Not More Troubles!😥
~Monday, January 18, 2021
Day 218 (Travel Day)
Up early (6:15) to break down camp and get on the road. Finally heading to warmer temperatures. The Everglades low’s will be what our high’s were in Old Town. Last night got down to a chilly 31 degrees, leaving frost on the windshield. Thanks Suwannee River Hideaway for 2 weeks of tranquility.
One of our first missions on long driving days is finding a Starbucks or any coffee shop for that matter. Since there were none to be found in the immediate vicinity, we decided to wait until we found the perfect place for us to get gas (one that would allow easy access for our trailer). We stumbled on this really cool gas station/rest stop depot. Come to find that this a standard scene on all of Highway 95 in Florida. The concept is genius. With the depot in the center of the highway, you can exit on either side, with the rest stop first, the quick mart second, and then thirdly, a straight shot to the gas station. We knew there’d be coffee at the quick stop, but did not know there was a Dunkin’ Doughnuts. Now, I’m sure it’s sacrilege to not get a doughnut when you’re at Dunkin’. But will say, they make a mean breakfast sandwich and delicious hot chocolate (according to Jeff). They even had a vegetarian selection for me.
We made a switch in drivers from here, and little did I know what I was in for. No offense Miami, but this is some of the craziest driving and confusion sections of highway I’ve ever seen. Lots of fast cars, cutting us off many a time (RV’s are allowed in the second lane from the right if there are 3 lanes or more. Jeff and I both prefer this over the far right lane to avoid having to move over for people getting on the freeway. Not a problem when it’s just the truck, but when towing, it’s a different story. There was also a lot of highway too. All I can say is I’m glad we didn’t maneuver this area at prime commute hour. The confusion was in regards to the toll roads and directions. We must have crossed at least 20 as we made our way south. Some say, “express” on the left, and some say “Sunpass”, leaving me to wonder if our UniPass would handle all of them. Plus the Google map lady kept telling me to stay in the left lane whenever we’d pass an interchange, when in fact staying to the right was just fine. Ugh!! 🚙 😝. Jeff did a quick refresher on the UniPass and it seems it covers all toll roads in Florida. By the way…..another genius idea. Have the people that use the roads, pay for the maintenance. A great way to raise road revenue as opposed to taxing everyone for it.
As soon as you exit Highway 95, you’re immediately transported to a place of calmness and beauty. With palm trees, sunshine and swamps everywhere, this is exactly what we’ve been so thrilled to see. The last time we were in Florida with the kids eons ago, we flew into Orlando in our amusement park mode, but obviously driving in it is a whole different story and the best way to get the flavor of the state. When we finally arrived at the entrance of Everglades National Park (nice to use that handy dandy National Park Pass), the child-like state showed itself as we were so excited and amazed that we were finally here. It wasn’t that long ago that we found an available campsite at Long Pine Key Campground. The fact that it doesn’t have any hookups whatsoever, is the perfect recipe for us, and the likely reason we even got in here on such late notice. We’re actually one of the lucky ones that get to camp here. When we arrived at the campground entrance, we were promptly handed a campground map by a masked attendant, then headed to our perfect little spot for the next 10 days. At first glance, we thought it was a little too tight for our rig. The driver’s side of the trailer is where the slides are that come out a good 4-5 feet which we were thinking would encroach on the loop road. In order for us to fit, we had to park a little bit on the grass which is usually a no-no in campgrounds or RV parks. So Jeff went back to the park attendant to make sure it was o.k. All good. It’s also amazing that we’re able to bring our RV in a national park campground period, since the max size is usually 25 feet. So we are grateful! 🙏😌
It’s nice that the “living” side of the trailer (where the awnings are), faces a nice cozy grassy area with ferns all around and a little walking path behind. We even have a fire pit and picnic table. We really haven’t had that many campfires on the trip and with the weather so nice here (the lows are supposed to be in the 60’s), we hope to make that a routine. Earlier in the day, we did receive a text message that due to the surge in visitors this winter in The Everglades, the park has exhausted their supply of firewood, with recommendations that you purchase firewood outside the park. Nice of them to let us know.
As I mentioned, the site has no hookups. Not a problem until you discover one. Houston, we have a problem. After Jeff went to fill our collapsible water bottles and we began to fill our fresh water tank,
we turned on the water pump, and NOTHING; nothing meaning no water getting to any faucet. The pump is running but not getting any water. After we realized that we hadn’t used the water pump in quite some time (since Carlsbad Caverns), that could possibly be a reason for it not working, or it could be a combination of things. It’s not a good idea to have anything mechanical just sit, unused. Now for some troubleshooting.
Cleaned out strainer in the water pump….there were obvious signs of calcification. But, not the culprit.
Check for loose plumbing, but also not the problem
Motor runs fine
Blew into the hose that connects to the fresh water tank and it appears clear since we heard bubble sounds coming from the tank.
Take apart the valve and upper assemblies tomorrow
If all else fails, buy a new pump. Since we’re in the land of RVer’s, there must be an RV supplier in the area that would have one.
After an hour of frustration, Jeff finally put things into perspective. There is a sailing couple that he follows on Instagram who have posted numerous videos of their mechanical troubles on their 6- year journey. The guy never seems to get flustered or grouchy as he troubleshoots away with a camera in his face. And he is at the mercy of whatever he has on board to fix the problem. It just goes to show..with a little preparation and a positive attitude, things will work out. It probably doesn’t hurt that this sailor has a degree in mechanical engineering. My hubby…….a design degree AND a degree from the best school of all…”Dad’s School”. There are very few problems that Jeff has not been able to handle. He too, knows how to fix most everything. And we have access to a hardware store! Until the problem is fixed, we at least have restrooms right across from our campsite and potable water just a short drive away. That’s really all we need..right? Having a few problems to work through adds a little brawny to your step anyway.