Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stage Coach RV Park, Dodging a couple bullets.

May 5-31, 2012 Stage Coach RV Park, St. Augustine, Florida

We enjoyed our stay at Flamingo Lake RV Resort but we were ready for a more relaxing atmosphere free of the kids and constant turnover of a weekend resort. We packed up and moved on to our long term RV site at Stage Coarch RV Park off I-95 near St. Augustine and about 10 miles from our kids house.

Site 6
We have now been here almost a month and have enjoyed the quiet and the shade trees. There are no amenities in this park with the exception of the laundry room attached to the bath house. We are paying around $400 for the month including full hook-ups and WiFi. Electricity is metered and paid separately.
View down our row.
We are at the east end of the park which seems to be one of the locations for long term guests. This suits us just fine as we have an empty field out our back window. 
view towards the office and park entrance.
You may recall that we replaced our main air conditioner while in Nevada a few months ago. Well, the first week we were here we experienced problems with the air conditioner tripping it's 20 amp breaker. I had noticed that the analogue volt meter I have indicated fluctuating voltage. I changed the circuit breaker and it still tripped once. However, it has been good for a couple of weeks. But, more on that later. We always turn on both air conditioners now when we leave the dogs alone.
Rico sitting in Maggie's bed
Unfortunately we had to say good-bye to our son-in-law as he was deployed with the Navy to Asia for the next 6 months. We will miss him. Our daughter has been able to connect with him via Skype almost daily, We hope to Skype with him a few times while he's away. 
A few days ago Tropical Storm Beryl roared through the Jacksonville area forcing us to rethink staying in the RV with 60 mile an hour winds expected. Ultimately we spent the worst night of the storm at our daughter's house. Thankfully upon returning we were lucky not to have had any damage or water intrusion from the wind driven rains. 
The next day, Joyce was vacuuming when she called for me to come inside. She smelled an electrical burning smell and I smelled it too. After some searching and sniffing, we determined the smell was coming from the basement. I pulled the furnace vent and looked down into the subbasement and could see the generator transfer switch box and a wisp of smoke coming from it. My Cameo came with a "generator prep" package which included this transfer switch but not the generator. I immediately shut off power to the rig and made sure the transfer switch box was no longer smoking. Because I don't have much electrical experience, I called a Mobile Technician. He wasn't available till the next morning. So, again we packed to spend another night with our daughter.
We are so thankful that we were home and awake when the box began smoking. The potential for the rig catching fire from the transfer switch box is just horrifying to imagine. 
The next day I returned to the rig and emptied the basement and removed the rear basement wall so the RV tech could get to the box. When he arrived he went to work and showed me the burnt wires in the Iota Transfer Switch box. He reported that he had just done the same repair the week before in another fifth wheel. In both cases he was surprised that the rigs hadn't caught fire. The technician re-wired our rig without the Transfer Switch which isn't necessary in our applications since we don't have a hardwired generator.  I explained to him the previously mentioned problem with the air conditioner tripping the 20 amp breaker and he indicated it may have been related to the Transfer Switch box problem which could have been causing a voltage drop and increased amperage draw. So $167 later we shouldn't ever have to worry about the Transfer Switch/ Relay box again.
I recently discovered from some of the RV forums that there are some recalls for Iota Transfer Switches due to the potential for fire. 

Flamingo Lake RV Resort

April 28-May 5 2012

After leaving Frog Hollow Court we moved about 50 miles to Flamingo Lake RV Resort in North Jacksonville. Although it was further from our daughter's house than we wanted to be (about 40 miles), we decided to spend a week here until our site would become available at Stage Coach RV Park.
We got an early start and traveled north taking the interstate for the uneventful trip.  We got checked in with a (former) law enforcement discount which included, amounted to $260 plus for the week. Our site included full 50 amp hook-ups and WiFi. 

Office and general store
We enjoyed a nice week long stay at the park once again amongst fellow RVers. Our site was near the bathroom/ laundry room and near the office. 

The park is in fact a resort park with a small lake in the middle of it. The lake has a beach and a floating dock to accommodate swimmers. 

The park allows and provides ATV rentals and there were plenty of guests that had them! There's also a cute on-site cafe and bar on the shore of the lake.

We've become so particular after nearly 3 years of traveling. This is a nice park, but not the type of park we generally like. It's more of a weekender park with all the amenities, pool, lake, cafe and weekend live entertainment, that families on vacation or out for a weekend enjoy. It's not the type of park that we enjoy with rapid transition of guests and kids running around.
Having said that, we would certainly consider staying here again particularly since there are very few RV parks in the St. Augustine Jacksonville area.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Frog Hollow Ct. St. Augustine, Fla

April 23-27, 2012.

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.
Our site
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!