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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Long Ride to "Mile 0"

We made Key West, Florida this morning at 9:30am. Wow, I was tired and still winding down from four and a half days of driving. I averaged over 500 miles everyday! My total for the trip was 2,153.7 miles. Last year it was 2,003 miles from Berlin, NH. The reason that it was 150 miles longer was the recent hurricane that havoc North Carolina. On the radio today, I heard that North Carolina still has 620 roads closed due to flooding. We stayed in the Appalachians Mountains on I-81 to skirt around the flood area. I-81 is a good road, but it is hilly and is also a heavy truck route. My F-250 Super Duty had no problem going up the mountain passes, but some Diesel trucks pulling larger 5th wheel up and over the passes left me chugging along at 38 miles an hour on some of the extreme mountain ascents!
Sunset at Sigbee's Naval Air Station Key West, Florida

I did have a few close calls with people drifting into my lane. I honked on the horn a couple of times and they moved over. Another time, I had to really stomp on the brakes to avoid a tractor trailer that just pulled out from a construction area. I smoked the trailer tires! No damage done. Other than that, the weather was good, the Cracker Barrel Restaurants that we selected were excellent! Quiet is the main requirement. We only rejected a couple that were located in large cities with no easy access for our RV parking. It is sometimes very stressful to be trying to maneuver a 53 foot truck and camper in city traffic, trying to turn into small parking lots with vehicles and curbs all over the place. In any event, we are here safe, sound and happy.
It Doesn't Get Any Better !

Our arrival at Sigbees RV campground was another first experience for us. One of the whole ideas of coming early to the Keys was the chance to get a prime RV site at Trumbo Point campground. Some campers prefer different sites for different reasons. Some like to be next to water, some like being close to the restrooms. My favorite site was to be closer to the WiFi repeater to get good internet reception.
Double Rainbow at Our Destination in Key West

Here is how the process goes. You arrive and sign-up on a (non official) sign sheet and put your name and site number. The catch is that you have to stay at the signup station until they call your name on Monday at 9 am. Yes, that means sleeping at the office outside! That’s the price you pay for first come first served! So, sixteen of us spent the night sleeping in lounging chairs, trucks or what ever was comfortable. Helen was in the 5th wheel and I stayed and slept in the cab of the truck. It wasn’t that bad, I had a sleeping bag (not needed for being cold, more for added padding) I actually slept most of the night, only waking up when I rolled over. I sort of enjoyed looking straight up threw the windshield and watching the stars above. On Monday morning, at 9am, my name was called and we got our preferred site number 522. We can’t move over there until Wednesday when the campground opens, but I did manage to go checkout the site and mow the grass at our site.
Our next to do, on our checklist was a few groceries. A stop at the Sigbees’ Exchange was to see if we could get a PO Box. The last box was sold just before we got there, but we are first on the standby list. The clerk said that if a guy didn’t call in by the end of the day, we would be next. Time will tell.

Thats what we saw and did!

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