Wandering Around Wildwood, Florida (Feb. 11 – 16, 2016)

Three Flags RV Resort in Wildwood

imageWhen we purchased our RV, the dealership gave us a free one year Thousand Trails membership. Well, we never used it until now, and because of this membership we camped for free, since this was a Thousand Trails campground.

Three Flags RV Resort has full hook-up campsites, cabins, a putt-putt golf course, horseshoe field, pickle ball course, shuffleboard, swimming pool, and a Resort Activity Center with a full agenda of organized activities. We scored a nice packed-dirt site, next to the Camp Host, with a view of an open field.

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Funny Story … One morning we were going for a walk and two guys were making a big breakfast using their outdoor kitchen on their 5th wheel. One of the guys knocked the pancakes over and they fell in the dirt and a passerby in a car called out to tell him. The guy picked them up and shook them off and put them on a plate. The passerby laughed and said they were well over the five second rule. The guy said it didn’t matter because the pancakes weren’t for them … I hope these guy’s wives had a Happy Valentine’s Weekend and I wonder if they ever found out how special their breakfast was …

Withlacoochee State Trail (Inveress, Florida – right outside Wildwood)
This is the longest paved rail-to-trail in Florida and one of our favorites. When we were looking to buy an RV we came through this area and rode our bikes on this trail. As a matter of fact, this is where we were first introduced to recumbent tadpole trikes. We rented a couple and had a great time and ended up purchasing two which we rotate with our other bikes.

This trail is generally flat and runs through small towns, ranches, and natural areas. It is 46 miles in length and has an unpaved equestrian trail which runs parallel to the paved trail.

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It is a magical trail with beautiful scenery and we had perfect weather. This is the type of bike riding I like to do. I never understood why Don and his friends like to go out and ride on the crazy roads near/in BR in high heat and humidity, but they do.

The Village near Wildwood
We also visited one of the largest 55+ active retirement communities in the world. They publish an online calendar of events that is extensive. On the days we were in the area it ranged from 59-75 activities each day. Homes range from simple (less than $100,000) to mansions. Every neighborhood in the Villages has a gate that is controlled by a central security system or a guard.

It is a town in its own right. The Village has all kinds of grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, a hospital, medical facilities, community centers, swimming pools, gyms/fitness centers, archery range, bocce ball court, university classes, etc.

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All golf fees are included in your modest HOA dues and it seems that everyone plays. However, even if you don’t play, everyone that lives there has a golf car (they don’t call it a golf cart) and can get anywhere within the Villages on the 100 miles of golf car trails.

imageWe had a great time in The Village and went to the “World of Beers” for lunch, shopped at their large Farmer’s Market, walked several of their Town Squares, and window-shopped several of their stores.

 

 

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imageOkay … So why did this wonderful, active place remind Don and I of the television show on the BBC from the late sixties called “The Prisoner.” Most of the people reading this will not know what we are talking about but we kept looking for that big white balloon-like device (Rover) that would come and take us back to The Village if we escaped or kill us if we violated one of their rules. (Check it out … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6Ffr1U7KMY&sns=em )

Three Sister Springs at Crystal River (near Wildwood)
imageWe saw on the news that roughly 400-500 manatees had come into the Three Sister Springs. The volunteers at the Springs explained that the manatees were basically spending their time resting and conserving energy. (Sounds like a great way to spend the winter.)

They crowded into the Three Sisters Springs because temperatures along Florida’s Gulf Coast had dipped below 50 degrees and they were seeking the 72 degree warmth of the springs. Manatees are very susceptible to cold weather. They can suffer hypothermia and cold stress and will eventually die if they are in water below 68 degrees. Cold weather and boat strikes are the cause of most manatee deaths.

Well, we went with the crowds to see these peaceful creatures and had a great time. Later we saw a Facebook post about my sister Patsy and her family who had manatees come to visit them at their place in Fort Lauderdale. That really must have been cool!

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Good News … The population of manatees is growing in Florida and is currently predicted to be a little over 6,300 while in1991 there were only about 1,200. This growth is thought to be based on the fact they were placed on the endangered species list.

Alliance RV Dealer and Service Center at Wildwood
How did you and your Sweetheart spend Valentine’s Day? We spent ours camped at the Alliance RV Service Center. This large RV dealership has an area with hookups and a laundry facility for full-timers to use.

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When we bought our RV the dealer offered a lifetime guarantee on the RV systems if we got an annual service check of the systems. Well, hard as it is to believe, it has been a year. One morning at 8 am our RV went in for this check. (We were worried we wouldn’t wake up in time – hard to believe that we used to not be able to sleep past 4:30 and we were now worried about being dressed by 8:00. Oh well, we are retired and love to stay up late.)

Anyway while we were at Alliance, we could look outside our door and see a whole sea of monster-sized RVs surrounding our little one … So romantic 🙂

Over the years we have come to realize, Valentine’s Day is not about where you are, what you get, or what you do … It is about who you are with… And ours was a great Valentine’s Day. We hope you all had a great one, too.

A little note: I know several of my teacher friends and teacher family members will understand … I just know Alliance RV Service Center was designed by a teacher or someone who wanted to be a teacher. At night our RV was parked in spot #33 and next to it was a shorter spot for our car (again labeled #33). During the day while they were working on the RV it was in bay #33 … I know you are getting my drift …. plus you could go online and check the progress of the repair in real time … if that doesn’t sound like a teacher designed it, then I don’t know what does… the only thing missing was color coding :). …

Happy Trails!

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