Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shivering in Orlando

We're back at our secret stealth-boondocking spot in Orlando (map). Since the Red Cross lease on this lot expired at the end of December, we no longer have an undeniable right to be here. However, when we stayed here twice last month, we noticed both times that several trucks pulled in and spent the night. Clearly the word is out, at least among the local truckers, and we figured sauce for the goose...

We had actually tried to find what our guide claims to be an Elks lodge with overnight parking about two miles from here, but clearly that lodge closed down years ago. This was our backup option, and it worked out fine. We took a scooter out last night for a quick jaunt over to Carrabbas for dinner, and this morning I was able to get a bunch of things done in the engine bay, as today is the last relatively warm day we'll see until after the inaguration. Specifically, I needed to re-test the coolant and top up the SCAs, and it turns out I also needed to add glycol, since we'll certainly be in well-below freezing temps in DC. I also topped up engine and transmission oils and checked the belts and hoses.

Tuesday night we had another nice dinner with Martin and Stephanie, along with their local friends Armando and Susan. They were all nice enough to meet us at Olive Garden, which (honest) turned out to be the closest restaurant to the RV park which was still open at 9:30, when we finished our Red Cross conference call. As of that time, Martin's Tiara Sovran was still on the hard, but they were talking about splashing it Wednesday, after replacing an exhaust elbow that had been eaten away by electrolysis. I have to say that the Tiara's azimuth drives are quite whizzy, but they sure seem to be a maintenance headache. Poor Martin, I think, has been in the shop more than on the water in the three years since he bought the boat. Unless they improve tremendously, I think we'll stick with a more traditional propulsion system whenever we get our boat.

Yesterday we had an uneventful drive from Naples, and got our last licks in on two-lane, as we bypassed the Tampa area on Florida 31 and US-17, right back through Arcadia. Today, our goal is Jacksonville, which is really close, but we want to wait out the coldest day of the freeze currently gripping the country someplace where it will hover above freezing (mostly). It will be a few degrees warmer still right here (although we did hit the low 40s last night), but we don't want to have to push it too hard tomorrow. From here, we will be on the Interstate all the way to DC.

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