On Monday April 23, we left the Silver Star Ranch home of our good friends, George and Bonnie, a full 7 days after arriving. We had mixed feelings about leaving as we enjoyed the ranch and their good company. However, we were also anxious to get to the Jacksonville area and reunite with our daughter and son-in-law.
Frog Hollow Court had called us and told us that they had a site prepared for us. As you may recall the previous tenant of the site we were to have, got his motorhome stuck while trying to pull out! The owner assured us that it was fine now as they had filled and leveled the site with “coquina rock”.
We got going around 10:00 realizing we only had a couple hours to travel. The trip was uneventful as we traveled some back county roads to avoid traveling through the often congested city of Gainesville.
We pulled of U.S. Hwy. 1 into the shadowy mobile home and RV park set beneath a very tall canopy of oaks and pines. The roads were “coquina” rock a mix of sand, shell and gravel. We immediately noticed a lot of permanent looking RV residents and a mix of mobile homes. After stopping at the entrance, we eventually found the owner who directed us to our site.
Our site was very shady but also messy with all the debris that fell from the oak trees. I got backed in but put deep ruts in the site as the weight of our rig sank into the fresh coquina rock. I put boards underneath our BigFoot jacks for fear they would sink into the sand. Our friendly neighbor in the green mold covered motorhome came out to meet Maggie and Rico and warn us of the flea problem due to the abundance of stray cats roaming around. Great! After getting set up, but before paying, Joyce decided that there was no way we were going to stay there for a month or more. So she talked to Joan, the very personable manager and told her that we would only be staying for a week and thus we paid $150.
The hook-up for the sewer was ...let’s just say not very good as the pipe was below ground level making it difficult to get a secure connection, I had been traveling with a week's worth of black water so I was anxious to get that emptied, but enough about that! The water and electric were good. We ended up staying for 5 nights and although it looked like a rough crowd in the park, actually it was very quiet and the folks were friendly. Just a group of hard working folks and families making the most of their situations. However, we really stuck out with our comparatively new rig.
|View down the street|
Now to be honest we weren’t expecting much. We knew there would be a lot of long term residents in the park. However, our site was right next to a single wide mobile home in very poor condition with the insulation visibly falling out of the bottom of it. I never got comfortable enough to want to sit outside. In fact, I never unpacked our chairs. I tried in vain to block the view of the mobile home with my truck. All around us were RVs and mobile homes in various states of disrepair, most of which I'm sure would never see the open road again.
|View out our front door!|
I had noticed on the last few trips that the truck was pulling to the right. I had discounted it as just the crown of the road and the heavy trailer. However, one day we took the truck out for a long ride to north Jacksonville to check out Flamingo RV Resort. I noticed then that the truck was definitely pulling to the right and it seemed to get worse with some occasional minor shaking. I made an appointment for the next day at a local tire shop to have the front-end aligned. That evening I was looking at the front tires trying to notice any abnormal wear. I didn't notice any abnormal wear, but the left front tire seemed to look deformed. I blew it off thinking it was because of the uneven ground that it was parked on.
The next morning we took the truck to the tire shop for the alignment. I mentioned to the shop that the truck had a recall completed on the left front linkage less than 2K miles ago. With that we left it at the shop and went across the street to Target when I received a call from the shop claiming that all four ball joints were bad. The truck only has 26K miles on it, but it was out of it's 3 year warranty! After much discussion, I took it to Atlantic Dodge about 2 miles down the road and they reported that the ball joints were fine but that the left front tire was out of round as it had apparently experienced internal belt separation giving it an oblong diameter. The dealership reported they have never seen a heavy duty Dodge truck with low miles have ball joint problems. So, I bought one new tire, had the spare put on the front to match the new tire and placed the good but used front tire in the back as a spare. It is all good now. Not sure what was going on with the tire shop.... The tire shop manager called me the next day to find out what I learned from the Dodge Dealer. After I told him, he was defensive insisting that his tech knew what he was talking about and that Dodge was scamming me...whatever!
So anyway, during our stay we called and visited Stage Coach RV Park and this time spoke with the owner, who advised that we could make a reservation at her park for the month of May or until December and that our Boxers were not a problem! So, we made the reservation but our site wouldn’t be available till May 5th. So we visited and made arrangements to spend a week in North Jacksonville at Flamingo Lake RV Resort.
Somewhere in that time we managed to get over to our daughter and son-in-law’s home. What a beautiful two story home they bought!
I still have a lot of catching up to do so stay tuned!