I’m backtracking a bit here, since I really wanted to show off my new floor in the previous post. . . But the two months I did not post were pretty busy ones! So here’s a synopsis of my last couple of months.
My friend and I were supposed to go to South Beach the week before I left Ft. DeSoto and she had made reservations at a hotel there for two nights. We had planned to take this trip for a couple of months and were really looking forward to it, but then we heard there was a storm predicted for the Miami area when we were scheduled to be there. We decided to head to Sanibel/Captiva Island instead, staying in Ft. Myers (the Island is prohibitively expensive to stay on) and driving over during the day for sightseeing (i.e., photography).
My friend had found a nice motel on the internet and made reservations for one night, but when we got there and saw that we could get a little cottage-like room with a covered porch right on the lake for $10 more, we took it — and even added two more nights! The only problem was that I hadn’t planned to be there for so long, so I hadn’t packed enough for three days. However, a trip to Big Lots for two new pairs of underwear was all I needed.
We went to Sanibel/Captiva all three days we were in Ft. Myers, with varying degrees of success. In short, the island is not particularly tourist-friendly, from our perspective. We wanted to park, walk around, and take photographs; unfortunately, parking is not cheap in Captiva, in particular. I was shocked to discover that at most beaches, there was a charge of $2-3 per hour to park! And many of the beaches are inaccessible to people just coming in for the day.
So we ended up driving a lot, searching for photo-ops. We were very impressed with the restaurant we ate at the first day — the Island Cow — for its reasonable prices, very good, friendly wait staff, and its ambience — very island-y. Here are some pictures from our trip:
My Last Move
I had started packing up a couple of days before I left Ft. DeSoto, putting away my chairs and table, my various bug sprays and the shells I’ve accumulated on forays from Fort DeSoto. I said my goodbyes the day before I left at the camp office, and even ordered a pizza from the camp store so I could say goodbye to the manager there. I signed up to work in May, and possibly June, so I’d be back in six months, and some of the camp hosts I’d worked with would be back then, too.
I had had to move sites the week before, so I’d already replaced the battery in my RV (it had decided to die on me, probably because I hadn’t started the RV in the four months I’d been at the camp). The tires looked okay; I tried to check the tire pressure, but apparently I have the wrong gauge because I was unable to check the one that had previously gone flat. I’d have to trust to Providence that it could hold up for the 30-mile trip to Dunedin.
I pulled out shortly before 8:00am, having remembered to retrieve my bike from the tree it was chained to and throwing my blue boy (mobile tank) into the back of my car. Fortunately, I didn’t have to secure my birds, since they were at my friend’s in Largo, where they’d been staying since our trip to Sanibel/Captiva the previous weekend. They ordinarily ride in the front seat of my car in their cage, secured with a seatbelt. I was picking them up after our trip to the St. Pete Folk Fair, so I had to get moved and set up, then meet my friends back in St. Pete for the festival — whew!
The trip was relatively uneventful — no curbs hit, no awkward turns to make — for which I am always grateful. I got to Dunedin around 9:00, and pulled up to the office when I heard a crash. My vent cover had come flying off, breaking into pieces on the pavement in front of me. Okay, so the trip wasn’t completely uneventful. Fortunately, I had planned to replace the covers anyway; I’d just have to do it sooner now. In the office, I was told my site was still occupied — damn! Check-out is 11:00, so I just drove to the street and parked and waited. In the meantime, I saw that my friends had arrived from Ottawa, so I went to say ‘hello,’ and ended up meeting a couple of other couples on my street. The occupant of my site was, unfortunately, not showing any signs of leaving. . .
An hour later, I decided to start up my generator (which is supposed to be run every month for about a half-hour — oops!). Since I had electric from the generator, I made a cup of coffee to help pass the time. It’s so nice to have your home with you wherever you go. By 11:00, the vagrant in my site was still there — and still not packing up. I couldn’t even give him dirty looks, since he hadn’t come outside the RV yet!
So I stood around, getting increasingly agitated, and talked to the maintenance guys who were out getting sites ready for their occupants. They ended up calling the office to see whether they could find out what was going on with my site, and I think they even knocked on the door to hurry the guy along. Apparently, the family was moving to another site in the park, so when the guy finally came outside, he just started loading up his truck with the stuff piled outside the RV.
After 3 loads in the truck (the RV was still there!), the bum finally moved the RV so the maintenance crew could ready the site for me to move in. Sheesh! It was about noon by then, and I was supposed to meet my friends in St. Pete ASAP. I had to maneuver the RV between trees to get into the site, and with the help of the maintenance crew, I managed it with one try — I’m really getting good at this! The guys helped me get leveled, then I hooked up and headed to the office to pay up (ouch). My phone was, as usual, dying by then, and I remembered I had left my charger in the RV, so I started back to retrieve it.
I looked in my rearview mirror, and there was my special friend from Montreal! I hadn’t expected to see him that day, since he was just arriving after a three-day trip and wanted to get set up, and I was supposed to be in St. Pete for the day. What a treat! So I got a hug (or two), and we planned to get together the next day. I retrieved my charger and finally headed to Largo to pick up my friend to get to the festival.
This was a long post — sorry! — so I’ll keep the next one short. . . In the meantime, I’ll post more pictures from the trip in the gallery.