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Old 03-14-2018, 05:22 AM   #1
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Name: Bat Dude
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 347
Bat Dude and family update

Hi all,

Thought I would post about our current stay in Venice Florida with a few stops in between.

We arrived here after 2 months on Jekyll Island and 3 stops. First was Paynes Prairie Preserve state park (FL) just south of Gainesville.
I was able to teach the bat acoustic course on Big Data and the following week the graduate seminar so that mission was accomplished. While working with my Peruvian grad student I sort of inherited a Bolivian and a Spanish student (working if Costa Rica) both working on bats as well. Guess that will keep the old mind active and be challenging. While now Ahem retired…from paid work, I am still working on making sure the next generation can carry on.

Paynes Prairie was a WONDERFUL campground – We had to hop around from site to site for many days as we were only locked into a single site for 4 nights all that was available in August 2017. For the remaining 7 days, we needed to move to new sites each day. Why? Warning Florida state park reservations open 11 months in advance, so most sites were booked eons ago. Moving was not a problem as dumping each day made life with only power and water easy. We had moving down to +/-16 minutes from departure from one site to arrival and set up including dumping then connecting & leveling so was not all that bad. Miles and miles of walking trails and dog-friendly, just need to be vigilant and watch for gators on wet trails.

From there we headed further south into central Florida to Lake Louisa State Park. I was able to pre-reserve 4 nights on-line in August so we were fine there. Also a wonderful experience. This park has miles of biking, hiking and walking trails along with great showers and facilities. As with most Fl. State parks no sewer hooks ups but power and water.
From there on Friday we pulled to the SKP Co-op park in Wauchula, Fl. Two nights there for nearly no $ as Escapee members. The first afternoon we drove to Sebring to drive through the Scamp Camp but the key events were Wed. Oh well… saw many 13s and 16s and one Escape 5th wheel. We did walk the trails of that state park to log our 10K Fitbit steps for the day. We also returned on Saturday to walk more.

On Sunday we had a short ~ 1 hr pull to our present location a commercial RV “Resort” Ramblers Reserve Resort near Venice. The location here is south of Venice and in the extreme north of North Port but convenient to everything. No sewer but power and water. Apparently, they are using an area that was relegated as tent sites for power and water only. So about every 3 days I head to the dump station. Facilities for the high $ cost are OK. We were notified on check in that there was a water main leak that needed to be repaired. The scheduling of this was delayed as plumbing parts had not arrived. The repair resulted in the entire RV resort being w/o water for 10 hours. This was followed by 4+ days of boil water for drinking until health department approved it. Rambler’s has a very nice dog park. Walking around the park it looks like >50% of occupants are Mich. and Ontario license plates, with another large complement from Ohio. They offer yoga, a large pool and another resort type of things for no additional fees.

I have been working on the Paint Sarasota plein air paint out for 9 days. Each day Carolyn, Esme and I have logged our 5+ miles of walking at one of the 4 nearby parks or the Venice trail way along the Intra-coastal waterway. Painting for me has not been going as well as I would have liked.

I had planned to paint most of January on Jekyll but alas unseasonable cold weather precluded me from doing more than 2 paintings. My entry for the annual Light Chaser’s show is a plein air I did on Jekyll the previous year. I may or may not have an entry for the Paint Sarasota show. I will look at my 8 x 10 panel later this afternoon to see if I can improve it in a few more hours before framing. This morning is the Quick Draw event. Painting starts at 9 AM and ends at 11 AM. I am not ready for a 2-hour blitz and will only watch others. Thursday morning is drop off of all of the show paintings.

We have Thursday afternoon planned to visit the training arena of Hermann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions. We attended this twice before a few years ago. Dogs are welcomed since it is outdoors.
Friday evening is the Gala and Light Chaser’s annual show opening so we will drive to Sarasota for a few hours. Maybe some person will want to buy the Jekyll Island wet lands painting?

Carolyn has commented early on that the women’s shower facility here art Rambler’s is OK, but just, same for men’s. Not cleaned regularly apparently. The combination lock on the women’s door does not always work and she had to walk to an alternate facility to shower a few afternoons ago. She returned yesterday afternoon and I inquired about her ease of access. She replied that the door worked well but there was “Yellow Crime scene” tape blocking entry to 2 of the 3 woman’s showers! We are hoping the “Resort” simply did not have any “out of service” tape and used that instead. She reported that she did not see any bodies or evidence of alleged crimes having been committed.

Ext Monday we will pull to the Myakka State Park for 4 nights (again hopping from site to site each day) then on to Clearwater to visit friends and step out of the Scamp for a week or so before wending our way north. Our plan is to spend 2-3 nights in Lexington KY on the way north so we can visit race horse farms. Then one more overnight stop and back to our spacious 1,000 sq ft. house in Michigan by the end of the first week of April. With Easter being April 1st we also want to avoid being on the road.

A few years back we made the mistake of heading onto I-75 to head north on April 1st only to find it bumper-to-bumper with returning snowbirds as their monthly rentals ended then.

Our new Escape 19 will not be ready until mid-August. Not sure if we will drive west to pick it up or have it delivered. In any case, we will be Scamping in June at a Michigan state park for a 3-day yoga retreat.
Cheers all,
Bat Dude
Conservation biologist specializing in bats. Now stepping aside from paid $ bat work and just Escaping, painting and mentoring grad students
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Old 03-14-2018, 06:26 AM   #2
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 5,303
So you did order the Escape, we were wondering about that. While we were in the south we had everything reserved before we left home, only had to make one change for a couple days because of the government shutdown over the budget. We arrived home March 4th, sliding in after one snowstorm, only to enjoy two more afterwards. Don't head home yet.
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:41 AM   #3
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Name: Tom
Trailer: Sprinter 'til I buy
Denver, CO
Posts: 944
Thanks Bat Dude, Your post inspires me to get out and enjoy the sort of good life you are enjoying, so I appreciate it. But first, someone left my sink full of dishes. Safe travels.
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