Travel Day and Circus Train

Monday January 30th 2017

I departed the Tampa Soutn RV Resort in Ruskin Fl shortly after ten this morning. I manuvered the camper around on my site to make room to hook up my car so I wouldn’t block any of the campground roads. That wasn’t difficult, but getting out of the campground with the car hooked up was a slow, tedious process. Other challenges to my travel to Starke Florida were to come.

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Site 35 at the Starke Florida KOA.

The next challenge of the day was the wind. The wind was blowing strong from the west today. I fought a cross wind all the way up Interstate 75. It requires more concentration, and increases the impact of fast moving tractor trailers passing. I passed a couple of towed RVs (i.e. trailers) that were having a much more difficult time with the wind. I thought one of them was going to loose control for sure.

I also needed to fill the gas tank on the way. The station I planned to get gas at was packed with cars, trucks and RVs. Getting in and out of the station wasn’t possible, so I continued on my way. I start looking for gas before I get to a quarter of a tank so I had a good margin of travel. At the first rest area on the Interstate I did a Google map search for another gas station. I use the satellite view to scope out the access to the station. The gauge showed less than a quarter when I put 56 gallons of gas into the tank.

The next two challenges were routine. The interstate was blocked by an accident. I was completely stopped for ten to fifteen minutes followed by five or six miles of very heavy traffic. All of this was followed by a decision on which route to take off of the Interstate. My built in GPS and Google were at odds. Google’s route looked better, but it doesn’t understand I have a big RV like the built in GPS does. Once I saw that many trucks were following the Google route, my decision was easy. I followed the Google route and let the built in GPS “Recalculate”.

I arrived at the KOA in Starke FL after traveling for about four and a half hours. I’ll be here for three nights. The campground is much better than the one I left. This campground has grass instead of crushed shells. The distance between sites is thirty or forty feet instead of the twelve I had for the last month. The nightly rate is even cheaper here.

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Long and curios train with a mix of vehicles and cargo boxes.

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It’s the Ringling Brothers Circus Train.

The trip north was not all challenges. I had an opportunity to see a soon to be extinct thing. I traveled parallel to the rail tracks carrying the Ringling Brothers Circus train. It was a very long train for the east with at least two engines. My speed was a little faster than the train so I was able to pass it from back to front over several miles. The back of the train contains flatbed cars with circus containers, construction equipment and personal vehicles. The front of the train had passenger style cars and matching enclosed storage cars.

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Train pictures taken through the windows as I traveled parallel to the tracks.

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Sleeping cars, office cars or something similar.

Since Ringling Brothers has announced that it will shut the circus down at the end of May, I feel lucky to have seen the train. I’m not sure if this is the unit that was in Tampa over the weekend or the other unit. From the circus’s website it could be either unit heading for the Carolinas for next weekends shows.

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