Counting down the days

We have thoroughly enjoyed our Summer of 2016 in the Adirondack Mountains exploring new places, meeting new friends and enjoying good times and campfires with family and friends. Now – as the leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder – it’s time to think about warmer destinations for the months ahead.

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Our Southerly course is plotted and we are anxious to be on the road again to see what’s around that next curve and what is just over that next hill – and we invite you to Hop Aboard and “follow” along with us via this Blog.

Our 1,500+ mile journey begins on October 14th with 7 two-day stopovers planned for exploring (and maybe finding a great new “Mom & Pop restaurant” or two). We should land in our Winter home-base in New Port Richey, FL on October 28th.

As usual we will post reports with photos, reviews and the costs. For us it’s not the destination but the adventure and the new discoveries along the way.

Jack, Niki and our Furry Family Crewmen, B.B. and Stanley

P.S. If you have visited any of our planned stops and have any cautions or must-see suggestions we’d love to hear from you. We’re at snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com.

Help Wanted Urgent – Perfect FL Snowbird job for an RVer!

URGENT! Hiring Hunter Check Station Operator Volunteers ASAP
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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is seeking volunteers to work at the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area in Kenansville, FL.  Volunteer operators are needed at our hunter check station between 10 September 2016 and 23 April 2017, in exchange for a beautiful free RV site.  A position just came open and we need a new volunteer to fill it ASAP! We are located in central Florida, in Osceola Co. just south of Orlando, and approximately 15 miles south of Holopaw along Highway 441. Nearby towns include St. Cloud (~25 miles), Kissimmee (~35 miles), Orlando (~50 miles), and Melbourne (~50 miles). We are within an hour’s drive of Disney World, Universal Studios, theme parks, and beaches!

There are five full hook-up RV sites with electricity, sewer, and water. The area is remote, so if you enjoy the outdoors, a rural lifestyle, and outdoor recreation such as hunting and fishing, you will probably be well-suited for this position. We also a “clubhouse” for volunteers, which has a refrigerator, stove, restrooms, and laundry facilities.

Volunteers’ primary duties will be to monitor recreational use on the Management Area, provide information to the public, and collect biological data. This includes keeping count of hunters and other recreational users, checking various licenses and permits, providing information to hunters and recreational users, and collecting biological data from harvested animals. No previous experience is  necessary and training will be provided by staff biologists. However, if hunting is objectionable to you, or if you are reluctant to handle dead animals, then you should not apply. In addition to work at the check station, volunteers may assist with facility maintenance, data entry, and other tasks as needed.

In exchange for hookups and use of facilities, we request a maximum of 32 hours of work each week. Days of the week worked are somewhat flexible. The heaviest use of the Management Area occurs from September through December, and consequently, some preference may be given to those people who can arrive early in the season and/or those that can stay the entire season through the Spring.

If you are interested in this position, please contact Sara Miller at sara.miller@myfwc.com for more information or to receive an application.

http://myfwc.com/viewing/recreation/wmas/lead/three-lakes/visitor-information/

Received by J Armstrong at snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com – 12 Sep 16

Ahoy Snowbirds! Winter fun ahead….

Learn to build your own fishing kayak
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Bedard Yacht Design in Tarpon Springs sells DIY boat kits & plans but now also offers Boat-Building Workshops and Build-Along. The workshops are evening classes intended as a leisurely and fun introduction to small-boat building. The students will collectively build a fishing kayak kit for hands-on experience.

The Build-Along is a 40-hour/one-week seminar where each student builds his/her own boat under the guidance of an instructor.

Classes: Oct 16, Dec 16, Jan 17, Feb 17 & Mar 17
Registration: 727-488-4573
or visit us at:
www.bedardyachtdesign.com/boatbuilding-workshops-build-along/

News Release to snowbirdrvtrails.com 8/18/16

Just in – Workampers Needed in Florida & Georgia

Work Camper Needed:  Fort Myers, FL RV Resort seeking immediate part-time work camper for 2016-2017 season, for a new 200+ unit upscale RV park.  Send resumes or contact information to pprohaska@harpdevelopment.com    www.cypresstrailrv.com

Work Camper Needed: Blairsville, GA (northern mountains of Georgia) RV Resort & Spa seeking part-time work campers for 2016 season for a brand new resort .  Send resumes or contact information to pprohaska@harpdevelopment.com www.crossingcreeksrvresort.com

Received 5/10/16

For Snowbird RVers heading North soon

Perhaps like Niki and I you are preparing to point your rig North for the Summer months? We have a lot of fun exploring the different North/South RV routes and posting our findings – photos, videos, maps, costs and our “reviews” of restaurants and attractions.

These are links to 3 of our favorite East Coast RV routes North.

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BLUE ROUTE – FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, PA. NY

“The Scenic Route – if you have the time”
I-95, US-17, US-301, US-13, Jersey Turnpike, I-287, I-87
Highlights- Myrtle Beach, New Bern, Kitty Hawk, Rehoboth
Beach, Atlantic City, Lake George, Canada and New England..

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PURPLE ROUTE – FL, SC, NC. VA, DE, MD, NJ, NY
“The Mayberry Route – a little culture & a lot of fun!”
I-75. I-10, I-95, I-74/77,  I-81, I-88. I-87
Highlights- Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center, Suwanee
River, Jekyll Island, Huntington Beach, Mayberry, Blue Ridge

Parkway.

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“Best” Snowbird RV Route North –

Florida to Canada & New England

I-95, I-26, I-77, I-81 and beyond
Highlights: Jekyll Island, Mayberry, Route 11 Potato
Chips, great food and beautiful scenery.

You can find more of our routes and reports on our website at
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/rvroutes.htm

Have a safe trip and enjoy the journey,

Jack and Niki

 

Day Trip to Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida

350x350boktowerbBok Tower Gardens is about an hour and a half from Tampa. It’s an easy drive and well worth the trip. In addition to the 7 1/2 acres of beautifully landscaped  grounds, trails and the Singing Tower Carillon you’ll find 126 different species of birds ()it is a designated site on the Florida Birding Trail. The gopher tortoise is in residence as well as the endangered eastern indigo snake. Plan to spend all day or at least a few hours to experience it all. In the Visitor Center you’ll find the Blue Palmetto Cafe for lunch or just a snack as well as exhibits tracing Edward Bok’s life as well as the history and development of the 205′ Singing Tower.  and Gardens. T0ur the 20 room Pinewood Estate on the property.Built in the 1930’s it’s the former “retreat” of  Charles Austin Buck, a Bethlehem Steel vice president. More photos, prices and info from our trip on our website page: http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/daytriptoboktowergardens.htm.

 

 

 

 

JUST ANNOUNCED: The 2016 Florida Strawberry Festival Entertainment Lineup

Don’t miss the fun in Plant City, Florida from March 3-13, 2016!
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Headliners will be:
Thursday, March 3 – Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra | Charley Pride | Josh Turner
Friday, March 4 – Mickey Gilley | BIG & RICH
Saturday, March 5 – Lecrae | Cheap Trick
Sunday, March 6 – Shenandoah | Donny & Marie
Monday, March 7 – Gene Watson | LONESTAR
Tuesday, March 8 – Dick Fox’s Golden Boys starring Frankie Avalon, Fabian & Bobby Rydell | Trace Adkins
Wednesday, March 9 – Ray Stevens | Martina McBride
Thursday, March 10 – Tommy Dorsey Orchestra | Oak Ridge Boys | Casting Crowns
Friday, March 11 – Tanya Tucker | Cole Swindell
Saturday, March 12 – Merle Haggard | Charlie Wilson
Sunday, March 13 – Echosmith | The Band Perry

There are a limited number of FREE Seats available in the Morrow Steel Free Grandstand. Availability is based on a first come, first seated.

Tickets for each show can be purchased on December 10 at 8 a.m. on their website and at the Amscot Main Ticket Office located at 2209 W. Oak Avenue in Plant City and over the phone at 813-754-1996.

See the website for more information: http://www.flstrawberryfestival.com/

How late in the Season can a Snowbird hope to find an open RV spot in Florida?

Holiday Travel Park swimming pool

Snowbirds in Florida –
Just how late in the Season can a Snowbird expect to find an open RV spot in Florida?

Holiday Travel Park swimming pool
Holiday Travel Park swimming pool

We have friends making their first Snowbird trip down to Florida from Canada and we are trying to help them find a spot to roost. Since they are arriving much later this Fall and possibly not until after the new year begins, it makes it a more difficult task as so many RV Parks have had reservations made weeks and often months in advance filling them to capacity.

Unfortunately, they cannot set-up in the Park we are in as they have 2 small dogs and dogs are not allowed. We have done a lot of research and have visited several nearby RV Parks around this area of the Gulf Coast. We thought perhaps our findings would be of use to other newby Snowbirds.

We spent a recent afternoon visiting Holiday Travel Park (conveniently located in Holiday, Florida). You can find them just North of Tarpon Springs at the junction of U.S.-19 and Alt-19.

The Holiday Travel Park office, activity center and pool area
The Holiday Travel Park office, activity center and pool area

We stopped first at the office/activity center and found the ladies behind the check-in counter to be very friendly and helpful. They told us that they do not take reservations but they do have 80 open sites in the Park to fill this Winter. The ladies told us they would probably have sites available until towards the end of January when the big influx of Snowbirds arrive. They advised that anyone could phone a couple of days before arriving in the area to assure availability.

We have attached some photos representative of the types of sites available. Many sites are between trailers which are obviously occupied year round. The Park has hundreds of trailer spaces (600?) but we found it easy to maneuver around the paved streets of the Park. This is an older Park and does not easily accommodate the really long RV’s with multiple slides..

Typical open RV sites at Holiday Travel Park in Holiday, FL
Typical open RV sites at Holiday Travel Park

They have a nice pool, a small fishing lake and scheduled daily and weekly activities all Winter. The bath houses appear clean and well maintained. They have a central mailbox arrangement for tenants that would rival any post office.

A Holiday Travel Park bath house
One of several Holiday Travel Park bath houses

Just off the entrance road into the Park is a large Winn-Dixie Supermarket which is actually within walking distance from the Park. This is an area with many restaurants and stores close-by.

We spoke with one lady who has lived at Holiday for 7 years, a former teacher who retired to the Park, and she told us there has never been any kind of trouble in the Park and the people running the place are most kind and helpful.

For more information visit their website:
http://www.holidaytravelpark.net/

For more info about us visit our website:
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/

 

Day Trip to a Saturday Estate Auction

Phil Riner - A classy Winter Haven Florida auctioneer
Phil Riner - A classy Winter Haven Florida auctioneer
Phil Riner – A classy auctioneer

This past Saturday friend Gary and I attended a 9 a.m. Estate Auction in Winter Haven Florida. This meant getting on the road pretty early for the hour drive from Tampa. Doubly early in order to arrive an hour before the start to have a look at what was being sold.

As many of you may know Niki and I enjoy visiting library book sales all over the Country in our travels but we also enjoy a nice auction now and then. 0630 is a little early for the Niki half of our team to be looking forward to a fun day so Gary thought he might enjoy going to his first auction.

We arrived early and had plenty of time to look over the offerings. I do apologize for not having my camera to provide some photos but I figured this would just be a normal run-of-the-mill auction. It was not.

In viewing what was to be auctioned off I noted a number of tables of jewelry and coins which hold little interest for me. I almost left because if this auction ran true to form – or at least as most Northern auctions run – it would be a long and boring day.

At many if not most of the auctions we have attended up North the auctioneer will move one table at a time and every item on that table. If it’s table after table with things you have no interest in the time moves oh so slowly. I am glad I stayed for this one.

Chairs and canopy’s were set up in the driveway and the garage became the auctioneer’s post. Phil’s staff would bring the tables to him and he would alternate between different items on different tables as well as interspersing furniture, tools and lawn & garden items his people would bring out on the lawn area. Everything could be seen from the chairs at all times and it made for an interesting and fun experience. The time flew by and both Gary and I made some purchases we may or may not have really needed.

This Saturday’s experience gave me hope that just maybe they really know how to put on a good auction down here in the Sunshine State.

Kudos to Phil Riner and his team for a job well done!