Our five-hour 161 mile drive took us through miles of Cypress and Everglades National Park natural beauty. Russ lamented (not the first time) that with all the winter booked ahead we had no flexibility to change where we spent time. The drive along Rte 41 showed us several RV parks that look inviting, so perhaps next season or on the way north if we could cut our month stay short in Florida City. The upside to reserving ahead in this tremendously popular snowbird state is that you will have a place to be versus not having one!
I however, rejoiced more at the positive climate change that five-hour drive provided. Sanibel’s daytime temps hit comfortable low to mid 70s by early afternoon but at night would drop into the chilly 50s. At Cudjoe Key, 23 miles north of Key West, daytime temps hover around 80F (and yes, humid) and only dip to 74 overnight. We went from using electric heaters at night to setting the AC to 79F day and night!
Driving down Rte 1 through the Keys tugged at our hearts (one in particular) as the aqua blue water on both sides of the road called out. We miss seeing dolphins, turtles, rays and colorful fishies; an aquarium is not a suitable substitute!
Today’s driving oops occurred right at our destination; turning in one driveway past the entrance. I checked in while Russ unhooked Bonny so that he could back up and make a proper entry. In our defense, the way the buildings are set up it looks like the entrance was where we tried to make it and in fact we saw it shown as such on the resort map.
Our home is site 474 at Venture Out RV Resort. Built in the early 1970s by the Gulf Oil Corp, the resort has 659 sites, several laundry bldgs., a rec hall with borrowing library, mail room and wi-fi, tennis and shuffleboard, pool, hot tub, a pavilion that serves as the community church, small essential supplies store, adult lounge, a gated entrance and six canals that offer space for your boat. Only less than 20% of the sites are for RVs, the rest are mobile home units; many looking their age and others quite attractive and raised up.
The park is a gated condominium association community with a Board of Directors and a dozen committees. Most owners use their sites exclusively while others rent out their site(s) entirely or for part of the year. I received a December activities calendar that on the back listed over 30 clubs and activities (more suitable for the older crowd) along with the trash/recycling schedule.
Wow- just like real CLODs ! We quickly met our neighbors across the street who provided us with good intel and a great pub to visit. They are canal site owners from Michigan who purchased here a few years ago, spending five months here every winter. Umm, do ya think the captain’s interest was piqued at the future possibilities for us? Just gotta get Ms Ortolan sold soon! She seems to be enjoying her spa treatment in Maine and very soon will be ready to receive potential buyers.
No sooner did we get settled on Saturday…. Ants!! Teeny Ghost ants- congregating in two places mostly. A quick Google search for the solution and Home Depot in Key West gets added to our outing on Sunday. Given the timing we are reasonably certain they joined the caravan in Sanibel- phew.
Been a few years since we last ventured into Key West so we got a good chuckle out of the free-range fowl in Publix parking lot. :-), and everywhere else in town!
We walked, biked and got the lay of the park/resort pretty quickly and were impressed by all the bulletin boards. The mail room is open 3-4pm for renters to pick up mail or packages. We’d had our mail sent down from CT and it was waiting for us on Saturday. Owners have a PO box like the ones at a Post Office.
UPS and FedEx deliver right to your “home”- what a job, especially right before Christmas. Anne got a new tow drop receiver from Santa (we’d discovered the one we got was 6″ and we only needed 4″). I think the truck came by around 9pm!
Gulf/Key West Pinks are abundant here; how about baked stuffed shrimp for Christmas dinner? A local market on Summerland Key (one key north) provided the real deal; shrimp still fully intact. Ok dear, you clean ’em and I’ll cook ‘em.
Christmas was very subdued, even in contrast to our usual celebration aboard Ortolan with our son the past four years. The many years traditional babka baked wonderfully fragrant in my microwave/convection oven (which is working out way better than anticipated); we kept one out and froze the second loaf. Russ enjoyed Cranberry-Oatmeal bars while I pondered baking chocolate chip cookie bars for me after the big day. Our mail included several Christmas cards which we cherish getting; they are like gifts and a joy to open. With personal mail representing an ever-decreasing percent of mail anyone gets, we nomads especially love receiving it.