Today we had about a 220-mile drive from St. Cloud to Goulds, Florida. We had changed plans a little for our double Thanksgiving, so we needed to make a longer push than normal to give us a couple of days to get ready for our cruise that starts Sunday.
We got up early and got ready to head out. We thanked Shane & Jami and said our goodbyes. We'll see them again in January and February. And then all three teams will be working the FMCA rally in Perry, Georgia in March.
Today we were traveling with another couple, something we rarely do. John & Pam were meeting us in St. Cloud at 9:00 a.m. and then they were going to follow us south.
In addition to John & Pam, we have two other RVing couples that are going with us - J.C. & Bev and Esther & Steve. And we have six other long-time friends that are joining us as well.
John & Pam were right on time, and we headed south on U.S. 441 all the way to and part way around Lake Okeechobee before picking up U.S. 27. It was a very pleasant, non-stressful ride on pretty good roads with limited traffic.
We departed from U.S. 27 staying well west of Miami as we made our way down to Goulds and the property of our good friend, Linda, who has graciously offered us a place to park our rigs while we are gone. There are two electrical hook-ups and room for a few rigs. However, our other RVing friends decided to fly in rather than park with us and John & Pam.
We've stayed with Linda before in this agricultural area of Florida, and it's always a pleasure.
We got our rigs parked and set up. We added water to our fresh water tank. Oh, and I promised I would show you Linda's new bedroom decorating.
I wasn't crazy about it at first, but it's growing on me. The expensive sheets are fantastic. :)
Continuing our set up, I ran into more technical issues.
Unfortunately, our Datastorm rooftop satellite dish isn't working properly. I'm getting an error I've never seen before. Sheesh.
Also, our tripod TV dish isn't working either, and neither is our new Jack TV antenna. I'm pretty frustrated with all the recent RV and TV problems. But they'll just have to wait. I'll have time to deal with all that after we get back. I'm trying to let it all go, so we can just go and have fun on the cruise.
We sat and talked with Linda awhile, and then she and her daughter, Laura, and son-in-law, Dean cooked us dinner. My Linda and Pam also added to the meal.
We sat outside and enjoyed the food and company.
At the end of dinner, just before we called it a night, Laura brought out a birthday cake with a big ol' candle for Linda. :)
Her 50th birthday is on the 10th, the last night of our cruise, but our hosts decided to celebrate a little tonight.
Soon after she blew out her candle and a few of us had some cake, we retired to our rigs. Tomorrow is packing day.
This morning I put some "Out of reach" notices on some of our web pages, so people know we will be gone for the next ten days.
After cleaning up our email inbox, Linda started the packing process going through our checklists.
I really wanted to watch some of the great college football games today, so John offered his mini, round, standard definition satellite dish. That was hooked up and working within minutes.
So, I watched football while going over all of our travel documents and shore excursions and making sure we have everything we need for our 10-day cruise to the Southern Caribbean.
Parking at the Port of Miami is $20 per day, but Linda had made reservations for a park and shuttle option that was about a fourth of that. Unfortunately, with some last minute research, I discovered that all of the cheap parking is in a less desirable part of town. The security seems to be iffy at best, and the parking lot shuttle services don't get high marks for reliability.
And just this month, the place where we had reservations lost the keys of several cruise passengers. I checked the Better Business Bureau, and Premier Parking Ventures has an "F" rating with 91 complaints in the last twelve months and no response to the BBB's request for explanation. I canceled our reservations as quickly as possible.
We decided to bite the bullet and pay the higher fee at the Port where it would be safer and more convenient. However, Linda, our hostess, offered to drive us the 30 miles to drop us off and pick us up. Bless you my dear. :)
So, we got everything packed, all our documents are in order, and I watched some unbelievable football games. It rained long and hard in the afternoon, and then our hosts once again served us dinner.
John & Pam said "This is the best RV park ever!". :)
We ate and laughed and relaxed. We're on vacation now. :)
Tomorrow we start our 10-day trip. Our group has two birthdays and an anniversary during our trip as we visit the U.S. Virgin Islands, Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten with two days at sea on the front end and two more on the back end.
We're ready! :)