Florida, Baby! – Winter 2019

Del Boca Vista, here we come!!

We really wanted to head to warmer temps like we usually do around this time of year, and Disney World was sounding like a fun idea. However, the RV parks within 45 min of Disney were pretty booked up!

Luckily, a site came open at a KOA in Davenport. We snagged it for two weeks! Woohoo!

I got the aquarium all set to be on autopilot for a few weeks (auto-top system to account for water evaporation, auto-feeder, webcam, thermometer within view of webcam, floating ball within view of webcam to show water level in filter area). There’s a lot that goes into keeping a fish alive when you aren’t home for extended periods of time! All for one clownfish I promised Avin I wouldn’t let die on my watch!

Another “tank” I had to account for is the swimming pool. In winter, water needs to be below the tiles along the edge so as not to freeze and crack them. To handle this, I setup a sump pump and float switch that kicks on the sump when the water level gets too high from rain. But….because the low temps can freeze the water hose from the sump pump (which would cause the pump to run forever and burn it out), I had to use a heated water hose like we use on the RV when camping in really cold weather. When I went to hookup the heated water hose, the surface water had frozen around the pump at least a half inch thick. Yay! I used a rock to chisel a ring around the pump so I could lift it out. I then had to thaw it under hot water. Sheesh…. Anyway, it’s quite the contraption, but works.

We got the RV setup at the Creeks RV resort near where we live and started loading it up. I actually had time to wash it while it was 52 outside! Then, the temps dropped…..

Day 1 in the RV

I noticed the drain valve for the freshwater tank was dripping water inside the bay. I think it was damaged from when the temps in Williams, AZ got down to 14 or so

I went to Home Depot to look for a threaded cap to just block off the drain pipe altogether, but of course the pipe uses some oddball thread size. Thank you, Forest River….

I used the hydraulic jacks to tilt the RV to the driver’s side to get water in the tank away from the valve so I could work on it more. I ended up using some roof leak repair tape I always keep with me. It worked pretty well! The next morning, it was apparent that water was leaking out the valve a little, but that’s just because I didn’t shut off the drain valve completely. I’m just glad most of the water didn’t leak into the bay! Ice stalagmite!

Well, that wasn’t all that froze. Even though we use a heated water hose, it doesn’t keep the RV park’s water spigot from freezing! They didn’t insulate their spigots enough, so our hose did almost no good. And, the spigot was frozen in the “on” position. I poured three buckets of hot water on it, but it wouldn’t thaw so I couldn’t push the handle into the “off” position. So, we had to leave it that way when we hit the road! We did tell the RV park, who said they would take care of it…..I could just see water gushing out of it if it had a chance to thaw in the sun before they got to it…

Sooooo, winter! You know where we don’t have to deal with this freezing junk? FLORIDA!

Ohh, how we are looking forward to this when we get to Florida on Friday!

Day 2

We hit the road! We stayed in Tupelo, MS at our usual spot, RV Resort at Barnes Crossing, which we are going to stop staying at in the future. It’s just too tight getting in and out of this place. Love the site we always stay in, though.

Day 3

On to Atlanta! We got there around rush hour…

We checked in at the Atlanta South RV Resort. Neat place. Tons of tall pine trees! The only downside was the garbage truck emptying the dumpsters in the park at 1:30 AM! It was the loudest noise. It sounded like someone smashing into RVs. Marley started barking.

Day 4

We woke up to beautiful weather! It was 50° when we left for Ocala, FL.

Kids doing school:

The KOA in Kissimmee that we like had a spot open up for tonight (20 min from Magic Kingdom), so we are going to drive a little longer to get there and go straight to Magic Kingdom! The kids are super excited!

And now we’ll pause to show you a little sign I created years ago that has traveled with us over 33,000 miles! :). It has served us well!

Florida!!! (I missed the fancy state sign)

We got setup and the weather was awesome!!

We went to Disney Springs instead of Magic Kingdom since we didn’t have a lot of time.

Day 5

We changed campgrounds to the other KOA in Davenport as planned, but we sure wish we could have stayed at the Kissimmee one. Oh well!

The site we got at the other KOA was really unlevel, and we ended up using every leveling block we had. But…. The ground was very sandy and our hydraulic jacks pushed the leveling blocks right down into the sand! I ended up putting some 2 x 4 boards I had underneath the leveling blocks, but the jacks snapped a couple of the boards! Lovely. This is the same KOA where we got stuck in sandy ruts the last time we were here. Going to have to get some 4×4 pieces of wood to replace the 2x4s. The 2x4s were from when I had to build a brace to keep the slides from going out in Alabama a couple years back. Good times!! 🙂

I was sweating my tail off getting all this setup…hard to believe, given we were in 16° temperatures a few days ago!

On to Magic Kingdom!!

Days 6-9

Hollywood Studios! We had great weather most of the day…just some really light rain as we were leaving. Toy Story Land was really neat to see, but pretty chaotic!

Day 10

We spent the afternoon at Cocoa Beach, which is about an hour from Orlando.

Day 11

We spent a couple of hours as Hollywood Studios. It got up to 82! Too hot to spend much time in the sun. We rode Star Tours and Alien Swirling Saucers (Avin’s favorite ride in HS).

While there, we caught a glimpse of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge being built. It sure looks amazing!!!

We then came back to the RV to watch LEGO Movie 1 as a refresher before we watch the new one that just came out (tomorrow we get to watch the new one!).

Day 12

We ate at the Kona Cafe for breakfast at the Polynesian, and fortunately they still serve the Big Kahuna if you ask for it!

Several people watched this squirrel almost fall onto the monorail tracks and get executed!

Day 13

We went to return some shoes at the Florida Mall, and traffic all around Orlando and the malls was insane!!! It turned into an all day event. Everywhere we went was jampacked with people. You’d think we were in L.A. I think everyone came here to escape the cold weather everywhere else. The weather is awesome, but the crowds are terrible. We sat for 20 minutes trying to get through one intersection. The crowds inside Disney World are not so bad, though.

But hey, we have palm trees!

Day 14

We went to Epcot this evening after I got off work. Tripp and I rode Test Track while Carla and Avin rode Soarin’.

We ate an extremely overpriced meal at the Garden Grill. Mediocre food at best…sadly, McDonald’s would have been better…not joking. We forgot Avin is considered an adult as far as food prices go here…painful lesson, but besides that it was still totally not worth it since the kids don’t care so much about character dining like they used to. Maybe NEXT time we go to Epcot we’ll remember this!

Avin is now taller than Mickey! Sad…they are growing up too fast!

Avin started feeling crummy and didn’t want to eat (which made the price we paid even harder to swallow…no pun intended). We headed back to the RV. Avin ended up being sick all night. Carla felt crummy too. This all seems familiar…

Day 15

Well, Avin is feeling a little better, but Carla and I are feeling queasy. We decided to cut the trip short and head back to Arkansas.

What’s crazy is that this exact same “series of unfortunate events” happened last year at this exact same time of year, including Avin getting sick, then Carla and I feeling queasy, cutting the trip short, and even having to deal with RV site dirt issues at this same RV park! That is pretty strange! We are not going to repeat this next February!

So…after we hooked up the Jeep to the RV, I noticed the electrical cord that goes from the RV to the Jeep (powers the blinkers, brake lights, tail lights, and brakes on the Jeep) has a loose connector. We checked, and sure enough, the Jeep lights and brakes were not working when we’d turn on the RV blinkers and brakes. Ugh…and we needed to checkout soon. On our last RV trip (to Utah), we had the issue of the brake system air line getting ripped off (my fault), and now this!

I couldn’t get Camping World to answer their phone to see if they had a new cord we could buy, so we decided to drive separately to the Loves truck stop just down the road just to park and see if we could call RV shops around us to find a new cord. No good parking spots, though, so we decided to head out of town and look for a place where we could park for a bit to figure things out. I decided to attempt to repair the cord we had. When I took it apart, a few of the wires were not even connected to the connector! The screws were very loose for every wire.

Next step was to find a proper wiring diagram on the Internet to know which wire went where. I found the right one, connected the wires back, and tada!

On the road again…goodbye, Florida! See you in September!

We stopped in Valdosta, GA for the night at Eagle’s Roost RV park. Neat moss in all the trees! It’s an OK RV park for an overnight stop.

Day 16

Carla drove us all day and we made it to Tupelo, MS. We decided to stay at the Walmart there, since it’s a nice big empty lot.

But we noticed several people hanging out in their cars around that area of the lot, and we were pretty close to a main roadway through the lot. I also noticed we needed to dump the black tank, and we had a couple of bags of trash we needed to toss, so we went down the road to the RV park we usually stay at and were able to get our favorite spot #30. It’s just easier to sleep at night when you don’t have to worry about anyone lurking around outside, teenagers revving their engines, traffic, vandalism, etc.

We had one more hiccup in the RV…part of the the toilet flush pedal broke off (a little plastic peg that opens the valve to let the toilet bowl drain into the tank when you push the foot pedal to flush it). It’s part #10 in this diagram (why am I posting this??)

Unfortunately, super glue wasn’t strong enough. I had some JB Weld I had put in my “garage” bay back when we first bought this RV, just in case I ever needed it. I never had a use for it until now! The problem is that the set time is 15-24 hours! Luckily, this happened tonight just before bedtime, and hopefully by morning it will have bonded enough to not break off when we go to flush the toilet again! I did manually open the flush valve a tad to allow #1 to drain into the tank so we could use the toilet throughout the night, but that’s not gonna work for numero dos!

Tripp told me tonight we wasn’t feeling great, so I’m sitting here thinking, oh man, with this toilet fiasco….PLEASE don’t have what Avin had and be getting sick!

==========

Annnnd, 5 minutes after me writing this last update, Tripp got sick! Poor kiddo…hope he gets over it soon!

==========

I know, too much information, but this is what makes RVing an adventure! You never know what you’re going to be faced with. So far this trip I’ve had to repair a leaking freshwater tank valve, rewire a tow cord connector, and now this. All within just two weeks of traveling. Two, possibly three of these were our fault for one reason or another, so I can’t blame the RV manufacturer.

Back to this toilet issue, it’s amazing how a tiny piece of plastic (that should have been made out of metal) can wreak havoc on you, especially when you only have one bathroom! It would probably be a good idea to have a portable camping toilet as a backup For situations like this.

Tomorrow we will be back in Arkansas, barring any other issues!

============

3am update: Soo….Carla started feeling sick again around 1am, and Tripp was still visiting the broken throne on a regular basis (no waiting in long Disney lines for this ride!), so at 1:30am we decided to abandon ship along with its broken toilet and go to a hotel. This is a record for us, staying in three locations in one night! Walmart -> RV park -> hotel. Hey, Happy Valentines Day! 😨. We might be here for another night until things clear up (and the JB Weld is dry!). Hey, has anyone seen Marley? 🙂

============

Day 17

We were up until 4AM this morning with Tripp being sick. He has really had a rough time with this crud! After about four hours of sleep, we got up and migrated back to the RV So we could head out of town.

This was a great sign to see!

On our way home, a couple of screws fell out of the windshield sunshade, due to the terrible roads in Memphis, so the sunshade started coming down at an angle when we lowered it! One more thing to repair!

Surely nothing else would go wrong! Hahahahahahahahaha! Riiight…..

We got to the RV park near home in Cave Springs, where we typically load and unload the RV for trips. Someone was in the spot that they had assigned us. No big deal, we just moved over one site.

We had ONE last problem to finish off our trip. It was almost comical at this point.

After we got the RV parked, leveled, all the slides put out, shades drawn shut, I plugged in our surge protector to the power pole and found their 50amp outlet was faulty! Are you kidding me?!

All the lights should be on and green:

That’s the first time we’ve ever had that problem at this RV park…of course! We had to put the RV back together and move over one site. I know, I know, we are supposed to check the power before getting the RV set up, but it’s very rare to have a faulty power hookup.

We finally managed to get to our house this evening! It is oh so good to be home from this trip! Tomorrow we will unload the rest of the RV and get it parked in storage.

==========

Two days later I got really sick for a couple of days! Sheesh!!!

==========

That’s all for this crazy trip!


3 thoughts on “Florida, Baby! – Winter 2019

  1. Hey!! good to hear from you. We’ve moved from Dubai to Spain where we live now. In between the move, we had the chance to spend a few weeks in Florida so I took the opportunity to visit a couple of RV distributors for our future purchase which will still have to wait until the correct time comes.

    Like

  2. Great pics. Glad to see you guys out and about again. Don’t need to tell you to have fun…….you look like you’re doing a good job of it!
    Love you
    Mom and Dad

    Like

  3. It just continues to amaze me…..and it shouldn’t by now…..how life goes in cycles. Your trip is following the pattern of last year…sometimes to the exact day! If you want to know what’s coming up later this year just let me know the date 😁😁
    Love you guys…..hang in there!
    Mom and Dad

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s