Settling into Our New Winter Home
Wauchula, FL - Events of Monday, November 14 to Sunday, November 20, 2015
A week ago Monday, we hitched up, pulled out of Blueberry Hill and drove about 2½ hours to our new site in the SKP Florida Resort in Wauchula. After we got set up, we relaxed the rest of the day.
As we mentioned before, the SKP Florida Resort is a member-owned co-op that is sponsored by Escapees, which is an RV club that caters to full-timers. After paying a one-time buy-in fee, co-op members pay a very reasonable annual maintenance fee.
The resort has 127 sites with palm tree-lined, paved streets. The sites have been developed by their owners over the years so most have some degree of paving and some landscaping. Co-op members are encouraged to put their sites into the rental pool during their absence so there are also sites available for visitors to rent. However, the availability of rental sites decreases as the season progresses as co-op members arrive for the winter. There are also a limited number of overflow sites with 20-amp electric only (no water and no sewer) and a few dry-camp sites with no hookups.
The driveway, RV parking pad and patio of our site are all paved. The site also has nice landscaping and a shed, although the shed is kind of small and pretty old.
So far, we really like our new digs. For one thing, the area is very rural. We are surrounded by cattle ranches and orange groves. Although Wauchula is a small town and the neighboring town of Zolfo Springs is very small, between them they have a Walmart, a Winn-Dixie, a large Ace Hardware that also has lumber and building materials, a Tractor Supply, several auto parts stores, most of the fast-food restaurants (McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Sonic, Wendy's, etc.) and a number of sit-down restaurants.
Since the area is rural, it is also fairly quiet, especially at night. There is no interstate noise, and there are no trains. There are roosters, however, and they start crowing well before dawn. Paul hears them when he puts Freeway outside first thing in the morning, but fortunately, they are far enough away we can't hear them from inside the rig.
On Tuesday morning, we headed out to the Walmart in Wauchula. The Walmart in Bushnell next to Blueberry Hill is small, and this one is even smaller. There were a couple of items we needed they didn't have, but the items weren't critical so we planned to try the next closest Walmart in Avon Park a few days later.
After we got back from Walmart, Paul hooked up the pressure washer and completed cleaning the concrete on our site. It took a lot longer than he thought it would, but he was able to finish just before it got dark. Whew! We're glad that's out of the way.
Another thing we like about our new location is we are closer to Bradenton, Sarasota and St. Petersburg. In the past, we did some sightseeing and visited a few restaurants in those locations from our old winter home in Bushnell, but they were 2½ hours away. From Wauchula, however, they are only about an hour away, so we look forward to more frequent visits. In fact, we made a visit to Sarasota on Wednesday when we headed to Der Dutchman Restaurant for their breakfast buffet.
The restaurant is located in the Pinecraft area of Sarasota, which is where a few Amish and Mennonites live year 'round, and where large numbers of them come to spend the winter away from the cold and snow in the north. The restaurant wasn't very crowded, and we didn't see many Amish walking or biking along the streets, so most of them probably haven't arrived yet.
Der Dutchman is a chain of 5 or 6 restaurants, most of which are in Ohio. Our favorite is in Walnut Creek near where we spend time in the summer, but the restaurant in Walnut Creek is almost 1000 miles away so the one in Sarasota will be a good substitute for the winter. One thing Paul does like about the Der Dutchman in Sarasota is they have a lot bigger selection of pastries on their breakfast buffet, but overall, we think the food is a little better in Walnut Creek.
We ran a couple of errands in the Sarasota area after breakfast and then headed back to Wauchula where we relaxed for the rest of the day.
We drove about 25 minutes to the Walmart in Avon Park on Thursday morning to get the items we couldn't find at the Walmart in Wauchula. The store in Avon Park is really big and is very nice because it only reopened about a month ago following extensive remodeling. It had all the items we couldn't get in Wauchula and then some, and it seems to have most of the things we usually buy. Therefore, it will likely become our "go-to" Walmart even though it's a little farther away than the one in Wauchula.
Paul spent most of the rest of Thursday afternoon and much of Friday pruning the dead fronds from our two pygmy date palms and doing a little cleanup of the landscape. There is still more he wants to do, but it looks much better for now.
We did our weekly cleaning chores on Saturday morning, then Paul puttered around the site in the afternoon. We relaxed and watched the final NASCAR race of the season on Sunday. Congratulations to the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion #48 Jimmy Johnson. This is his 7th championship, a feat that has only been achieved by two other drivers - Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr.
Other than doing a little more puttering around our site, we don't have anything planned for the upcoming week. However, you never know what may pop up. Stay tuned.