Thursday, April 23, 2015 – Marathon, Florida
For several days, we have been preparing to leave for the summer, which mostly means taking down the screen room and stowing the patio furniture. Here she is in the afternoon, ready to go, except for bringing in the awning and entry steps. Oh, now I see from the picture that the wheel covers and the signal booster antenna still needed to be taken off.
And that is when we encountered our first problem of the trip. I turned on the awning power and pressed the retract button, but the awning did not move. It has done that before, so Andy got the push-broom and pushed on the awning to get it started. That trick did not work this time. I got out the manuals. If the problem is power getting to awning rather than the motor failing, you can use a nine-volt battering with some leads to a couple spots under the awning motor cover. The problem is that it involves a tall ladder and a nine-volt battery. I really didn’t want Andy standing at the top of a tall ladder so I called neighbor Ted to come help.
Key RV Park is the kind of place where, when one or two guys are outside messing with something, they attract the attention of other guys who come over to help out. Before we knew it, we had a whole team with a ladder, a battery, and tools. Tom was the one who climbed the ladder and held the leads on the motor. The awning retracted. He determined that the plug on the side of the RV for the awning did not have any power coming to it.
They had to move the ladder a couple times as the awning retracted. I don’t know how Tom managed to get it all the way in without mashing his fingers behind the awning frame. And, I was a little bit worried about that battery and wires being so close to his delicate parts.
Mabel and George are here from Boca Raton for a few days, staying in Glen and Jenn’s trailer. They came over to say good-bye and posed for a picture for me.
Friday, April 24, 2015 – Marathon, FL to Fort Pierce, Florida (248 miles in 5 hours 4 minutes)
The only thing left to do in the morning was to hook the car to the back of the motorhome. I pulled the RV out into the road and went back to get the car while Andy readied the tow bar. Everything went smoothly, with a hitch. We rolled out at 0723 singing On the Road Again. Andy was expecting that we would get to Fort Pierce at 1630. I was anxious because we just joined up with Harvest Hosts and were supposed to arrive during business hours (1700 for Endless Summer Vineyard). Fortunately, Andy’s calculation was a bit off and we got here at 1227.
I turned into the driveway and stopped near the winery tasting room and shop. I had not even printed out my membership card yet, but the woman did not ask for it. We just signed the guest book and a rules agreement. The customary courtesy is to buy something from the hosts so I got some grape-seed oil. Her husband came up in a golf cart and led us to a field behind the winery.
I could tell from the mailbox that we were in the right place.
When we turned into the driveway, there were grape vines on our left and a tree nursery on our right.
The building was inviting, with rocking chairs on the front porch. Note the palm tree wearing sunglasses at the left end of the building. This is their logo. You can check them out at https://www.endlesssummerwine.com/.
Here is Sao parked in our private space for the evening. It was private because we were the only ones there.
We were free to walk around and enjoy the grounds. They have a large pavilion with plenty of interesting things to look at for events.
Andy spotted the circle of chairs at the far end of the sidewalk and asked if it was for Quaker meetings. When we got closer, we saw that it has a fire pit in the center. Andy posed for me in one of the chairs. I took a quick picture before he could take a nap.
The grapes are tiny right now.
I was shocked to see the disc golf course in the vineyard. It seems to me that they would not want Frisbees and such bashing into their vines, but the whole course is through the vineyard. We also got a kick out of the nautical touches, such as the manatee zone markers at the base of the baskets.
There are wine barrel tables inside the pavilion.
Another section has picnic tables made from surf boards.
We walked out onto the pier over the pond behind the pavilion and watched the fish for a bit before continuing our walk through the vines. Sao is parked in the back right.
A surf board forms a most unusual wind vane at the far end of the pavilion. It was actually spinning with the breeze while we watched.
Here is another look at the pond.
All the vines looked rather young to me, but I really don’t remember how long it takes them to get this big. Just a couple years, I think.
We continued around to the nursery side to look at the trees. Later, I re-read the rules and realized we should not have done that. I felt badly for breaking the rules, but am glad that I got a close look. There are cables running along each row of trees to keep them from blowing over in the wind.
We walked back to the motorhome through a grove of palm trees.
It was such a delight to wander around and enjoy the plants. After looking at all the pots, cables securing the trees, and the irrigation system, we were impressed with how much work it is to run a vineyard and nursery.
We took our books to the porch swing hanging in a little pavilion next to the pond and read while swinging. We were still enough that a couple birds came very close to us while searching for supper in the pond.
The Great White Egret was getting plenty of fish.
It had the longest and skinniest neck ever when stretched out.
Saturday, April 25, 2015 – Fort Pierce, Florida to Wildwood, Florida (148 miles in 5 hours 49 minutes)
We loved spending the night in the vineyard so much that neither of us really wanted to leave this morning. Andy said that waking up there made him happy. He took another walk around before I got out of bed. We had not opened the slides or set up anything so all we had to do this morning was get dressed and drive away. We did that at 0708.
I don’t remember what time we stopped on the Florida Turnpike. We did not see what the problem was until we got to the scene of the accident. By that time all the emergency vehicles were gone except two flat-bed tow trucks, one with a minivan and the other with a mangled motorcycle. We had not noted the time when we reached the backup, but estimate that we sat there for one and a half to two hours before traffic started moving.
We had not planned to stop at Alliance Coach on our way north. Our original destination for today was Alachua, 70 miles north of here. But the awning needs repair and here we are.
While Andy was hooking up the power and water, I went back inside and took some pictures.
This is what the motorhome looks like when we are on the road. We have the two little coffee tables on my sofa with books, exercise mat, and the basket where I keep my purse and camera bag on top. Andy has a few books and hats piled on his sofa on the right. The slide-out on the right is pulled in and we only have a narrow path. My cart for extra counter space is stowed behind the table and lashed with a rope.
I see from the picture that I had already set the coffee pot on the counter. It rides in the sink. Here is the cockpit. The string wrapped around the steering wheel is something Andy rigged for me to attach to my keys so I will remember to turn the headlights off. The other end of it is around the light switch. It worked when we stopped at a rest stop for fuel and lunch, but not when we got here and I left the key in the ignition.
These are the controls to the left of the driver’s seat. The silver knob is the parking brake. Next is the leveling system control panel. The two rows of switches are cruise control, air dump, battery boost, exhaust brake and one to flash the lights like the truckers do. Then there is a mirror heater switch and mirror adjustment buttons. The panel on an angle has the transmission buttons. It still seems a little odd to me to change gears by pushing buttons.
We met Bill and Pam at Crispers for dinner. They arrived in the golf cart.
Crispers is one of my favorite places to eat. We sat outside on the patio on the left.
I had a superfood salad and cup of butternut squash soup, but don’t remember what everyone else ate.