Thursday March 9th 2023
Today was sunny with only a little wind. It was a good day for travel. The temperature peaked in the mid eighties where I was at the heat of the day. It may have been warmer a my point of origin. One hundred plus miles north in Florida seems to make a difference.
I packed up and departed Collier-Seminole State Park at quarter to one in the afternoon. My departure was complicated by finding space to hookup my car for towing. In older state parks like Collier-Seminole there isn’t enough room along the campground roads near the sites. My usual solution is to use the day use area parking lot to complete the coupling. Today that was a long walk away. I was actually ready to leave the site before noon. Moving the car, walking back, using the dump station and then driving the motorhome to the day use area for the hookup took the better part of an hour.
My only stop on the 140 mile drive north was at a gas station under ten miles after I left the state park. I had scouted the station for good access earlier in the week. Unfortunately, the driver of a gray pickup didn’t know my plans. I entered the station from the back and came around the building to line up with the last row of pumps. A gray pickup truck was parked at that pump. The driver was probably inside the convenience store. I waited a good distance away for over five minutes with no sight of the driver. With plenty of room to maneuver I gave up waiting and continued on my way intending to stop at a station in Fort Meyers I have used in the past. Somehow a combination of traffic and maybe a missing sign, I drove right by the correct exit. I arrived at my destination with a little less than a quarter tank and a few more gray hairs from anxiety.
Starting in the Fort Meyers area and continuing most of the way to my destination I started to see signs of hurricane Ian damage. Even five months later there is still a lot of damage to things like road signs, billboards and other high business signs. I suspect similar damage is why I missed the gas station sign in Fort Meyers. North of Fort Meyers I think there were a number of areas with tree damage, but it is hard to say for sure.
The last thirty miles of my trip were the worst. Traffic was heavy through the Sarasota Bradenton area and a few areas of construction really slowed everything down. I can’t say I ever came to a complete stop, but the forward progress was down to 10MPH a few times. It was after three thirty when I arrived at Lake Manatee State Park in Bradenton Fl. Once again I used the day use area here to unhitch my car. The difference is I can almost see the day use area from my campsite.