Sunday, November 22, 2020

Settled in Peace River Thousand Trails Park

Wachula, FL.      High: 77.   Low: 60.      Site: R08, H-2

Sparky had to laugh....she had a conversation with her daughter in Houston. "So, where are you today?" Kerry asks. "We are in Wildwood, but tomorrow we are going to be in Wachula." "How long?" asks Kerry. "Oh, three weeks", says Sparky. "Well, that's like a year in RV time," says Kerry. Sparky had to laugh...we HAVE been moving a lot, dealing with certain timelines to get to get the awnings repaired, having visited South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. And now, here we are in Florida. We did the hop, skip, and a jump thing to shorten our daily drives and make it easier on the main driver, Eldo. We stayed at Thousand Trails in Wildwood, a VERY nice Thousand Trails park. We will tell you WHY it's such a nice park.
First of all, at many Thousand Trails parks, there are seasonal campers, and they get the best spots by bringing their rigs and plopping them in the prime spots and then they aren't there much of the time! It's frustrating not to get a chance to have one of the nicer spots in a park.

When we were at Hidden Cove in Arley, AL, another Thousand Trails park, the entire row of riverside/lake campsites seemed to be taken up by seasonal or long term campers. The second week of November, we get it, that things are winding down for the season, but at least use your site on the weekend, maybe! Sparky didn't see a single unit being used along the riverfront sites the entire week we were there. BUT--at Thousand Trails Three Flags Campground in Wildwood, management cares. They have an "abandonment" rule, which says you can't leave your rig unattended for more than a certain amount of time, or you'll be fined 32.00 a day--UNLESS you have made special arrangements with the office--they understand family and medical emergencies. So thank goodness, this park in the TT system gets it that there are MANY people not using their rigs and taking up prime real estate in the park!!!!

Now we are at Peace River, a Thousand Trails Park, in Wachula, FL and again, the three weeks is FREE! (but if you figure in the type of membership we have, it's really amounts to about 5.00 a day.) This photo is of part of the campground with sites right at the river's edge.

Peace River is a nice park. But it's a little tricky in spots to maneuver a 41 foot fifth wheel in and around the park. For most Thousand Trails parks, you book ahead to reserve a space, but it's not assigned, so then you drive in and drive around pulling your rig behind you until you find a site that looks good. A motorhome makes it a little easier to do that but tight turning corners going around the park sometimes are still a problem. The only problem is, if you don't know the park, you are driving in blind, really, unsure of how many trees there are, how low they hang, how tight the turns are, whose parked car is going to make it difficult to get around the corner, etc. Our first site we picked had a concrete pad where you have your picnic bench and a couple of chairs, but the space between the pad and the hookups was extremely narrow. No neighbors on one side of us, so that helped us get in.
It took us a long time to get situated, and then because the angle was weird, we decided to move down a couple of sites, because another one had some shade. When you are backing in a fifth wheel, (ALL the sites in Peace River are back ins), you have to worry about people parking their cars sideways, or right in front of you in a site in front of your site, and it's really tough to be able to maneuver around them and get situated in your site. But we did it! In this park, driving around parked cars and turning tight corners makes you decide to pick a site faster than you would like some times. Our first site was in a row designed for big rigs, but everybody's rear end backs up against a busy highway with noisy trucks, FL highway 17. After about 45 minutes of maneuvering in and out, back and forth, we finally got situated. (Sometimes there has to be a lot of back and forth movement to get a fifth wheel angled in properly.) Once we were in and settled, Sparky just knew that the traffic noise was going to be a problem, and after the first night with ear plugs, it was still a problem, so we hopped on our bikes and rode around the park to see what better sites we might have missed.

We found another one we like better, right near the river, and a little bit further away from the major highway road noise with a higher ground berm to help with that. It's a corner site, and LOTS of room, width wise, no concrete pad to work around. So, the next morning, we pulled in our slides, repacked our belongings and chairs and moved over to site H-2. MUCH better!

Peace River is currently offering open spaces with full hookups, if you can find one you like. It's mid November, and snow birds are starting to arrive. Once the crush starts, this park goes on a lottery system to get a site with full hookups with the sewer connection. They have plenty of water and electric sites, but many in a lower section of the park do not have a sewer connection because part of the campground is in a floodplain. 

You start with one of those sites, once the park gets crowded. Then you can get into a "lottery" system and when your number comes up, you are offered a site--take it, or leave it and wait for the next go round till you get one you like. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, in the field area, you can get honey wagon (sewer service) FREE once a week. That's a really nice service, most places charge $15.00 or more to dump your tank for you. Opinions are varied when the sewer lottery goes into effect, but many people say early to mid December for the lottery to be likely in place.

There are limited activities here because of Covid, of course. Two very nice pickle ball courts, 

a really nice laundry room with VERY reasonable laundry charges, the entire park is paved which is so nice for walks and bike rides, and they have a nice pool and hot tub. 

PLUS-- there is a nature trail along the Peace River, complete with alligator and snake signs, haha. 
Sparky is going to take her camera and go for lots of walks. (I warned her, cautions Eldo, but she doesn't listen very well.) That's a disclaimer, in case Sparky gets attacked by an alligator, haha.

We are back to the Florida flora and fauna. Lots of Spanish moss which is not really moss at all but a bromeliad, but everybody calls it moss anyway. It's so gray sometimes, but the grayish green hanging all over the trees and down of the big live oak trees is just Florida. Sparky likes the change in birds as soon as we got down here from the Midwest. Saw a crested caracara the other day...this is an internet photo, but the one Sparky saw driving down the road flew in and landed on the fence. It's a pretty good sized bird. It looked exactly like the photo. 

With a lot of rain these past two days, we've been making trips to Bradenton to unload the storage shed, sold Eldy's bike, and tried to find a decent restaurant to have breakfast. Here, Eldo is checking out the river after heavy rainfall. He's worried it might come up close to our site. Nah, we're good, he reports.
There isn't any good restaurant in Wauchula if you like to eat out. (Eldo is pointing at Sparky. He's happy with peanut butter sandwiches, an easy to please guy, for sure!) Sparky loves to experience local food. The one restaurant down the street from the park, the Pioneer Restaurant, does not have their staff wear face masks, so that's a no-no for us. (We call first and ask about their Covoid policies before venturing out to try a local restaurant). Because Wauchula is a very small town, and the park is in the middle of farm land, there is very little dining available in the area other than a McDonald's and Burger King. We'll save some money! (Yay! says Eldo.) 

Well, since we're saving money, Sparky decided to buy a screen tent for a little shady crafting space. It's a four sided Hike brand, 72" X 72" floor space.The description says,

FIVE PEOPLE???? Uh, nope, no way, not gonna happen...It's ok...Sparky likes it, but it gets hot very quickly, and unless there is a breeze, it's kind of like the old camping tent, complete with the tent smell and mosquitoes being attracted to the light color. And the description does not match the one on the box. "Waterproof" is NOT the same as "water repellant". We shall see, waiting for the rain to dissipate, and a breeze to kick up to use it. But hey, it's cute and packs up nicely in a carrying bag. There are separate wind panels that velcro onto the outside of the tent. Sparky bought 3 to protect against adverse weather. The whole thing was very easy to put up, too.We have noticed that lots of people are now adding pop up screen tents and pop up shelters right beside their rigs and over the picnic tables.

And that's the latest from Sparky and Eldo.....See you again soon!


3 comments:

  1. We live in the Florida SKP Resort a couple of miles east of Zolfo Springs on SR64. I can suggest a few good restaurants in Avon Park (about 20 mins away from TT) and Sebring (about 30-35 mins away).

    Little Italy in Avon Park has good pizza. Masks are worn by the staff, and they offer take out. We order our pizza half-baked and bake it the rest of the way at home later.

    Wild Turkey Tavern is between Avon Park and Sebring. The place doesn't look like much, but they have good burgers. They have indoor and outdoor seating. Masks are worn by the servers.

    Don Jose in Sebring has good Mexican food. They have indoor and outdoor seating. Servers wear masks.

    Cowpoke's Watering Hole south of Sebring has good steaks and burgers. Servers don't wear masks, but they have outdoor seating.

    The restaurants I mentioned are ones we have eaten at recently. We have lots of other favorites, but we haven't been been to them in the last few months due to Covid, so we don't know whether the servers wear masks or not.

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  2. Nice to be in a warm place for the holidays. Being in a tourist area there's no shortage of restaurants that do outdoor dining. Our county is in the most restrictive tier, so no indoor dining for months now. Hurting the restaurant business for sure.

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  3. Paul....thanks for all your suggestions. We ate at Cowpoke, and thought it was terrific!

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