Warmer Day, Taking Photos of Miss Zanzibar

11/21/14 Friday in Wildwood,FL (Three Flags-TT/MA)

Spent the cold morning catching up with blog and Internet activities as John watched his TV shows. He was mightily disappointed yesterday to not find any METV, but then he’d found TVLand on the Satellite. More of the same. Guess he needs to rest.

I called a couple more dealerships and got into a long conversation with Eric regarding our trade in, then set about taking photos of Miss Zanzibar to send to him.  Some people have suggested that we not let the salesman know that we have a trade in, but I have a hard time with what to say when they ask: “Do you have anything to trade in?”  This effort at photography and lunch took until 2 pm when I insisted we get out into that glorious sunshine and walk! We stopped to visit with Denise. Her John was out learning more about banjo playing with a friend, arriving in time to visit with us before we left for supper.

Just for fun I’ll post one of those images from our Miss Zanzibar, taken yesterday.  She is for sale.  2003 Safari Zanzibar 3913 with Queen bed and 3 slides.  $65,000

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Moving on – to Wildwood, FL!

11/20/14 Thursday in Wildwood, FL (Three Flags-TT/MA)

Moving on to Wildwood Fl you say? Aren’t you already there? Well we moved a whopping 3.7 miles down the same road!! That’s my favorite kind of move. Extremely short and simple.

We paid our bill to Alliance (for the entry door latch), then watched TV until 10 am when we left. Naturally we didn’t hook up the car. I got to drive behind the rig. Didn’t have to even turn on the GPS! Since we’d cased out the campground the day before, we had a good idea which spot we wanted and luckily it was still open.

We really like Three Flags. It has a wooded area for those who like that and an open area for us TV nuts. Nice asphalt roads to grassy pull through sites (in open area) with FHU, including strong 50 amps (free). Great Verizon and satellite TV receptions. Very helpful staff. Neat – you can’t tell where the annuals are (noted on the board in the office).

As we were setting up, we got to talking to Denise and John. They loved our coach, outside and inside. They are experts at negotiating and have lots of ideas to consider when purchasing an RV. They have sensitive noses, even determining if mold was growing in a rig. I asked them to “nose test” our rig. They concluded it smelled very clean; there were no mold, pet, smoke or strange smells. Yay! In excitement over the thought of trading in our oh-so-clean rig, we also cleaned up the shower and batteries.

At this point it was lunch time. I started our crock pot meal but needed a couple ingredients so John kindly dashed off to the grocery store only 3 miles away. Not a normal experience when camping. Grocery stores are often far away. Then we were did more RV research until we took a break and watched Gonzaga basketball. We finished off the evening with our Stroganoff and TV.

NOTE: Since are focusing on efforts to find “our” RV, I may have infrequent blog breaks due to that process or even because we’d found our new home.

As we sit in Three Flags:

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Really Cold Day For RV Research

11/19/14 Wednesday in Wildwood,FL (Alliance Coach and RV Sales-free)

John brought our water filters in for the night because it got to freezing last night.

After a quick breakfast we brought in our slides and took up the jacks for Matt, then we drove to the RV Show at Lake County Fairgrounds, meeting David from Camping World there. He showed us a 2011 Newmar Ventana. Really nice condition but Atwood (electric) levelers and not great basement storage. We’ve heard of problems with those levelers (gear breaking) and that they aren’t as strong and stable as the hydraulic levelers.

Found a Steak and Shake fast food spot for lunch, then traveled on to LaMesa RV in Sanford. There we learned that Florida is number 1 in RV sales: 27%. Number 2 is California, but their sales cost 8% more due to more government regulations. Now this was a salesman talking, but it makes sense to me. I’d think Texas would be 3rd, but the conversation had moved on before I could ask. All the dealers seem to be short on used rigs. One (David) explained that the locals have been buying up the used vehicles, but because they’re starting in the RV world they aren’t trading in other used coaches. So we just had a couple to really examine at LaMesa, no shorter (33′-36′) rigs were available, so we looked at longer ones. Discouraging.

After a long drive home we found out that Matt could find no leaks whatsoever, but in an abundance of caution he put a new bead of urethane over the outside top of the windshield and more silicone around the clearance lights above it. No charge. Whew!! John thinks it was simply heavy condensation of the fog/steam on our inside of the windshield. Lori said she has seen that in her car.

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Cold Blustery Day

11/18/14 Tuesday in Wildwood,FL (Alliance Coach and RV Sales-free)

Yesterday was rainy yet warm/muggy enough for shorts. Today was much cooler, in the 40′s this morning, then cold and windy throughout. In fact there was little chance of rain predicted for the morning, but it just plain rained all morning, even with thunder and lightening. Sure glad we could stay cuddled in our rig. Also glad we have no water leaks to speak of.

Unfortunately, as our windshield started fogging up I noticed water dripping down on the inside. Oh oh. Reported this to Lori. She said Matt (windshield guy) was really busy but she’d ask him to take a look at it. The rest of that morning we watched a DVR tape of Gonzaga (Spokane) basketball. They won handily!! Woohoo!

This afternoon we called lots of RV dealerships and thus began our headlong rush into our RV search. After the Internet and phone calls we visited 2 dealerships, looking at Forest River and Newmar products.

Got home late and stopped at the Alliance office to ask about our windshield condition. Matt had checked it but couldn’t see any issues. He’ll drive it into a bay tomorrow to give it a water test.

Then we enjoyed a quick cold-day supper of chili and popcorn.

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Door Latch Repaired!

11/17/14 Monday in Wildwood,FL (Alliance Coach and RV Sales-free)

Up at 6 am to be ready to meet with our Service Adviser, Lori, about repairing our door entry handle. She even remembered us from our visit here in February (replaced our windshield gasket among other things). Once she heard our story she relayed it to the technician, later telling us that he would be out to our rig. Soon enough he got to our rig and got John’s explanation.

It took over an hour and half, but he got it back together with the part John had left out. He even found another similar part was missing altogether, so he got that installed for us too. Whew!! All done for $189. Extended Warranty won’t cover mechanical repairs.

This was our second time here for repairs and I have to say how fabulous their service is.  Lori Czizik has been our service advisor each time.  She is the best!  So not only is your “campground” experience above the norm for a service center, so is (in our opinion) the service and communication!  I wish they were on the West Coast….


We don’t have any campground reservations until 11/20, so when Lori brought the bill to us, we asked her, very nicely, if we could stay until then. She said since it’s not so busy now (before Thanksgiving) we could. Just wait to pay the bill the day we want to leave. What a blessing!!!! This may not be a campground, but it’s very comfortable. So much better than driving to “Bee’s RV” and paying $10/night, then driving back up to Three Flags. We’ve even gotten to visiting with our next door neighbors who have a big list of “to do” items.

After that good news we did some research on RV dealers nearby, then lunch. I called one. They only had a 2011 (3433) Ventana that fit our requests. We couldn’t see it because it’s getting sent to Eustis for a Good Sam/Camping World Rally. We can see it Wednesday.

Our day started with clouds (rain predicted), but steadily got warm enough for shorts. Around lunch time a thunderstorm rained down on us, so we stayed in the rig, wondering when/if we could venture out for some groceries. It let up, so we made a dash for the store, getting our supplies and back home before more heavy rain came. We watched some DVR shows while I kept trying to fall asleep. Something about the sound of rain…

After our hamburger patties with grilled onions supper, we watched “Dancing With The Stars”. Everyone is doing so well, it’s a joy to watch.

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Moving on – to Wildwood,FL

11/16/14 Sunday in Wildwood,FL (Alliance Coach and RV Sales-free)

On the road by 8:30. Woohoo, Florida here we come! One thing about Walkabout, getting hooked up and on the regular road is the easiest you can imagine. Hook up in your site because you’re in a pull through, then it’s a very short way down the gravel road to the street. You’re also close to the bathrooms and office, because its a rather small park. You also don’t need to leave a card of any sort. I didn’t mention before but it may be a grassy field (with gravel roads) but it’s surrounded by woods, nice trails and marshy pond.

Because it was Sunday morning we took I-95S to I-295W (Jacksonville Beltway). No problems, light traffic. Turned off at I-10 exit, then onto US 301S. We prefer the Interstates (non commuter time) because they don’t have stoplights/intersections and slowing speed limits. We could have turned west at Yulee onto A1A, then US 301 to avoid the Beltway, for those who don’t don’t like Interstate roads. The parts of US 301S that we were on were all 4 lane with ample space on the shoulder (plus grass) to turn out for a restroom break. Nice trip for fuel mileage: over 9 mpg.

Near our destination was Ocala country: horses!!

We arrived at 11:30, got set up and enjoyed our lunch.  Spent our afternoon looking at the coaches for sale right here at Alliance.  We both got excited about a 2013 Monaco Knight-great interior-the layout and the quality.  Unfortunately it was built by Navistar, so had a Navistar chassis and engine.  Haven’t heard good things about these.  Not in an RV.  Back to Miss Zanizabar to relax in our “back yard”.  This place has the best campground experience for a service department we’ve seen.  50 amp power and water at each paved site.  We were amazed at how warm it was – around 80 degrees.  Shorts for the first time in ages!!  Ah, Florida.  Although the 2nd cold front will be coming through Tuesday night we hear.

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Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

11/15/14 Saturday in Woodbine, GA (Walkabout Camp and RV Park-RPI ($12/night))

We broke one of our rules and set out to a tourist attraction on a Saturday. It was a pretty cold day, so there were hardly any people there, at the Okefenokee Swamp, so it worked out just fine. We went today because it was our only chance. We’re leaving tomorrow for our RV service center in Florida.

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There is a long road from the entrance to the Visitor’s Center. The fee is $5/car, but free if you have the Senior Pass.

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At the Visitor Center they have a movie and an animatronic storyteller, which was even more interesting than the movie. They have boat rides available at the building next door (fee), but we decided not to this time.

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Off we went to the Swamp Island Drive, at the end of which was the Chesser place, where Tom & Iva built their home using the local timber in 1927. They cut it with a tractor operated sawmill they had brought to this place. With help from their relatives and friends, it went up in 21 days with green wood. You can see all the spaces left when the wood dried. They lived off the land, hunting, fishing and raising food on their land. They also grew sugar cane as a cash crop. In the 1940′s they purchased a propane refrigerator.

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This was their sink and bathtub. Handy, not too far from their hollow log well.

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Sugar Cane operation

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This is an interesting solution for a gate latch:

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The following are sights along the Chesser Island Boardwalk, then from the Owls Roost Observation Tower at the end. The final image is as we were leaving, the Saw Palmettoes at the foot of the Longleaf Pine forest.

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While visiting here we saw little Anode Lizards, a Great Egret, Blue Herons, Pileated Woodpecker and Yellow Warblers. The last two we’re not absolutely certain of.

Time for our picnic lunch, then home. Wouldn’t you know, the sun was out all during the cold morning, but the sky succumbed to clouds as we headed home. We wanted time in the afternoon to take it easy and get ready for our trip tomorrow.

Love watching the chickens running around the place!


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