Saturday, January 5, 2013

Town & Country RV Resort - and RV parks in general

As I have said before, there are RV Parks, RV Resorts, and RV Parks which like to call themselves Resorts.  The Town & Country RV Resort is the latter.  Now when we rate or talk about the places we stay, our criteria is much different than many others who wish to stay in REAL RESORTS.

For me, I have traveled many places over the years, in fact, I have driven in 47 of the 50 states, with North Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii being on the “still need to drive there” list.  And with the Lord willing, I will be able to say that I have driven in 49 of the 50 states before my life is over.  And until they make the Chunnel like underwater tunnel between San Diego and Hawaii, which even if they started such a thing today would not be finished by the time I die, I don’t ever see myself being in Hawaii.  I don’t fly, I don’t like long cruises, I do like to drive.  So either Hawaii has to be our first “X” state, which I don’t expect to happen either, or I just have to live with the fact that I will never make it over to Hawaii. 

Anyway, back to the point....I have stayed in many different types of lodging places.  I liked Marriott Residence Inns when I was traveling for the Library because it was comfortable, had a working kitchen, had a wonderful free breakfast, and was not a stuffy, posh place to rest your body for another days activity.  Yet there are some who simply will not stay anywhere but a stuffy, posh Hotel....or a upper class RV Resort for those who travel that way.  So some RV Parks will include the name “Resort” in their title with the hope of capturing those who will not stay in a RV Park.  I don’t know who they think they are fooling, especially in this day and age of the Internet where one can clearly see the type of park and age of the RV’s which stay there by doing a simple search on the Internet.  Although I like the Marriott Residence Inns, I also like the Marriott Fairfield Inns, the lower class of the Marriott chain.  I also like the La Quinta chain, but mostly because they are the most Pet Friendly motel chain out there...but we have liked 95% of the La Quinta’s we have stayed at....even though some are a bit older than others.

So with RV Parks and Resorts, what we are looking at depends upon the reason we are in the area we are at.  While visiting Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, we were as happy as could be being in a boon-docking type of park (no hookups) since the view of Devil’s Tower and the rest of the area is so pretty.  Having electricity would have been nice, and would have kept us from having a knock on our door at 8 pm for running our generator past the 7 pm time period...but I thought we could run it until 9 or 10 pm, but the fine print clearly said 7...but that is another story....   While in Oregon we enjoyed a small RV park there because the view out the front was the river and the Pacific Ocean it ran into....and having neighbors within 10 feet to our left was easily ignored.  At Crystal River we have been lucky enough to have had sites where our nearest neighbor was a good 30-50 feet away “if” there were any neighbors at all.  And in Pine Bluff I loved the park I lived at there because the distance between RV sites always provided that same 30-50 feet away length...which means when you did not have neighbors, you could be 100-200 feet away from the nearest that is wonderful.

But when you are visiting a fairly populated area, as we are when we visit Dean and Carol, our objective is more like, “How much will it cost” compared to “How pretty does it look”.  But never on our list do we care if there is a swimming pool, a club house, playgrounds, or anything outside of doggie runs for the dogs to run in.  We loved the park in the Bad Lands because they were the first one where we encountered not only a dog run, but a dog tub to clean the dogs in.  The tub was nothing fancy, but it did the trick, and I wish more and more RV parks/resorts had something similar.  A nice touch for us pet owners....and something which can be done for a very small amount of investment.

So where does the Town & Country RV Resort stand?  It is an older RV Park, which is a Passport America park where members can stay for up to two weeks for only $20 per night, a short distance away from Orlando and from Daytona, and for us, just minutes away from Dean and Carol’s house.  They have a locked gate at night which keeps it safe, and overall it is located in a safe fact, the homes in and around the area are new and are probably valued in the quarter million dollar range and up.  So with that in mind, it is a park we will stay at again, and we enjoyed our stay this time...even though our nearest neighbor was only a few feet away to our left, and we had a lovely view of the swimming pool and club house to our right.  Overall, the people we saw and encountered were nice, friendly staff, and it is billed as a 55+ park, even though we saw a few younger families passing through.  The majority of the park are people who liver there year round....which in this case is good because they tend to watch what is going on.  I did not fear for anyone messing around with our stuff...but I rarely do when we stay at RV parks in general.

Above is a picture of the swimming pool (has a blue cover on it that they remove during the day and put back on at night), and the club house behind the pool, and a game room to the left of the pool.  Below is our sight, which is next to the pool.  You can see how close our neighbor is.  They happened to have had a small yappy dog too, so at times Skruffy and their dog would yap at each other.

The picture above and below just shows some the varied RVs and homes that are in the park.

And these two pictures again show some more of the park.  The park can hold around 150 RVs if I recall correctly.  It was about 90-95% full, with many snowbirds there...we saw many people from New York, Pennsylvania and Canada areas....a bit too many Pittsburgh Steelers flags for my taste....which reminds me, by-the-way, that ball that Franco Harris scooped up did hit the ground...
It is a typical Florida park, perhaps a bit older, but it is common to have the RV's right on the grass, which is on a very sandy mixture which drains the water very quickly unless the rain is very extreme, which is rare this time of the year.  From what I recall, for those who wish to stay for a month can do so for around $450 per month, plus electricity.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year’s Activities

Well, before I go into my review of the Town & Country RV Resort, which will be my next blog, let me recap the great week we had in bringing in the New Year.  Arriving on Sunday in the Lake Mary/Sanford Florida area to enjoy the bringing in of the new year with Marcia’s brother Dean, his wife Carol, her friend from Indiana who is also named Carol, their two sons Eric and Jammie, and Jammie’s girls Brantley and Mason, we started off our visit with Papa Murphy Pizza.  They had three, a Chicago Stuffed Pizza, a Garlic Chicken Pizza and a Veggie Pizza.  We tried all three, and loved the Garlic Chicken and the Veggie, but found the Stuffed Pizza to be just a bit too thick and doughy for our it was only rated a 4 of 5 points compared to the other two which were 5 out of 5 points.  We sure love Papa Murphy Pizza!

On New Year’s Eve, we arrived over at Dean’s house around 11, enjoyed leftover pizza and fresh, just out of the oven Quiche, and enjoyed a lengthy visit which included their annual tradition of having a Lobster Dinner on New Year’s Eve.  Wow, I had not had a full lobster for I don’t know how long...definitely going back to my restaurant days in Sacramento which puts it back into the mid-1980's.  After dinner and more visiting, we headed back to the motor home around 11:30, dodging a stray deer which decided not to try to hop over a 6 foot brick wall, shooting back across the road right in front of us headed back into the woods.  After hearing many blasts of fireworks, and for once not hearing the many blasts of gun fire which I always heard ringing in the new year in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, we kept Skruffy as calm as possible, and we both crashed around 12:30 am.

On Tuesday we headed over to Dean’s around 10 am, and we all enjoyed the wonderful Sausage Grits which Marcia had made the day before, along with donuts which Eric had brought from the Publix Store (his place of employment), and the traditional Greek “New Year’s Bread”, also known as Vasilopita, which Carol had made a few days earlier.  Click Here to see the Wikipedia explanation of Vasilopita...but essentially there is a hidden, silver looking coin baked into the bread.  Slices are cut from the bread with the first slice for the oldest and on down to the youngest.  As luck had it, Brantley, the second from the youngest, got the coin within her slice...and as tradition says, Brantley will have good luck through the year as long as she does not spend the coin.  After finishing the 1992 DVD version of the movie “The Last of the Mohicans”, a great movie which I had not seen in full for many years, we all headed over to the motor home since we missed that opportunity to display our home on wheels during our last visit back in October. 

On Wednesday Marcia and I had a leisurely day, which was good for my ailing foot which was finally starting to feel much better.  In fact, I used a cane for most of Monday and Tuesday, but only used it for Skruffy’s first outing Wednesday morning.  Surprisingly for how much it hurt on Sunday, it was now feeling like a sore foot one would have after a long, hard hike...but perhaps just a bit more than that.  At least I don’t think this will last as long as I had first anticipated....hurt feet can take forever to heal since you just can’t stay off of them for them to heal properly.  That evening we met Dean, Carol and Carol over at the Hollerbach's Willow Tree Café , that German Restaurant in Sanford we ate at back during our October visit.  They were gracious enough to allow us to pick up the tab this time, and we all enjoyed a great, yet cold dinner.  Cold as in “people cold” and not “food cold”.  It was a bit chilly for Florida even for January...if it gets down to the lower 40's, most people down here are freezing....and I must admit that I put on long pants a few times over the past few weeks myself...which makes for about the 5th or 6th time since leaving daily employment back in April, that I wore long pants instead of short pants.  Oh, you gotta love this retired lifestyle!

On Thursday we again had a leisurely day, and then went over to Dean’s for a BBQ dinner and we watched the movie Secondhand Lions, a 2003 movie staring Robert Duvall and Michael Caine.  If you have not seen it, it is a must see...good, funny movie with a good story, and nothing to worry a parent with young children about.  There is a line at the end of the movie about Robert Duvall and Michael Caine’s characters which says something like, “They really lived.”  If you watch the movie, you will know what that means....and it is definitely something we believe in as we travel around seeing the great marvels which the Lord has provided for us to enjoy.

Friday was a drizzly day, and we headed back to Palm Harbor around noon, and arrived safely at home around 4:30 after stopping at two rest areas for a break from the heavy traffic, and the wet roadways.  We really enjoyed our week...and look forward to our next visit which we hope will be no later than our exit from Florida in April.