Travels with Snowbirds Saturday February 16, 2013 Thousand Trails Orlando, Clermont FL

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February 16th 2013
Published: February 17th 2013
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The One About Never Too Old to Rock And Roll, and other things

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!!! I just realized I never wished that on Thursday! Duh. Note: start sarcasm here: Just wondering if my grandkids got the card$ I sent them…..end sarcasm here. Uh huh. Guess we will find out who reads this and who doesn’t, right?

It was a glorious morning!! I was up and out early, using my newly opened app runtastic (but they should call it walktastic for me) I did 1.3 miles in 30 minutes. Remember, this is Winston’s walk, not mine. He gets to smell everything he wants on this walk, and he sure does. I counted six hot air balloons in the sky at once, but never got a good enough angle for a good picture. The weather reports for the rest of the day were for increasing winds with decreasing temperatures, so I knew this morning had to count! After our walk I took my bedding to the laundry room, there is just something great about clean sheets and pillowcases, right? I even washed my quilt.

Upon my arrival at Orlando Thousand Trails I got ‘invited’ to attend their version of the ‘time share talk’ at 9:30 today. I rode my bike……to the wrong location…..then had to bike uphill to get to the correct location and arrived late huffing and puffing. We were given a brief history of TT, a membership campground association formed by owners of small campgrounds joining forces for marketing purposes. When the economy started to tank, Thousand Trails made deals with anyone just to get them to buy a campsite or membership, just to stay afloat. At the same time, Equity Life Style properties, a multi gazillion $ NYSE company owning many time share type resorts, bought several down and out campground associations, the 81 Thousand Trails campgrounds being one of them. ELS has standardized all membership requirements, but still has to rein in all those unusual deals out there…..there are a few ‘owners’ who get coffee and a paper delivered to their RV at whatever resort they are staying at!!! I bought in after the acquisition and have one of their newly created Zone memberships. I pay an annual membership fee and for that I get 30 free nights at any resort in my Southeast Zone – 21 resorts from FL to TX to VA. After that I pay $3/night. If I go ‘out of zone’ I get a discount, but not free. The only negative is I can stay 2 weeks ‘in company’ then must leave for a week before going back in for another 2 weeks. If I am moving on the road, I can stay a maximum of 4 nights at a resort, and then move to the next resort for another 4 nights, etc. Their pitch to me was to upgrade to the newly redesigned Elite membership. That would require a buy in amount, and my same annual fee. The perks of the Elite membership are numerous, but I am not interested in most of them. If you buy a NEW Zone membership now a second Zone is being offered as an incentive. THAT I would find attractive. But, since I am a renewing member (3/1) I am not eligible for that offer, unless I attend the sales meeting where they try to upgrade me…..You get the idea, right? So, I attended the sales meeting, heard their pitch and now have an appointment Monday morning at 10 where the sales rep can go over my existing plan and tell me how much it would cost me to upgrade to Elite status, and hopefully take my renewal and give me that blasted second zone. One really neat feature of the Elite plan is the ability to share across families. I could, for example, give a sub membership to my son Jeff where he could use it at his local Thousand Trails, as long as both of us were not ‘in company’ at the same time. We could ‘co mingle’ 4 times a year, but if he camps in the summer and I camp in the winter….we would never break that rule. Rumor has it they want $2500 for this upgrade in membership, certainly too much money for what I would get out of it. So, I will smile, nod my head, and say politely, “No Thank You!” For the 30+ nights I use my Zone membership while I do my Snowbird winter in FL, it suits me perfectly fine. Ginnie, Kathy, Joanne and I are trying to put a week together at the TT resort in Virginia for early summer or late summer, and that would be wonderful, costing me $3/night. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Back at my rig, Sir Winston was wonderful, but he wanted out. I put him out on his long lea and he got lots of exercise barking at all the dogs and people passing our corner. I washed the floor; something about the smell of Pine Sol….laugh. The wind was starting to pick up. We were leaving for our Sea World concert adventure at 2, and I had to batten down the hatches. I took Winston for a fast hard bike ride and forced him to run for quite a distance. I tucked my bike under the slide, covered it with its cover, stowed my chairs, made sure my rug was secure….you get the idea. Next to last thing I needed to do was pee. Flush. No water. WTF? I figured some numnutz hit a utility pole and the water had been turned off. No big deal, flush using my on board water and wash hands the same way and worry about it later. Last thing I needed to do, close the windows. I look outside and see a lake next to my slide and water gushing into it. How could I have hit the water utility pole when I hadn’t moved an inch!!! I rush outside and see that my bike has fallen over from its position under the slide – the wind got under the loosely applied cover and acted as a sail and moved it about a foot, landing it on top of my hose. I looked around for the Red Shoes, but I knew I wouldn’t find them as I am not in Kansas. The weight of the bike on the hose caused the ‘easy release’ hose connection to release easily, and water was shooting everywhere - on top of bike, on slide, on ground creating Lake Moya. I don’t know how to spell Aye Aye Aye, or I I I, or eye eye eye, smack self in forehead. Turn water off, move bike to other side, wipe down bike, reconnect easy release connection which wasn’t easy at all in my haste, stay; out of the lake so my shoes wouldn’t get wet, and take a deep breath to calm myself down. The water must have been flowing for 4 minutes or so. With all the people walking by, why didn’t someone shout out?? I don’t get it. I acted like nothing happened and all was normal.

On to Sea World and the Beach Boys!!! Remember, we bought this Fun Card pass allowing free re-admission until the end of 2013, and I am getting my monies worth. There was no traffic!!! We easily made the trip in 20 minutes, which has to be a record time. We even got thru the parking lot toll plaza easily before we came to a crashing halt. The parking lot was almost full and we would have had to park a staggeringly long distance away. After my walk and 2 bike rides, my legs were ready to quit already. Ginnie went into scam mode. She asked the pubescent kids directing traffic if she could drop me off as I had a bad left hip and they waved us thru. We easily found a space very close to the front gate and I limped along for a bit just for effect. I noted that we parked in the ‘preferred’ area, something that costs an extra $15. Cool. Now, I hope I don’t wish myself a bad left hip because we all lied. Today was Beer BBQ and Band day. 10 beers for $21, BBQ vendors from various local restaurants, and The Beach Boys. I don’t know how many times I have seen them over the years, somewhere between 10 and 20 I guess, between times in my youth and early marriage, then at the Garden State Arts Center and Count Basie Theatre. You know you are going to have a good time when you see the Beach Boys. Knowing every word to every song makes it a great show for me. There are no ‘new’ Beach Boy songs that you have to suffer listening to when all you want to hear are their Pet Sound Greatest Hits. I heard everything I wanted to and then some. Interesting to note there were 2 sign language interpreters at the audience edge, house left and they were Rocking and Rolling while signing. It was fun to watch. Our seats were great. Second Tier, third row, house right just off center directly behind the Glamour Don’t babes who put their beers on the ledge directly over the sign that says, ‘DO NOT PLACE ANYTHING ON THE LEDGE.’ We all wished for a strong gust to blow the beer over. And, breezy it was, but mostly coming towards our backs, and as the theatre filled up it got blocked by the building and the people. I thought I was going to be cold, but really wasn’t until the very end. Mike Love is 71, Wikipedia says his net worth is $50M, was with the band in 1961. Bruce Johnston is 70, joined in 1965, the only 2 from the original band now playing as The Beach Boys. No Dennis Wilson on drums, no Brian Wilson vocals. Christian Love, Mike’s son plays with them, but my eyes weren’t good enough and my seats not close enough to pick him out. And no John Stamos at the drums, but the drummer sure did work hard!!! It was a fun, feel good show, lots of memories of younger days. I took some pictures and video. Enjoy them here, but don't forget to read the end, after the videos.

Sloop John B

Little Honda

We managed to make it out of the parking lot rather easily, and even got to I4 relatively quickly, but the ride home was slow, probably every bit of an hour. Winston was fine, I guess I can kind of stop worrying about him and knowing he will be fine if I leave him for 5 hours – 4 had been my limit. I took him for a long walk, fed him, and played with him, and he loves me.

Temperatures tonight are supposed to go into the 30s. Yikes. Son Tim posted a facebook picture from Wilmington of the snow falling there. As I have written this I have watched the temperature drop 6 degrees in the last 1.5 hours. Why oh why did I not bring my down comforter on this trip? Right, because you don’t need a down comforter in Florida, and I would save room in a cabinet for something else. Moya still has empty cabinets!!! Oh how jerky I can be sometimes.

Up early tomorrow to help Ginnie break camp. She leaves us as per her TT contract and must go to another campground, Peace River in Wauchula (her plan is 2 weeks, no week out, but must change locations, then another 2 weeks.) The gang will be breaking up. Sad.

Kat out


17th February 2013

Thousand Trails Orlando, Clermont FL
With all the cold weather I hope you are warm this morning. I am inside the house in a polar fleece. Going to do my income taxes this morning . Still waiting on one 1099, but have enough to bring to the tax preparer to get most of it done before I leave. (Wednesday) Have no clue how long I will be out West, but I figure maybe two weeks and then return later on. Concert sounded fantastic. Take care. Maureen
19th February 2013

Have a safe trip, Maureen. Keep in touch while you are gone. xxxox
17th February 2013

this is a shoutout to ginny, kat, kathy and joanne. What a hoot. Congrats on the rig kat. I am off to the poconos for a couple of nights with friends. Winter here not so bad. School crazy but wonderful. Received another summer sabbatical so plan to travel while working on research. Already signed up for your pennlow campout in april joanne. I am eligible for another semester sabbatical in spring 2015. Plan that one together kat, ginny and kathy? I looked at a 24ft new rig with a slide out. Loved it. Maybe I am getting ready for that retirement rig so I dont get claustrophobia. Oh well. Have fun as I see you are. I am going south only to the carolinas in second week of march. Anyone in the area??? let me know. I have a two week break. judy b
19th February 2013

good to hear from you
Good to hear from you!!! I can't believe you looked at a new rig!!!!! Wow!!!!! I plan on being home 3/8 or so. I would love to have you visit, but unfortunately, you can't park overnight in my neighborhood. There is a KOA about 1.5 miles away....sorry for the dang rules, but would love to have you visit if it works for you!!!!
18th February 2013

We got the card :)
The kids did get the card and the money has already been spent. Ben bought Legos and Lilly a new bathing suit. That makes three new suits for her all with her own money. Have. Great week. Of to Raleigh in the am. T.

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