Saturday, January 3, 2009

Early arrival

We are at the home of fellow Neoplan Spaceliner owner Steve, in Fort Lauderdale. As usual, no map link when we are staying at someone's home.

Our plan after leaving Arcadia yesterday had been to drive a couple of hours and stop for the night in Clewiston, near lake Okechobee, where our guides said there was a Wal-Mart supercenter which my on-line resources indicated allowed parking. Unfortunately, after arriving, we saw signs clearly posted at the lot entrances stating "no overnight RV parking." At 2:30ish in the afternoon, there were two rigs in the lot, as well as a half dozen trucks despite the "no truck parking" wording on the same sign.

We generally don't park when the signs forbid it, even if a visit to the store manager might result in permission. For one thing, other customers will think you're breaking the rules, even if you have permission, and that does not help RVer reputation in general. More importantly, we take such signs as a signal that the community does not welcome us, and we prefer not to spend any money at all in such communities. So we continued on down the road.

No problem -- we have a backup plan. Our 2007 Elks guide indicates that there is a lodge in Plantation which allows RV parking in their lot. Perfect -- the Plantation location, while another two hours down the road, is just a couple of miles off our route. We arrived there around 4:30 or so.

What we found, however, was an empty lot, with a sign indicating that it would soon be part of the neighboring city park. There were no signs at all that an Elks lodge had ever been there, and, when I checked later, satellite imagery from 2005 showed an empty lot as well. We called the number for the lodge listed in our guide, and got a "disconnected" message. (It turns out, on subsequent research, that the lodge moved to Sunrise several years ago, and no longer offers parking.)

With rapidly dwindling options, and not much daylight left, I called Steve and asked if we could arrive a day ahead of schedule. We pulled in to his driveway just before sunset. After kicking tires and swapping war stories for an hour or so, we all went to dinner at a local favorite of his nearby.

So we are now settled in for a week. We have arrangements made to watch all the pets, and Monday we will start our trawler school cruise. I'm certain we will not have internet access once we leave the dock, so I will likely not even bring the computer. I will try to tweet our updates from my BlackBerry whenever we have cell service, and I will get email that way, too, as available. You will not otherwise hear from us until we return on Thursday or Friday, although I may make one more post here before we depart. Keep an eye on the twitter feed for updates.


  1. I wonder what the fiscal impact might be if RVer's generally would not spend money in communities that did not welcome the RV community.

    I am not unaware of some of the transient people who live out of vehicles. Some do leave trash and deposit human waste in inappropriate places. Most are responsible road people, even though they might be outwardly different from the townies.

    Trying to regulate people into local paid camping areas is simply an abuse of the system of law. I suspect that way too many "no camping" regulations are the result of such manipulations.

    Ah, well. Glad you made your destination. Thanks again for sharing the adventure.


  2. A couple miles before the Clewiston Wally World, I spotted a KOA. I said to Sean, "That's not a good sign." Sure enough, the "No Overnight Parking" signs were up. Coincidence? Hmm.

  3. How nice of your friend to let you arrive early. Sad you couldn't use Walmart- I've yet to meet anyone who RV's or even camps ,like we do, who abuses things like this but only takes 1 or 2 to spoil it doesn't it? Have a safe trip! I've been enjoying reading your blog and your adventures. Travel safe.

  4. Hi -- Hope by now you are out at sea having a wonderful time! I'm envious that you are on a trawler, personally I love the pace of trawlers...looking forward to your report once you return.


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