12 February 2013

The Florida Adventure Continues

We spent part of our time in north FL looking for a new vehicle.  My sister wants to buy the Silver Ghost because it is set up to tow which is what she wants and we wanted a 4-door.  Initially we were interested in the mid-size Chevy Colorado or GMC Canyon.  Unfortunately, we learned model year 2012 was last year they were made and there were none available in the model and equipment we needed.  So we started looking for a 4-door Jeep and were having a difficult time finding one equipped as we wanted. 
We moved over to Rivers RV west of Jax to get some work done on the RV and continued to look for a Jeep, with no luck.  We finally had to move south to Melbourne due to doctor appointments! On the way we decided to stop at Daytona Auto Mall to see if they had a Jeep we liked – fat chance!  So we pulled off I-95 and parked in front of their place and I went in while BJ relaxed in Tucson on the road in front of the Jeep dealer. 
Waiting at the Jeep dealer!
Tucson bidding the Gray Ghost a fond farewell and welcoming Olivia our new travel companion!
The great Gray Ghost behind her new leader!

Well, low and behold after quickly looking at several I knew BJ would not be interested in they found this new arrival in the corner of the lot that I thought she might be interested in – a beautiful Olive Drab 4-door, nicely equipped!  Of course they didn't call it Olive Drab, but it sure looked OD to me! So several hours later we continued on our journey south with the Silver Ghost in tow and BJ driving Olivia, our new travel partner. 

While we were at the Auto Mall, Ron & Linda passed on I-95 headed south. They are friends we met on the road in AZ and they are headed to the Keys too.  We were going to meet up at the Famcamp at Patrick AFB and they were going to catch their breath while BJ and saw doctors, dentist, and family.  Well, as we were getting close to Melbourne Linda called from Patrick Famcamp to advise it was full to overflowing and there was no room for them or us that night.   They found there was space at nearby Wickham Park, a county park we have stayed at several times so we continued on to Wickham Park.  They arrived there shortly before us and had the full attention of the park rangers who were doing a great job finding a place for us.  So we parked in the spot and had a late dinner and drinks to celebrate being back in home turf.
After BJ and I finished our first round of appointments that AM we were back at the park and the rangers found us a spot we could move to for 3 days so we did.  And, then I went to my first dentist appointment in too long!  It seems like the rest of our stay in Melbourne I was either bracing for my next dental appointment or recovering from one!  Next time we head out for that long we will plan some trips back to FL for some routine care.  I could have flown back several times for less then the "catch-up" appointments cost!

In the meantime a few days later we had to move Tucson again to another spot since we had arrived without reservations!  I walked over to the spot to check it out and while the sand was a little soft near the front it was solid in the back.  Or, so it seemed!  

Soon as the rear axles hit the sand they went in and weren't coming out!  What fun it is to have a 35,000 pound RV stuck in the sand!  We provided an afternoon of entertainment to half the RV park – the other half was helping me get unstuck.
Entertainment for the afternoon!

We tried digging it out which was not as easy as it sounds because of the tag axle, finally a guy with a 4-wheel drive 3500 diesel truck pulled up and we hooked it up to a front axle and slowly he pulled us out as I kept pressure on the gas pedal without spinning the tires! 

In the meantime the rangers had re-looked at the reservations and shuffled some projected arrivals around and found us a camping spot that was hard packed! So we moved in there and it was good for about 8 days which pretty much coincided with the end of our appointments so we decided the next time we moved it would be further SOUTH!    Ron & Linda a few days later headed on down to Key West where we had some other friends already waiting for us all! 

We finished up our appointments and headed south too about a week later with some visits to friends and family postponed until next time!

We decided to make it a two day trip as we frequently do. Normally we stop in FL City overnight  and get some great Mexican food that evening and continue on the next day to KW.  However, this time we decided to stop at the Miccosukee Indian Casino north of Fl City at Krome Ave and the Tamiami Trail.  I had stayed there once before on the way home and had enjoyed visiting Shark Valley, part of the Everglades National Park.  I knew BJ would also enjoy that.  

The problem at Shark Valley is the gators don't read the regs that say you must maintain 15 feet from the gators.  They sun themselves on prime real estate along the road way inside the park.  But, there is a great variety of birds to distract you.  We spend the AM there and then headed to KW!  
In Shark Valley

Note that is a park bench (unused) on left of pic!

A beautiful resident of Shark Valley


Looking for lunch!

Always at home, no matter where we are!