What’s the best Winter RV Route from New England to Florida & the Gulf?

What is the best RV route from Canada and the Northeast  South in Winter? We often receive that question from RVers that are still working and just have some precious vacation days to spend in the land of palm trees, gentle breezes and gorgeous sunsets.

We also hear it from retired folk like ourselves that are simply getting a late start heading South due to health, family or other commitments.

We have put together a page to begin addressing it with maps, some suggested stopovers, photos and reviews at

http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/besteastcoastwinterrvroutesouth.htm

There are many variables for each person’s trip. How many miles do you want to go on a travel day? Do you like to stop in RV Parks, rest areas or truckstops? How do you find a Northern campground that’s open all Winter? There are many other questions to consider.

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We have attempted to answer some of those questions on our page. It’s a start and we invite you to consider it then send us other questions you may have to and we’ll do our best.

Safe travels,
Jack & Niki
snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/

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What does it cost to be an RVing Snowbird?

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A Snowbird RV Route North from Florida

Niki and I are RVing Snowbirds. Each Spring we feel the urge to be on the road again and heading North for cooler Summer temperatures. Then along about September we begin to feel those Northern nights cooling down and the leaves beginning their Autumn change. That’s our signal to start packing up for our journey South to spend the Winter months in the land of palm trees and warm Gulf breezes.

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Our Snowbird RV Route South to the Sunshine State

We have spent the last eight years as Snowbirds and moving our Fifth Wheel with the Seasons. We’ve taken different routes on most trips and have pretty much covered the best North and South RVing routes from the Northeast to the Gulf Coast and Florida, and from the Atlantic seacoast to the Mississippi River.

You probably had many of the same questions we had starting out, like will we be able to afford this kind of lifestyle? Well, we have kept a trip diary from those early days and have been sharing what we have learned both here on our blog and on our website at snowbirdrvtrails.com.

We have a great deal of information on the website including photos, videos, dining & campground reviews, RV route maps, and sections on Workamping, Fraternal (Clubs & Organizations) and Off-Season Camping in the Northeast and how we plan the trips as well as tips on repairs and additions we have found useful for our rig.

We’ve just added a chart that breaks down the actual costs on two recent Snowbird trips. For comparison we show the stats on a quick seven day trip North to spend the Summer Season in the Adirondacks and compare it with a long and leisurely 17 day trip to spend the six Winter months Season at a nice RV Park on the “Sun Coast” section of the Gulf in Florida. You’ll find the mileages and the costs for gas, camping and dining as well as the Seasonal rates at both destinations and our costs for propane and electric.

You’ll also find links to the photos, reviews and trip reports for each trip. As always, if you have any questions send us (Niki and Jack) an email to snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com and we will do our best to answer you.

Safe travels and enjoy the journey,

Jack and Niki
Snowbird RV Trails

Clearwater Dining – Bascom’s Chop House

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On the occasion of my 72nd birthday this past Sunday evening my Niki treated me, son Jay, his wife Kathy and granddaughter Maggie to a wonderful dinner at Bascom’s Chop House. The service was first rate and the menu selections were totally mouth watering. It is the perfect place for outings for any special occasions with special people.

The wine list is long and exceptional with selections for every taste. After ordering drinks, our server Michael brought a plate to the table to present the large and varied cuts of meat available. Known for their meat that’s seasoned and cooked to perfection, there were also choices of fish like Pistachio Crusted Grouper that Niki and Kathy ordered and raved about with Kathy even saying that perhaps it was the best meal she had ever had. Maggie ordered the 8oz Filet that was so good that the teenager finished every bite. Jay ordered a prime cut steak that was so large and perfectly done that he had to take half of it home. I enjoyed the queen cut of Prime Rib which practically melted in my mouth.

We enjoyed lobster bisque soup and lettuce salads before the  main course and garlic mashed potatoes with our meals.

For dessert Michael appeared with a new plate of choices that looked too delicious to be denied and included a chocolate tort, cheesecake with a pecan crust, key lime pie, crème brulee and a couple of others.

It was a beautiful evening that we all enjoyed with plans to definitely visit again in the future.
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BASCOM’S CHOP HOUSE is located at
3665 Ulmerton Road in Clearwater, FL
Phone: 727-573-3363
Reservations are advised.
Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 – 2:30 pm
Dinner Mon-Sat  5 – 10 pm
Sun  4 – 9 pm
Two great weekend specials are advertised for Friday, Saturday and Sundays.
The Petite Filet or Hand Carved Prime Rib with salad & sides for only 27.95.

Florida Day Trip – Sunshine Skyway & Popi’s Place

Today was beautiful with temps in the mid-70’s, bright sunshine and blue skies. A perfect day for a Florida adventure to a place Niki had visited in the past when she lived in Bradenton South of Tampa. When it comes to good food I’m always ready for the next adventure!

Our destination was Popi’s Place, a family restaurant in Palmetto, Florida. Part of the fun was getting there. It’s about an hour Southeast of our home in Clearwater traveling by I-275. The route takes us over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge which crosses Tampa Bay and measures 1.1 miles in length and 430′ high at its center. The views of the Bay from the top as well as the long runs up to it are fantastic. You almost always see huge oceangoing container ships coming into or leaving from the Port of Tampa. Remaining approaches to the previous bridge extend far into the Bay and remain in use as the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park and both are usually packed with anglers and their cars. All in all quite a sight.

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Shortly after exiting the South end of the bridge there is an exit for US-41 – The Tamiami Trail – which runs South toward Miami and our route took us Northward toward Tampa and Popi’s Place.

We’ve long found that looks can be deceiving when it comes to good restaurants. Popi’s could easily be passed by without a second look but not for us on this occasion. The interior is pleasant and inviting and the people are friendly. They offer a list of daily specials but we decided to pick from the regular menu.

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They have a nice listing of starters and sandwiches and many entrees starting in the $11 range. All dinner choices come with soup or salad and a choice of two sides. Niki chose the Crabmeat Stuffed Shrimp with a slightly spicy, Cajun style breading with rice and black-eyed peas. A tossed green salad and a fantastic, freshly-baked dinner roll. Rounding it out with sweet iced tea and a nice slice of chocolate cake for dessert.

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I love really good fried scallops and my plate did not disappoint me with sides of mashed potatoes & gravy, cole slaw, a tossed green salad and also a dinner roll fresh out of the oven. I picked the chocolate cream pie for dessert. Me, I’m an un-sweet iced tea kinda guy.

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Niki and I both agreed that the meals were exceptional but we both also think we may have to have a second visit just to be sure. Our trip back home turned out to be not as pleasant and leisurely – it was during drive-time and all roads in and around the Tampa area are slow going at quitting time. All in all a beautiful day and well worth the traffic inconvenience.

Popi’s Place Family Restaurant is located at 10508 US-41 North in Palmetto, Florida. Telephone: 941.729.0753.

A chilly day at the Oldsmar Florida Flea Market

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It was a bit chilly @ 33* when I arrived to open our Booth at the Oldsmar (FL) Flea Market this morning but the sun was bright and warmed up the cubicles pretty well via the corrugated metal roofing.

It’s a BIG football weekend in Tampa with the College Football National Championship here tomorrow and thousands of fans in Tampa Town.

Our Northern visitors didn’t seem to be minding the chilly weather at all. A lot of foot traffic started coming through after lunch and everyone was in good spirits.

Pics show along our section of the Flea – overall it’s a very large place. I have had a lot of fun with it so far.

We are at the Oldsmar Flea Market, 180 Racetrack Road every Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 4pm – Building G West, Booth #32 – with all kinds of items – some new, some used – for RV’s and RVers. It’s my new Winter “hobby”.

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On the Road with Snowbird RV Trails

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Looking for retired law enforcement to work in the Yosemite National Park

Received 1/4/2017
To: SnowbirdRVtrails.com

I am looking for retired law enforcement to work in the Yosemite National Park Desk Office/PSAR program. Can you please post the following?
Thank you,
Larry Keene
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My name is Larry Keene. I retired more than four years ago after 26+ years of service with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

Since I retired, I have been volunteering in Yosemite National Park in the Desk Officer program. I am currently the Desk Office Supervisor for Yosemite.Desk Officers assist the Yosemite Law Enforcement Rangers by writing motor vehicle accident reports, theft reports (no evidence or suspects), lost and found and bear damage reports. We also do “Bear Patrol” every morning with the main focus being to look for bear damage, food storage violations and asking campers to extinguish morning camp fires. This year we will also be assisting with the Preventive Search and Rescue (PSAR) program.

The Desk Officers work three days and get six days off on average and as a general rule. We occasionally assist with traffic control on busy holidays and do other duties as needed as well.

In the past, there were two seasons for the Desk Officers to work. April 1 through June 30 and July 1 through September 30. As a result of the new nationwide report writing system (IMARS) in which we write all our reports, I am seeking people willing to commit to volunteer for the entire six month season. Three of my four positions for 2017 are filled. I have one open position for 2017. Ideally, I am looking for a full time RVer, somebody who is used to living in their motorhome all the time and who would not be burdened by staying here for six months.

The five couples will be able to take a vacation for up to 30 days during the six month commitment. However, while somebody is on vacation, the other couples will have to cover their shifts. During the entire six months though, you will only work 33% of the days (an average of 3 days on then 6 days off).

The National Park Service provides us with full RV hookups (including propane), free use of laundry facilities and access to wifi in the campground. The Park Service is currently working with Aramark on a discount program for volunteers.

The volunteer opportunity is open to couples, one of whom must be retired Law Enforcement with at least five years of active duty. You must be able to pass the same background as the Law Enforcement Rangers. I may consider retired military if I am unable to get a retired law enforcement officer.

Let me know if you are interested in volunteering for six months in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I can give you more details at that time. Please email me at wkeene12121@gmail.com.

This position recently became available when one of my couples had to cancel due to a family emergency.

Thank you

Larry Keene
Desk Office Supervisor
Yosemite National Park
661-565-5666

Find more RVing and Workamping information on our website at
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/
We post open positions on our Blog as we receive them and you are invited to “follow” us to receive alerts when we post something of interest.

Happy New Year to all of our friends – Niki and I wish you the very best in 2017!

Niki and I had our New Year’s Eve dinner this night  (12/31/16)at a small restaurant we have been planning to visit for over two years. “Nauti Nancy’s” is located on a side street in a residential area in Clearwater, FL. Now on first look from the outside it looks like a cross between an old-time Mexican restaurant and a seafood shack that you’d normally find near the waterfront.

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Stepping inside does nothing to change our original opinion on the visual but then things begin to change. You are welcomed like friends and you can choose whether you want to dine inside or sit in the large Tiki Bar/enclosed patio outside.

Once seated with a refreshment in front of you it becomes a real challenge to pick your favorite entree’ from a short but very intriguing menu that changes daily. The emphasis is on seafood with combinations that sound too good to be true.
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This visit Niki and I both chose the “Cod Oscar”: Grilled fresh North Atlantic Cod with crab and asparagus over yellow rice topped with Hollandaise Sauce and sliced tomatoes (minus the tomatoes that neither of us are supposed to eat). Just a thought – you may want to order an appetizer as Chef Nancy prepares everything fresh and will not rush her dishes. The dishes are definitely worth the wait and our Cod Oscar plates were exceptional.

After the meal they serve beignets (gratis) for dessert. The perfect ending to a beautiful meal. Chef Nancy came out from the kitchen atter we finished our meal to spend a few minutes chatting with us. It becomes quickly apparent that she is passionate about her food and that her customers leave satisfied. Can’t ask for more than that.

The service is cordial, the food is excellent and the prices are fair. We’ll be back and suggest you might want to try Nauti Nancy’s as well next time you are in the Clearwater/Clearwater Beach area. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Nauti Nancy’s Restaurant is located at
700 Eldridge St, Clearwater, FL 33755  (727) 446-3717
Known for “Down-home American & seafood unusual, delicious dishes served in a funky joint with a patio & regular live music.”
You can visit Acoustic Open Mic night most Tuesday evenings and they have live music on many Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 6:30. Check the “Music Calendar” and all of the other info on their website at http://www.nauti-nancys.com/.