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Friday, January 27, 2006

Headed for Florida

We have spend most of the week during our "Spare TIme" to get the Bounder ready for our trip to Florida. Last week I was able to get the coach back to Tom Johnson RV in Concord for some warranty service. This included finding and fixing a leak under the kitchen sink, working on the slide mechanisms (they seem sluggish and require you to push the slide switch several times in order to get them completely out), plus several other small items that needed to be taken care of. Most of the stuff was done well, but they still didn't get the slides fixed. My concern is that that will cause something else to go wrong with the slides, but they assured me that its ok. A part has been ordered from Fleetwood that is supposed to take care of this issue.

I also was able to get up to Rowells RV and Customizing last Saturday to get some valve stem extenders added to the rear dual tires. This has taken care of the tire pressure check issues I wrote about earlier.

Most of the evenings this week were taken to load up the Bounder with our clothes and other supplies. Pam cooked several cassaroles that she put in the freezer so we have several meals ready to eat. But I am looking forward to getting some fresh seafood in Florida.

6:10 PM Friday we pull out of the drive way and head south. Since the FMCA rally doesn't start until Wednesday, Dad and Mom will not leave until Tuesday, so we will meet them in Brooksville Wednesday.. so we have several days to explore the West Central Gulf Coast of Florida.. the Nature Coast.

Headed south down Hwy. 601, we intend to stay on US 601 to Camden SC, pick up US 521, then I-95 to FL. After that, I want to take Highway US 301 south to Gainsville then cut cross country to Homosassa. We have reservations at Natures Resort in Homosassa FL from Saturday through Tuesday.

Traffic was light, so the drive was easy. Bobbi was her ususal nervous self the first hour or so, but after that she settles into the routine nicely. Camden is a pretty town, and there we found our way to US501. Sumpter is a little further down the road. The last strech of 501 before getting on I-95 had some major construction going on, but eventually it will be a 4 lane road from Sumpter all the way to I-95.

It was dark when we turned onto I-95, but when you first get on the interstate you really feel like you are traveling! We pulled off at a rest stop just south of I-26 for a very short break and then back on the road again.

By about 10:00 were getting near Savannah and had to decide what to do for the night since I don't drive all night. I did want to leave early so we could get to Homosassa by mid day Saturday. The last thing I wanted to do was pull into a strange RV park after dark. But by 10 we decided to find a place to get some sleep. I knew that Brunswick GA has a Flying J truck stop that we could use for fuel and rest... but that is still well over an hour away. A friend with Savannah coonnections had told me about a Wal-Mart parking lot at the airport exit in Savannah. We found the exit and pulled off. The Wal-Mart had a small parking lot, but the Home Depot next door had plenty of room... and there were already over 20 RVs pulled in there.

We had to circle the lot a couple of times to find an out of the way place to park, and I wasn't sure when the Home Depot opened on Saturday morning, so I wanted to aviod taking any space that early morning do-it-yourselfers might use getting an early start on their weekend projects.

It was a rather noisy place, with trucks in and out all night, and at about 2:00 AM the parking lot sweeper started work, but all in all, sleep was accomplished and by 8:00 AM we had had our coffee and were back on the road.

Editorial: There seems to be quite of emotion in discussions and on the internet forums about spending the night in a public parking lot as opposed to paying for a campground space. I understand all of the sides to that discussion... but for me it is not a matter of money.. it is a matter of convience. Why spend the time finding, getting into and out of, and paying for a space to spend a few hours resting? If the campground owners want to provide that service, then they should have an area within their property that is esentially a parking lot. For a very small fee ($5 - $10), you could park - no hookups, generators ok, in and out. If you need it, for another couple of bucks take water and use the dump station. I think a secure area like this within the CG property would fill that niche.

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