Fiasco and Friends

I last updated yesterday from a beautiful beach in Key West.  What a difference a day can make!

We pulled out of Sunshine Key at about 9:50am – 10 minutes ahead of schedule!  The ETA for Thousand Trails Peace River was 3:58 – plenty of time for a quick stop and still arrive and get set up before dark – if only that were the way it worked out.

We had talked to a few friends about this CG, since we haven’t stayed before.  They basically have 2 levels – the upper level has the FHU sites (full hook-up – water, sewer and electric), while the lower level has only water and electric AND is evidently prone to flooding after it rains.  We were told to do our best to get a upper level site.  We had also been warned (yes – warned!) about their “lottery” system to get moved to a FHU site, if you don’t get one initially.  Crazy stuff – let me tell you!

Anyway, we made a quick stop for food and our new ETA was 4:28 – still more than enough time to get done before dark.

The drive was nice – no rain and me high clouds with the sun peaking out once in awhile.  Temps were in the low 80’s.

We drove through Arcadia, where we spent 2 weeks last year – the first week at Arcadia Peace River CG and the second week was at the fairgrounds, where we participated in the RV Dreams Boondocking Rally.   We talked about the farm market/butcher I had visited a couple times, and the orange orchard.   We had bought 2 HUGE full rib eye roasts and split them with Jo & Craig and Cori & Greg.  We decided we would go back there and stock up on the items they sell, as their prices were very fair and the quality was really great.  I also mentioned I wanted to get a Key Lime Pie to take to my Dad, who really enjoys a good Key Lime Pie.

We pulled in to Thousand Trails Peace River about 5 mins behind schedule at 4:35pm to discover the office had just closed.  They did have a box with info packets for late arrivals.  I quickly found our name and got back in the truck to look at the map with Bill.  This was our first time having to find a site without having the CRV.   I had been hoping the office would be open and able to drive us around on a golf cart to find a site, but we were on our own.

One of the papers in the packet of info stated very clearly several times that we were not to pick a FHU site, nor were we to pick a site that has a line drawn through the number on the map b/c they were muddy.  That narrowed our choices quite a bit.  We started down one of the roads to the non-FHU sites and were stopped by a guy telling us to choose very carefully b/c  2 rigs needed to be pulled out by wreckers that very day.  I showed him the map and asked where he thought was good, to which he just shrugged and said none were really any good “down there”.  This was not going well at all and we had just begun.

As we slowly made our way down we could easily see some VERY deep ruts in the grassy areas where the sites were.  We saw what looked like a good spot and Bill got out and walked it to see how the ground felt.  He said he was going to try.  Ok – I watched with my walkie talkie in hand – ready to let him know how it looked from where I was.   He backed up and almost immediately started causing ruts with the rig tires.  He pulled up, and backed up again, after moving over just a little bit.  Still no good.  HUGE DEEP RUTS!  He had the truck in 4×4 low gear.  He was not so concerned about not being able to pull the rig out while the truck was  on pavement but he knew as soon as all 6 truck tires got on the wet muddy grass, he would lose all that traction and just make a mess shooting mud all over while the truck tires dug themselves in.  Then we would be in trouble!

image

image

We decided that this area was not going to work and after finding the local phone number, I dialed.  A woman answered and I explained that we needed help parking so she said someone would be “right there”.   As we waited, it was growing darker and darker and then began to rain.  10 and then 15 minutes went by.  I called again – no answer this time.   Now I am angry.  I wait another 5 mins and call again – this time I left a message to call back ASAP.  We were tired and hungry and now FULL ON ANGRY b/c it is pouring rain and dark.  Bill finally says “where is the nearest Walmart?”   We knew there was one back in Arcadia (about 20’ish miles) but a quick search told us there was one only 4.6 miles up the road – we have a winner! On the way, I called and spoke to the manager who said we were welcome to stay one night.  I thanked her and we parked in the area she asked us to stay in.

It is now 11:38pm.  It is a bit too warm for sleeping with out the a/c, but we aren’t going to put out gennies in the Walmart parking lot.  We watched some TV after a dinner of hot dogs.  I am REALLY missing my car right now.  Some of you may be asking “why not go into Walmart and get something?” to which I’d reply “it’s POURING rain and we are all the way as far from the door as you can get”.  We will survive, but it wasn’t the relaxed “something grilled” dinner I had been hoping for.

This has gotten very long – sorry!  I am going to try to get some sleep – Bill is already out like a light – and let you know what happens tomorrow.  I really hope I don’t have to (as my friends Tracy, Cori and Jo would say) go “Jersey” on them!

Guess I will finish this and post.

We spent the night at Walmart, I didn’t sleep very well at all.  Part of that was it was I was just very annoyed and couldn’t wind down – my mind was on overdrive and once that happens – it isn’t good for me.  The other part was we were in a Walmart and, even though I really did feel safe, I always have one ear listening – just in case.

Thank goodness there was a Subway within walking distance where we were able to get coffee.

We arrived back at the CG just as they were opening up.  We had agreed Bill would do most of the talking, as I was still pretty upset. Chuck was very polite and showed us on the map where we could park.  We discovered the spot was already occupied by a Class C that was actually in storage (per a sign on the window).  The spot also backed up to the road (although there is some separation).  We talked about our options (we could wait for a better spot to open after additional campers have left), but decided to just park there.  It was not ideal in any way, but was dry and we were only planning to be there for 3 nights.

image
the rigs on either side of us were marked as “in storage”.

We made plans with our friends, Gene and Eileen, to get together for dinner.  We planned to use my new Instant Pot to make pot roast.  So, we drove down to Arcadia to buy produce, and more steaks like last year!

image

image
9 – 20oz Ribeye Steaks for $5.89 / #

We had a wonderful evening with Gene and Eileen, and don’t forget about Max!

image
Max didn’t want his pic taken!
image
He just wanted his toy first, then he sat nicely for a pic!
image
Eileen brought this fabulous chocolate lava cake, complete with ice cream and cool whip!  She cooked it in her crock pot!  Was as good as any we’ve had at any restaurant!

Tuesday, we met up with other friends, Nancy and Neil.  We had lunch at a great BBQ place about half-way between where we were each staying, in Plant City.

image

After a delish lunch (thanks Nancy for finding us a great place!), we headed over to the place in town to buy fresh produce – Parkesdale Farm Market.

image
the sign does not lie – check out the next pic!
image
mutant strawberry!
image
fighting (playfully) over the strawberry shortcake
image
Bill and I had the BEST strawberry milkshakes EVER

On our way home, I got a message from other friends, Gerard and Lacretia, they stopped by for drinks and snacks.  It was great catching up with what they’ve been up to since leaving Amazon.

 

image
Bill has gotten very good at using the timer!

We are now back in the Clearwater/Largo area, visiting with family once again!

See you next time!