johnny March 17th, 2008
Talk about a long time between posts, eh? We have no real excuse other than laziness. Anyway, here’s a quick run down of the past month or so.
I quit my job! Jenn is still working a bit longer to try and meet some of her own financial goals, but I am now a lazy, unemployed slob. And not a moment too soon; the new company has become more stifling every day… which became increasingly hard to deal with knowing we already had everything we needed to hit the road.
We went to the Renaissance Festival over in Tampa during opening weekend. It was kind of rainy, but not enough to really worry about. We stayed in the camper for the first few hours when the rain was coming down, then headed into the festival… which was pretty empty due to the weather. We had a pretty good time watching the shows and hitting all of the beer tents.
We camped in a Wal-Mart parking lot the night before the Renaissance Festival, then when we saw that they had annexed a fairly large corporate parking lot across the street, we camped there Saturday night. The only other RV on the lot left, but a couple of vans stayed overnight, so I think we weren’t the only folks sleeping on-site. Thankfully, we could leave the slide out which we couldn’t at Wal-Mart. That makes life in the camper so much more bearable.
On Sunday, we ran over to Plant City. For those of you not familiar with Plant City, there is nothing at all there except agriculture and the Strawberry Festival. We were planning to work at the Strawberry Festival the following week, so we needed to find a campground that wasn’t full. Additionally, we met with my parents and got our uniform t-shirts and exhibitor tickets for free admission.
The following weekend (well, Thursday evening), we ended up back in Plant City at the Sundial RV Park. If you are looking for a great destination campground, I’m afraid I can’t recommend them. The lots are small, you’re likely to only have water and electric, with a tractor coming around periodically to pump out your tanks. In fact, if you’re only staying a day or two, the owners would prefer to stick you in a field with no facilities whatsoever. Trains run past the campground pretty much all night long and they’re not shy about letting you know when they’re going by. As for amenities, there is a bathhouse, three washers and one dryer.
All that being said, we were pretty happy with the place as the manager was about as easy to get along with as possible. We didn’t have electricity the first night and there was some difficulty with the water and sewer hookups. We just left everything laying out and when we got in from the fair the following day, everything was setup. I still can’t recommend them for vacationers, but if you’re going to be working in the area, then they have fairly reasonable rates, even if we did feel they were overcharging a bit considering the trains and lack of amenities.
The Strawberry Festival was, well, work. If you’ve seen one fair (repeatedly, day in, day out, for 20 years or so), then you’ve seen them all. I grew up working at a State fair every year with my Dad. The past couple of years, he has retired from his most recent career and bought a concession stand to travel around and work various fairs. He and my Mom seem to enjoy the work, although they are getting up in years and I am always glad when we can help them out during an event. As we will soon both be unemployed, we are planning to work with my parents during some of their larger events. It will help us keep traveling from the income as well as let me spend a bit more time with my folks than I have in recent years.
We worked the Strawberry Festival from Friday until the following Sunday. Upon leaving, we headed back to Orlando and checked into a campground down the street from where we’ve been staying. It doesn’t have as many amenities and the campers aren’t as nice as the ones in the last park, but the cost is 75%. I can’t remember the exact cost of the last place, but there was lot rent, electricity and hospitality taxes to deal with. Currently, we only have a single price and it is about 10% less than just the lot rent at the last place.
The ambiance is a bit nicer… there are more empty spots and there is more space between RV’s. We also have lots of wildlife… well, pseudo-wildlife. Apparently everyone around here likes cats. I’ve spotted about a dozen distinct juvenile to adult cats that roam around the park. I’ve seen quite a few folks feeding them. The little beggars are convinced they own the place and I actually had to sit outside and watch the grill last night because they seemed to think that I was cooking steak for them. I don’t really mind the cats, but it is definitely a different experience to have a dozen or so tame cats strutting around your campsite.