Florida – The Gulf of Mexico

Thursday February 17 – Monday February 28, 2022

“The flu,”as some folks call COVID down South, finally loosened its hold on our world. Delta, and then the Omicron spikes had grounded us.

The other thing that gave us pause was a crack in the over-the-bed Dometic Heki 700×500 skylight.

Had the replacement shipped via EBay international shipping from England!

Although it wasn’t leaking, a large piece of the trailing side of the plastic surrounding the window had cracked off at a seam.

Leaving RV’s out in the elements is bad enough… sliding off the air conditioner into this piece of plastic while removing snow is worse.

Lissa was a great help fixing the window and she loves this image!

My bones ached, and we were both in need of fun in the sun.

Too cold.
So just like a pair of snow birds in a puddle of false Spring, we headed South for an 11 day adventure.

Our first night driving South didn’t even merit a single picture. Cracker Barrel in Harrisonburg, Virginia on Thursday Feb 17 was WAY too close to the highway. In the morning Lissa enjoyed a little gift shopping after I had 2 orders of “potato casserole” and coffee.

We stopped at the first Bojangles we saw. The highlight (for me) was this redneck style truck camper

The second night Friday February 18 we found a great $35/night campground called Red Gate Farm in Savanna Georgia.

Sunrise at Redgate
Sunrise in Savanna at Red Gate Farm Campground.
Left over Halloween decorations at Red Gate

Although I had visited Georgia before, Savanna was just another city someone told me they considered for retirement. Reminiscent of Charleston, South Carolina, it was not quite warm enough in late February for outside relaxation.

I found Savanna charming, but there is a certain fishy smell that stopped us short of falling in love with this city. It also prevented a longer visit🤢

I snapped a few quick shots while Lissa drove us around Savanna.

We left Savanna, Georgia about mid day on Saturday, February 19th and arrived at a little campground near Citrus Springs off Route 19 North of Weekiwatchee after nightfall. Hawks Nest Trailer Park, only $32.

During the drive South on Sunday, I noticed a noise and saw something that looked odd in the passenger side mirror. A little strip of the camper became detached from its track. The Northstar Facebook group had multiple answers about this issue posted before our next gas stop. The cause was the rapid change in temperature😂, and the fix was just as obvious.

Push it back in!

We spent Sunday afternoon visiting Lissa’s friend and her husband in their brand new home in Sarasota.

We then made our way to the world renowned sunset at Siesta Key.

Like most world famous places, this beach was crowded beyond belief. Despite having about 20,000 parking spots I circled the lots, and hit a stop sign with the front corner of the camper before letting Lissa out to experience the beach. Camper was ok, but the only place to stop was a loading zone with a girl doing awful songs karioke style. I cranked up the music in the GMC loud enough to drown her (out). When Lissa made her way back to me, she agreed that the music sucked. She reported that the drum circle was overwhelmingly crowded, and no COVID masks in sight.

I declined her insistence to see the sunset, and finally we made our way to Sarasota Sun Outdoors RV Park Sunday Night, February 20th.


We arrived after dark, but I woke up early and explored. The car wash was my favorite part, $20 bought 30 minutes of self serve.

Sunrise at Sarasota Sun RV park
Back side of the “lake” path.
Front side of the lake where they sail Radio Control sailboats

On Monday Feb 21, we drove to Pine Island KOA.

This day was the beginning of our carefree exploring. We went down Route 41 and turned off at a random road out toward the sea.

We waited for about 10 minutes to cross the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway over the intriguing swiveling, Blackburn Point swivel bridge.

Like a draw bridge, that raises in the middle, this bridge swivels to let big boats go up and down the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway by turning sideways!

We needed a lunch and bathroom break, and just past the bridge on the right we found Blackburn Point Park and we met a fixture of the park, Hootie!

Hootie gave us the lay of the land. To get to the nearest beach, Nokomis, we could either drive past some mansions owned by rich people (e.g. Oprah) and stay on Casey Key, or we could head back inland and take then the shorter drive in from highway 41.

Before leaving Blackburn Point Park, we looked around the park and used the restrooms. It was hot, so we lunched on delicious hummus sandwiches.

We walked back towards the swiveling bridge and saw people fishing. After learning about a recent bee swarm, we headed back toward the park and looked at a kayak rental/bar outfit.

Restrooms

Vacationing, so in no rush, we decided to drive past the mansions rather than revisit Highway 41 so soon.

Oprah’s place
A private beach!

We arrived at what became our favorite spot, Nokomis Beach. Parking was not as bad as Siesta Key, and we found our spot across the Intracoastal from a marina.

Nokomis beach was great! I swam and played and put my toes in the water and ass in the sand, with a cold water in my hand. Life was great that day! (Ala Zac Brown)

And before we got too much sun, we headed back to LILLY for some food.

Enroute to our next campground we watched the sunset at Gilchrist Park.

Gilchrist Park at sunset (slack line walker)

Our next spot was down further South at Fort Myers Pine Island KOA 2 nights: Monday February 21 and Tuesday February 22nd.

On Tuesday 22, we made our way to Lovers Key during day.

Beach wasn’t flour sand, and the vibe was off. Took a trolley behind a pickup because a bridge was out. Saw condors on top of a parking lot light, feeding their young. Also saw a huge turtle.

Wedding at Lovers Key

Wednesday night found us at the Little Manatee River Canoe Outpost . As had become our usual, we arrived after dark and I explored at sunrise.

Thursday morning exploring at Little River.

Me and Maine Representative Henry Bear

That’s where we met Henry Bear a Maine Representative and continued to another beach..

Thursday we went to Upham beach, just south of St.Pete. It had the flour/sugar sand and fairly easy parking😁

Lissa met a tattoo artist and we met two guys playing electric guitar.

Thursday and Friday nights at Clearwater RV Park and we arrived after dark…

Friday morning, February 25 I didn’t catch the sunrise!

We did get to “Madeira Beach”

And we did laundry.

We went out in St. Pete to hear the band “Brown Eyed Women“ and finally had a good meal out.

kayaked, visited dad and left on Saturday night

Saturday morning I did catch the sunrise and walked to the old Fort Myers Bay

Cracker Barrell in Savanna Georgia was great. Many other campers enjoyed this quiet free camping spot.

Last Stop-> KOA in Blue Ridge Mountains VA just past Harrisonburg .

Day Tripping. 3/4/2021

I skied Gore today. The insurrectionists where all headed to Washington, so I figured it would be redneck free.

I dropped my Teles’s and Fat boards at the pickup/drop off spot. Having to Boot up in your vehicle presents new challenges to the already painful process of putting ski boots on.

I went straight to the top and skied the hardest stuff first, Lies and The Rumors. It was survival mode, but I didn’t fall on those steep ice covered double diamonds.

With that out of the way, I did a few runs on the North Quad.

Around noon, I heard from my friend, and he gave me a location, bottle of Burnt Hill Quad and a time.

If you look at the map, there appear to be several routes to get there, one from the top and the other from the bottom of the Northwoods Quad. But those routes, I learned, were closed!

So the lift op, on my third try tells me Little Sister to Twisted Sister to the Gorge. That turned out to be a fun bunch of cruisers.

But that run under Burnt Ridge Chair, Sagamore, was great. And seeing and skiing with a friend was an immense relief from Covid Hell.

It wasn’t until I was leaving, around 2:30, that I saw they had tents for changing into boots!

So, no telemarking today. As it was only my 2nd day of the season, and first in 2021, my legs were shot!

Me

The camper is almost done

New Hampshire is only a two hours drive, and I wanted to check in on the Liberty. Rian had assured me on the phone that it was inside the workshop. No Liberty in the shop so I was of course confused, but Lissa found it just outside the service side door. Repair mostly completed.

Now some may say I should have just put her on and driven home. However, the real purpose was to see if Lissa could be non-claustrophobic with our feet at the head end of the bed.

Sure enough she can sit up on the foot end of the bed. Yay!!!

To attach a truck camper, tie downs and Jacks are musts. I also had not brought propane nor removed the tailgate, so it was not coming home yesterday. Instead we scheduled a 2:00 pickup on Sunday.

Friday night I googled and watched YouTube videos on tailgate removal. Last year the dealer charged me, so I decided to do it myself.

,Removing tailgate requires nimble fingers and a 1/2” socket on a drill, and someone with a good enough eye to see when the gate is at 45 degrees to pull out the passenger side, then a pretty strong upper body to remove the gate. It slides out on the driver’s side.

Unlike other pickups no quick release for the retaining cables, hence the drill.

Before Paul my mechanical friend showed up at 11 on the dot, I was able to get the big harmonica off.

From Internet

However, the single wire for the camera I had no idea how to disconnect. My friend Paul had that off even after I tried to unscrew the connector.

Camera wire for tailgate

I had already gone to storage to put the 2×6 into the other camper and get a 2 of the 3 propane cans refilled at Casale’s.

One of my cans, partially full was too old to top off.

Looking forward to reuniting LLLY tomorrow!

Here’s what I found on the Internet

“Push up on the white arm.”

Looks like in the (…)picture, the black tab needs to be depressed, and then the white “keeper” needs to be pulled back/rotated away from the loom.

There was a red tab (like many wiring connectors) hidden above that wiring contraption…seriously would be impossible for anyone to see with their own eyes…

only saw it from a picture I took from above the connector.

Pull that red tab up toward the sky, press the black tab (below the gray hinge thing) inward…

Then the gray hinge thing folded down easily and the whole plug came out without issue.

Removing that tailgate was a major PITA… it doesn’t have quick-disconnect support cables on each side (connecting the tailgate to the bed) like every truck ever made.

A 1/2″ socket on a drill was needed. Then (as another thread re: removing the entire tailgate here mentions),

you really gotta tug on the passenger side hinge at a 45-degree angle…

and keep tugging until it pops out.

https://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/topic/228490-trouble-removing-2019-sierra-multifunction-tailgate-wiring/

May 8- It’s SNOWING TONIGHT

OK, so COVID911 is scarier than COVID19.

Dylan rode Conky dragging Stella on the paddleboy

Raised the sail on the sunfish


https://share.icloud.com/photos/0ds2_JK3rspXN1Y4bgowixsJw

Replaced the Garbage Disposal

I went to Home Depot for it yesterday/scoped it out last night/huge help from Lissa, got it in. That job not just tweaks my back, but bifocals make it nearly impossible

Down to 1 truck for now

No pics. Check engine light – dealer said 2-3 days. Valve or valve spring I suspect. GMC is in the shop…………….

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