Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

After the Storm

Sunday, Monday,Tuesday
March 1-3, 2015
Lithia Springs Park
Lithia, Florida


SUNDAY March 1


I ended the last post (find it here) talking about the big storm that came on Saturday afternoon and stayed around all Saturday night dumping buckets of rain on us.  At one point during the night it sounded like a bomb dropped on our roof. I jumped out of bed at the noise.  First thought,  solar panels on the roof.  There was nothing I could do at that point but I go out with a flashlight anyway to see if I can tell what has happened.  I shine it up from every angle but I can’t tell a thing without getting up on the roof which in the dark and with all the water, I think is not a good idea.   It will have to wait until tomorrow morning. But I toss and turn worrying about what has happened.   Why can’t you just tell your mind to shut up when it is being such a bother?  Any tricks in that department would be greatly appreciated. 

About 45 minutes later, BOOM, another one, though not as loud.  My heart is racing again.

I wait until 7:00 which is as long as I can stand it so Mr. Calm could sleep.  Then I go out and up on the roof.  Sure enough two big pieces of limb with heavy epiphytes have fallen square on top of the rear solar panel.  I throw them down on the ground and clean off the panel.   Greg told me the panels could take a beating and it looks  like they did.  I don’t see any clear damage but I’m not an expert. 

The expert decides my word is good enough and he’ll check more closely tomorrow the day we are leaving.  What can I say?


Here are the bombs, set up on the picnic table for a picture.   The wood is rotten, the epiphytes heavy.





We spend the morning cleaning up the mess from the storm and boy was it.  No pictures of that.  Who wants to remember having to sweep and brush and shake everything off.


Our neighbor in his big diesel moved out today and had some trouble apparently which left quite a mess.   I hope the campground will fix it before someone else moves into the site but as of Monday when we pulled out, it looked just like this still.






It is very hot and humid today, a high of 88.  Lots of sweating going on during my walk around the Royal Hammock Trail a lot of which was muddy and under water.  I take some last pictures of the boat basin with its clean newly washed beautiful sky.   Today would have been a great day for a swim in that river but not allowed.









MONDAY March 2

Today is moving day.  We are going 177 miles north where hopefully it will be a bit cooler.  We have an appointment at Lazydays to get a hydraulic slide hose replaced.  We’ve learned it’s best to go in with one or two finite repair requests so that you can follow up and they can get it done in a day.   Or at least that’s our plan.

We have departure lists that, even after 5 years, we use every single time we pack up just to make sure we don’t forget anything.  One of our last things is to put the tow dolly on the car.  David had moved the motor home and I was going out to take the lock off the dolly when this bandit strolled out of the woods in broad daylight and proceeded to look around to see if anything struck his fancy.  In doing so, he walked right up to me.

Now when that happens with a wild animal I’m always a little concerned that they don’t have appropriate fear and perhaps I need to have some.  But this guy just wasn’t paying attention.   He ignored me totally, walked up under Winnona and then scampered across the road.  I suspect he knows the location of the dumpster.   Or maybe he was just sent out to tell us so long and good riddance since we left nothing remotely like food outside for little beggars.










I could hear our hawk keer keering but I didn’t seem him land today.  I might have been too busy putting things away.  But after hooking up the dolly I did hear the chucking of the red bellied woodpecker who is also a resident in the trees around the site.   So I went looking for him and sure enough I got some pictures just before we pulled away on the way to the dump station.








All along Route 41 going North until we got past Punta Gorda the ditches were filled with water.  Can you see it out the window to the right??   With the new mid summer weather temperatures the mosquitoes are sure to love it.  We may be escaping at just the right time.







It’s an all interstate trip North on  I-75 and East on I-4.   177 miles seems very long to me so I am glad to be pulled into a spot in Lazydays parking lot for an overnight to get going on the repair first thing in the morning.   Unfortunately we didn’t buy our rig at Lazydays and even if we had Winnona wouldn’t qualify for the nice resort accommodations of the Crown Club.  So we’re going to be listening to the melodic sounds of I-4 which is spitting distance out our back window.   Being a light sleeper, I’m not looking forward to this.

But we’ve got the jacks down, the slides out, the solar panels are making power and we’re settled in for the night getting some dinner on the table.









Our appointment is for 9:00.  About 9:30 or so our Service Advisor Neil Gillette shows up and David crawls under the living room slide to show him exactly what the problem is and where it is.   It’s right here at the green arrow.

We have a hose with a bubble so David previously talked to HWH in detail about it and got them to send us the part.  But he didn’t want to tackle this job by himself.  He determined this was work for an expert and HWH said Lazydays had the trained technicians.  SO here we are. 

When David called ahead to make the appointment he talked to Lazydays about what sort of tech he wanted doing the job.  He reiterates this to Neil who doesn’t really know much about RVs, he’s the middle man.  But he does set David up to go out to the bay and talk with Vince who is going to do the work.




He comes back satisfied that Vince is well enough trained and settles in to wait.   That’s my queue to take Ruby and drive over to Whole Foods Tampa and do the grocery shopping.   The traffic around here is NUTS.  

When I return, the work is all finished but we can’t find Neil to pay the bill for another 90 minutes.  We are very happy with Vince and his knowledge and efficiency.  The bill is reasonable.  We’d just like to pay it and get off down the road since we have no reservation for tonight.   It’s after 3:00, 6 hours after our appointment for a job that took the tech 2 hours, when our Service Advisor Neil finally comes with the bill and we finally are able to walk out the door.



We’ve made some phone calls this morning and determined that only one of the 3 Hillsborough County parks is going to have any open sites tonight and that’s Lithia Springs.   We spent a lot of time there in 2012 since it is where we stayed for months during the induction preparation stage for David’s stem cell transplant.

We are very familiar with it although they have made some nice upgrades to the electric.   They have a number of sites available but none of our favorites.






We trust we’re going to have a quiet night here among the trees and far away from the highway. Tomorrow is blood draw day again. We’ll see what else happens.

Lastly, have any of you ever stayed on Sanibel Island at Periwinkle RV Park?   It’s the only park there and when I called today to try to get reservations for February 2016 I was told they have no reservations in February and won’t know what they might have at all for next year until April since their regular guests usually return.  I know I’ve read on several blogs about this park which was why I was willing to pay $55 a night so I guess I need to know how do you get them to book you at that rate.  LOL!   Is it an exclusive club?   Do I need a recommendation?  Good grief!


  1. Glad your solar panel wasn't damaged. I think even acorns sound like bombs going off when they hit the roof of the rig.

  2. Solar panels seem to be pretty sturdy. We've been in a few hailstorms, one that put dents in the car, but the panels were fine.
    As we sit in the Ford dealer waiting room this morning (having routine maintenence done on the motorhome), I am hoping we can get someone to let us pay the bill in under 90 minutes! You must have been going crazy.

  3. I guess six hours at LD is better than six days. I hear it's like the Hotel California, you check in but can't check out... ;c)

    Glad your solar panels didn't get damaged in that storm after all the trouble you had getting them installed. They are pretty rugged.

  4. Maybe send an email to Carol and John? They are on Sanibel and might know the secrets. We never tried to get in that park because we had Abby at the time and of course no pets are allowed anywhere around there.

  5. Glad Winonna is fixed. It's good that david is as knowledgeable about her that he can tell the mechanics exactly what is wrong. We went to Sanibel/Captiva Island and I remember it being beautiful. I wonder if it is the same now. I remember standing in the water where the sound met the ocean and there were little waves where they met. I remember the beach was pure white sand. xxxooo

  6. I'm impressed you made it out of LD in one day too! I don't think that happens often :)

  7. I always wonder what would happen if one of those big palm fronds fell on a rig or a person. Those suckers are really really heavy! Wonderful that David can be so specific about repairs. No one can take advantage of you guys when you roll in!

  8. Gee, you should have stopped by my rig and said hello...its still there at Lazydays! So happy you got in and out in one day...not an easy feat. We are headed to Sanibel area in a couple of weeks to visit John and Carol Herr. I wanted to stay at that campground right on the island, but they have the dreaded "no pets" rule. Most rv parks down there seem to have a discrimination policy against large breed dogs, but we found a place with an opening in north Fort Meyers.

  9. Looks like someone is feeding Mr. Raccoon. He looks well fed. Already getting hot and muggy which means summer is coming early this year.

    Glad those bombs didn't break anything. We had a thunderstorm while I was at Slab City, California the other day. First thunderstorm I've been through in the southwest.

  10. That masked bandit looks quite at home strolling through the campground.

  11. Repairs on the road are always a little more stressful than at home as you never know when you will be cut loose and where you will find a home for the night. Glad it worked out for you! Does David make house calls????

  12. Glad to hear your solar panels weren't damaged in the storm. I would have been just like you and would have struggled to sleep while my "Mr. Calm" would have said, nothing we can do now so go back sleep:) Haha!

  13. Happy the solar panels are ok. Cute little bugger (the raccoon). Looks like you'll be leaving before the skeeters start arriving!

  14. I really, really do NOT like raccoons! They moved in both of our barns and made such a mess! Getting them out was terrible. So glad we don't have to worry about them now.

    Praying for good results on David's blood draw.

    Thankful that your solar panels are tough little buggers.

  15. If you find a secret to making your brain let you sleep, I would sure like to hear it:)

  16. Thank goodness the solar panels really are tough! Your after-the-storm photos are lovely. I sent you an email re: Periwinkle Park. We love staying there, but don't try to get in during Jan/Feb. In my opinion, the island is too busy then anyway. :-)

  17. Sherry, At the RV park where I work in San Antonio, we have the same issue with repeat snowbirds and Winter Texans. They return every year (some of them up to 20 years now). By April we have asked them when they plan to return for the next winter season. In May, we start booking new people into any available sites. Your best bet is to call in April and be a squeaky wheel. Get to know the people on the phone, ask to be put on a waiting list, if they have one. If they don't, keep calling back every so often to check if there are any openings. Believe me, the RV park likes to keep their sites full, so if there is a cancellation and they "know" you're serious about being there, you may get in. Worth a try if you really want to be there.

  18. Like you I would jump out of bed and wake Steve up to check what's happening up there.
    And I would run away from that raccoon, scary looking animal.
    Thank goodness the solar panels stood their test of time.

  19. Glad to hear Winnona's surgery went well and the solar panels escaped unscathed!! It really is a love/hate relationship with the trees. In good weather, we love to be park under them:o)) When the weather gets nasty, they can do some damage to an RV:o(( This lifestyle is all about compromises!!!

  20. I'm glad those solar panels weren't damaged, especially with all the trouble you had getting them installed.

    Quail Run has the same type of policy. They give the current tenants first crack at a reservation for the next winter, as many people come back to the same site the next year.

  21. I would have been nervous too about those big bumps in the night, especially with the solar panels - I would just want to know what happened ASAP - instant gratification. I am so glad there was no damage to the panels and that they're sturdy. Also glad the part got fixed - annoying that you had to wait 90 minutes just to pay - seems unnecessary (again...desire for instant gratification). 88 is too hot! It's single digits outside here in MD right now - 88 seems a long way away!

  22. How wonderful to be leaving when the mosquitos are arriving! Serendipity at its best. Waiting to pay is the worst. It's more of that lack of communication between departments that drives me nuts. At least you didn't need to add panel repair to the list and David was on top of what needed doing. Two nights of no sleep, I hope Lithia provided a peaceful night for you.

  23. Not a good sound to hear in the middle of the night... on the roof. Like you, Sherry, it would have been hard for me to fall asleep after that,. I am always impressed by David's (and Roger's) mechanical skills... and calm demeanor in situations like this. I am also amazed... and happy to hear... that there appeared to be no damage to the solatr panels. It was 7 degrees here this morning... so your 80 sounds heavenly to me. Roger is out (cheerfully) snowblowing off our long driveway wearing his battery operated gloves! The racoon is a beauty.... he must like people. Here's to sunshine and no more rainstorms in your paths.

  24. Always spooky when things bang on the roof. For me it's pinecones at the canyon and acorns in Yarnell. Glad it didn't damage anything. Yet after the washing, and unfortunately cleaning, the air is so wonderful. Those clouds and reflections divine. I fear too many wildlife get acclimatized to people food, and people too. Even though it's great to see them.

    You look very cozy with feet up and all plugged in. :)

  25. No surprise to those who know dexamethasone, but sleeping pills will usually put the mind to rest, at least once. After that you just hope you don't wake again for any reason because the pill will not keep you asleep, just help you get there in the first place. I too am very happy with how the bump in the night and the 2 hour/one day repair went. As Garrison always reminds us, it could be worse. Love all the comments!

  26. Glad there was no damage from the falling debris. I know what it's like to wake up because of a big thud outside and then have to try to go back to sleep - not going to happen. I sleep pretty good but once something's on my mind, forget sleep - especially if I've had a couple of hours of sound sleep already. Nice shots of the friendly raccoon and the woodpecker.


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