We arrived at Peace River Campground on Sunday, February 1. The spot they originally wanted to put us was on the end, and usually we wouldn’t mind that, but it was very dry and there were 4X4’s riding around kicking up dust, plus it was pretty small. We asked to be moved to a larger, not on the end spot, and they agreed. We ended up on a site they call a “double” which is actually pretty cool. More details about that in my review of this campground. This is the site we ended up in for the week:
While at Peace River, we walked along their nature trails (which double as 4X4 trails), which was nice. We saw an elusive armadillo, which walked right up to me. I was standing still, taking it’s pic and I don’t think it realized I was a person. Scared himself and then me when he turned and ran off in the opposite direction, kicking up dirt at me in the process.
We also found a really nice orange orchard and got ourselves some fresh citrus. Joshua orchards sells all sorts of citrus and we brought home some oranges, lemons and Bill got himself a couple grapefruits. They also sold yummy homemade Key Lime Pies, we sampled a small one and it was very good! We also got one of their orange/vanilla swirl ice cream cones, and I have to tell you – it was better than our usual favorite, which is Kohrs Bros on the Jersey shore.
One day we realized we hadn’t gone on a bike ride in quite a while, so we looked up on the Rails to Trails website to see where we might find a place to ride. Rails to Trails are converted railroad paths that have been turned into trails for bikes and hikers. We choose Lake Okeechobee. It turned out to be a great sunny day! We didn’t see anywhere near the full lake, but what we did see was very pretty!
Another day we had a visit from Jo and Ben. Ben and Bill went to the movies to see “American Sniper”, neither Jo nor I had any interest in that, so I’m glad they got to go together. Jo and I went to see Herrmanns Lippizan Stallions. They are gorgeous white horses that are trained in dressage. If you are going to be in that area, check them out! http://www.hlipizzans.com/ They are from Austria and are truly amazing beautiful horses!
Our friends, Cori & Greg, had driven down from the frozen tundra of PA and were staying in Winter Haven for a few nights. Bill and I were driving back from going to Home Depot on Friday and he said “We should go visit Cori & Greg tomorrow” so I texted them and asked if they were up for company. As expected they said “SURE!”, but what was unexpected, but a nice surprise, we learned that our other friends, Tracy & Lee were already planning to be there. So, Saturday morning we got up and made our way there. On the way, we passed the town of Bowling Green, which is where we knew another couple, Jo & Craig were staying. So, we called them and they decided to join us also! What a great day catching up with friends we hadn’t seen in a while!
A couple of interesting wood carvings at Peace River campground
The next day, Sunday, was moving day, so we got up and got ready to move. As usual, Bill emptied our black and gray tanks. For the first time, however, he filled our 92 gallon fresh water tank. We would usually not move with any water, well maybe a little bit just for while we are traveling from one locale to another, maybe 15 to 20 gallons. We were doing this in preparation for our next destination, which was “boondocking” rally being held by RV-Dreams, Howard & Linda Payne. We attended one of their educational rallies last spring in TN (you can check out my post about it). This one would be different in that we would have no hook-ups and would be “dry camping”, which is what boondocking means. No access to water or electric the whole week. Could we survive? That is the question we would be answering. The rally would be giving us info on how to achieve this. I’ve done a bit of research on this already, and knew some stuff, but we would be learning more about it, and having others there learning the same stuff so we could help each other and have fun at the same time! Great plan!
We arrived with Cori & Greg and Jo & Craig (say that 5 times fast!), as we had met at the local Walmart first. We wanted to park near one another, and that plan worked out well. We wanted this partly b/c we just enjoy each others company, but also, the guys would be doing a solar install on a fellow attendees rig. Greg, of RVSolarSolutions, had installed our solar, and also Jo & Craig’s, and both guys helped him with it, so they were going to help him with this one. Many hands make light work, right? By 1pm, we were all set up for the week.
While the guys worked on the install, us girls (Cori, Jo and I) attended the seminars. One was about electric, and Howard talked a lot about solar and generators. I am not the person to discuss too much of this, as a lot of it goes over my head, but I do have a very general understanding of fuses, breakers, A/C and D/C. I do understand that having solar makes it a lot easier for us to have long travel days and also boondock, as Bill does not have to pull out the generators to charge our batteries unless we have very cloudy/rainy days.
Another seminar was all about water use, including tank management. With only 92 gallons of fresh water, we needed to be conservative in our water use. We have 2 45 gallon gray tanks (one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen) and one 45 gallon black tank, which would be almost impossible for 2 people to fill in one week. One of the tips we learned is to put a bucket in the shower to capture some of the water and then put that down the toilet. Water is your friend in your black tank, otherwise you can get a “pyramid of doom”, which our hostess, Linda, talked about in great detail. (I’ll spare you – LOL!) You can also use a bucket when washing dishes and put that down the toilet also. Not every time, mind you, but maybe every other time. Another thing is when taking a shower, you can take what is referred to as a navy, or military shower, where you get in and get wet, then shut the water off, soap and shampoo up, then rinse. I would repeat for conditioner. Let me tell you, it isn’t easy to shower that way, but it does work, or a short time. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to have to do it for more than a week or so.
Also talked about was how to find boondock sites. I think I mentioned this before, but on the East coast, there aren’t too many places to camp for free on public land, but out in the great West there are tons of places. Word of mouth is a good way to find out about them, and Howard also gave us some websites to start with. Some people are very careful about not sharing their favorite places, as they don’t want to show up and someone else is already there.
One day a bunch of us left camp to go on a paddle trip down the Peace River. Some people have their own inflatables, some (like Bill and I) rented canoes, some kayaks. It was a gorgeous sunny day and while we didn’t see an alligator, there were plenty of birds. I had put my camera (which I use for pics) in a plastic bag to protect it from the water, as I was disappointed when I had no pics of our snorkeling trip. Well, let me tell you, pics taken through a plastic bag don’t come out too good – ha! How silly!
The trip down the river was uneventful until the very end. There was a train trestle across the river immediately after a turn, and you had to be almost all the way to the right to go through. Not a good combo. Bill and I came around just as another couple was trying to get to the right, but the current was so strong, they got caught sideways and jammed against the wood. We watched helplessly as they tumbled over into the water. It seemed like forever until they popped up, first Ed then Lynn. It was like out of a movie, Lynn came up and we could almost hear her take that first HUGE breath! What a relief! We knew they needed help! Bill got us positioned right next to them and he started by telling Ed to get out of the water, climb onto the trestle. Ed, however, couldn’t see where Lynn was and he was almost in a panic until we pointed out that she was ok, and was hanging on the wood not far from him. Cori & Greg (on their maiden voyage with their Hobie inflatable kayak) had gone through the trestle and came back from the other side to help. They got a life jacket on Lynn and made sure she was secure, then came closer to Ed. After assuring him she was ok, he was finally convinced to get onto their kayak. I was very impressed with their kayak. Cori was all the way out on the end, leaning over quite a bit and the kayak was very steady the whole time. Our canoe was, like all canoes, very tippy and I was concerned we could become the next ones in the water. Don and his wife came up next to us to help also, He was very calm and since I couldn’t turn around and see Bill, I listened to Bill’s voice and watched Don. When I felt Bill lean over to help, I leaned the other way. After Ed & Lynn were out of the water, we (ok – not ME) got their kayak free from the trestle and then we went under it ourselves. Bill said “paddle on the right – PADDLE!” so I did. Thankfully, the take-out was right there and we were on land quickly. I don’t think I realized how shaky I was until I was on dry land. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the only thing lost was Lynn’s phone. Not too bad for amateur swift water rescuers. Whew! After helping Cori & Greg get their kayak put away, we relaxed and enjoyed a picnic right there next to the river. Needless to say, we are very grateful that went the way it did and we were close enough to be able to help and most importantly, that everyone was ok.
Throughout the week, we had pot-luck meals, both breakfast and dinner (for those who asked for my macaroni and cheese recipe – I have it posted in the “Foodies Welcome – Eating In – Sides” section – help yourself and enjoy!) We enjoyed happy-hours and the guys helped others with issues they were having with their rigs.
Saturday, Tracy & Lee and Jo & Ben were able to visit for the day! It was great – all of us together again for the first time since last years TN rally! We also had rig tours. We loved showing off our home and seeing how others make their rigs their own. Be it 5th Wheels, Class A’s, Class C’s or Travel Trailers, rigs come off the assembly line pretty much looking all the same, very generic, lots of browns, or other neutral colors. Seeing how people brighten up their spaces and make them their own is very interesting to me. Also, how people organize their space to make it more user friendly can be very helpful. You never know where you will get the next great idea to copy!
Sunday morning came quickly and it was time to move on. Bill and I are very happy to report that we made it the whole week without needing any extra water and without needing to dump early. We were pretty proud of ourselves. Its good to know we have the option to boondock for a week without a whole lot of inconvenience. One thing I might do different is use paper products to save on washing dishes. Bill measured what we had left and we had about 18 gallons in the fresh tank. Not too bad for a couple of newbies!
Sorry it has been taking me so long to update, my computer is old and I seem to constantly have technology issues – drives me crazy! I’m getting the updates out as best I can!