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(January 1 to February 10, 2008)
January 1: Lake City, Florida
I-75; local roads
n Pines RV Campground
Oaks n Pines has free WiFi and a great cable TV network that includes
some HD channels. Although we were scheduled to arrive at the
campground in Orlando today, we decided to spend it in Lake City so we
could watch the bowl games in HD. It's nice to have such
2 to January 14: Orlando, Florida (162 miles)
conditions: I-75; SR 44; US
27; SR 192
Lake Magic RV Resort
was nice to get back to Lake Magic. We like this park and have met lots
of folks over the years with whom we still maintain contact.
Chuck and Linda Dombrow were back for the winter and I was looking
forward to playing golf with Chuck. Carmen and Guy, the French couple
we met who are from Quebec, were also back for the winter. They also
have a Dutch Star that was painted by Precision Painting.
Disney World passes were set to expire on January 9, so we went into
Epcot for a couple of days to walk around, do some rides, eat some
food, and watch the Illuminations fireworks. We decided not to buy
passes this year.
had been a year since we saw Hedda and Alan Gnaizda who come down every
year to use their time share at Orange Lake. The timing was great and
we got to visit with them before we headed off to the Tampa RV show.
January 15 to January 19:
Tampa, Florida (58 miles)
conditions: US 27; I-4
gone to the Tampa RV Show every year that we have wintered in Florida.
It's always a nice several days, especially when the weather is nice.
We get to kick some tires and check out the new features on lots of
motorhomes, as well as visit with old friends. This was the second year
that we have gone into the show with the Newmar Kountry Klub. We had
four other rigs going in with us this year: Norm and Linda Payne, Don
and Gloria Martin, Dirk Harrington, and Gustav. We made arrangements to
all meet at a rest area on I-4 and then caravan to the show. We got to
go into the fairgrounds a day earlier than the general
public, which made it easy as there was no traffic in the area.
After we all got set up, we decided to take advantage of the free day
to go to Parkesdale Farms for their delicious strawberry shortcake. It
seems every year we get to introduce someone new to this experience.
Last year it was Peter and Christiane E. from Germany. This year it
was Gustav. He said he loved strawberries so this was a great treat for
We met other folks at the show and I have included photos on the photo
One of the things we look forward to when we are in Tampa is a visit
with my Aunt Mary, cousin Jay, and friends Dave and Jacque Fuson. We
did get to visit with my aunt and cousin, but it didn't work out to get
with the Fusons this time. We look forward to doing that next year.
Naturally, eating out is a big part of our days at the RV show, usually
with a good sized party. On a trip to a Wal-Mart one day Diane spotted
a Buca di Beppo. We experienced eating at one of those restaurants in
in 2006. So we rounded up some folks (seven of us) and went there for a
family style Italian meal. We recommend trying a Buca di Beppo if you
come across one in your travels.
January 20 to January
31: Orlando, Florida (58 miles)
conditions: I-4; US
Lake Magic RV Resort
back to Lake Magic until the end of the month. We had made a couple of
trips to Port St. Lucie to visit with my mom, but decided those trips
were too expensive due to ever increasing gas prices and tolls. So we
told staff at Lake Magic
that we would be leaving early and heading to Port St. Lucie.
Dennis and Cindy Henderson decided to spend a couple of weeks at the
Thousand Trails park up on US 27, so I got to play a couple of rounds
of golf with Dennis, Ron Cells, and Gene Newcomer before we left the
area. I knew I would miss playing golf with them and Chuck, but it was
really necessary for us to move down to Port St. Lucie. On the positive
side, I would be able to play golf with my brother, Charlie, and high
school buddy, Frank Pesile, while in Port St. Lucie.
Diane and I also got caught up on current movies during our stay in
Orlando. We love the Regal theater they built out at the Loop shopping
1 to February 2: Davenport, Florida (10 miles)
conditions: US 27
Diane's brother-in-law in Phoenix contacted her and said he was
planning a surprise 50th birthday party for Diane's sister, Carol, and
it would be great if she could be there for the surprise. We looked
into using our companion ticket that we had with Delta and found
flights were available on Sunday of that weekend, but not Saturday.
When I realized that it was Super Bowl Weekend I understood why there
were no flights available on Saturday. Sunday was wide open to use the
companion ticket so we made plans to fly out early that morning.
I had no desire to drive to the Orlando airport from Port St. Lucie for
a 7 a.m. flight, so I started looking for a place to leave the
motorhome while we were gone. Given that the daily rate at Lake Magic
was something like $55, that wasn't an option. Theme World is located
at the intersection of I-4 and US 27 and allowed seven days at the
Passport America rate (half price) even during the winter. So we made a
reservation to leave the motorhome there while we were gone.
February 3 to February
9: Phoenix, Arizona (flight)
Our flight was scheduled to connect through Salt Lake City. The weather
report indicated snow so we checked at the Delta counter to see if they
could get us a connection through Atlanta. Luckily, the ticket agent
was very helpful and got us a flight through Atlanta. The trip was very
nice and both legs were on time.
I have to take a minute to say a few words about the wonderful car
rental location at the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport. They have
consolidated the car
rental companies into one huge complex off the airport grounds, but not
far from the terminals. It's one huge building with covered parking
tiers where rental cars are picked up and dropped off. There were
numerous buses running between the complex and the terminals. A
wonderful idea that seems to work great. They did, however, have a sign
on the door telling folks who were coming into Phoenix for the Super
Bowl to allow three hours for checking in and getting to their
terminal. Not being very fond of such crowds, I would avoid something
that like the plague.
After picking up our rental at Hertz we headed to the church where the
party was to be held. We got there a little early, so we called our
niece, Jenny, to find out when she would be arriving. It wasn't long
before she and one of her cousins arrived and got us into the room. It
to see Jenny and our other niece, Justine, and nephew, Jeff.
The surprise party for Diane's sister went off perfectly. We hid in
another room when Carol and Kevin walked in and she found out it was a
surprise birthday party for her. They gave her a digital camera and
then told her there was another gift. She was asked to turn around
while Diane and I walked out and Diane stood a few feet behind her.
Then they told her to turn around. Carol was shocked. It never entered
her mind that Diane would be there. Carol is a very
even keeled person and I have never seen her cry other than some tears
after we have visited and were getting ready to leave. Well, not this
time. She hugged Diane very tight and cried. I mean really cried. I'm
sure that her friends and in-laws weren't used to seeing her so
emotional, and I'm sure some folks had no idea what the relationship
was between Carol and Diane. The more the emotion went on, the more
folks watching the scene
became teary eyed. There
probably wasn't a dry eye in the
The downside to when the party was scheduled was that it was right
during the Super Bowl which, as fans know, was one of the best Super
Bowls ever. The best we could do was to monitor the progress of the
game on a computer that was in the room. It may have been a bit
disappointing to not have been able to see the game, but to witness one
sister's love for the other made it worth it.
We had a great time visiting with everyone in Phoenix. Our flight back
to Orlando was uneventful with a two hour stop in Atlanta. Both legs
were on time and it was nice to get home.
Our plan for the rest of the winter was to drive to Port St. Lucie and
stay there until the end of March.
Until next time, safe
Copyright © 2008,
Roaming America with Rich &
Diane Emond -
All Rights Reserved