Little Manatee River State Park

Little Manatee River State Park
Little Manatee River State Park

Saturday, January 2, 2016

October, November, December 2015
Werner Boyce Salt Springs State Park
Port Richey, FL

At the end of September we passed our four month mark at Werner Boyce Salt Springs State Park.  We were scheduled to begin work camping at Collier Seminole State Park near Naples.  BUT issues with our bricks and sticks house that we rent out forced us to back out of our assignment.

During the next few months we will have to make several trips to the house.  If we had moved on to Collier the round trip to the house in Spring Hill would be approximately 8 hours.  Luckily just as we were scrambling to find another local area to stay at, the park manager at Werner Boyce asked if we would be willing to stay an extra four months.  WHAT!

Normally four months is the limit a volunteer can stay at any given park—but the park manager was so impressed with Monte’s abilities she put in the request needed to extend our stay.

I guess it was meant to be that we remain where we are for now.
In the beginning of October we began noticing a nasty odor coming from the belly of our rig. 
When Monte removed the membrane water poured out.  It appeared we had a leaky gray tank.  We made an appointment at Camping World for the following week.  Luckily there is a Camping World just a short 10 minute drive away from our location.

Sure enough when the gray tank was removed we could see the long split on the tank.  The good news was that the repair would be covered under our extended warranty.  The bad news was that Camping World does not stock tanks.  We were told it could take up to 4 weeks for the tank to come in. 

In the meantime we just kept the water value open so the water would not build up in the tank and overflow in the belly.
Two weeks later we received the call that the tank was in.  So we packed up and made another trip to Camping World.  Luckily, the park manager allowed us to store all our outdoor possessions as well as most of the things we have stored in the basement of the rig in one of the storage sheds in the compound.  This was helpful because if we had kept all the things in the basement they would have had to be removed at Camping World to allow access to the water pipes.  
The new tank was installed and a couple of hours later we were heading back to the park.  The extended warranty covered the tank and labor but we had to pay for the shipping of the tank.
The day after we returned from Camping World Monte went up on the roof and noticed that the dome of our roof top satellite receiver was crushed.  It apparently happened when the fork lift driver at Camping World picked up the rig to bring it in the bay.  When Monte took the cover off he was relieved to discover it was just the cover that was crushed.  The actual satellite was okay. When we called to complain we were assured they would replace the cover.
Within two weeks we began noticing the same foul odor from the belly of the rig.  WHAT!  We made our third trip to Camping World.  YEP the brand new tank was leaking.  So another tank had to be ordered.  
The week before Christmas we made our 4th  (and hopefully our last) trip to Camping World to have the new tank installed at no cost.  At that time the new satellite cover was installed.
In October we made several trips to our bricks and sticks house to do some long overdue landscaping.  We had been relying on a property management company to oversee that the tenant was keeping the property in good shape as per his lease.  He wasn’t and the property manager hadn’t kept us informed of the problems.
The tenant had been friendly and cooperative in the past but once he gave his notice he would be leaving at the end of December he became distant and very uncooperative.
After a long 4 year legal battle with my home owners insurance company over our sinkhole claim, work was finally began on the house at the end of October.   It took three weeks and 45 trucks of concrete before the first stage of the work was completed.  The second stage, where chemical grouting will be injected into the foundation, is scheduled for the first week of January.
We enjoyed a couple of fun outings in October including meeting up with our friends, John and Darlene, at Homosassa Springs State Park where we enjoyed a short boat ride, attended the feeding of the Manatees and strolled though the small zoo.
On Halloween we attended a ghoulishly delightful party hosted by my brother and sister-in-law.
In November we completed a 13 mile round trip bike ride at Starkey Wilderness Park.

We enjoyed having our grandson Timmy for the weekend while his parents were out of town.
We took him to see the Mermaids at Weeki Wachee SP 
When John and Darlene came to visit we took a ride to Honeymoon Island State Park.
The park staff hosted a volunteer appreciation BBQ.

We ended the month with a delightful Thanksgiving on the beach in Englewood with family and friends.

On Black Friday we entered the 21st century by finally trading in our flip phones for smart phones.  My son told me that once we start seeing everything we can do with them we will wonder how we ever survived without them.  

One of the projects Monte worked on for the park was to fashion a roosting spot for birds on the weather station.  He welded together some scrap metal for the frame. 

In December Monte and I celebrated our 12th year anniversary with a dinner at

We celebrated Christmas a week early with Monte’s daughters and grandsons that included making these adorable snow babies.
On Christmas Eve we attended a party where the main entertainment was the Naughty Santa gift exchange.  It was a lot of fun with a lot of stealing of the most wanted item, a Tervis water bottle. 
Christmas Day was relaxing. 
 With no small children around waking us up at 6am we slept in late. 
What a difference a year makes.  Last Christmas day we had dinner in the hospital.  It has been one year since Monte’s heart attack.  I am so grateful that he is doing great.

We opted to stay home on New Year’s Eve just watching movies and munching on some of our Christmas goodies. 

2015 was a very frustrating year for me mostly because of the issues revolving around our bricks and sticks house.  We would have liked to have sold the house but like so many other people were underwater with owing more than the house is worth.   So we went with the second best option of renting out the house.
When we rented out the house to live in our RV full time back in 2012, I had expectations of traveling around exploring different places and meeting new people.  AND we did do some of that.  BUT we hadn’t anticipated having to stick around near the house the last two years to attend legally mandated meetings and once the claim was settled to meet with contractors as well as do the repairs necessary in the house. 

My resolution for the New Year is to be more optimistic.  The housing market has improved and hopefully once the repairs are completed we will be able to sell the house for the same amount we owe and then get back on the road again. 


Saturday, October 3, 2015

August/September 2015
Werner Boyce Salt Springs State Park
Port Richey, FL
I was a little down these past couple of months because staying in one place for months at a time was not the type of “On the Road” experience I envisioned when we decided to embrace full time living in our RV.  We did have a great first year back in 2012 traveling around out West and a great few months last year traveling around some of the Eastern states.  But, circumstances beyond our control have forced us to remain in the area where we still own a bricks and sticks house. 

I sometimes feel like I am in one of those dreams where you are running but discover you haven’t moved.
We had some visitors near our rig including a snake and a frog.
Monte worked on several projects during August and September.
 One project in August involved removing the landing gear that had been improperly installed back in February of 2014 at RV Merchandising in Englewood.  Monte didn’t discover the problem until he wanted to grease the fitting some months later. 
Fixing the problem involved having to jack up the rig-
Removing the landing gear-
In order to fit the landing gear in properly, Monte had to cut away part of the bracket.

Another big project Monte tackled was troubleshooting and fixing our leaky shower. 
Monte took everything out of the basement (a monumental task onto itself)
 to access the shower pipes--
No water on the pipes-
He cleaned the drain- 
Monte determined that the leak came from the holes that were drilled in the frame to the tub surface. 
To fix the problem he had to disassemble the entire shower frame.
After filling the holes with silicone he reassembled the shower and NO MORE LEAK!
Monte also flushed out the toilet.
It's a crappy job but someone has to do it. 
Monte’s reward for getting the park’s airboat up and running was taking it out for a test run.
Heavy rains brought flooding. 
 The parking lot at Walmart.
We met up with Monte’s daughter, her friend Brandi and our grandson Timmy at The Pizza Chef for their outstanding pizza and garlic bread.
The following week they came to visit us at the park for a BBQ
Monte took the group out on the trails-they didn’t want to use our mesh nets but once on the trail they were happy I convinced them to take the nets along-the deer flies were relentless.
When our friends, John & Darlene, came to visit we took them to nearby Robert K Rees Park for a refreshing dip. 
Later on back at the rig we enjoyed ribs that had slow cooked all day in the crock pot.
One of Monte's many maintenance projects was servicing the zero turn mower.--Having a lift sure makes the job easier. 
Monte took advantage of the lift to install new brake pads on our Jeep.
Our cat Anne began leaving little spots of urine around the rig.  She had never exhibited that behavior before so we knew there was some kind of medical issue going on.  We also noticed she hadn’t been drinking as much water as she usually did and that she was visiting her litter box every few minutes.
  We took her to the vet referred by our park manager.  Anne is fifteen years old and had only been to the vet once so she has been a very healthy cat.  I was concerned about how she was going to handle being examined-my fears were unfounded-she was a trooper. 
Twenty-four hours after getting a shot for a UTI she was back to normal.

 In addition to several maintenance projects Monte worked on for the park we also closed the park gates on our assigned nights.  When we first began our closing duties in June sunset wasn’t until close to 9PM.  By the end of August we were closing by 7:52PM. 

In the beginning of September we drove a couple hours south to Englewood for my brother’s birthday.
We also drove up to Dunnellon to visit with friends John and Darlene who were hosting at Rainbow Springs State Park.
The Happy Groom and BrideMonte as the proud daddy walking his little girl down the aisle.
We did manage to get a long bike ride in at Jay B Starkey Wilderness Park.  The park has a six and a half mile paved bike trail—I thought the trail was a loop-we didn’t find out it wasn’t a loop until around the 5 mile mark which meant having to turn around and travel back 5 miles to our car. 

The trail is mostly in direct sunlight- we foolishly set out during the hottest part of the day right after lunch so it was quite uncomfortable.
The next time we come it will be either earlier or later in the day.
We spent a couple of days at the end of September visiting with my parents, brother and sister-in-law.
By the end of September we were closing the gates at 7:20PM.  While I am looking forward to some cooler temperatures as we head into the fall months, I am not looking forward to it getting dark so early.