4 Letter Word

No, not THAT 4 letter word.

GOLF!

golf

After somewhat of a hiatus from the game, we are dipping our toes back into playing. Tom played twice with the men’s’ league while we were at Goldcoasters in Homestead. And by all accounts, did ok.

So we made a tee time through golfnow.com and ventured out to the Martin County Course in Stuart the next town over from Jensen Beach where we are staying. They have 4-9 hole courses and we played the Gold/Blue combination. It’s an odd layout with about a mile between the two nines and a path that takes you around the airport. Several holes on the Blue course are unfair in that there’s water running across the fairways at undeterminable distances. Definitely, a difficult situation for someone playing the course for the first time. The greens were in good shape and it was a beautiful day for a round even if we were a bit rusty and lost quite a few balls.

 

What we’ve learned in one year on the road

Last week marked our one year anniversary of living full time in our motorhome. It’s been a learning process.learning

Stuff is just stuff, and we didn’t need all that stuff. We even probably still have more stuff than we actually need. Certainly, the big purge was not an easy process, but all that stuff can weigh you down. We made the decision to get rid of everything that didn’t fit in the motorhome (with the exception of one box of mementos and one box of really good bourbon at our daughter’s house) and not use any sort of storage facility.

 happyrvWeather is a big deal and shouldn’t be taken lightly. From high winds, snow, and heavy rains, we’ve been through it all. We’ve been in 8 degree weather and 90+ degree weather. The weather effects your mood and outlook. When you’re inside with the slides pulled in weathering out a storm, its difficult to be in a good mood. Conversely, beautiful sunny skies, a light breeze and a pleasant view can lift your spirits.

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This country has an amazing national park system. And we’ve been taking advantage of our America the Beautiful Senior Pass (geezer pass) visiting over 25 sites in the National Park System.

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North Rim of the Grand Canyon at sunset

You meet a lot of nice people in campgrounds. You want to make friends? Ask them about their camper or their dogs, places they’ve been, or recommendations on a restaurant in the area.

When you have this lifestyle, you are not on permanent vacation. You have the opportunity to see a lot of things and go to a lot of places, but you still must clean, go to the grocery, pay bills, do laundry, and cook.

Plan ahead, but leave some room for serendipity. If we would have stuck strictly to plans, we would have missed the really cool Cumberland Gap National Park. We decided when we were 1 ½ miles from the entrance to check it out.

GPS is great, but double check with a good ole atlas. We have a RV specific Garmin, but it has suggested some scarey routes. We use the Google Maps app on our phones a lot too.

You’ll still have expenses. You are eliminating mortgage, property taxes, utilities but replacing them with campground fees and diesel. You still have satallite tv, cell phone bills, groceries. In our case, we spend less than we did in the sticks and bricks (not counting the expense of buying the motorhome) but some find it about even.

Quality is important. Buy the best RV you can afford and keep up on maintenance on it.

Safty is important too. We both always stay alert. No dozing co-pilot here. Drive defensively. Stay alert. Avoid scary situations. Stick together – don’t one of you wander off at a rest area.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Things will break, you’ll get lost, that campground that sounded perfect online will turn out to be a pit. Don’t freak out. Make the best of it. Chock it up to experience.

WiFi is a luxury. It may be promised, but may only work next to the office when you hold your device over your head and stand on one foot. Definitely have another method of accessing the internet. We have an elaborate intranet with Wi-Fi and cell boosting.

 wifi

You are living in a very small area. You are together 24/7. Try to always be kind to each other. Your partner is going to have a bad day once in a while, and so will you.

 kindness

Being way from friends and family is the worst part of this lifestyle. Nothing will take the place of being there for the holidays, birthdays and get togethers, but stay in touch as much as possible and make room in the schedule for stops to see your loved ones. Email, facetime and video chat.

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It took us 3 hours each way, but it was worth it. Up bright and early and on the road headed south. It’s an easy task to pick up US1 from our site in Homestead. From there it’s a series of 42 bridges and 126 miles along US1 to Key West. Undaunted by the Screw Worm warning (ewww – google it) we continued on our journey.

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It was fun to watch the mile markers tick down as we approached Mile Marker 0.

On the recommendation of our neighbors in Goldcoasters, we parked in the public parking garage and walked to all the attractions. We visited the Historic Seaport Harbor Walk and then made our way down Duvall Street to eat lunch at the famous Sloppy Joe’s to enjoy live music and nachos and a couple cold ones.

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Visited Mallory Square to see the beautiful colored waters

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and chuckled at the free range chickens there.

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Rooster guarding the bathrooms at Mallory Square

Walked past Hemingway’s House and Truman’s Little White House to the Southernmost Point in the continental US.

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There was a long line for pictures at the buoy, so we didn’t wait in line but did manage a few pictures from the side.

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We would have loved to stay for sunset at Mallory Square but Bogey was waiting back in Homestead.

Goldcoasters Homestead Florida

Goldcoasters RV Park and Manufactured Home Community– 34850 SW 187th Avenue – Homestead, Florida — a Sun Resort

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This really isn’t a RV park; it isn’t a campground either. It’s a manufactured home park with about 2 dozen of its 500 sites set aside for RV parking. If you are looking for a 55+ park, this is not for you as there are many kids living here.

The streets here are very confusing as all the cross streets have the same name – SW188th, then an extension like Dr or Way or Ave but these are difficult to read and the numbers on the RV sites are very hard to find. Wi-Fi only works by the clubhouse (our WI-FI extender helped with access in the motorhome).

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There’s a pool and hot tub, shuffleboard courts and some planned activities. For the most part, things are kept up neat and clean. Some landscaping is downright beautiful.

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The pool area being wet up for the luau

The roads are narrow and we had some problem with backing into our grass site with ancient utilities, a broken concrete pad with old picnic table and separate paved parking spot for the car.

The residents were friendly and invited us to join them in activities including asking Tom to play with the men’s golf league. They also warned us that one must be careful about theft even though it is gated with 24 hour security at the gatehouse.

The location is great – close to 3 National Parks – Biscayne, Big Cypress and the Everglades and to the Florida Keys.