In photographic summary: The 2018 Florida RV Supershow

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We have added a 22 photo Pinterest summary of our visit to the 2018 RV SuperShow held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa (January 17 through January 21.)

You can view the photos and descriptions at https://www.pinterest.com/tbsnowbirders/2018-florida-rv-supershow-in-tampa/.

If you attended the Show we’d love to hear your opinions. Your comments and questions are always invited.

Jack and Niki
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com
snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com

 

On the Road Again… and Again!

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As many of our friends know, we sold our 5th Wheel and F-250 this past Spring. The steps were just becoming too difficult for Niki to negotiate and still call it fun. My eyesight is not what it once was and I was uncomfortable guiding our ten ton missile down the road amongst all the crazies on the road that believe an RV can stop on a dime.

That was then. We spent the Summer off the road – the first in eight years – and we decided we missed it a bunch, so the logical answer was just to downsize a bit. We took delivery of our new home on wheels today. These Roadtrek Class B’s are amazing!

It is equipped with a generator and inverter for boondocking (if we were so inclined.)

Included also – Awning, AC, furnace, two-burner gas range, microwave, furnace, back-up camera, 24″ TV with BluRay CD/DVD Surround Sound, 5cu. ft. fridge, pull-out pantry, electric sofa/bed.

More adventures, routes and stories to come. We are Niki and Jack and we invite you to join us.

More on our website at http://www.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

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.

Buck Mountain Revisited

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The pond on Buck Mountain near Uncle Raymie’s Hermitage

This past Friday I had the rare opportunity to go hiking with my best
friend from childhood – Frank Anauo – to a place we shared some
memorable times as only teenagers can growing up in the mountains. It
was one more trek into Buck Mountain.

Back in the 50’s it was a destination for adventure and had all the
prerequisites for the best teenage adventure – it was far away from
civilization, it had a beautiful pond close-by not generally known or
visited by many people (with bass and perch that were “this big!”),
and it was “The Hemitage” – as Frank likes to call it – where my
hermit Uncle – Uncle Raymie – had cleared ten acres of forest, built a
cabin, planted crops and lived contentedly for several decades to the
end of his life. Uncle Raymie was truly one of life’s most
unforgettable characters and the source of so many great memories.

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Frank Anauo lifelong friend and fellow adventurer

Frank’s and my adventure this past Friday was to rekindle some of our
own memories and that we did – like the times spent fishing and
skinny-dipping in the pond and a particular frigid Winter weekend that
probably should have killed us both – a weekend we never could forget.

It was mid-Winter of ’60 or ’61. It was cold and the snow was a couple
of feet deep with much deeper drifts. Uncle Raymie had passed away by
this time and his home had been destroyed by a bad sort with the
misguided notion that he had money hidden away somewhere when he died.
I had purchased the land from his estate but had not received
ownership before the vandals had done their worst. We had suspicions
of who the culprits were but with no actual proof.

At any rate there still stood a small shed on the property and that
was going to be our base camp on that Winter’s day. The property
itself was a couple of miles back in from our family farm so Frank and
I had our work cut out just getting into it through the drifts. We
most always took the back way in when it would have been shorter,
easier and probably more prudent to walk in from the Town road over
the mountain – but then again we were teenagers and that was just too
much common sense for any real adventure.

We had planned this particular outing for weeks and were excited when
departure day arrived. Of course we thought of ourselves as the Boone
brothers and tamers of any wilds we might encounter. This particular
outing was for the purpose of rabbit hunting.

We made it to the shack after a couple of hours of slogging through
the snow with our guns and backpacks filled with the provisions we
thought we would need to sustain us. The day had been sunny bright but
as we settled into our camp and the sun started to go down it got
colder and colder. We had our sleeping bags but soon knew they were
not going to be near enough to keep out that freezing cold (no space
age, chill preventing material in those 50’s bed rolls).

We had brought along a lantern fueled with white gas and we noted that
it did put off pretty good heat and decided to leave it on all night
for warmth. Our shack was fairly sturdy with a good roof and probably
6′ x 6′ in floor size and with a sturdy door. It did keep the howling
wind outside but was pretty lacking as far as insulation went. Now
most young men of our age – who had not slept through science class –
would know that a lantern working in a small space with no air
circulation could do serious harm to a human being. Frank and I figure
that the only reason we survived that night is because we did know
enough to leave the door open just a crack.

The remainder of the weekend is lost to our aging memories other than
we do know we did come down off the mountain with a couple of rabbits
and one good reason to remember this particular adventure – we
survived.

The ten acres are all grown up now and reclaimed by nature. We had
difficulty finding the old foundation for Uncle Raymie’s cabin. The
foundation itself is almost a work of art with many sized stones and
slabs – some quite large and “two-men sized” – intricately placed
together to form a base that looks as firm as it must have been
originally, now nearly 100 years later. We puzzled over how one man
could have put it together – he must have had help. We also found the
big pine tree near the foundation with  indentations in the bark where
a thick logging chain circled the trunk that once held a large (and
quite vicious) “family pet” of Uncle Raymie’s – another story for
another time.

It was another great day spent with a special friend and the years
just dropped away as walked and talked. Thanks Frank for a really
special day

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

 

On the RV Road Again! New Port Richey, Florida to the Northeast

On the Road Again!
New Port Richey, Florida to the Northeast

Part I – Florida to Indiana
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Mapping a route from Florida through Indiana to New England

We have begun our newest Snowbird RV Route North – starting in New Port Richey, Florida to our Summer destination in the Northeast. This time we will be going by way of Indiana to attend an important high school graduation.

We will spend 25 days on the road and travel through Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and New York. This route will take us along I-75, I-64, I-65, I-71, I-90, I-86, I-88 and I-87. We’ll visit 10 campgrounds along nearly 2,000 miles.

If you’d like to follow along with us we will be posting on this our “Trip Blog” every couple of days to talk about the campgrounds, restaurants and other interesting places we find along the route with photos, prices and other insights.

Days 1 and 2 – Lake Park, Georgia
221 miles from our starting point of New Port Richey near Tampa on Florida’s West Coast.

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Eagles Roost RV Resort in Lake Park, Georgia

Lake Park is off GA Exit 5 on I-75. There are 3 campgrounds to choose from near the Exit. We had not stopped here before and chose Eagles Roost RV Resort from the good reviews we had read on line. The pull-throughs, full-hookups, paved pads and shady, Spanish moss draped oaks made it an easy choice.

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The Farmhouse Restaurant in Lake Park, Georgia

We spent 2 nights to explore the area and were not disappointed. First off we found a really nice restaurant for each evening. The first night we tried The Farmhouse Restaurant at 5123 Mill Store Road. Niki had the breaded Grouper with fried okra and cheesy grits. I had the homemade spaghetti with meat sauce, cole slaw and garlic toast. We both had the peach cobbler for dessert. Both entrees were very good and the sides were well prepared and in large portions (4 Stars for each!). The cobbler, however, was not what we expected. It was more like a “cinnamon cake topped with peaches in syrup” as Niki describes it. They offer daily specials and a decent salad bar (but $5.50/one trip?). With a coffee and an iced tea the bill came to $29.98. Service was very good.

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Rodeo Mexican Restaurant in Lake Park, Georgia

The second afternoon we followed a local’s suggestion and tried the Rodeo Mexican Restaurant, 1219 Lakes Blvd. Once again we were not diappointed. Niki chose the Fajita Bowl and I tried a nice sampler plate. We shared a pitcher of tasty lime margaritas and both came away stuffed but quite happy! The tab came to $35.87 with tip.

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It’s 5 o’clock in Lake Park, Georgia

We decided to visit the other two local campgrounds to see what we might have missed and to do a dash cam video tour of all three which we will add to our website (snowbirdrvtrails.com) and our You Tube page in the future.

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Grassy Pond Family Campground

Grassy Pond Family Camp is actually a Moody Air Force Base Recreation Area but it is open to the public. It has picnic facilities, boat rentals, cabins and a nice waterfront recreation area. The campground has 58 well maintained sites for RV’s.

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Camping World Campground Valdosta

We were surprised when we visited the Camping World Campground! We expected perhaps some RV overnight parking spaces around the store but it is a separate yet adjacent complex with a large number of nicely maintained sites near a small pond.

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For more pictures, prices and much more info about the three campgrounds, visit the write-ups on our website at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/2016rvtripnorthday1and2.htm.

Next stop Perry, Georgia – jumping off point for the infamous Andersonville as well as Plains, Georgia

SIX DAYS AND COUNTING….

ONLY 6 DAYS until we are on the road again! This newest trip will take us from Tampa and Florida through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and the Adirondack Mountains of way Upstate New York. We’ll be on the road 25 days and visit 10 campgrounds (for at least 2 nights each to explore the area). We’d love to have you ride along with us as for a few miles as we post maps, photos, dining reviews and campground pics & videos as well as costs and other interesting finds. To hop aboard just choose to “Follow”” us here as we will post Trip Reports daily from the road. -Jack, Niki, K.C. & B.B.
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