The RV Adventures of Bug Smacker

Fort De Soto Park

If I had to describe Fort De Soto Park in just one word, it would be “CRABBY”.

Fort OfficeUpon arriving to the park we headed into the office to check in. We were told at the counter that they needed our names, credit card, licence plate number, shoe size, the name of our 3rd grade teacher, what day of the week it was when we lost our first tooth, how many trees are in the forest….OK maybe I’m getting a little carried away. They did ask more than they needed to especially since we gave them all of this information online when we made our reservation.

While we were checking in, we asked if there happened to be a grocery store nearby. With a snippy tone of voice we were told ” you passed at least 3 of them on the way in”. Trying to win him over with a little light humor I replied “I think it may have been a few more than that since we are from Michigan”. Ol’ grumpy face just turned his head and looked away. He never did tell us how to get to a grocery store. Sure wish his mom would have been there to smack him up. Sure is nice to have people like that to meet and greet you.

As we pulled up to our campsite, first thing we noticed is that it was wrong. The number was right, but the site looked nothing like the photo of it on the website. The photo showed a beautiful view of the bay. In reality we were going to be looking at a bunch of swamp brush also known as Mangrove Trees. We were very disappointed. In fact the words “wanna just get out of here and forfeit our prepaid reservation?” were used more than once. Following a bit of discussion, we decided to stay and see if we could find something positive about this place. After all, it seemed to be a quite popular place to camp. We just needed to find out why.

Photo of our Campsite on the Website

Website Photo

Website Photo

Photo of our Actual Campsite

Actual Campsite Photo Actual Campsite Photo

After we got camp set-up we headed to the beach. The beach was nice. The water was warm. The waves were a little higher than I thought they would be and the sky was a bit darker than I think it should be. After a bit of playing in the water it started to rain. Then the wind picked up. The temperature outside dropped dramatically. We headed for the truck. On the ride home we turned on the local radio and heard “Tornado Warning for this area will expire at 5pm”. It was now 4:59pm. Ya know in hindsight we wondered why no one else was out playing on the beach. Guess that answers that question.

FriendThe next morning I found a path out to the water from our campsite. I sat in my chair and enjoyed the morning. The weather here is perfect in the morning. I watched as a little bird came up to greet me. Off in the bay I watched as birds would dive into the water. I then noticed fish jumping out of the water. Not just jumping but you could see their little tails wiggling as if they were swimming in the the air. I thought to myself this place not only has birds that swim but it has fish that can fly.

I returned to the trailer. I then told Terri about my wonderful experience down by the water and said she should check it out. A few minutes later I went back out to join her. She wasn’t out by the water. When I asked why, she informed me that the beach was moving. I looked out onto the sand and sure enough the whole area was active with what looked to be very small crabs, each with one huge claw. They were making little tiny sand balls. As I walked out onto the sand they would scurry into little thumb sized holes in the sand. Each had it’s own little house. Some were a little further away and it took them a bit longer to get home. They only went to their own homes. Seems as if they did not like visitors.Crabs

In the evening we wanted to watch our beloved Red Wings play in the playoffs. Since we only had a TV antenna, we needed to find a place to go. Due to our current location we thought it may be hazardous to our health to go to a sports bar and watch with the local fans. Remember that we are just outside of Tampa! We chickened out and never went.

The next day we took a ride to John’s Pass Village and  Boardwalk. This area has lots of shops and restaurants located right on the water. I would highly recommend a visit to this place if you can find a place to park.Pier

We next headed to Anna Maria Island. This is where we fell in love with the area’s beautiful clean beaches, quaint little stores and shops, home-style mom & pop restaurants and laid back atmosphere. We will be returning to this area again, you can bet on that.

 

 

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Trail’s End Restaurant Take Out

The Trail’s End offers take-out so I decided to get a pizza. I had a heck of a time trying to find a phone number to call. I ended up getting a hold of an operator at the Disney dining reservation desk. She had no idea how to contact the restaurant to place an order. She said I should head over and place an order in person. So I jumped into the truck and drove down to the Settlement where the restaurant is located.

Upon arriving I noticed that there was absolutely no place to park a vehicle. I pulled up to the corner and just sat in the truck bewildered. That is when a Disney cast member in a golf cart drove up beside me and asked if I needed help. She said her name was Rose. I explained my situation to Rose. She said that only golf carts were allowed to park here. I said adding a $60 golf cart to the price of my pizza would make for a pretty EXPENSIVE meal. Frustrated, I drove off and headed back to my campsite.

Rose must have sensed my disappointment. She tracked me down and pulled into my site behind me. She told me that she wanted to help me find a solution to my problem. She told me to hop into the cart with her and we would head to the Trail’s End together. My faith in Disney was renewed. The people here seem to always go out of their way for you. I love Disney World!

We arrived at the restaurant. I placed my order and Rose was kind enough to wait until my order was ready to take me back to my campsite.

As we waited, we spoke to the people at the take-out counter and explained the ordeal I was experiencing. They said that the system was somewhat broken. I said “do you think?” We all laughed.

After all of this, this pizza wasn’t even that good (sorry Mickey). I later discovered that a local Papa John’s Pizza will deliver to the resort. You just need to meet them upfront. I could even drive my truck.

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Disney World Fort Wilderness Resort

Magic BandsAfter months of planning, penny pinching and anticipation, we have reached the pot-of-gold at the end of our rainbow.

On this trip we met up with our friends Jeff and Linda who were staying at a nearby Hotel just outside of Disney. We have all been to Disney before, therefore, we did not have the need to hustle through the parks trying to squeeze everything in each day. We just took a much more laid back approach. This however, still requires a lot of walking. I estimate that we must have walked over a thousand miles over the time we were there. Jeff and Linda both carry Fitbit devices, we really did not need them to know that we were getting in some pretty good exercise.

PoohFort Wilderness Resort is the best campground in the country. It offers everything you would expect from a high-end resort. You can even ask for a cable modem kit if you have no other method of connecting to the internet. One thing that surprised me was that the water coming into the RV was already warm (guess that is to be expected when the temperature outside is pushing almost 100 degrees).

We had an incredible time at Fort Wilderness. The campground is a destination all in itself. There are so many things to do right here, without even going over to any of the parks.

  • We took a horse drawn carriage ride through the resort
  • We explored the horse barns
  • We ate at the Trail’s End Restaurant (I highly recommend the Pomegranate Lemonade)
  • We watched an outdoor movie after the Campfire Sing-Along with Chip & Dale
  • We viewed the Electric Water Pageant from the Marina
  • We took a boat ride over to the Magic Kingdom
  • We watched the fireworks

But no one comes to Disney without a visit to the theme parks. We even threw in a trip to Universal this time around.

Blues Brothers

On our Universal trip we went into Moe’s Tavern in Springfield. Here I had the most incredible footlong hot dog smothered with chili and cheese. Besides the BBQ Ribs at Trail’s End in Disney’s Fort Wilderness, it was the most delicious thing I had to eat. I am sure that Terri will say that Mega Funnel Cake from Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone, the Warm Pecan Cinnamon Bun from Trail’s End or a Mickey Bar from any of the Disney parks were equally as good.

Mickey Bar Peacan Bun Funnel Cake

We took a ride on “The Simpsons Ride”. What a mistake! Just put me into a box and then shake the hell out of me. This was shaky cam to the max! If you are at all prone to motion sickness don’t even think of attempting this ride. I know most every ride at Universal lists a motion sickness warning on the sign, but this one really means it. This is the worst ride at Universal and it happened to be the first one we went on. That pretty much ruined any more rides for us for a while. The attendant out front said it would be a nice ride and so did a couple in line ahead of us….they were all liars!

We also took a stroll over to the World of Harry Potter. Mistakenly, one of our group members went astray and ended up in another park altogether, but that is another story for another time.

Later when we got the nerve to go on another ride we decided to try the E.T. Adventure. We all agreed, this was an awesome ride.

All-in-all, our Disney trip was a success. The four of us had a blast. We made some wonderful memories and had a lot of laughs.

What more can I say……….This is Disney!

Cinderella Castle

 

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I-75 RV Park

We had planned on driving all the way into northern Florida today. Then the rain started and boy did it come down hard. I don’t mind a bit of wet weather, but when the water on the road starts to lift our rig off the pavement it is time to pull over. So that is just what we did.

This area of I-75 seems to offer several places along the way to pull over for the night. We got off on the very next exit to see what we could find.

What we found was the I-75 RV Park. As we pulled into the place, Brian (the manager) spotted us from his RV. Even though it is still raining quite hard at this time, Brian came out to great us. He couldn’t have been more friendly. He pointed out several spots that we could pull into, so we chose one and did just that.

I75 RV Park I75 RV Park

This park caters to those of us who more or less just need a spot for the night, like we did. Each site offers 20/30/50 amp electric, water, sewer, internet and cable TV. The spots are all pull-thru and are pretty level. There is even a laundry facility.

Right across the street is a Shell travel center. Griffin’s Country Diner is located in the travel center. We ate dinner at the diner before retiring for the night. The place was a very easy walk from our rig. It was also convenient since we were not unhooking from the truck.

 

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Kentucky Horse Park Campground

Kentucky Horse Park CampgroundFollowing a long day at work, Terri and I latched the RV on to our truck and hit the road. We knew it would be a long trip to Disney World and we wanted to get a head start rather than wait until Saturday morning.

The miles out of Michigan were pretty easy. The trip through Ohio was long and boring as usual. There are very few places to pull over and set-up camp for the night until you get to Kentucky going south from Michigan. Our destination was to try and make it to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

After about 400 miles we finally pulled into the Kentucky Horse Park Campground. It was late and both of us were extremely tired by this point. I am sure we should have given up the quest a bit sooner than this. The office was closed, but we knew we could just pick a spot and pay in the morning.

We drove through a couple of loops until we came across a site we thought we could use. We did not want to unhook from the truck and most all of the sites here are not very level. We found one and preceded to back in. The sites are paved which is nice since it had rained. The problem is that they are only 9 feet wide. This makes for quite the challenge when backing into one.

I plugged in the electric and then went to hookup the water. I discovered the water spigot was missing the valve handle, so we decided to get by with the small amount of water I had added before leaving home. The problem was that no water would pump out of the tank. Frustrated, we simply crawled into bed and went to sleep.

I was wondering as I fell asleep why the water pump would not work. First thing in the morning a thought popped into my head. I went outside looked under the RV and sure enough, I had left the drains open on the water tanks. No wonder the water would not pump, there was no water!

 

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