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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

True Winners Today!

~Sunday, March 26, 2023~

Day 1,016 (Travel Day)

Packing up and heading out from Hillsborough River State Park, you can bet I was on caterpillar alert the entire time. We would never want one to hitch a ride all the way to Orlando now would we? In the end, we remained unharmed. A late check-out of 12:00 p.m. ensured a much more relaxed packing job with no tire issues to speak of. And luck was on our side as well with no line at the dump station, allowing us to get on the road that much faster.

Now we’re off for some playtime in Orlando. Along our 85-mile drive along Interstate 4, we had a near scare when some jerk towing an airboat didn’t yield while merging onto the highway, forcing us to barely share the far right lane. Remember we’re also towing the trailer.😳 Seeing this unfold out of the corner of my eye, I yelled, “Jeff, look out!” to which he calmly braked to let the aggressive driver get in front of us. If Jeff hadn't done that, we would have certainly collided. I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying many Florida drivers are some of the worst we’ve ever encountered, following way too close, driving too fast, and cutting people off as in our case. With sunny Florida, where is the sunny attitude on the roads?

Our temporary home this week is in Orlando at a family campground in the city park named Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, named after former Orlando Mayor Bill Frederick. We booked this 36-site campground about a year ago and let me tell you, for $20 bucks a night and only minutes from Orlando’s largest attractions, this one is a true winner. Honestly, I don’t know how they can charge so little.

If you’re an RV’er, I don’t know why you’d stay anywhere else, that is if you can live without a sewer hookup. But there’s a dump station conveniently located right inside the park. Why would anyone who owns an RV stay anywhere else, that is if you can live without full hookups? Even so, there is a convenient dump station at the end of the campground loop. Plus, there’s nothing like a peaceful, quiet place like this to wind down after a busy amusement park day.

With the gated entrance open, we met a very polite gentleman who got us all squared away and checked in, although I’m not sure why he was so set on correcting us on Hank’s paint color. My description of Hank when making campground reservations is always “blue/gray”. He said it was “gray”. Whatever! At least the license plate matches what’s on the reservation.

We’re certainly having good campsite mojo lately. Do we know how to pick ‘em or what? Our site is in the very corner underneath shaded oaks and pines with views of Turkey Lake. And to top it off, we also have plenty of privacy with a ton of space between our neighbors. Separating us from the lake is a cyclone fence, barely visible, to keep any Florida critters out of the campground. But other than that, we have the illusion of a huge “backyard” of trees, and a lake and the pleasure of watching people ride/walk the 3-mile bike path or enjoying a little frisbee golf.

Having a full itinerary this week, I wanted to make sure that all errands were taken care of today. First on the list…..Trader Joe’s.

Of course I was jumping for joy having found one, but was even more giddy with it being just 10 minutes from our campground. Correction. Not in Orlando. It’s more like 10 miles in 30 minutes with their traffic. Jeff and I haven’t had a TJ’s near us in months. To show you how excited I was, I couldn’t help but take a picture of the storefront and my full grocery cart.

Call me crazy! But that’s how much I missed it. The rest of my errands were all within a 5-mile radius making it easy….post office, Wal-Mart and Publix for whatever I couldn’t find at Traders.

By the time I got back, Jeff and Sadie had already had a pleasant hour-long hike around the park’s ever popular bass fishing lake. In fact, it’s rated in the top-five for fishing lakes in the state of Florida. Nearing dusk, they had seen a number of raccoons coming out of their daytime slumber and plenty of squirrels worth chasing for Sadie. Somehow, she hasn’t quite figured out after all these years that they’ll outrun her every time.

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