Saturday, August 4, 2012

Off Season

We are at John Prince County Park, in Lake Worth, Florida (map), just south of Palm Beach. I've been here before, when Louise had to fly back to California for a week. Unlike that visit, when I snagged the very last spot in a packed campground, the place is now deserted. We may be the only rig in the 30-amp, partial hookup area, and there are perhaps a dozen sites occupied throughout the entire campground. It's a nice park, with extensive facilities, and our site is $27 per night, plus tax. Sites near the lake or with full hookups are slightly more.

We had a very nice visit with Hank and Nancy aboard their well-kept DeFever 52 Offshore Cruiser Thursday afternoon, docked behind their house in North Palm Beach. After finally seeing one, we are definitely very interested in this model, and so we will make our way to the two of them currently on the market, both reportedly in rough condition, to see if either one can be made to work for us. We had a nice conversation after our brief tour, which might well have lasted into the evening, but we were nervous about our parking situation and so excused ourselves to get back on the road.

I'm glad we got rolling when we did. From their house we drove about a half hour to the Elks lodge in West Palm Beach, a place we've stayed before and where we knew there were three spaces with 15-amp power outlets. When we pulled in to the lot, there was already one rig there, hooked up and looking to be long-term. We pulled in to the designated spot, hooked up to an available outlet, and went inside to register and have a beer.

When we asked about parking, we were told they could no longer offer overnight RV parking. Apparently the county came in and cited them, giving them a few days to get all the RVs off the property or face fines of $3,000 per day per rig. The county agreed to allow one rig for "security" purposes which accounts for the one that was there when we arrived. The lodge told us that there had been seven rigs in the lot when the county showed up, so things had gotten a little out of hand -- my notes said they had three spaces. Of course, Palm Beach County also runs this campground, so maybe they just didn't want the competition.

Fortunately I remembered this park just six miles away. In fact, I had stayed here for a week because that same Elks Lodge had a two-night stay limit -- the lodge was much more convenient to the airport, where I had to drop off and pick up Louise. It's too bad we had to move along, because we had just sat down at the bar and were looking forward to a cold draft beer. Oh well -- scratch another one off the list. Long-time readers may recall this happened to us in Stuart and Lake Placid, as well, and it may not be long before most of the lodges in Florida stop offering overnight parking.

Yesterday our friends and brokers Curtis and Gill drove up from Fort Lauderdale and picked us up to go look at yet another boat, ironically in North Palm Beach just a couple of blocks away from where we were Thursday. This one was an older Nordhavn 46, and we actually had fairly low expectations. We were quite pleasantly surprised, and have put this specific boat on our list of contenders. It's a twin, uncharacteristic for this model which is typically outfitted with a single, and the twin configuration actually makes for more room in the engine room, as the walkway down the center is lowered into the keel. The fuel tanks are smaller, however, which makes the range a bit short for our preference.

With boats dropping off our list left and right, we are down to just a single prospect in Fort Lauderdale, and it's such a marginal candidate (too little fuel, too little headroom in the engine room, little room on deck for tender and scooters) that we've decided to skip it, saving 80 miles or so of driving. Instead we will head west from here, to look at two boats on the west coast (of Florida). I expect we will end up at yet another Palm Beach County park tonight, in South Bay on Lake Okeechobee. We'll wait there until we hear from Curtis about scheduling a DeFever 52 Offshore Cruiser in Fort Myers.

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