Thursday, February 16, 2017

2017-2 Exploring Osceola County Florida


Exploring Osceola County

Campground:  Shelter Cove Rv community.  I own a lot here and will be renting it out when not in-residence.  See my Shelter Cove Rental site for more info.

2017 Travel Season….
Target date:  Mid March

The 2017 travel season is almost upon us and I’m ready to start my 13th year on the road again.  It’s been very pleasant this winter in the Central Florida area as the temperatures have been almost perfect all winter long.  With only a few days being chilly/cold.  As we often say in Florida, We survived the 3 days of winter.

We even had happy hour shuffle board games
Sun was really bright for those facing it

It’s Feb 9th and I’ve gone for a swim a couple of times this past week as the daytime temps are in the low 80’s and the pool water is back up to the 82-84 degree range.  I continue to lead the shuffleboard games on Wednesday and we recently had a happy hour/shuffleboard event one weekend.  Lots of fun and was able to have my Sister Dorothy and an Arizona friend, Jim M, join us for all the fun.

Shuffleboard history.  Did you know shuffleboard was originally a tavern game and was first introduced as a shuffleboard court on a cruise ship in the 1840’s.  It  made the leap so to speak from ship to shore in Daytona beach in 1913.  St Petersburg Florida  had the most elaborate courts with 110 courts and 5,000 members.  Today the club is still active and has 65 courts.  It remains a popular sport in Florida and Saint Cloud has an active club and courts in town.

The big news recently has been that Kissimmee which is in Osceola County and right next door to Saint Cloud is the fastest growing area in Florida this year.  How did they figure that out?  Well, they track one way rentals at U-haul and that’s how they came up with the info.

holy cow, that can only mean more snowbirds moving to Florida

Have you ever misplaced something and just can’t seem to find it anywhere?  Well the other day I was looking for my large National Geographic’s U.S. map book.  It’s not something that one can hide easily as it’s pretty big.  Since I couldn’t find it and I had wanted to start a new map book for travels starting this spring, I picked up a Michelin Large format Atlas 2017 along with a U.S foldable map that’s plastic coated for quick reference.  We travelers love our maps and I certainly hope I can find my old one as it has many notations one each page/state with invaluable information.  The new Michelin book has a unique feature in that many states also show surrounding portions of other states bordering the main one featured.  Great for seeing where I’ll be crossing into an adjacent state.

Won’t be long before this map book will be heavily highlighted with travel routes.  Let the adventures begin.

We Rv travelers love our maps

Exploring old ruined church of dreams.  

Exploring Jesus Miracle Chapel ruins

I was watching the local news the other day and an article came up about the Jesus Miracle Chapel in Holopaw.  Holopaw (more or less a dot on the map) being only about 15 miles from Shelter Cove, I decided I had to go see the place for myself.  The story goes that the builder of the chapel, a Rev Lee Hoffman, 92 of age, was trying to re-build what he had started.  Osceola County is ready to condemn the place and the pictures will pretty much tell you why.  It fell into disrepair due to lack of funds to complete it and health issues.  Hurricane Charley didn’t help matters.

might be time to move on?

hurricanes and poor construction 

I met Mark Lund who is valiantly attempting to remove rotting timbers with the hope of rebuilding when fund raising gets under way.  Some folks sure have big dreams even when confronted with what appear to be insurmountable odds.  So consider these the before pictures and next fall when I come back to this area I’ll update you on the progress,  if any, of these Christian’s with really big dreams.  Reminds me of the song 

“Next time your found, with your chin on the ground
There's a lot to be learned, so look around
Just what makes that little old ant Think he'll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can'tMove a rubber tree plant
But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopesHe's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes”
One might say I’m overly optimistic, and I’ll plead guilty to that any day.  The song alone puts a smile on my face.  Did you know it came out in 1948, singer Frank Sinatra.

Lots of little things to keep me busy this past winter.  I took a tour of historic homes built in the 1910-20’s era for the Union soldiers here in Saint Cloud. You might remember from a previous report that the town was developed as a retirement location for Union soldiers after the Civil War.  Land was provided for building a home in-town plus 5 acres farming plots outside of town.  Cost started at $25 and sold out quickly.  Prices gradually rose and a new town was born.  These are some of the historical home still in use today.

a sampling of the 1910-20 era home in St Cloud

concrete blocks made to look like cut stone

typical Florida Cracker home

this is a Sear's House, shipped by rail to the site
as a kit with all parts, windows, doors etc.

The local VFW and American Legion often have breakfast/lunch or dinner specials for members and visitors.  My sister Dorothy and I took advantage of one at the VFW and had a hearty breakfast for $5 all inclusive and browsed their indoor flea-market.

An interesting factoid about my local area.  Across the from lake Center is a community with some rather unusual named streets.  The main entrance is called “Eden Street”.  With the following streets off of it:  Adam street, Apple street, Creation Street, Eve Street, Fall Street and Fig Street.  After that come Genesis Court and Temptation Court.  I’ll check out the local library to see if I can find an answer as to why the streets are so named.

pine trees are now planted from airplanes!

I haven’t been able to get much information on the unusual naming of streets, but I have found out that there was a Shaker Settlement back in the early 1900’s on the outskirts of Saint Cloud.  The
Mormon’s also own thousands of acres of ranch land here in Osceola County and it’s possible the naming of streets might have something to do with either of those groups.  I drove over to the community along Eden Street and talked to a number of neighbors there.  Seems there are quite a few retired airline pilots who filled me in on the pilot lifestyle.  Many of the retired pilots continue to work overseas.  They were telling about a buddy of theirs who fly’s special charter flights out of Saudi Arabia.  He was hired to fly to Paris to pick up a jacket that someone had left there.  Flying back to return the jacket, it was the only passenger for the round-trip flight.  Now that’s when you know you have more money than you know what to do with it.

We were talking about all the pine trees in the area and the pilots told me how they now plant tree seedlings via air-drops.  Each seedling having been wrapped with a bit of dirt, water, fertilizer and a pointed cone shaped weight that plunges to earth from the plane and plants itself in the sandy soil of Florida.  They said that’s how most all forests are re-planted these days.  One pilot even said that’s how they plant rice patties here in the states.  I learn something new every day.

RV traveler Tip:  Verizon has reintroduced the “unlimited” data plan.  I signed up for it even though I already had a grandfathered “unlimited” plan but with limits on voice and I had to pay for each text message.  The new plan saved me money, and now I have unlimited data/text and phone service including use in Canada and Mexico.  Even got a new cell phone and 10” tablet and I’m still under what I was previously paying.  Making me a Happy Camper.  Check it out, it might be worth updating your cell-phone plan.

Enjoy your day and get started on planning your next adventure.