Monday, April 10, 2017

2017-4 Finally On the Road Again. Alafia River State Park Florida

Shelter Cove Sunset before heading out

Busy Time before heading out, Part 2

Campground: Shelter Cove Resort. Where I own two Rv lots available for rent on a monthly/seasonal basis. See my Blog/website for details.

Alafia River St Pk, large spacious campsites
Campground: Alafia River State Park. Fl Senior rate: $14.00 (includes taxes and reservation fee)  50 amp/water. Dump station available. Unique park. Former phosphate mine land, having created multiple lakes, lots of horse trails, bike trails and hiking. My campsite is available for horses as well and they have a nice barn/with hay for the horses.

The anticipation of heading out has grown only as the amount of last minute details need to be taken care of. Setting up additional accts. in preparation of renting my two Rv lots. Sorting out details with the company doing the electric installation/configuration, visiting the Tax assessor’s office, completing the concrete installation and hiring a lawn service to maintain the two Rv lots while away for the summer.

my new RV lot for Rent
1356 Shipwreck Lane, Lot 56

Lot 56 sits next to my original Rv Lot 55

The Mystery of the Trailer Movers

Along with those mundane but necessary activities I’ve been learning more about the person that was recommended to us for the removal of the old trailer/mobile home that sat on the Rv lot I was preparing to purchase.

Here are some of the facts that came out after Alan, also known as the Colonel, removed the Trailer.
  • Russ suggested Alan might be interested in moving the trailer as he had large the large moving equipment to do the job
  • Alan has a large compound in Holopaw where folks have camps set up for dirt biking, four wheeling, ATV activities.
  • Alan and son came to Shelter Cove and gave a great first impression. Disconnected the trailer, removed all the old pipes, connections, and skirting, added tires to the single axles and proceeded to move the trailer off the Rv lot
  • They got as far as the entrance of the park before breaking down
  • Their second attempt got them about a mile down the road before breaking down again
  • The third attempt was late at night when apparently, they went back to Holopaw for a larger truck to move the trailer. It got a few miles down the road and onto I-192 before breaking an axle, flat tire and being abandoned on one lane of the highway.
  • Dave, the previous owner who signed over the deed to the trailer was called out at 2am the sheriff assuming he was still the owner.
  • Numerous attempts to contact Alan were unsuccessful and eventually a tow company from Orlando moved the trailer and impounded it.
  • A $4,500 towing fee and police ticket ensued.
The story becomes really interesting as we learn more about this mysterious and now elusive Alan. A search on the internet and we found out he was associated with a religious group through marriage that was closed down do to some sex crimes, later the case was dropped. After that closed down Alan started a Military style school to handle troubled teens. It was an illegal operation and the state of Florida forced it to close down.

The Colonel “Alan” has apparently started a new Military style school/compound out in Holopaw where Russ and Rusty (relatives) have property for 4 wheeling etc. Russ told of a recent occurance where a young man came running out of the woods in terror and hid under Russ's jeep. The kid told of being held captive in Alan's compound. Shaking and scared he pleaded not to let Alan take him. Russ called the local sheriff who came out to investigate.

Alan came by and insisted on taking the kid back. Providing the sheriff and Russ with the phone number of the parents. The parents apparently pleaded with the sheriff to give the kid back to Alan, saying he was an out of control kid and this was their last resort.

Alan promised the kid he would come check on him a week later.... did in fact attempt to go check on the kid, but was denied access to see the young boy.

I have so many questions. Why did the sheriff's office permit the kid to go back when the kid was obviously terrified of Alan? It's obvious Alan has started some kind of Military school for kids, but it is not registered or known about by the State of Florida. How can it operate now that the sheriff's office has been made aware of something going on out there in Holopaw. Should Russ inform the sheriff's office that he could not see the kid a second time. How many kids are back there. Russ mentioned something like 105 kids, but I'm not sure if that was a reference to Alan's compound out in Holopaw or the previous military style place he once ran in Port St Lucie.

In the last couple of days Florida, due to an extremely dry summer has had numerous forest fires. One forest fire just took place in this Holopaw area where all these ATV camps are located.  Burning through much of the camp.

Check out some of these links if you'd like to find out more on this bazaar story.

one more shuffleboard game
a great morning walk with my sister

one last get together before heading out....

Now back to camping adventures.

My ship has set sail
for another season of traveling
I finally was able to leave Saint Cloud, heading to a couple of Florida State parks to start out my summer travel adventures. The first destination has taken me to Alafia River State Park which I've never gone to in the past. What a charming campground. It's east of Tampa and rather than take the typical I-4 highway I took all the back-roads. Hwy 17/92 through the country towns of Davenport, Haines city, Winter Haven and Bartow before turning south on old hwy 60 and 39. Taking this route is like traveling the snowbird route used by northerners coming to Florida 50 years ago. Little has changed in these once thriving winter destinations and probably still are for many snowbirds. Old orange groves, horse farms rail road tracks still active and in use, palm trees lining main streets through small country towns, often bordered by placid lakes.

The closer I got to the Tampa area, the more industrial the landscape became. With warehouse and manufacturing buildings in between rural farming communities.

After setting up at Alafia St Park, I headed back to county road 60 to Tim's Cafe. It's in Lithia Florida, barely a blip on the map, if it even shows up on any maps. But what great country food. Wow, had two center cut pork chops, grilled, with two sides and a drink for $10. And just down the street on the corner of hwy 60 and 39, I went into the Tin Roof Trading Co. that would have fit in any boutique shopping area, but here it sits on the crossroads of a rural farming community. You truly never know what you'll find on these back roads.

one of the many lakes formed from the phosphate mining operation
the land was then donated to the State of Florida for a park
nice lake front amphitheater 

cypress tree

nice large campsites

the Tin Roof Trading Co. in Lithia Fl
the middle of nowhere

The adventure has begun and I can assure you, I'll have many more stories to tell in the coming weeks.

additional photos:

Alafia River State Park

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