decided we should take advantage of the nearby waterways and took a 4 hour canoe trip down the Wekiva river to a take-out point with a shuttle ride back. We only saw one little gator but I’m sure some others saw us! Mostly we saw birds and lots of turtles. The funniest part was we actually ran the canoe into a palm tree and tipped over haha! At least the water was shallow and clear at that point and some nice campers helped us right our canoe and rescue our oar. It was a fun trip. Sadly, the battery died on the camera so we don’t have any photos! On another day we went and swam in one of the many warm springs in the area – Juniper springs.
We took a trip to the Eastern coast and checked out the beaches at Daytona and New Smyrna. Here you can drive on the beach if you want, for a fee of course. The beach is wide with clean nice sand making it great for walking and lounging.
While Megann was on a side trip to California to visit family Jim and Liesl took me down to the renaissance fair in Tampa for my birthday. This was my first experience and it was a lot of fun! We saw jousting, full contact chess and of course elaborate costumes for the time period. We drank beer, snacked, listened to music and had a really fun day.
We even took a trip to Cuba since we were so close – we have a separate blog post about that.
It seems like we always have little RV projects to work on during our unemployed time. This season we built a shelf and put new curtains in the bathroom, built a shelf and storage pocket next to the chair and laptop table, removed part of the sleeper couch (which sucked) to create shoe storage, scrubbed the gunk off the roof, repaired a pantry latch, sanded and painted the jeep bumper, tuned up the bikes, installed gutter downspouts….I’m sure there’s more but I can’t recall. We had originally planned to replace the carpet with hard floors but with the complexity of doing this job with the slide-outs and the overall cost we decided against it. So, we got a new vacuum – compromise. We also tried to help Tom with his transition to the new property as much as we could in return for our free stay!
Although we’re always trying to trim down our belongings we made one addition – a jogger style stroller for the fur babies. Yeah, yeah laugh it up! It is pretty funny. We were going on long walks but Dexter can only make it maybe a mile, if it’s not warm. Then there’s Boris – he gets jealous and meows super loud as we walk away from his catio. So we found a used stroller on craigslist, made it cat proof and now the fur babies can go on long walks with us! We can also tow it behind the bicycles however Dexter isn’t too sure how he feels about that – I’m pretty sure he doesn’t really like it. So, there ya have it. We’re the crazy lesbians walking our cat and dog in a stroller.
Speaking of the animals – we learned the Florida lesson about fleas. What works in Washington does not work in Florida. Frontline Plus is like doesn’t do a thing! So, Boris got fleas because he goes out in his catio and sits on the ground. Dex either got them from him or from walking around outside but we got an infestation. So, new super flea killer stuff from the vet, plus shampoo, plus spray for the motor home and washing every bit of cloth possible and we rid ourselves from them. It was a pain in the butt and expensive but they’re gone!
Jim and Liesl brought their own new fur baby in to the mix when they arrived in Florida and adopted a young Sheltie-Husky mix they named Willow. Her name has become Willow Underfoot Llama-kneck Fluffy-pants Hynes over these past few months and she’s adorable. Her and Dexter were fast friends after Dexter decided she was okay and they had a great time chewing on each other until Dex would call it quits and hide under something. Willow melted her way in to our hearts and we’re going to miss her!
We even had visitors in the form of previous workcamper friends Al and Laura plus lots of Jim and Liesl’s friends and family. It was a great way to winter and we’re really going to miss everyone here when we leave, but the adventure must continue! We will start working our way North shortly, exploring on our way up, with an arrival in Massachusetts in May for our next job.