It's always an adventure with Howard & Linda. You'll see what I mean after a few paragraphs. :)
First thing this morning, lots of us had breakfast at the Solo Cafe here in our circle.
Today's menu included eggs, sausage, fruit, english muffins, orange juice, and morning cocktails for those that chose to partake.
After breakfast, we did a reprise of the seminars we did on Monday. Several of us were supposed to go kayaking, but it looked like the winds were going to pick up and we post-poned that idea.
Instead, we did a slightly shorter version of our holding tank management and battery/solar seminars since we had four couples that arrived after our Monday seminars. And then, at the end, I did a quick "internet for RVers" overview.
Although we're still under contract with Verizon, our Verizon data charges had gotten out of hand. So, we switched to Millenicom and we just received our new device this week. I activated everything this morning and reduced our data plan with Verizon to the bare minimum. We will save on our monthly internet costs even if we continue to carry out the terms of our contract.
It also made more financial sense for us because we no longer have our satellite internet service which was costing us about the same as the new Millenicom service. Overall, we'll be saving about $100 a month, and that will be higher when the contract expires on our Verizon JetPack.
After our seminars, the day got interesting.
I'll just say up front, that I should have done a little more due diligence when we decided to hold our Boondocking Rally here. But neither I nor Ed & Charlotte thought there would be any problem in this rural area with holding a week long campout on private property. Turns out we were wrong. :)
Apparently, somebody complained about our little camping group. Ed & Charlotte's immediate neighbors are all family members, so somebody that isn't affected at all by us complained.
Code Enforcement came out yesterday while we gone, and told Charlotte that we were in violation of some county ordinance. Apparently, we needed an "event" permit even though it's private property. In fact, we learned that you can't even spend one night in your own RV on your own private property unless you fall under one of the narrow exceptions in which it is allowed. With 90% of the county being agricultural, and being in a sparsely populated agricultural area, we certainly didn't anticipate this problem.
So, I accompanied Charlotte, and we went to the county courthouse to plead ignorance, ask for leniency, volunteer to pay a fine, and promise it would never happen again. I didn't say anything about being a former attorney as I thought that would more likely hurt us than help us, but I did ask for copies of the laws we were supposedly violating.
Let's just say they were stretching things quite a bit to squeeze us under their "event" law which clearly refers to events open to the general public. But that didn't really matter. They made their decision, and they said we had 24 hours (give or take a few hours) to leave. There was no way to get a quick permit.
So, we left. But before we went back to break the bad news, Charlotte made a call to a county commissioner, and I made a couple of phone calls myself. We understood the reason for the laws, but since we were all leaving on Sunday anyway, we hoped that we might be able to get an extension on our "cease and desist" order.
Back at the farm, we gathered everyone around, told them the issue, told them we had thrown a couple of "hail Mary's" and explained the options. Part of the issue was we were expecting a lot of rain overnight, so the bigger rigs might have a problem leaving in the morning. Whereas, it would be plenty dry if we stayed until Sunday.
Several folks decided to go ahead and leave this afternoon - a couple of them had planned to leave tomorrow anyway. But several people wanted to find an alternative location and continue on with the Boondocking Rally.
So, we came up with a plan. It wasn't a great plan, but it was a workable plan. We were all going to find a place to stay Thursday night, and then reconvene on some nearby public land that would be open for camping on the weekend.
Well, while trying to determine who was leaving, and who was staying on, and how the back-up plan was actually going to work, the Code Enforcement guys came back. They arrived with news that we were still in violation, but the County Administrator decided that the 24-hour notice was a bit harsh, and we could stay until Sunday. They were apologetic about the way they handled the situation, although we understood they were just doing their job.
There was much rejoicing, and we and our hosts were quite relieved. After all, we had plans and a wild hog had already given its life for our Valentine's Day pig roast on Friday. :)
The folks that were in process of packing up stopped and decided to stay. Unfortunately, four couples already left. One was leaving tomorrow anyway, but we called the other three. Two decided to continue on and one came back.
So, it was a dramatic afternoon, and we felt horrible. I, naively, thought there were still parts of this country where you could still do what you wanted on your own land as long as you weren't bothering anyone. Lesson learned.
If Charlotte & Ed will have us, we'd like to do the Boondocking Rally again here next year ... after getting a proper permit. It's such a great place to hold this "event", and the dark side of me wants to "legally" irritate those that complained about us being here.
Once we all re-settled and discussed the day's events, we got word that a few folks were going out for dinner. Since neither Linda nor I had eaten any lunch or prepared anything for supper, we decided that was a good option.
Thirteen of us went to the Peace River Seafood & Crab Shack a few miles away. It's certainly a shack. :) My grouper was good but slightly overcooked on one end, and Linda's shrimp was also good, but slightly overcooked as well. More than anything, it was a nice diversion and we were at the restaurant when a pretty rough storm rolled through the area.
The night turned chilly, but most of the rain had passed by the time we were dropped off back at our rig around 8:30.
We turned on the inverter and watched some TV. I was asleep in my recliner by 9:00. And I don't really remember anything else.
What an interesting day. Thank goodness that we have such a wonderful, understanding group of people. I choose to believe the good karma of our group resulted in our last-minute reprieve. :)