Sunday, February 24, 2019

2019-1 Winter Residence, St Cloud Florida






2019-1


First Report of 2019

a View of Shelter Cove from Center Lake

St Cloud Florida


a couple of banners used in past years
to celebrate St Cloud Florida's history
which was originally developed as a Yankee "Soldiers Town"
 after the Civil War
one of the buildings at Peghorn Park, a favorite park I like
to visit

The start of 15 years on the Road. 

I feel like I should say Glory Hallelujah!


Welcome back to Roving Reports by Dougp. I had originally planned to stay out west this past winter season, but with the purchase of a new RV lot, my 3rd one in Shelter Cove, I decided it would be best if I actually spend some time on the new lots and see how my tenants are getting on on the other two Rv lots. If you remember from last season, I purchased the Rv lot while in Washington/Oregon last fall and then traveled to Phoenix AZ to pick up a “new to me” Chevy truck. That was quite an adventure purchasing both within a month of each other and then continuing onto Florida. A trip I try not to make in such a relatively short time frame. As a full time Rv-er I much prefer to take a couple of months to travel such great distances so this was quite to undertaking for me going from Washington State to Florida in such a short time frame.


Once I arrived in St Cloud Florida and settled in on my new RV lot, I was able to visit with my niece Kelly and her family a couple of times throughout the winter season and usually took my sister Dorothy out to lunch on a weekly basis. In-between all of that, I’ve had way too many doctors visits, general physicals, dermatology exams/biopsies/skin cancer surgeries and finally a round of visits to the Glaucoma eye specialist(s). That’s been quite the ordeal as the new doctor was not to my liking and I’ve had to make further appointments with my eye specialist in Maitland, about an hour and a half drive through Orlando traffic. Hoping for a second opinion and better diagnosis later this week.

followup:  see update, below....

my niece Kelly, Rusty and Brooke and Luke
so enjoyable to be able to visit family on occasion
my sister Dorothy, we had a few boat rides
with Kelly and Rusty, love being on the water

On the Alligator chain of lakes, going through
the connecting canals 
My new to me 2008 Chevy truck and Open Range 5th wheel
on lot 390, my newest Rv lot.

The new Rv lot needed no upgrades or additional plantings as it has a century plant, Sable Palm (on left), Queen Palm (in center) and Fan Palm (tallest on right) (Washingtonian or Mexican Palm) and is the largest of all three RV lots with lots of grass and backs up to a large grassy common area as well.

my new RV lot 390

patio set up for relaxing and happy hour

a view from our boat ramp

early morning fog, looking at my lot 390

I’m not a particularly great “snowbird”,  staying in one location for months on end, it's ok but I'm always eager to get back on the road and exploring this great country. Having lived in central Florida for so long, there is little for me to explore unless I’m willing to drive a couple of hours each way to see something I’ve already seen in the past.

But the weather this winter has been awesome, often in the 80's, unfortunately my friends in Tucson AZ have had lots of cold weather including snow... :/

Have you noticed that Facebook has become all adds and people forwarding jokes/political satire/ and stuff your supposed to forward to “prove” you are a believer in what ever they are passionate about. It’s hard to actually see any posting from friends in-between all the junk.

So I will most likely get back to posting more Roving Reports as I get to share my story without the excess crap that goes along with FB. I do hope you will take the time to read my rambling thoughts and travel stories and when you send me note about my rambling stories, it’s often the only way I know you are out there. And your suggestions and comments will help me produce a better report, so thanks in advance as I always love hearing from you.

I’m eager to once again share not only my adventures but also my travel tips, hints and hopefully stories about some interesting characters I meet along the way.

Shelter Coves swimming pool popped out of the ground
almost a year ago after draining it for resurfacing.
rebuilding a newer, bigger pool, very exciting to see progress


RV Tip:
ROKU.
UNLIMITED INTERNET (Verizon cell Phone or wi-fi hub)


My biggest upgrade to the camper has been a $29 ROKU stick that attaches to the HDMI slot on the back of the TV. Using my Verizon phone with unlimited internet service (ie 15 gigabytes for phone and same amount for Tablet) I’m able to stream free movies/tv/ U-Tube programs and much more. Along with over-the-Air local tv, I have more than enough entertainment. I’m a huge fan of U-Tube and Retro TV as well as the ROKU channel. We’ve come along way in 15 years I’ve been on the road. Remembering how I used to hunt down free wi-fi signals in fast food restaurants, libraries, laundromats and finally one of the last places I went to, I was in a small town in Georgia and was able to park in front of the local police station and use their open wi-fi link. It was at that point I finally decided to see about getting internet access through my phone, as it was just coming into it’s own back those many years ago.

so many tv, movies, old time vintage shows
on Roku and most are free viewing!

Eye Update: 


Well I finally made it up to my Drs. Office in Maitland and am glad to say I got a much better evaluation on my eyes. I have lost some sight in one eye and he agreed with me that we need to get the eye pressures down even more to alleviate the damage the pressure is doing to my eyes. With that, I’m on one new eye drop and will have to wait in the area for 6 weeks to determine if it is enough to reduce my eye pressures.

In the mean time, I am working on getting all three of my Rv lots rented long term. If all goes well, that will be accomplished within the next couple of weeks. One lots has the tenants exiting two months before their lease is up, but I have folks ready to move in days later. And the Rv lot I’m on may be rented as of March 1st if all goes well and I will head to Moss Park as a camp host for about a month and a half.

Followup:  I've rented my last Rv lot, and have moved over to Moss park today where I'll be a camp-host for a little over a month.  Almost on the road again.... awaiting the next eye doctor appt.

my good friend Ron, a Michigan park ranger
came for a visit, so great to have friends meet up.

Rv maintenance: Getting ready for my road travels, I’ve purchased 4 new heavy duty tires for the truck. The 5th wheel campers tires are 4 years old and are holding up very well. Thank goodness I went to G rated 12 ply heavy duty trailer tires, best investment I’ve made for the truck and camper.

One of my dearest friends, Ruthie Poo
from the Orlando area

and a very old, old, old friend (giggle)
Patrick, a true friend who has always
been there....

MORE PHOTOS:

My little corner of Florida Paradise

Festival of Trees Orlando Art Museum

Thanksgiving with Kelly, Rusty and family, Sister Dorothy

Peghorn Park, St Cloud Florida, folk music

St Cloud old murals

Shelter Cove swimming pool construction

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

2018-29 A Bonus Report, A Doctors Visit Gone Awry


An exam,
a blue smock
and an old person gets riled up


This is a tale to forewarn you and others of possible new

procedures coming to the medical world and possibly to your

next visit to a doctors office.


So the other day I headed to the dermatologists office here in the small town of St Cloud Florida. I’ve been going here for about 3 or more years when staying on the east coast. I signed in around 11:00 and filled out a more paperwork on my medical history, there always seems to be more info they need. Though I do wonder if anyone every actually reads it.

Finally I get to the examining room and am directed to take my clothes off and put on the light blue paper smock for the exam. The male nurse comes in and takes the usual preliminary checks and questions, then the very nice Dr Sergio Seche, MD comes in and checks me out. Spots are examined and with the help of a blue pen he begins to circle all of the areas on my body that will need further examining and biopsy. Little notes are written on my skin parts that have been circled, measurements are taken to there exact location and the doctor steps out of the exam room for a short time.

PAPER GOWNNumerous photos were taken of all the “marked” and “noted” spots on my body, both close ups and distance shots. Good God, I hope they don’t end up on Facebook somewhere.

Right in the Middle of my exam


The assistant then asks me if I’ve met my deductible for the year? I tell him I really have no idea as I don’t keep a running record of what I’ve paid towards any deductible. On that note he says he will have to go up front and check on it with the front staff/cashier. A little while later he comes back with a bill and says I had been overcharged the last time I was in and that I had a credit, so the deducible would only be $52 today. I asked if it needed to be payed right now and he said yes, it must be paid now.

Payment must be made,,,, Now


Well I never…. Thinking quickly, I got up from the exam table/seat, pulled out my wallet from my pants hanging on the back side of the door, took out my credit card and with the bill in hand walked out to the inner reception/scheduling area, my light baby blue smock flapping in the breeze. Actually I did, wrap it as best I could around my body, looking down, I noticed my legs actually still look pretty good for my age, right down to my white tube socks. Actually the blue paper smock was a tad short, but those legs, what can I say, they really did look good.

Senior found "inappropriately dressed"


The staff nurse behind the large counter/desk area quickly told me I couldn’t be out in her area naked and I must go back into the room. Now this area is back where all the other exam rooms are located and not up front where one waits to get into see a doctor.  Get dressed, you can’t be out here half dressed. I tried to hand her my credit card explaining that I had just been told that my exam had been stopped because I needed to pay an additional $52 before it could be continued. I was after all in the middle of my exam!  I had already paid my $35 co-pay upon arriving at the Dr office.

Needless to say, everyone was freaking out that I was attempting to pay my bill while still dressed in my light blue paper smock, along with a suitable pair of form fitting boxer underwear and white socks. Finally I handed the credit card and bill over to the attendant who took them up front for payment and I went back into the exam room, closing the door behind me.

Eventually I signed and paid the bill and the good doctor came back in to the exam room. Mentioning the “situation” that had just occurred including a mention of my being naked or half naked in the process. I assured him I had on the light blue smock, he apologized profusely for the situation at hand and agreed that I had been appropriately covered up. He assured me that he would personally see that I would not be accosted with bill payments every again during an exam. I of course thanked him kindly for his concern and hoped the solution to this most horrid situation was at an end.

The exam and procedures of freezing various per-cancerous spots were accomplished, the biopsies were all performed and band-aids were liberally applied where needed. I got dressed and left the exam room.

The situation so graphically described above is what happens when you approach a senior citizen with a new billing procedure in the midst of a medical exam. It could happen to you, how you handle it might be different, but apparently the times are changing.

After talking to the doctor and the front receptionist, this small office in a rural town has apparently experienced too many customers not paying their bills. I assumed it was because they must handle a lot of poor people, and though that is a part of it, along with the outrageous medical insurance costs many with high deductibles and co-pays, I was also told that many of their wealthier clients tried to skip out on paying their portion of the medical bills as well.

A Side note:  being a full time Rv-er I go to many doctors across country, having specialists that I go to regularly when in Tucson and the Orlando area as well as any other towns along the way if the need arises. In many instances the doctors office does not even charge me the co-pay the day I arrive and tell me if it is needed they will send me a bill.  Others, will ask for the Co-pay, which I am always happy to provide.  I've even had to go to an emergency room on one occasion and even they did not take a dime from me, saying they would send a bill if need be.

Don’t mess with a senior citizen, the end…… for now.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

2018-28 A Special Report, A Cautionary Tale for all Rvers


2018-28

A Special Report


A Cautionary Tale for all RV’ers
or (A Scary story fit for the Halloween season)


Well it’s a rainy day, so as I often do, I’ve extended my stay for an extra day so that I don’t have to travel in the rain. That being said, a week or so back I didn’t take my own advice and did travel on a rainy day. Assuming the rain would let up as I continued my journey eastward.

This story is a cautionary story for all you Full-time and part time Rv-ers heading to your next destination. As I’ve mentioned in my blogs previously, I most often take the back roads rather than the major highways. Often those back-roads are 4 lane divided highways making for a very pleasant journey in that I can drive at a slower pace, enjoy the scenery and stop in the many small towns along the way. Other back-roads are two lane my favorite ones having a paved skirting along the roadways enabling one to pull over when ever needed. And others are country farming two lane roads with no skirting and very little to no traffic, but that’s not always the case is it.

So my story actually begins in Texas along route 190, 290 and 105 all connected and basically parallel north of Interstate I-10. The story ends in Louisiana along hwy 190 before merging back onto I-10.

Texas route hwy 190, 290 and 105


I’ve taken much of both routes in the past with little to no problems. It was a sunny Texas day as I began my back country journey. However, on this journey (October 2018) I started to come across a number of very large over sized flatbed trucks carrying industrial tanks, equipment and machinery. With the roadway being relatively straight I was able to see these huge vehicles coming my way, with their safety vehicles flashing yellow lights ahead and behind the over sized trucks. Giving me enough time to slow down and pull off onto the paved skirting.

Everything went well, as I passed the first of what would be many of these over-sized transports coming at me. I quickly noted that anytime they reached a section of road that crossed a small river or gorge, the road often narrowed on these back-roads with guard rails. I was able to slow down before getting into a situation where there would be no way that the over-sized truck and my truck and camper would be able to negotiate those narrow bridges.

As I traveled through Texas, I probably encountered at least a dozen or more of these huge over-sized vehicles and their cargo

You have to get over to the side of the road
onto the skirting


Cautionary Warning #1: Always be aware of narrow bridges bordered by guardrails. It’s best to slow down even to stopping after pulling off to the side of the road to let the over-sized vehicles pass safely. The over-sized vehicles must move to the center of the road to negotiate the narrow bridges with guardrails and you won’t be able to squeeze by. Fair warning.

The next Section after finally traveling what seemed like weeks to get across Texas, it really is a big state folks, was Louisiana. I have traveled the 190 back-roads in the past and they were very doable for we RV-ers. Going through numerous old southern towns as the road travels north of the major interstate I-10. Now it should also be noted that hwy 190 through Louisiana has gotten a bit rougher needing repaving as many roads throughout the country do.

hwy 190 through Louisiana is mainly a two lane road,
no side skirting and road is rough condition is sections


Unfortunately the day started out with a light rain and I thought I could outrun the rain. Well, it got worse as I continued my travels east. Finally pulling off at a Valero gas station. They are large gas stations which cater to the trucking and regular vehicles as well.

This Valero gas station was run down and did not have all the great conveniences as most of the modern big gas stations have. No this one had turned into a rundown over sized gas station/liquor store. I should have realized that after noting that only one other vehicle had pulled in here and as I was about to enter the building, the large overhang had a spectacular waterfall cascading through the roof.

But it was poring out and I needed to wait until the rain let up a bit. After a while, it appeared the rain was letting up and I headed back on the road. Of course the rain had only let up temporarily and once again I was driving in a down pore. Up ahead of me, hardly able to see but a short distance through the heavy rainfall, on a two lane road, no shoulders to speak of, ahead of me I saw the entire road ahead turn into a wall of splashing water. What was going on? What was ahead of me, now only a couple hundred yards ahead of me. Barreling down that two lane road was coming an entire mobile home, traveling at full speed, maybe more. I had exactly 3-5 seconds to react, and somehow, I was able to pull off to the side of my lane by what I can estimate was mere inches. Having no shoulder, I might have ended in the ditch. As the mobile home and truck pulling it barreled past me in a swirl of water, it felt like my life was woshing past me. I’d made it. Surely I had a couple, maybe a dozen guardian angel looking after me that day.

Cautionary Warning #2. You know better. Just don’t travel on days that it’s raining out. It’s not worth it. Like today, as I sit in a very nice State Park in Florida as it continues to rain, the remnants of yet another hurricane passes through the area, extending my stay another day, knowing tomorrow the day will be clear and sunny.

Cautionary Note #3. Although I do enjoy the back-roads for traveling, perhaps it’s time to start asking the locals or FB Rv forums about those back-roads and find out if they are congested with over-sized vehicles which may make your travels less than safe. Some areas have big logging trucks, it’s best to ask the locals which routes they prefer. As much as I’ve enjoyed those back roads, I think it’s time to reconsider and do a bit more investigation and planning before taking those back roads.

Well, that’s my story for a very wet rainy day. I usually don’t like to tell scary tales but I needed to tell myself this cautionary story to myself for reinforcement purposes and hopefully it will add to your knowledge before heading back out onto those open roads. Be safe, be cautious.

Knowledge enables us all to live better lives.

dp




Sunday, October 7, 2018

2018-27 Notes from Arizona


2018-27

Notes from Arizona


hwy 93 from Las Vegas to Kingman Arizona
Old roadside attractions


Campground: Tradewinds Rv Park, Kingman/Golden Valley. Kingman AZ. $17.50 PPA discount rate. $3 extra for 50 amp. Nice desert setting, sites are very large, most being pull-thru’s with assistance to site.

Tradewinds RV Park, Golden Valley AZ
Campground: Dazzo’s Country Store and Rv park. (Middle of almost nowhere). $10.50 PPA discount rate. Along hwy 93 heading towards Phoenix AZ. Over night stop, only 30 amp, not adequate as 50 amp required to run to a/c units.

Campground: Triple T Mobile Home Park. Glendale AZ. PPA discount rate $19.50 for 50 amp full-hookups. Nice swimming pool. This is an older MH park which caters to the low income workers. RV sites are up front and close to the swimming pool. Available for one week with PPA rate.

Campground: A Bar A RV Park and storage. North of Tucson AZ $12.50 full-hook ups, 50 amp service. Water is not for drinking at corn fields/fertrilizers have damaged the water supply. Park provides bottled water to each Rv as they arrive.

Distance traveled: 200 miles


Campground: A Deming Roadrunner RV Park, Deming NM. $12.30 PPA half price rate. 50 amp full hookup including cable tv.

I’ve saved a lot of money using Passport America this month while in Arizona. Half off campsites is well worth the yearly cost of membership and I am a lifetime member.

Kingman AZ


Kingman, along historic Route 66
Kingman Visitor Center and history museum
including an electric car collection






Traveling through the Kingman area, along hwy 93 and a section of the famous Route 66, which I must tour more of next time around. The sections of Route 66 in AZ are lots of fun to explore if you like history and seeing old sections of an historic highway and it’s buildings. I even toured an old mining town called Chloride. It has always had people living there, but you can easily imagine it becoming a ghost town. About a mile on up from town along a rugged mining road is an art installation painted by a local artist, opposite some Indian Petroglyphs. With good views looking back down into Chloride and the surrounding mountains and mining endeavors. Though it is still hot in this area, 102 being average daytime temps. So touring has to be done really early morning.

photos from Chloride Arizona, an old mining town,
but not quite a ghost town

Chloride

Chloride

Chloride

Chloride

Chloride



Add caption

Indian Petroglyphs next to the painted art installation







mule deer going into town


Chloride

Chloride 


The hwy 93 section between Kingman and Wickenburg was all new to me. A very pleasant road with tons of awesome desert scenery, rugged bare mountains, some would call it desolate and yes for the most part it is, but for we explorers, it is like being a pioneer traveler except we have a really decent road to travel on.

good bye old faithful Chevy 07
we had many a good day on the open road

I’m heading to Phoenix to purchase a “new to me” truck from friend Alex. It’s one year newer than my 2007 Chevy Silverado diesel. The new truck being an 08, Chevy Silverado, Z-71 LTS. Diesel, 4 wheel drive, lots of extra electronics, larger fuel tank which will be a bonus when traveling across country, sun roof, leather seats and so much more that my basic 07 Chevy I had. And it does not have the DEF system. It also has lots less miles on it. 80,000 for the new truck as apposed to the 189,900 miles my 07 had.

My New 2008 Chevy Z71 2500 HD 4 wheel Drive Truck


Big Blue is taking over the towing duties
he's a 2008, Chevy 2500 HD, diesel 4 wheel drive




Thanks to Alex I got a good deal and even though I had to take a beating selling the old truck to a local dealer, overall it all turned out pretty good and I only needed to take a small loan out from my credit union to complete the deal in a timely manner.

I’m not used to all these high financial transactions, but it has all worked out quite well. Though I did have a bit of a sad moment when I left my old truck behind at the dealership. Had a bit of a lump in my throat. That truck has been awfully good to me over the years on the back roads of this country. We’ve enjoyed many a mile together, though if the truck could hear me singing to Willy Nelson I’m not so sure.











RV TIP:


One of the things I learned from Alex is that if you have a AAA membership, they will do the paperwork to sign over the vehicles and even give you a temporary license tag. No need to wait in long lines at the DMV. Now that was a real pleasure. Actually, because I am not a member, I was charged a $35 convenience fee and it was well worth the cost.

A Couple of days more in the Phoenix area and I’ll head on down to Tucson for a quick follow-up eye appointment. Got a chance to experience all two and a half inches of rain from the remnants of a hurricane. I guess that’s a lot for this area, as they had some flooding and road closures. Back in Florida they can get that amount daily during the summer months. Out here, they have no sewer drains for the roadways and the hard packed desert soil can’t absorb much water runoff.

I did my first towing with the new truck (to me, it’s a 2008) and is in excellent condition. The ride was great, engine is even quieter than the previous Chevy truck.

Upcoming travel plans. I’ve learned that my temporary tenant on my new Rv lot will be vacating it in a few days (10-3-18), which means it is available for me to arrive on it any time. Of course it will take me some time to drive back to Florida, so I plan on being back at Shelter Cove probably by the 1st of November.

Odd to be in Arizona heading back to Florida, as just a year ago, I drove from Florida to Arizona and was planning on staying out here for a couple of years. Life is so interesting and living an RV lifestyle provides me with so many options along the way.

Exiting Arizona


RV tip. 


 Ok most Rv-ers know this tip already, but still a good reminder. If possible, travel through big cities on the weekends. I-10 through Tucson is very congested, lots of traffic. However, I went through on Saturday morning between 7 and 8 am and it was a breeze.

Deming New Mexico


Arrived in Southern New Mexico and will travel through the state rather quickly, then into Texas which usually takes many days to get across.

snapshots from downtown Deming New Mexico


garbage can in front of Art Co-op

one of many boarded up (or papered up)
empty store fronts


an original power plant building in middle of town



an outdoor beer garden, closed on Sunday


yes someone is living in this small trailer on the
edge of the Rv park I'm staying at.

many closed up buildings




Enjoy your travels, until next time,,,,,

More photos from Arizona