A Visit to the 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival

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Yesterday was a beautiful day to spend a few hours at the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City – just a few miles East of Tampa.

Plant City is arguably the largest strawberry growing area in the Country. During each March ‘s strawberry harvesting time the area shows its pride with one heck of an eleven day agricultural fair celebration paying homage to the growers – many are multi-generational family farms. Besides a large midway for the kids and young at heart, there are the animal and Ag demonstrations and exhibits with two real stand-outs. First is the strawberry decked out smartly in every edible form imaginable from shortcakes, shakes, sundaes to jams, jellies and more.

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Secondly, it’s over a week filled with some of the finest Country stars making appearances on the Wish Farms Sound Stage. This year featured Willie Nelson, Little Big Town, The Bellamy Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, Brenda Lee, Maddie & Tae and Rascal Flatts, to name a few.

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This year we chose to see Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers’ afternoon performance. They were as good as we expected, singing many of the hits they have had over their 40+ year career. They had two of the famous Lennon Sisters – Jan and Kathy – join them on stage for a couple of songs. They sang their hearts out for a very large crowd for about an hour and a half. Great show – even though the temp was hovering in the low 80’s, there was a nice breeze now and then that was much appreciated by the crowd.

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Our friends from Canada – Cheryl and Ray – joined us for this excursion and we spent several hours at the Festival enjoying the sights, listening to (and buying more CD’s from) one of Niki’s favorite groups – “Runa Pacha” – so versatile on the pan flute. We also enjoyed the Fair-type food including, of course, a mandatory round of huge, fresh, strawberry shortcake.

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The Florida Strawberry Festival is a lot of fun and we enjoy visiting it each year. We do recommend  if you ever have the chance to catch it as well.

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See more photos of the Florida Strawberry Festival on our Pinterest pages at https://www.pinterest.com/snowbirdrvtrail/florida-strawberry-festival/.

Safe travels and enjoy every adventure,

Niki and Jack

Summary – Fall RV Route South via I-87, I-287, I-78, I-81, I-40 and I-75

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On the road again!

Our 2016 Fall migration South is complete after seventeen days on the road – over 1,900 miles through ten States and eight campgrounds we have arrived at our Winter home in New Port Richey, Florida.

The trip was smooth overall and the only really “rattle the teeth”, bumpy stretch was a few miles through Allentown, PA on I-78. We ran into very little construction and no stoppages along the route and we saw only one accident the entire way.

We found the truckers to be very good about sharing their roadway with us. I would mention one thing though – we saw many of our fellow Rvers exceeding the speed limits on the interstates and as a word of caution you might check the speed rating on your tires. We run 14 ply which not only give us the weight capability we need but are are also rated for a lot more speed than we would ever use. The one accident we did see involved a truck pulling a 5th Wheel though we do not know the circumstances.

We stayed two nights each at eight campgrounds coming down. Seven were new for us. As you may have read from our Snowbird Blog reports, we didn’t find all of them to be great values though none were deplorable and all would be okay for an overnight stop. Saugerties was overpriced but you come to expect that near metropolitan areas.

 

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RV route – Northeast to Florida’s Sun Coast

Pennsylvania Dutch, Endless Caverns and Crossroads Travel were Passport America Members (50% discount) and the rest were Good Sam campgrounds (10% discount). They all more than paid back any membership fees in discounts.

If you have followed us for any length of time you know that we love to find new local restaurants along any route and this trip brought some new ones to share as well as a couple of previous winners that we were happy to visit again.

Saugerties Diner surprised us on the first night of our trip and did it well enough for us to visit the second night as well. After the bad experience we had at the remaining HoJo’s Restaurant in Lake George, NY before our trip, we were happy to find this former HoJo still dishing out good food and service to match.

While at our second stop at Pennsylvania Dutch Campground, we felt the 45 minute drive to once again visit the Oregon Dairy Restaurant and Buffet in Lititz, PA to be worth it. If ever in that area you would not be disappointed by stopping in for a bite.

The Adairsville Inn Restaurant at our 6th stop at Harvest Moon Campground was also a special surprise. Nothing fancy, no linen tablecloths nor liveried servers, just plain old down-home country specialties served buffet style and overseen by two sweet, personable and older Southern ladies as charming as they could be. They are only open certain days and times so check with Miss Pam at the campground.

 

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Adairsville Inn Restaurant – Georgia hospitality

The two restaurants we mentioned at our last stopover in Lake Park, Georgia – both The Farm House Restaurant and (if you like good Mexican food) the Rodeo Mexican Restaurant, are worth spending a night or two in one of the three nice campgrounds at this exit off I-75.

After a great Summer spent with family and friends and exploring the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY and the Green Mountains of neighboring Vermont, and to cap it off with a safe and uneventful journey back to Florida, to say we are truly blessed would be an understatement.

If you would like to see a quick summary of our trip and stopovers including all of the info about each and a listing of mileages and costs, visit the 2016 Fall RV Route South page on our website.

Thanks for traveling a few miles with us and if you have any questions about this or any of our Snowbird RV Trails send us a note at snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you. In the meantime we invite you to “friend” us or “follow” us to join our next adventure.

You can also find photos from our trips and explorations on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/snowbirdrvtrail/ or more about us at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/aboutus.htm.

Safe travels and enjoy every trip,
Jack and Niki
K.C., B.B., & Stanley

 

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Until we meet down a future Snowbird RV Trail

 

Days 13 & 14 – 2016 Fall Snowbird RV Route South to Florida – Perry, Georgia

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Welcome to Crossroads Travel Park

Crossroads Travel Park is located at 1513 Sam Nunn Blvd. in Perry, Georgia
It’s easy off/on I-75 less than ¼ mile from Georgia exit 136. It’s an older park but neat and well maintained. Access roads and pull-thrus are black-top with some grass between sites. Be sure to give your rig’s true size when making a reservation as some transient sites are on the short side. All sites are FHU with 30 Amp electric, water and a sewer connection. Each site has good free cable access and the WiFi – also free – worked well while we were here. The site pads do show wear from years of use and some unevenness but doable. They honor both Good Sam Membership and Passport America (for up to six nights).

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Crossroads Travel Park Office/Check-in

The laundry and shower facility is clean. The pool was empty when we stayed here (late Oct).

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Crossroads Travel Park shower & laundry facility
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Pool and Sites at Crossroads Travel Park

Grillmasters BBQ shares the entrance road and is within walking distance from your camper. The restaurant offers a 10% discount to campers. The area’s most economical gas is also close-by. A Walmart, supermarket and all types of fast food places are just down the street.

 

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Grillmaster BBQ in Perry, Georgia

Not a lot of local attractions but the State Fairgrounds (early October) and Agricultural Center are located in Perry. A drive through the countryside will take you past cotton fields and pecan orchards.

Mall shopping and major restaurants are in Warner Robins about 15 minutes North. The State Fairgrounds and Agriculture Center are just off the next exit South.

Only a couple of negative comments – The young fellow who checked us in was not as affable as the owner we spoke with to make the reservation. He was just going through the motions and was not a good cheerleader for the campground – maybe just having a bad day.

 

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Black-top pull-thru sites at Crossroads Travel Park

The other concern you should be aware of is the sewer connections are at the far end of the sites and it took us three slinky lengths to connect.

That said and aside from the minor “flaws,” the park is a good value and we would stay here again and also recommend it to anyone going this way.

Find this entire
Snowbird RV Route Plan
with facts, links and costs
on our website & updated
as we travel.

See our printable listing of
Interstate Rest Areas
for this entire RV Route
and suitable for
smart phones.

Color it Autumn in New York and the Northeast

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Friday was a beautiful Fall day and we took full advantage with a trip to a huge book sale in Shelburne, Vermont,
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a stop at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in,
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lunch at the famous Bridge Restaurant in West Addison, Vermont,
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an Autumn photo-stop at Historic Ironville, NY – Birthplace of the Electrical Age in mining and
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a final stop to see the good folks (and the bison) at the Buffalo Farm in North Hudson, NY.
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The Buffalo Farm is the place we stock up on their mighty fine Vermont-made corn relish and Amish-made preserves for our upcoming Snowbird trip back South.

An excellent day shared with Niki and regretfully our last weekend outing with our Summer sidekick Brother Ken.

Hop Aboard and follow our Blog as we visit new places, find friendly faces and enjoy life along the Snowbird RV Trails at snowbirdrvtrails.com.

Howard Johnson’s Restaurant, Lake George, NY – Last One Standing!

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Lake George, NY

Howard Johnson’s Restaurant (9/16 $39.15)*
2143 U.S. 9, Lake George, NY 12845 (518) 685-3022

We will do our best to be objective with this review. We drove 80 miles one way to visit this Howard Johnson’s Restaurant – truly as their sign says – the “Last One Standing” in the World. We arrived around 2pm and were a little concerned as there were no other vehicles in the parking lot nor other patrons in the restaurant – but then again it was past normal lunch hours.

We looked at the salad bar before being seated to see what it was like as we often just order the salad bar. This one had two sides – one was a small salad bar with a choice of two soups, iceberg lettuce, spinach leaves and only a choice of cucumber, cherry tomatoes and shredded cheese for toppings plus a selection of four dressings.

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The other side of the “Bar” – called their “Smorgasbord” offered several warm selections like beans, rolls, spaghetti (that hadn’t been stirred in awhile – spelled “congealed”) and another vegetable. It would not be an option for us.

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We ordered from the lunch menu which came with the limited Soup/Salad Bar. The soup choices this day were minestrone and chicken noodle.

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I ordered the HoJo burger which was actually pretty good ($12.95) ….

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Niki opted for the Famous Baked Macaroni & Cheese ($12.95). The mac & cheese was laughable and looked more like cooked elbow macaroni stirred into a Cheese-Wiz type concoction (and tasted like it as well). The closest it came to being baked was maybe passing by an oven on the way out to our table.

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We asked the cashier if they actually ever baked their macaroni & cheese and she acted quite surprised and offered to bring out the “Chef”.

When we were leaving the restaurant we met a couple just arriving that had driven over from Connecticut especially to have the famous fried clams that HoJo was also known for. They will have to wait another day to try them as the restaurant had already closed (at 3pm) for the day as we were leaving.

We enjoy eating out and finding new restaurants, especially the local “Mom & Pop” type in our travels. We can both still remember the Howard Johnson’s of our younger days and unfortunately this restaurant does not come close to what we remember. We have seen a couple decent reviews for their breakfasts – though $14.95 for a simple omelet seems a little on the high side. Maybe we came at the wrong time of day but then again what can you really do to breakfast.

We rate the restaurant at one-star (*). Very overpriced and not a good value for your dining $$$. We did have dessert at Martha’s down the road. Her hot fudge sundaes did make up for a lot.

Find a few dozen more of our completely unbiased reviews of restaurants along the Snowbird Routes at
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/diningreviews.htm

One-of-a-kind Job Opportunity for an RVer

Can you type 65+word/min or more? Like to try living like a cactus wren under high mountain vistas north of Tucson in exchange for typing a manuscript this winter. Double Rainbows. Ski Mount Lemmon. Boat, fish Apache and Canyon Lakes. Forty miles of lovely, upcountry mountain roads to Tucson. Two hours to Mexico dentists.

Must be able to type 65 words per minute or greater. Must be willing to provide typing 4 hrs. per day Monday through Friday January through March (or equivalent). Master bedroom with en-suite bathroom for one person. If couple, can provide parking, access to water and electricity for travel trailer on secure, fenced site.

References and background checks. Call 403-398-1217. No Email please

More about the area:
Sunshine, vibrant arts, culture and sports mecca. Just the right mix of nature, town and south western, Old Pueblo, hospitality leisure country. Uphill, upscale, atop the San Pedro River Valley. The San Pedro is the only North American river that runs south to north from Mexico to Arizona:.

Sunset over the Galiuro Mountains; SE of San Manuel, AZ
Sunset over the Galiuro Mountains
 “…The San Pedro River is the central corridor of the Madrean Archipelago of “Sky Islands”, high mountains with unique ecosystems different from the ecology of the Sonoran desert “seas” that surround it.
More than 300 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies and 20 species of bats use this corridor as they migrate between South, Central and North America, including the imperiled yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus). More than 80 species of mammals, including jaguar (Panthera onca), coatimundi (Nasua narica), bats, beaver (Castor canadensis frontador), mountain lion, and many rodents; more than 65 species of reptiles and amphibians, including Sonoran tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium stebbinsi) and western barking frog (Eleutherodactylus augusti). Remaining native fish species include the Gila chub (Gila intermedia) which is proposed for federal listing as endangered, and the longfin dace, desert sucker, roundtail chub, Sonora sucker, and speckled dace. The flora includes Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii), Goodding willow (Salix gracilistyla), velvet mesquite, sacaton, and the Federally endangered Huachuca water umbel (Lilaeopsis schaffneriana spp. recurva)…” (Wikipedia).
Ecology inclined retirees/field naturalists, academic researchers; evening scented primrose, wild boar, jaguar and panther trackers, bird callers and fishers. Hunters. Pro, pro, pro back roads enthusiasts. Travelling nurses and teachers. Sunshine, vibrant arts, culture, hunting and sports mecca.
Received by: J Armstrong/snowbirdrvtrails.com 8/19/16

Volunteer Opening – Park Host – Oregon

Volunteer Opening – Park Host.   City of Mill City.   Seasonal to Year Round.  Performs light maintenance; cleaning, debris removal, stock restrooms.  Minimum 15 hr/week.  Trade for free space rent, utilities.  Background check required.

Application at: www.ci.mill-city.or.us.  Return to City of Mill City, P.O. Box 256, Mill City, OR 97360.  (503) 897-2302.  EOE.   Closing date: Open until filled.

Received snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com 7/12/16
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/
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Snowbird Journey Complete – New Port Richey, FL to The Adirondack Mountains

Part 2 of our Snowbird Trip North – Indianapolis, IN to Lewis, NY and The Adirondack Mountains is complete. It totaled 25 days and 2,819 miles from New Port Richey, FL to Lewis, NY Gateway to The Adirondacks, Canada and New England.

We have trip reports from the 10 campground stopovers.  There is a summary with costs at the final stopover and additional trip photos on our Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.com/snowbirdrvtrail/spring-2016-snowbird-trip-north/.

Part I – New Port Richey, Florida to Indianapolis, Indiana
17 days, five campgrounds and 1,034 miles. Photos, costs, links to our Day Trips and other information about the trip and stopovers on the following pages on our website:

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Interstate Rest Areas List on I-75, I-64 and I-65 in Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee.
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/northboundi75restareas.htm

Stopover #1 – Lake Park, Georgia (221 miles)
Eagles Roost RV Resort $32.
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/2016rvtripnorthday1and2.htm

Highlights: Good food and a visit to three local campgrounds.
https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/on-the-rv-road-again-new-port-richey-florida-to-the-northeast/

Stopover #2 – Perry, Georgia (131 miles)
*Fair Harbor RV Park – PA $19.50-24.50
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/fairharborrvpark.htm
* Passport America Campground

Highlights: Memorial Day trip to Andersonville – The Prison – The National Cemetery – The National Prisoner of War Museum.
https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2016/06/03/day-trip-to-andersonville-national-historic-site/
Previous 2013 Visit: https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/2013-trip-south-days-20-21-perry-georgia/

Stopover #3 – Chattanooga, Tennessee (221 miles)
Holiday Travel Park $39.
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/holidaytravelpark.htm

Highlights: The International Towing & Recovery Museum and The Southern Belle. More good food!
https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/stopover-chattanooga-tennessee/

Previous Visit: https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/2013-fall-trip-south-days-18-19-chattanooga-tennessee/

Stopover #4 – Mount Vernon, Kentucky (222 miles)
*Renfro Valley Creekside Campground $14.50-$19.
* Passport America Campground
Highlights: Pics and Southern BBQ.
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/renfrovalleyrvpark.htm
Previous Visit: https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/2013-fall-trip-south-days-16-17-renfro-valley-kentucky/

Stopover #5- Indianapolis, Indiana (239 miles)
Lake Haven Retreat
Highlights: Three museums and what else but more good food.
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/lakehavenretreat.htm

Total: 1,034 Miles
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Part II – Indianapolis, Indiana to The Adirondack Mountains
REST AREAS
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/northboundi70toi87restareas.htm.

Stop #6 Marengo, Ohio (213 miles)
Cardinal Center Campground $35
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/cardinalcentercampground.htm

Highlights: We found Waldo and Johnny Appleseed and a President –
It was a good day!
https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/we-found-waldo-and-johnny-appleseed-and-a-president-it-was-a-good-day/

Stop #7 Conneaut, Ohio (210 miles)
*Evergreen Lake Park Campground $22
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/evergreenlakepark.htm
* Passport America Campground

Highlights: Covered Bridges, Beef & Beer.

Stop #8 Campbell, NY (200 miles)
*Camp Bell Campground $16
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/campbell.htm
* Passport America Campground

Highlights: Corning Museum of Glass, Fingerlakes Wine Trail.

Stop #9 Oswego, NY (157 miles)
*Susquehanna Trail Campground $25
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/susquehanna.htm
* Passport America Campground.
Nice owner, good rate, convenient stopover on I-88.

Stop #10 Lewis, NY (205 miles)
*Magic Pines Campground $15
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/magicpines.htm
* Passport America Campground.
Gateway to The Adirondacks, Canada and New England.

Part Two Total: 985 Miles

As always we invite your comments and questions,
Jack & Niki
and our furry kids
snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com