We’ve had some near misses with weather on this trip. We’ve narrowly dodged three tornadoes and a deadly flood. We had reservations to be in the Peace River Thousand Trails park in Wauchula for two weeks, starting on the 16th. But when we decided to go up to St. Augustine for a couple of days, we postponed our arrival. On the night of the 16th, deadly tornadoes ripped through Sarasota (near Wauchula) and heavy rains flooded Peace River. Much of the campground was underwater or deep in mud and staff called all incoming campers and told them not to come.
There were hundreds of Thousand Trails members scrambling for alternative accommodations, and there are only two other TT parks in Florida. We were offered three nights in Clerbrook, a park with TT overflow spaces 15 miles north of the Orlando park, so we gladly went there. But when we arrived at sunset, the space they’d assigned us was so slanted that our levelers wouldn’t work. We ended up spending the night in a Walmart and going to Orlando at 8:00 in the morning to grab up the last spot available. By snatching up cancelled reservations over the next few days, we were able to piece together enough days to stay in the park till the 27th, when we would head east again. The Orlando TT park is the nicest we’ve been in, and it was a relief to be back in it for a while. It felt a little like coming home.
We were happy to connect again with our friend Andrea, whom we’d met in a D.C. campground. Her daughter flew down from Pennsylvania for a few days, and they were off to Disneyworld and other adventures, but we had one brief visit with them, during which Bailey practically crawled into Andrea’s lap and wouldn’t leave.
A few days after we arrived, our friends Julie and Marc arrived. They were also Peace River refugees, grateful for a dry spot. Julie is Australian, and the 25th was Australia Day, kind of like the 4th of July in Australia. They invited us over to celebrate with some “rissoles on the barbie” (burgers on the grill). They served them Aussie style, with grilled onions and beets. And Julie baked her first ever pavlova – a delicious dessert meringue with whipped cream and fruit on top.
Julie and Marc have a great RVing blog (www.RVlove.com) and Julie played for us a video she had just finished editing of her testing Marc’s knowledge of Aussie slang, preparing for a trip back home. It’s hilarious, and you can see it here. They also featured us (and our dinner) in a blog post.
We first met these friends in a Thousand Trails park in Pennsylvania and reconnected in North Carolina and again in Orlando. This is our fourth time sharing the same park, and I hope it’s not our last.
Bundling Up in Florida
During our stay, the Northeast was hit with a record-breaking blizzard, dumping 30+ inches of snow in some places. We were grateful to be safe in the South, but even Florida felt the effects of that blizzard. The first day, it rained, and then the temps dropped to near freezing at night. For two days the wind blew so hard and it was so cold out, we spent most of our time hunkered down in Bessie. Kate was content to read nonstop. I tackled another jigsaw puzzle we’d brought from home. It was a pretty uneventful stay in Orlando, but it was a nice place to wait out inclement weather and just relax for a bit.