New Years Eve began with thick fog covering the area. It was replaced by occasional light rain for the majority of the day. I remained inside most of the day. Near sunset the rain had let up enough that I could walk around the resort a few times. There are even more occupied sites tonight. The activity level and atmosphere is entirely different from earlier in the month.
The day started sunny, but transitioned to partly cloudy and then full cloudy as the sun was setting. The temperature reached the upper half of the seventies. Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow.
This was a reset day. After worrying about getting my fuel leak fixed most of the week, today became a return to normal day. I hadn’t connected all of the utilities to the motorhome so they wouldn’t be in the way of the repair effort. This morning I connected the water and the sewer up and got into full living mode. The inside got rearranged a little also.
The other impact of the holiday week and my preoccupation with getting the leak fixed is I don’t know what day it is. Thursday, Friday and Saturday were all thoughts that passed through my mind during the day. Most of the time I thought it was Saturday, New Years Eve. I just checked the top of this post and I did correctly label today as Friday the 30th.
Today was the first day I got out of the park since Monday. I made another visit to the Ocala Wetlands Recharge park. The weekend freezes killed off more of the vegetation for the winter, but there was plenty of greenery left. The water level in some of the holding pools is a little higher, but the birds seem to be in hiding. There weren’t as many posing for my camera.
RVs continued to stream into the resort. I think about half of the arrivals are for extended stays and the rest are for the holiday weekend. There are many families with kids on bicycles, scooters and other powered contraptions. The activity level is so much higher than a week ago. It really is a different kind of place this weekend.
There was more humidity in the air today. The day started with a lot of fog in the area. This immediate area seemed to be clear of fog. Over the course of the day there were more clouds in the sky than the last couple of days, but temperature got to the mid seventies. It was a few degrees warmer than Wednesday.
My day began with figuring out plan B for getting my fuel leak fixed. The mechanic that was supposed to show up at 2PM Wednesday hadn’t been heard from since a text message at 2:30PM. I would have expected something last night or the first thing this morning. Yesterday, one of the voice mails I left on Monday or Tuesday returned by call. This morning he got my business. I canceled the previous guy with a text message of my own and scheduled the new guy for 3PM.
The new guy arrived before 3PM and immediately found the leak in the fuel line where it connects to the manifold. It looks like some rodent may have taken a bite out of it. He took off with the fuel line in hand on a search of the local auto parts stores. Unfortunately he didn’t have any success. The part would have to be ordered from Ford with a long lead time. The best solution was to patch the existing line. A bunch of high tech adhesives and epoxy goop later the fuel line was patched successfully. I’ll keep watch on the patch and pursue the Ford part order if necessary.
I’m really lucky I didn’t have more problems. I had smelled gas before Monday, but hadn’t seen anything identifiable under the motorhome. The location of the leak caused fuel to spray on the outside of the hot manifold which vaporized the fuel. All it would need is a spark to have an uncontrolled fire. The fact that Monday morning was so cold resulted in less gas getting vaporized. The liquid drained onto the ground in a big puddle. In a way this is a good result from a very cold morning.
This RV resort continues to fill up. They open the section of the park with the recently completed electrical service. There seem to be two types of occupants. Families are here for the school vacation week and New Years Eve weekend. Snowbirds are also arriving in droves. Most of them will be here for a few months.
The weather continued its steady improvement today. It was a day filled with bright sunshine. The temperature started on the positive side of the freezing mark and continued to climb into the low seventies.
It was a good day to sit outside in the sunshine and I did a lot of that today. I spent the day waiting for the mechanic to show up to investigate my fuel leak. Initially he was scheduled for 2PM. Around 2:20PM he sent a text indicating he was running behind. I haven’t heard from him since. It looks like I’ll be figuring out a plan B in the morning. One of the other calls I made yesterday has now responded, so I have two possible alternatives.
While I was outside waiting for the mechanic many new RVs arrived at the resort. I think I saw a couple depart this morning, but as a whole there were many more new arrivals than departures. Walking around the resort this evening, it is apparent that the number occupied sites now outnumbers the available sites. Even so, there are more than 100 available sites and probably an equal number of sites that aren’t finished yet. One group of unfinished sites is just waiting for power and another group is a little further behind. The last group is just getting landscaped now. They expect to have all the sites ready by February.
The really cold weather is slowly leaving the area. It only got down to about thirty overnight. Today was bright and sunny with a slight breeze out of the north. The high temperature was around sixty degrees. The average daily high for this time of year is in the low seventies. The New Years weekend is forecast to have high temperatures back in the eighties, but with the probability of rain.
This morning I resumed the search to get my motorhome fuel leak fixed. I tried the business cards from the park office and numbers I found from internet searches. Today I got actual answering machines and a couple of real people. I left four messages and got one call back. The call back was via text message. The end result was a possible appointment for Saturday. I continued my search. The second actual person I made contact with said he could look at the motorhome tomorrow afternoon, so I’m going to give him a try. He has good reviews for his mechanical skills online, but is faulted for not showing up when scheduled. This is going to be interesting.
To give me enough time to get this “little” problem fixed, I’ve more drastically restructured my travel schedule. I’m going to stay here until the 9th of January. This cancels my second set of two weeks in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. While I’m going to miss my visits to the state parks, this change makes sense. Going 150 miles south for two weeks before returning right by here to go 40 miles north to the Gainesville FL area already seemed wrong. The shorter the stay the more wrong it felt. In a way this is just one more ripple in the cancellation of my Myakka River State Park reservation because of hurricane Ian. I still have reservations in the Sarasota/Bradenton area for March and April.
While working with the park office staff to extend my stay I learned that ten to twenty new RVs are arriving most days over the next couple of weeks. Their phone lines have also been ringing continuously with people looking for extended reservations. Before Christmas they weren’t getting a lot of interest, but starting yesterday they’ve been busy answering queries. The park is starting to look much more occupied. The power company was here today to put in additional transformers so that another section of new sites can be opened soon.
I was up early to get ready for a travel day. It didn’t get as cold last night as the previous couple of nights, but it was still only in the low thirties as I got packed up.
Things felt a little frozen. The hoses resisted moving in the direction I wanted them to move. It took a little more time and convincing. Getting the main slide room in and the leveling jacks raised was a slow process. The hydraulic fluid in the system was not as viscus as usual. All things considered, I was still ready to leave at 10:30. That is when the real issue made an appearance.
As I was connecting up the car for towing one of the park staff asked the curious question: “Do you have a gas leak?”. Sure enough there was a small puddle of gas accumulating under the coach just behind the engine area. I had smelled gas in the past and thought I might have an issue, but this was a lot worse than anything I might have suspected in the past.
The next complication is that today was a holiday for most of the working world. I got several options from the park staff, but nobody was picking up the phone. The few places that I got through to on voice mail haven’t called me back. I drove around the area in my car this afternoon and didn’t find any service places open.
The site I pulled out of this morning is occupied tonight. I’m on another site until at least Wednesday. I called Lake Manatee State Park in Bradenton to give them a heads up that I will be arriving a few days late. In the morning I’ll resume my search for someone to fix the fuel issue.
Many new RVs arrived at the campground today. It looks like many people spent the holiday at home before departing to spend the rest of the week between Christmas and New Years out camping. Lots of the new arrivals have kids trying out new bicycles, scooters and other large outside toys. The park is far more lively today than it has been during the entire two weeks I’ve been here.
The overnight hours were very similar to Friday night. There was about twelve hours below freezing with most of them in the low to mid twenties. Today’s high temperature was about five degrees warmer than Saturday at forty five. Tonight will be very similar to the last couple.
Once again this was very much an indoor kind of day. I baked a batch of imitation blueberry muffins from a package to go with my morning coffee then lingered at the table enjoying them. Eventually I got enough initiative to bundle up in my winter coat for a walk around the RV resort. Everything was very quiet. People were all inside their RVs. Yesterday all the plants I saw were showing real signs of freeze damage. The blossoms were all black or fallen off. Today I found a couple of little weed like plants that still had thriving blossoms.
Back in my warm RV it was time for Christmas dinner. I may not have a Christmas tree, but somehow I still have to have a slightly more upscale menu on the holiday. Today I had a slice of ham that I accompanied with mashed potatoes and corn for the main course. For dessert I had a slice of Apple Pie with Ice Cream. Overall it wasn’t anything special, but it was good.
This is my last full day in Ocala. Tomorrow I’m moving south about 140 miles to the Bradenton FL area. Getting packed up in the morning is going to be a challenge. The temperature will barely be above freezing by the 11am checkout time. Today’s cool temperatures kept me indoors and I didn’t get any of the usual outdoor prep tasks accomplished.
As predicted the temperature was below freezing by 11PM last night and didn’t return above freezing until around 10AM. The low temperature was around twenty three according to the TV weather report. I was comfortable inside my RV home. The only downside was waking up when the furnace came on a couple of times. I slept trough most of its cycles. The sound of the furnaces in other nearby RVs was more of an issue before I went to sleep than my own furnace.
Today’s high temperature was just a little north of 40 degrees. The bright sunshine allowed the inside of my RV home to stay warm all day. Outside, the wind out of the north kept brought the wind chill temperature down ten to fifteen degrees. I had to get my winter jacket out to stay warm on my daily walk around the RV resort. It has been a few years since the jacket left the closet. It sounds like I’ll need it again tomorrow.
Walking around the resort this afternoon I didn’t see any significant signs of RV damage from the cold. At one site the water hose was stretched out across the pad, probably in an attempt to thaw it out. Just turning off the water isn’t sufficient. You need to drain the hose. The most obvious sign of last nights temperature were the plants around the clubhouse. Yesterday there were colorful blossoms on all the plants. Today all of the blossoms and many of the leaves were black. The plants are still alive today, but another couple of nights with similar temperatures may do them in.
People were not very active in the resort today. The Christmas Golf cart parade didn’t happen. Yesterday there was an email saying it was still on if you wanted. Apparently nobody wanted to drive around in an open golf cart in thirty plus degree temperatures. I haven’t seen many golf carts other than the ones the staff use, so there probably weren’t many candidates.
Around 7:30 this morning the wind started to blow enough that I woke up. There was a little moisture on the windows facing the direction of the wind, but no real rain. The wind signified the passing of the cold front. This area was now in the “bomb cyclone” side of the front. Temperatures continued to drop all day.
This area will be experiencing real cold over the next few days. It is still not going to be as cold as other areas of the country, but temperatures in the twenties are much colder than Florida cold. Each of the next three nights are forecast to have a number of hours in the twenties. The daytime highs should make it into the forties.
The campground staff is very concerned. The manager and another guy visited each site this afternoon reminding people about the approaching cold weather. They wanted to make sure everyone disconnected their hoses and took other precautions. The resort club house will be open around the clock this weekend to provide a warm refuge for any campers that need it.
Before the park staff reminded me, I had already filled my water tank to about half full, dumped my holding tanks and put my hose away. I will work on my internal systems for the duration. This will probably be the longest period of below freezing temperatures I’ve experienced on the rambling road trip. I have had instances of low twenties temperatures, but only for short periods of time around dawn. The current forecast calls for the temperature to drop below freezing before midnight and not return above freezing until 10AM. Four or Five of those hours will be in the low twenties. I’ll be fine, but I have to run “Mr Noisy”. To keep the pipes in the basement warm and generally cope with the low temperatures I have to run the propane heater. It is far from quiet, thus I call it “Mr Noisy” when it wakes me up in the middle of the night. I use a small electric space heater during the daytime, but it doesn’t do anything for the basement.
I tried to venture out of the resort this afternoon, but the traffic was even worse than the last couple of days. After waiting two cycles and still not through the first traffic light, I made a u-turn and returned to my RV home. A visit to the Wetland Recharge park wasn’t worth it. My daily exercise became a walk around the RV resort. I took pictures of the blossoms on the plants near the club house. They are likely to be frozen off my tomorrow.
It was a foggy morning. The cloud level didn’t retreat much above ground level until nearly noon. During the afternoon the sun occasionally found a thin layer of clouds to peak through, but never clearly or for very long. The temperature stayed around sixty. When the wind was blowing out of the north it felt even cooler.
I took a drive across the peninsular to the east this afternoon. My mission was to pick up my mail from the mail service in Green Cove Springs before I move south on Monday. This is the last day they are open before Christmas. Traffic was heavy. Roads that are usually empty most of the way had a handful of cars all the way. Busy roads had heavy traffic. When I returned to the outskirts of Ocala I joined a solid line of stop and go traffic for most of my way home. So I encountered two kinds of traffic, shopping and travel for the holiday.
Gas prices also did a bounce for the holiday. Over the last couple of weeks the price of gas has dropped. Yesterday I saw several stations with gas at $2.76 a gallon. It was $3.28 less than two weeks ago. Today two of the stations I saw the $2.76 price at were up to $2.78. Two cents isn’t much, but it represents a change in direction which isn’t good. Hopefully it will resume its downward trend after the New Years.
I think the RV resort continues to fill up a little bit more each day. One of my neighbors departed this morning, but another RV replaced them this evening. There also seem to be more RVs on the road behind my unit. The amount of Christmas decorations haven’t increased significantly. Most of the decorations seem to be strings of lights. The blow up characters aren’t as popular at the this park. A golf cart parade is planned for Christmas Eve. I wonder what that will look like.