A Sunny Day at the Start of Hurricane Season

Thursday June 1st 2023

It is hard to believe that June has arrived. Florida weather forecasters are talking about the start of hurricane season and the potential of the first named tropical system of the year forming in the Gulf of Mexico. I am very weather aware to the point of obsessed, so I can’t really crank my level of awareness up for hurricane season. My bottom line is if one is coming, I’m going. This is a period of weather change that makes the forecasts inconsistent. Yesterday the forecast for today was for lots of rain. It was easily supposed to be the worst weather day of the week. It turned into the best weather day of the week. The sun dominated the battle with the fluffy clouds and a nice north wind kept the temperature under control. It peaked in the low eighties.

There was lots of blue in the sky today.

This was mowing day in the campground. It is my least favorite day. The big commercial lawn mowers are very noisy machines. The operators wear hearing protection but people like me that are only a few feet away get subject to the whole decibel level. Today wasn’t as bad as some. They didn’t start until after 9AM and in was only the lawn mowers. They didn’t come around with the equally noisy string trimmers and leaf blowers.

Landscape work seemed to be contagious today. A tree service was working on trimming the trees along the power lines in the area. They seemed to be doing a good job disrupting traffic with big bucket trucks and producing piles of tree limbs waiting to be chipped. Leaving the campground was a challenge while the tree trimmers were near the entrance.

A Little Bit of Rain

Wednesday May 31st 2023

The sun never really shined today. It was overcast all day, but the forecast did not call for any rain. They were wrong. Late in the afternoon it suddenly began to rain. For about ten minutes it rained hard. Once it ended conditions went back to the same overcast conditions. The current forecast has rain returning during the night and continuing most of Thursday. I’ll believe when it happens. The weather models are still all over place as they guess about the potential tropical system forming in the Gulf of Mexico.

Time to spread the pollen.

I got a slow start to the day. Last night I laid awake in bed by choice. I was listening to the sound of trains passing through the area. The community of Starke is on the main north south rail corridor through Florida. The campground sits on the west side of US 301. On the east side of the route is the mail rail line. In the other direction from the campground another rail line slants off to the southwest. At night I enjoy listening to the rumble of approaching trains followed by train whistles getting louder as the engine approaches each crossing. After the engine passes the sound of the whistles gets quieter and quieter, but it can still be heard for several miles. During the day I don’t always hear the trains, but at night there are several every hour.

Train noises don’t really bother me. I know what they are and can tune them out as needed. Campgrounds are often near train tracks and quiet night environments also allow distant train noises to sound very close. More often than not, I can here trains in the distance at night. I’ve stayed in campgrounds where my site backs up to the tracks. That takes a few trains before I get used to it, but I did. Watching TV was a problem, but watching the train instead was fun.

The campground has more occupants tonight. I suspect they are travelers here for a night or two, but they may be the start of next weekends visitors. Either way, they are a little more active than the people here for longer periods of time. They all seem to stay inside with the AC running, or are gone all day possible at work. I am probably somewhere in between in behavior. Sitting outside in the shade is part of my routine.

After the Holiday Weekend

Tuesday May 30th 2023

The weather began as a clone of Monday, but more clouds moved in as the day progressed. The temperature peaked in the upper eighties, before the wind associated with nearby thunderstorms pushed it lower. As I’m writing this blog entry there is a good chance of a thunderstorm. In general the weather is on a downward curve. A potential tropical system is trying to form in the Gulf of Mexico. The current forecast has it most likely moving across the Florida peninsular as an ordinary low pressure system. That still means a lot of rain is likely, but not as much wind and really severe storms.


I commented in yesterday’s blog that I didn’t think all of the weekend crowd departed as expected. This morning they fixed that problem. By noon the park was back to an occupancy level below the level it was at on Thursday when I arrived. If it is a normal weekend or a three day weekend, it seems like many people add that extra day. Back during my working life I often included Friday in my weekend plans, but I thought it was important to start the week on Monday with everyone else. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Today began with the sound of backup alarms on big dump trucks followed by the sound of banging tailgates after the material was dumped out. They were delivering materials to the landscape supply business on the far side of the campground. Over the course of an hour several trucks made deliveries. Later in the day I got a few chores done around my RV home today. There always seems to be something that needs to be done. For exercise today I made two different loops of the campground and a loop around the strip mall next door.

A Quiet Memorial Day

Monday May 29th 2023

The humidity was up a little today and the breeze was down a little. The result was a warmer high temperature for the day. It peaked in the mid to upper eighties under a mostly sunny sky.

I got to sleep in this morning. The dogs that woke me up the last couple of mornings from the neighboring site departed yesterday, but most of the people hung on until the 11AM checkout time. As expected there were a lot of departures today. This evening the park still had more occupants than it did on Thursday when I arrived. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues tomorrow night. Since most of the schools in Florida ended last week it is possible that some summer vacation stays are starting.

This wasn’t a day with any interesting blog content. I did get to watch the NASCAR race from Charlotte NC that was postponed yesterday. Unlike the races I watched yesterday I actually recognize the names of most of the drivers in this racing series. The six hundred mile race that began a little after 3PM ended just before 9PM with one stop for rain. Similar to the Indy 500, the opening ceremonies were focused on remembering and honoring those who served and gave their lives for American freedom.

Sunday Watching the Races

Sunday May 28th 2023

The trend of decreasing cloud cover and increasing sunshine continued for the third day. There was still a significant breeze out of the north and low humidity. The higher amount of sunshine allowed the temperature to climb a little higher, but it still didn’t cross the eighty degree mark.

My day began earlier than I wanted thanks to the big dogs at the site behind mine. They were up in the six o’clock hour to do their thing which seem to include a lot of barking to announce their presence. I went back to sleep, but woke easily whenever anyone spoke loudly in the area. That’s what I get for sleeping with the windows open.

“You eat while I watch”

My main focus today was watching the various races on TV. It started with the rainy mess that was the Monaco Grand Prix. I don’t know the drivers, but enjoy watching them navigate through the tight streets of Monaco. The big race of the day was the Indy 500. I am familiar with more of the drivers, but don’t have any particular “horse” in the race. The opening ceremony with the memorial day tributes and the iconic singing of Back Home Again in Indiana was as much a draw as the actual race. Toward the end of the race it got into a real crash fest with three red flag stops while they cleaned up the track. It was a good finish. The third race of the day was going to be the NASCAR race from Charlotte NC, but it got rained out until tomorrow.

Around the campground today there were fewer organized campground activities. The only one of significance was an evening campfire with Smores. I walked by as they were getting setup. Once again today there were many private parties at some of the sites. A lot of people were having their own corn hole tournaments and I saw one ladder ball toss setup. The dedication required to bring all the gear for these activities on a weekend outing is impressive.

A Holiday Weekend Day

Saturday May 27th 2023

The cloud cover was a little thinner today than Friday, but the sun only made a brief appearance late in the afternoon. The temperature got a little warmer into the mid seventies. The low humidity and northeast wind made a very comfortable day.

The DJ came in an ambulance.

This was a holiday weekend day at the campground. It started early with boisterous neighbors. The partying started before 8AM as they shared breakfast with at least four big dogs. The party atmosphere moved on from that site to others around the campground as the day progressed. Several campers were hosting guests at their sites. The campground was also very actively celebrating the holiday. The BBQ cookout early in the afternoon was followed by a street dance party. A DJ came in a Fire Department ambulance to entertain the party goers. The BBQ cookout turned out to be hot dogs and maybe hamburgers. It didn’t look like they got a lot of interest in that or the street dance that followed. After checking out their cookout I returned to my RV home and cooked a steak and baked potato dinner.

It was pretty much a lot day. Until I really thought about it I was behaving as if it was Sunday. In addition to a couple of walks around the park I watched a lot of television. I caught a couple of different golf matches and some track and field activities. Don’t ask me who was playing or what happened. While the TV was on and I was sitting in front of it most of the time, I really wasn’t paying attention. The tablet in my hands was getting a workout chasing more random information on the internet.

Settling in and Trouble Shooting

Friday May 26th 2023

It was a dreary unseasonably cool day in Florida. The heavy cloud cover and northeast wind associated with a low pressure system off the Georgia coast kept today’s high temperature in the low seventies. I don’t think it even reached seventy until noon.

The weather slowed me down today. Getting started this morning was a slow process. Eventually I got going and finished the outside setup tasks before getting back to my electric problems. I did some additional trouble shooting and investigation on the Inverter/Charger issue. By cycling power and resetting the inverter I got it to pass AC current through, but the charger side kept cycling on and off inside the unit. I couldn’t leave it like that, so I powered everything down again. The task of getting a mobile tech out to look at the issue is still ongoing. I would prefer a local tech, but the bigger outfits associated with Camping World and other big RV places remain a possibility. I’ve got things configured so I can survive fine for a few days without any real inconvenience while I find the right service option. Not every tech will deal with electrical problems.

Borrowing power from the non inverted fireplace circuit for all my electronics including the TV.
Borrowing power for the residential refrigerator from the microwave circuit. The extension cord comes from inside the RV, out the window and then into the outside access panel for the refrigerator.

This campground has filled up for the holiday weekend. There were a lot of spaces when I arrived yesterday, but this afternoon and evening most of them were filled. The campground has a number of activities planned during the weekend to help celebrate the Memorial Day Holiday. I’m not interested in Tie Died T-Shirts, but somebody must be. There is also a BBQ tomorrow afternoon. I’ll pass on that too.

Travel Day and Electric Problems

Thursday May 25th 2023

Today was a travel day. The weather was not the best for travel, but it wasn’t the worst either. On the positive side, there was filtered sunshine and no rain. On the negative side there was a lot of wind. The temperature was in the upper seventies to lower eighties most of the day.

It was only a little over sixty miles of travel today. That included a ten plus mile detour to get gas at the Flying-J. The RV lanes at that chain of fuel stops are very convenient. I had one complication on today’s travel. The latch on my refrigerator failed. From time to time I heard the door flapping and stuff flying out, but at the time I didn’t know what it was. Since there wasn’t any place convenient to stop, I had to wait until I arrived at my destination. The damage wasn’t bad. The only stuff that ended up on the floor were packaged material. The eggs and liquids stayed in the refrigerator.

It was after I started setting up that I discovered today’s real issue. My inverter/charger seems to be broken. Not only was it failing to convert twelve volt DC battery power into AC power, it seems to be preventing the AC shore power from getting to all the outlets. All of the circuits that go through the inverter are dead. That includes the TVs and the refrigerator. For now, I am using power from the non inverter circuits for the electric fireplace and the microwave to power one TV and the refrigerator via extension cords. I’m going to have to find a mobile RV service company to come out and look at the issue. Why do these things always happen around holiday weekends?

Site 22 at the Starke Florida KOA.

I am at the KOA in Starke Florida. This is the same place I spent the Memorial Day holiday last year. Right now, I plan to be here until June 5th, but the issues with my electrical systems may change that departure date.

Last Day in St. Augustine

Wednesday May 24th 2023

Today’s weather was OK. It wasn’t bad and it wasn’t great. The sky remained overcast all day. One quick storm passed through during the late morning and another threatened unsuccessfully during the afternoon. The temperature remained very comfortable in the low to mid seventies.

This was a day for catching up on chores around my RV home. My sink had accumulated a few dirty dishes that needed to be washed and stacked. I try to deal with them right after eating, but it doesn’t always happen. Once a few dishes get left in the sink, they seem to attract more dirty dishes. Luckily the sink that isn’t covered is only medium size. Not a lot of dishes can accumulate before I have to wash them and it only takes a few minutes. After the dishes the plan was to vacuum the floor, but the weather saved me from doing that chore. The vacuum cleaner hose and accessories are stored in an outside storage bin. It was raining, so I put off the task and never got back to it.

Walking around the RV park today was a challenge. Last night’s rain combined with this mornings showers left a lot of standing water. Conditions were not right for things to dry out today. Just getting out of my site without getting my feet wet required a big detour through the neighboring site. Later in the day that option disappeared with the arrival of a new neighbor. The walking trails near the retention pond and near the pool were all wet and muddy. My walk was pretty much restricted to the campground roads.

This is my last day in St. Augustine. Tomorrow I’m moving inland about sixty miles. Checkout time is at 11AM so it will be a busy morning. I got most of the outside tasks accomplished this afternoon. The remaining outside tasks for tomorrow morning involve dumping the holding tanks and unhooking from the utilities. There are still plenty of inside tasks to complete in the morning.

Time to Dry Out and Get Groceries

Tuesday May 23rd 2023

Yesterday’s rain continued off and on into the evening. This morning I learned the rainfall totals were from four to six inches in this area. It has looked like it would rain at any minute all day, but it remained dry until shortly after 8PM this evening. Rain is in the hourly forecast for the next twenty four hours. I suspect the forecast will be refined over time and it won’t be raining all the time. The good news about today’s rain threat is its impact on the temperature. The overcast sky kept the temperature down.

I finally got to Walmart for groceries today. I’ve been eating from the freezer and getting creative since Saturday. One thing or another kept giving me an excuse not to deal with that particular chore. I don’t hate food shopping, but it can be tedious dealing with other shoppers. The store was fairly busy today. I had to wait to get access to the meat counter. Getting near the beef was particularly difficult. Lines at the checkout were also extensive. I prefer to use the “assisted checkout” even when the cashiers are as fast as a snail in worm race. Today was one of those days.

I came home with everything I needed to restock the pantry and refrigerator. The stuff I used from the freezer got replaced as well. Judging by the final cost, I probably over bought. I spent about twenty dollars more than the new usual. The new usual is already thirty to forty dollars more than the pre pandemic cost for my grocery runs. Most of that is inflation, but it also represents a slightly longer period between grocery runs.

Today’s dry weather also allowed me to get back to walking around the campground. It is at mid week occupancy levels. They manage to spread out the guests so it doesn’t look vacant, but clearly there are more empty sites than occupied ones. One good thing about yesterday’s rain is how it cleaned up some of the sand and dirt that was on the decorative stones that lined the upgraded sites. They looked very crisp.