Monday, January 16, 2012
I am also locked out of 30+ megabit-per-second data rates…. I am not sure that I can say exactly that I feel better but I do feel a touch of relief.. when I think about it.
I will make-do with what I have left, which is the irksome 802.11b park wifi with dialup speeds (when I am lucky). I also can tether through my Sprint phone but since Christmas, the 4g data rates have been cut in half and though that is better than the park wifi, it is more of a hassle to keep using as it ties up my phone.
I saw an announcement of a Sprint Samsung Galaxy Nexus with Sprint LTE compatibility coming out in the next few months and that gives me some hope for a better solution, long term. Short term, I am still very frustrated.
Cousins Bob Fisher and Jim Sargent dropped in for a couple of days last week. They are from the Toronto area, really great guys and usually spend their winters in their Airstream trailer in southern Florida. It was really nice to get to see them, again, even if it was for such a short visit. It has been several years since we have been with them and nearly 10 since we got to have a reunion of sorts with them and Bob’s Family. It was a hoot.
Of considerably more importance, a milestone of sorts has been reached in SIL Bette’s treatment and the second of the two mandatory operations was completed last Friday. She is still in the hospital until the end of the week but the surgeon feels really confident that with some long months of chemotherapy, she should now have a long life ahead. I think we all sighed in unison when we heard this. I feel like I have been holding my breath for months. I really can’t begin to imagine what Bette feels, though. Her spirits are up despite the grueling prospects of the next few months. She is one really special person and more than deserves special prayers.
We have had a cold snap (of sorts). It’s hard after living in North Carolina and seeing week long stretches of freezing weather, to call low to mid 30’s “a cold snap” but when in Rome….
Mer is great and so is Katie. The RV park is full most nights and we are still loving life, here.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Yep, here it is, two weeks after my last post and I am in a real quandary. Yes, Christmas was great! We spent the eve with Mer’s brother and his whole family. I think there were 27 of us and only 1 was missing due to being out of the country.
The snackers’ buffet dinner was delicious and varied so we had plenty to eat without a massive sit-down meal of gigantic proportions. A much easier solution for a large family gathering than our Thanksgiving dinner which took 4 tables, 3 cooks and two kitchens to pull off for 13 folks. Granted, Thanksgiving was a more “traditional” meal but no one left either one, hungry.
But, back to my quandary. I mentioned in my last blog (I still hate that word) that I was going to get “my precious”, a Pantech UML290 Verizon USB Modem. Well, I did… eventually. Sure, I got there and sure the order, placed online on BestBuy.com for store pickup had gone through including the charges. But actually getting this little guy in hand at the store turned out to be a 90 minute hassle of mind numbing proportions.
In short, the order, though confirmed and charged, was automatically cancelled at the store when the clerk tried to pick it up because their inventory said they were out.. Never mind that they had 22 of them sitting in the drawer. So I spent the next hour waiting for various authorizations amidst the turmoil of last minute shoppers that had the BestBuy printers in a tailspin trying to make hardcopy contracts for human signature.
But, eventually, my patience (and Mer’s) prevailed and I left the store with “my precious” in hand. It was still a half day before I could plug it in and be Wowed…. and I was!
Yes, it is everything I had hoped for. I get up to 31 mbps download and nearly 5mbps upload speeds per Speedtest.net and the dataflow is as good or better than I usually had on my cable internet back in Raleigh.
This was the best I have gotten but you can see the trends over time before and after I got the UML290 USB Modem (prior to 12/18/2011) until today. The first spike was while we were on Time Warner in Raleigh for Thanksgiving. Prior to that anything over about 500kbps was all Sprint 4g/3g and the rest was the campground wifi. Just pause your cursor on the graph to see the date/time and speed of any point.
Now for the quandary…. This device has only two service plans available for it… A 5 gigabyte for $50 plan and a 10 gigabyte for $80 plan. Each comes with a $10 per gigabyte over limit fee. Ok, you say, I can live with that for such great connectivity. However, it only took 4 days to use up the whole 5 gigabytes of data allowance my contracted plan had.
Out of this, only about 400 megabytes was due to streaming video. OK, so I wanted to catch up on a couple of Two and a Half Men episodes I missed. The rest, just disappeared, quickly!
No wonder I have been so frustrated with the internet connectivity I have been experiencing “out here”. I am still picking the glass out of my teeth from hitting the connectivity wall and I’m trying to find all the holes in this data bucket. I think the real issue is that I do a lot of different things besides read email and follow a couple of forums and blogs. I do have some online backups setup, too, which I am sure may have taken a few hundred megabytes but that is a once a week hit. I just have a lot of stuff in “the Cloud”. Maybe there is a lot of data syncing going on with that stuff but it’s not like it changes much.
The short of it is that I am in love with this Verizon 4g LTE USB Modem and what it delivers in performance, even with no external antennas on it. But I am crushed by the obvious ongoing cost. The $50 per month (plus a 15% federal tax) was ungainly but I was willing to work around that. But estimating my ongoing monthly expense for what looks like 70 to80 gigabytes makes it impossible to sustain.
So, I can’t live with it and I can’t live without it and thus, I am heartbroken. I finally found a solution and can’t make use of it because of the costs and it has to go back to BestBuy in the next couple of days.
On other fronts, Katie has had another seizure, her second in 26 days, and that worries me, a lot. She is such a sweet individual and just does not deserve this terrible flaw.
We are settled in here until about April. Mer’s brother and his family just can’t get a break. His neuropathy has worsened a lot and over the holidays they found out that his oldest daughter has to have a radical double mastectomy, immediately! More prayers are surely needed for them.
I hope that we can be here for support for as long as they need but that can not take the sting out of it nor fix any of the problems they are struggling with. So far, all of these devastating health problems would likely have been caught and corrected during the recommended regular age related health screenings. Sure haste makes waste but it is very true that he who hesitates is lost. I know that sometimes, it is very hard to find the middle ground in a daily swamp full of alligators. Please do your due diligence and keep up with your recommended health screenings. The inconvenience and cost is cheap insurance if prevents even one devastating medical problem later on.
On this note, let me close by saying the weather has turned chilly, too. Freezes are expected over the next couple of nights but beautiful blue sky days are mixed with the anticipation of seeing Mer’s cousins passing through in a few days. They are special people and we have not seen them in several years. They are on their way from Toronto to south Florida, interim weather permitting and it will be wonderful to see them, again.
PS. 1/5/2012 Update: The coldest it got in the campground was only 31 degrees and the cousins are due in this afternoon!
Sunday, December 18, 2011
We are officially decorated for Christmas! Well, not completely. As usual, my memory of where I put stuff last year was a bit fuzzy and I forgot that there were several strands of lights that I drool around the cabinet tops and all that were decommissioned due to a failure to illuminate.
So, I am now mostly decorated and a WalMart trip is in order to round out the decorations. That is ok. I need to pick up a few other things, too, and I really don’t like to drive 7 miles to get just 1 thing. The problem is that I am still in the habit of “making a mental note” of what I need. Of course, that scratchpad is almost used up and I keep forgetting to check it, anyway. Hmmm, maybe I should write THAT down so I don’t forget to check it….. Obvious flaw in that, somewhere.
On to better things. I have really been unhappy with my internet connectivity “out here” in RVing land. So far, the campground supplied Wifi, whether paid or free, has been outright frustrating. Likewise, my Sprint 3g/4g service, even when using the HOTSPOT feature on my phone, has been unruly and I am tired of having to work out some Rube Goldberg workaround to get everything connected consistently every time we move or I take my phone out of the process to use it.
Yesterday, after a lengthy amount of research, I ordered a Verizon 4g LTE USB Modem. It’s a Pantech UML290 which should just plug right into my Cradlepoint MBR1000 router and provide the best of the best in a connectivity hotspot. That is what my Verizon based Kids keep telling me, but that’s another topic. I chose the UML290 because it has held the Editors Choice awards for a long time and is still up there. A really big reason, though, is because it has external antenna connections for 3g and separately for 4g external antennas. This is a biggie!
I thought for a long time that Campground Wifi problems were surely in the CG system but I now have it clear that very often if not most of the time, the problems are in the backhaul side provided by the ISP that delivers the broadband connection to the campground. Nothing I can do in my RV will make up for that other than to have other connectivity options, like Verizon.
The BestBuy store in south Jacksonville is holding my USB modem for me and from the data rates I have seen from others around here, it will be an awesome solution. I just have to go pick it up sometime today.
I have been a loyal Sprint customer for many years and money wise, their unlimited everything plans are big $$$$ savers over everyone else’s plans. But I depend on good Internet connectivity to keep me sane and it is very unlikely that I will ever be in a campground that is close enough to a major city to get their 4G Wimaxx service solidly. I know they are putting in an Advanced LTE 4g service over the next 18 months but I need it now!
I will still keep my phones on Sprint but the only likely alternative to Verizon might be Millenicom but they only offer 4g on their hotspot device and not on a UML290 USB Modem. Living in an aluminum cage in the walls of the RV makes it mandatory to have a way to put up an external antenna for the best wireless connectivity.
So, now it’s time to go pick up “my Precious!”
Saturday, December 10, 2011
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It’s 58 degrees on a fine sunny Saturday morning and it’s warming up nicely but the way the snowbirds are leaving this campground you would think a bad weather witch was coming to turn this place into Fargo, ND. It has been a pretty steady stream since about 7 AM.
For us, there is no problem at all. The projected temperatures of mid 50s to upper 60s are right in the middle of our favorite comfort zone so we will enjoy the elbow room… for a day or two… maybe. This RV park is so roomy that their presence is not particularly noticeable other than when we are walking around the roads and see the empty sites.
We are comfortably settled in for the winter and I even pulled out the collapsible leaf rake and swept up the site around us though it was little more than a few pine needles and pin Oak leaves.
I parked Clifford a little differently this time to give me better access to the Sprint 4G service tower to our east but so far it does not appear to have made much difference in my signal strength. I can, however, stream movies and other video content through it with no blurps or gags so I am happy for now.
I setup the Dish antenna, yesterday, and we get a great signal. I signed onto the Pay-as-you-go Dish Network plan for RVers that lets you suspend/resume your dish subscription without extra fees. It just has to be done by prepaying month to month. If you don’t pay then the service stops until you do. Makes it easy.
The Dish receiver, a VIP211K unit, integrates the Dish programming guide and the local broadcast TV guide into its own guide. It also includes a Digital TV Converter section in the receiver so I don’t need a separate over the air (OTA) converter box for a non-digital TV. I just hook the dish cable and the OTA coax to the receiver and it does the rest to switch between these sources as I change channels.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
We are back in the Stagecoach RV Park in St. Augustine, FL. Same park and same site that we were in before the Thanksgiving trip back to the Stix n’ Brix in NC. Boy, it’s nice to be back here.
The whole Turkey adventure was very nice and we did enjoy it but the weather was starting to turn on us. More important, our dear SIL, Bette, had some more stuff to get started on this week so it was time to kiss the kids and get back down here. We did have an exceptional time while we were there, though and even got an early Christmas (see: wow-we-ve-got-hdtv for the details.)
Just before hitting the road, Katie had a seizure at 4am in the morning. It lasted about 90 minutes and was more severe than the last few. It was only 72 days since the last one that she had but they usually happen more frequently in the late fall and winter than through the summer months. More to come on her blog.
The trips up and back to Florida were uneventful other than the old gremlin of the fuel temperature sensor triggering a false alarm in the engine computer. Guess I will have to replace that sensor after all. It has been really nice that Mer drives about half of every day’s mileage. She does an excellent job and I have no problem with going back to the bunk and taking a nap after my shift at the wheel.
The only problem with trying to nap is coming down through central South Carolina on I-95. They have done a lot of work on the road and most of it is better but it is still really rough enough to bang me around in the bunk. Just getting horizontal for a bit is still a real help.
More to come…
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Remember the RCA color TV ads from the 60s? “Wow, We’ve got Color TV!”? Color media sources are so common today that it is hard to imagine watching shows in black and white that should have been in vivid color, like Howdy Doody, Sure, Clarabelle finally made it into full living color before the show was cancelled but I don’t think that kids really noticed the lack of color…. until it started being viewable in full color on their home TVs.
High Definition TV is much like this. What one comes to accept as normal may be really substandard to many others. Sure, I go and stand in CompUSA or BestBuy and try not to drool like a fool as I slowly cruise through the TV departments. Mer, on the other hand, has really not had the exposure or even the interest in the difference between HDTV and anything else. Heck, she grew up without TV at all (or mostly… it was a Dad thing). After only a few minutes of watching this new one she is wondering how we ever enjoyed watching anything in non-HD. As it is with many things it has to be experienced to be appreciated.
Well, our generous kids puddled their Christmas gift funds for us and presented us with a Samsung 32” HDTV and nifty wall mount to hang it on. Since we are not planning to be back here for Christmas they felt we should have it “professionally” installed (by EmeryIII) before we left.
He put it in on Saturday and it is excellent! The installation involved removing all the old electronics center equipment and the 27” CRT tv from 1999. That was a four-handed two-person job!
Since we mostly watch the TV from our recliners, we wanted it much higher so our creaky old necks don’t have to get kinks from tucking our chins to watch it over our noses. We finally figured out that it could be mounted where the entertainment components had been in the upper cabinet and those could be relocated where the old TV had been.
EmeryIII removed the old smoked glass doors and crafted a tight fitting swing out panel to attach the HDTV mounting bracket to. Now, we have full access to all that space that the old CRT TV took up.
One big concern I had in trying to plan to put in a larger TV was the overlap with the cabinet doors to either side of it. The TV mount that Emery found is made to swivel in 3 dimensions so it easily shifts to either side to clear the doors when they need to be opened. The vertical tilt it allows makes it a perfect viewing angle from our reclined positions. For the first time, Merrily can see TV straight-on from her chair and we can actually watch TV while eating at the dining table (not that this is necessarily a good thing).
We have such great kids and the installation job that EmeryIII did is truly professional in every way. Thanks guys and a special thank you to Emery for spending his Saturday doing this right for us.
We are truly blessed beyond our rights.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
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This Thanksgiving was even better than we had imagined. Shawna and Randy hosted 17 of us for a food free for all. Besides bred-in family there were 6 friends that joined us as well.
It took 3 kitchens and two days to prepare all the food and about 3 hours to finish off the meal but it was grand! There were so many choices in the serving dishes that we had to resort to salad tongs to dish up some of them.
I am really glad we came back here for the holiday. It has been memorable and completely overshadows all the niggling little annoyances of Doctors appointments, kidney stones, back pains and the like.
Having said all that it seems that something happened to the dangling carrot and I can’t find it. The Urologist wants to start on eliminating the stone right away (which really means it will be at least 2 weeks before the first attack happens and they put in a stent. Next will come a lithotripsy and given the size (18mm) it is very unlikely that they will be able to shatter it enough in one treatment for me to pass all the pieces. This means at least one more lithotripsy 4 or more weeks down the road and while I might be willing to stick here for an extra week, having to stay longer than that is really raining on my plans.
My SIL’s next surgery is still not scheduled but expected to be early Dec. Right now, she is not feeling so good for some reason so all that may change. Bob, Mer’s brother with the progressing neuropathy, is heading into some aggressive treatments to attempt to stop it. Going through that treatment the last time really sucked the wind out of his sails and made him very nonfunctional. Given Bette’s pending surgery and following recovery, they are really going to need a lot of hands on assistance into January and maybe beyond. We really need to get back down there, pronto so I can’t dawdle around here throwing stones.
Despite all of this, everyone is happy and healthy (except us old farts) and all have great outlooks for Christmas and beyond so we will roll on out of this year and into the future with miles of smiles.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
But the cold weather, Doctor's appointments and a lot of other "gotta-do" life flotsam and jetsam we needed to take care of while here, has really squeezed our elective time into very sparse and scattered pockets. Our Aerostar van (Yeah, the one with the tree on it, thanks again, Hurricane Irene) has been disposed of so we are down to just the Smart cart for local transportation. You know me, if I really don't have a passion for doing something, I will probably not start working on it until I can't find more fun things to do. Being here is no different.
I miss ST. Augustine. I miss the weather, the dog park (Katie does, too), the spontaneous walks around the RV park at all hours (no hills, no mosquitoes and reasonably lit). Here, a walk involves an initial uphill hike up our driveway just to get to the street. Sure, I like to hike but this is not hiking. Walking our neighborhood is just plain work without the passion.
On other fronts, My decades old right kidney stone is confirmed to be 18mm and has moved to a precarious spot in my right kidney so it needs to come out before we go anywhere medically remote (like the Rockies). There is just too much risk that it will suddenly block that kidney and cause it to shutdown in a matter of hours. I am waiting to hear from the doctor as to whether he wants to bang it to pieces with lithotripsy (high powered ultrasound) or remove it percutaneously (make a hole). I have had more than a dozen lithotrypsies since the 1980s and really prefer that approach.... except for the stints they sometimes have to stick up there to keep things flowing. I don't like the stints! They usually hurt more than the stones and make me both dysfunctional and constantly irritated (oh, wait... maybe that is just me...)
On a better topic, our kids are grand! They are all happy, busy, productive and glad to see us. That makes everything else tolerable.
The house is coming along, nicely. Emery has become an impressive power on Craigslist and has made the basement into a product showroom for interested parties. I will admit to having some trepidation about coming back here and actually seeing what is gone from our lives. I have not walked through the house but in going into the basement and seeing all the open floor space he has made, I thought I would get sick to my stomach.... But I didn't. When I saw it I actually felt relief for the first time in years. Strange.
I will say that I tried to prepare myself by focusing on NOT looking for specific things that had been there. That seemed to help a lot and it seems best to leave what is out of sight... out of mind.
On other fronts, Mer's sister is doing well in Carillon and though she wants out of that situation, it is simply not possible as her needs require trained assistance 24/7. She is certainly far happier than she was in Wake Forest and has settled into this new lifestyle.
Yes, Thanksgiving is a time for togetherness and thankful reflections. It is also a time to steel ourselves for the coming winter hardships. Knowing we are returning to St. Augustine is a nice carrot to have dangling out in front of us.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I am starting to think that blogging is just another performance art. Here it is a month since I last updated anything even though I have thought and planned doing it at least several times a day since the last post. I struggle with the “right content” so much that I don’t get anything committed to e-paper and it becomes less creative and more like taking out the garbage because the can is over-full.
However, stuff does continue to happen and I could try to beg off because of it, but I won’t. The headliners are:
- My Sister-in-Law is doing miraculously well after her surgery! Absolutely amazing that she is doing so much better than even before they discovered the cancers. She has to have one more surgery, probably before Christmas and then a bunch of months of heavy chemotherapy but her doctors are giving her a strong positive outlook once this is all finished.
- Although the site number has changed we are still in the Stagecoach RV Park in St. Augustine, FL. It is a much better site for us with no one behind and a nice view out of the rear window. The park Wifi continues to be very slow and really sporadic despite the excellent signal strength. It also pretty much quits when the temperature falls below about 55 degrees. I Finally paid to get my Sprint Hotspot turned on in my Samsung EPIC 4g phone and that is about 4 to 6 times faster and way more reliable. I can usually watch episodes of TV shows that we have missed.
- Katie the Poo is on day 50 of being seizure free. She is in need of a grooming and doing very well since her ear infection. We finally have some ear drops that have stopped the irritation and smell she has always struggled with in her ears. She gets to the dog park a few times a week and we all love it when we go. Excellent dog park at the Joe Pomar park in St. Augustine.
- With no Cable in this park our only TV has been digital over the air broadcast channels through a converter box (DTVCB) (old analog TV) which limits our viewing/recording to 1 channel only, at a time. Trying to remember when to switch the DTVCB so it records the shows we like, is like being a city bus driver with Roseanne Barr sitting right behind you.
- Mer’s sister in KnightDale is doing much better since she changed assisted living facilities. Her spirits and her health are improving steadily. Good facility, good care and the relief this has brought for Mer has been huge.
- Thanksgiving is coming and we are headed back to the house for a couple of weeks with the kids. It is kind of exciting and yet, we have so enjoyed being close to Mer’s brother and wife, despite their health problems that we are looking forward to returning back here, after the holiday.
We are planning to leave here on Monday or Tuesday so I need to get busy working down my departure list. Diesel prices are down right now so I may run out and fill up before we hookup.
Life is fun, isn’t it!
Friday, October 14, 2011
How does the time get away from me. Here it is the middle of October and only a few weeks before we are due to leave for a Texas winter. Let me see… where did I put all that time… oh yeah! I remember….. I used it all up enjoying myself!
We are here partly due to family illness which is progressing positively. Spirits and comfort levels are high and we all can get together every few days to have some more fun. That helps everyone.
The Stagecoach RV Park,
I just finished upgrading my Samsung EPIC 4g phone’s operating system from Android 2.2 (Froyo) to 2.3 (Gingerbread) after waiting too long for Sprint to provide an update. It is wonderful! I liked it before but I love it now.
I seem to stay either too busy or too relaxed to get on with some of the little work I need to do around here to get ready for traveling. I still have not even fixed the air line to the driver’s side seat in the truck. It popped off coming into town and I had to pinch it off with one hand til we could get stopped. Maybe this week…. or maybe not.
Our eating habits are still forming but we have gotten considerably better at managing portion sizes and often just split a meal when we eat out. Between senior menus and senior portions we are doing better and I hope that translates to healthier, too.
Crockpot cooking has also been ramped up a few notches and we have been crocking it one or twice a week. We need a new crock pot, though. This one is an all in one piece and I really think we would use it a lot more if it had a removable crock for cleaning. We are contemplating a few choices in the context of our regular needs and available cabinet storage. This one is a small 4qt unit and we don’t really need much bigger than this for the two of us.
Our plans are to head west the beginning of November, if the holiday home time pangs don’t get to us, first. We can already feel them tugging at us so plans may change… again.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Katie the Poo has an ear infection that has had us quite worried (we did not know it was her ears). More details are in her blog, http://katie-poo.blogspot.com but this scare has brought some fears to the surface for us.
Being “out here” and not in our usual place with the usual familiar resources, like doctors, Vets, hospitals, etc. available to us, has been an unspoken “what-if” concern from the beginning of our planning. We just did not really think much about how it would make us feel because we had worked through plans for how to deal with any such situations that might arise. Trust me! It made us feel pretty helpless and exposed!
Simple things, like finding a Veterinarian for our little girl was not as simple as we had planned. Mer had to call 4 vets offices before we found one that could even see her. Fortunately, St Augustine has a Regional Emergency Veterinary Hospital just for nights and weekends and once we were referred to them, it became much easier to make headway.
But time goes so slow when you are in pain. When one you love is in pain, it seems to be stationary! Worse than that is not knowing exactly where help will come from or how to get there. When we got settled into this campground we kept an eye open for nearby vets “just in case” we should need one for Katie. It turned out that when we did actually NEED one, none of these were available and that was scary. Suppose it had been one of us rather than Katie? How hard would it have been to have been seen by a doctor in a strange town?
This whole area needs more work for the future. In the past 24 hours, I have gone through all sorts of scenarios involving one of both of us needing immediate medical care and in light of yesterday’s events, I can no longer just assume that going to a nearby hospital or ER or Urgent care is going to work. I think we really need to figure out a way to get the care we might need in a strange place on a moment’s notice.
One thing that we became aware of is the natural tendency to deny the possible severity of a problem because of the apparent logistical difficulty in getting appropriate help right away. I mean that it’s easier to say “it is not THAT bad” than to say “take me to the hospital” when one does not know exactly where that hospital is, how to get care there, how to pay for it and how to endure all the assumed delays and indifference that will surely be a part of making that choice. It feels better to hope it will get better than to fear it will get worse so action must be taken, now!
There will be more to come on this topic. This is a really big hole in being prepared no matter where we might be. But, being out on the road with nothing familiar around makes this lack of adequate preparation potentially lethal.
Friday, September 23, 2011
We have been enjoying family and the St. Augustine area for nearly 4 weeks but it only seems like a few days have gone by. Evenings are already coming sooner in the day and we have only touched on a few of the many things we had hoped to be a part of before we moved on to our next planned destination.
It seems like we have barely gotten started here and already our departure is looming up in front of us. Well, that can be fixed and we have done so by extending our stay another month. Boy! Do I feel better! Just a little tweak in the plans and we are good, again. Love this lifestyle!
However, this does make me think a bit about what has gotten us to this point over so many years. A lot has certainly been about our own directed efforts to see this lifestyle realized but many things have slipped, skewed and bubbled up in front of our planning and have all had to become a part of making this happen.
I understand that there are laws of physics which say things like, you can't be in two different places at the same time and water flows downhill. But there are other laws which we all experience but no one ever explains. These include;
- The more fun you are having the less time you have left to enjoy it.
- When you are feeling poorly is when mechanical things will break.
- Wifi will be great as long as you don't really need it.
As one reader pointed out... I never got to the point of this blog.... senior moment or just tired, maybe, so I have reworked it a bit for clarity.
I feel that this is because we have kept moving towards it for the past 10 years despite all the "life junk" strewn in our path. We have been invested in its success all along the way so that now, we truly own it and relish each day in it. What we dreamed and worked for is now our life and we are blessed to be here.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Yesterday’s blog was about how we happened to pass through Salt Springs, Florida. Today’s will be about what we found there and why it really appealed to us.
First, the $50 really did make it into our new savings account at Woodforest National Bank. Hooray for that!
Mer’s brother, Bob, has spent most of his life in this area of Florida and when he heard we were going over to Ocala his enthusiasm was almost out of control. I have been to Ocala… it is not that much to get excited about but he was insistent that we go through the beautiful Ocala National Forest. Honestly, from St. Augustine, you can’t get to Ocala without going through it unless you want to nearly double the miles to get there.
Anyway, he was going on and on about checking out the various springs along the way, like Salt Springs, Juniper Springs, Silver Glen Springs and Silver Springs.
He also knew we have been interested in RV parks with RV Ports, which are shelters that you can park an RV under while you live there. He mentioned that there are a couple of RV Parks in Salt Springs that he and Bette had visited that had RV ports. Of course, we were interested, too.
Salt Springs is about half the trip to Ocala from St. Augustine.
Actually, the first park we visited is a development of deeded RV properties. It is nice, compact (a little too much so for our tastes) and has spaces available to rent or buy. Some rentals are brokered through the developer, Elite Estates, but many are rented directly by the owners. A list is available in the guard house at the entrance. Prices are negotiated directly with the owners so there are no prices printed on this list, just phone numbers.
We did not take the time to visit the offices of Elite Estates to see what they had for rental information. Overall, it is a nice place, gated, free wifi through out the park and borders a big lake. Perhaps on a longer visit to this resort we could find a few spots that we could fit completely into while hooked to the truck but only a few even looked close to being a fit. Some decent space between lots was the norm but often, they backed up to each other pretty closely.
Salt Springs Village, which borders the western side of Elite Estates. This is a 55+ retirement community so a lot more park models and manufactured homes are in this area. On average, the lots are significantly larger and there are a fair number of them with real RV ports attached. Also a full facility resort, it borders a lake, has swimming pools, club house and the usual things one finds at a real resort.
We really liked the atmosphere in Salt Springs Village a bit better than Elite Estates. It seemed more like a place we would be comfortable living for extended periods.
So, you may ask, where is the other shoe? Actually, Salt Springs is out in the boonies and in a real cell phone dead zone. Elite Estates does have Wifi but I don’t know about the Salt Springs Village area since my cell battery died trying to get GPS and online maps while on the way to Salt Springs. Boy! When it can’t connect to anything it really eats batteries.
Now, the other shoe….
We had to hurry on to Ocala before the bank closed. Yes, they are open everyday of the year but not 24/7, so we did not want to get there late and still not get our $50 (remember that little incentive for this trip?)
When we finished our banking business in Ocala, we decided to go back the way we had come. On the way into Ocala we had passed an RV Resort calledWilderness RV Park Estates which looked pretty inviting from the highway. We stopped in there as we headed home and really liked what we saw… to a point.
rates posted on their website and honor Passport America and Good Sam memberships. $445/month is not a terrible rate.
The newest section of this park has lots that are even larger and range up to 7000 sq ft/lot. Lacking a map or any other info at the time we were there, we did not even discover there was this newer section until we were back home and could look it up on their website. The property is located along the Florida Greenway with access to the Ocklawaha River and just a mile or so from the entrant to the Ocala National Forest.
The overall atmosphere is of a pretty new resort with good paved roads and facilities but a great big sign out by the highway that says “Foreclosure Auction” which is scheduled for 9/21/2011. I don’t know what that might mean to owners or RV renters in the future but I just know that I like the feel of the park… and I did have good cell service (I finally found my car charger).