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Old 04-07-2016, 06:14 PM   #1
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Name: Bat Dude
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 347
OMG how quickly the miles fly by

To quote an anonymous frog..."Time's fun when your having flies."

We are on our last stop on our 2015-2016 Scamping trip before we reach home. This trip we departed Michigan 2 days after thanksgiving (2015) and headed south. Michigan to Ashville, NC, then to Jekyll Island Ga. (Wow what a place for a month), then to Wauchula, FL to an SKP park (a week at a super nice place. Then down to the Florida Keys. Eeeee the Sugarloaf Key KOA was too noisy and crowed and hugely expensive for minimal site w/o sewer. The day trips to Key West were Awesome. Although we had a slot for a small 16' Scamp for nearly 6 weeks we opted to move on after a week. We only scored the long term slot there at the last minute (everything else was booked months in advance) 'cause we were small.

From there we headed north to Key Largo to the only site in the keys with any space at all. We wanted to be there so I could participate in the Isla Morada week of the Paradise Paint out, a week of Plein Air painting.

This camp ground Riptide RV Park on Key Largo was the pits and the worst place we have ever stayed for an exorbitant amount of $$$.

It does have a boat parking area and divers apparently love it and ignore the RV site as they are on the water every waking moment. Being the ONLY place we could find we stayed only a week and we had no other choice. The drive from Sugar Loaf KOA would have been nearly 60 miles each way to attend the painting events on narrow 2 lane road daily.

On a more positive note we then moved to the Everglades and all the way south to Flamingo at the N.P.S. campground. First come first served slots were available! Again only power and water, but needed to haul to dump station every few days. We spent 9 nights there. Full hook ups had been reserved some 7 months in advance, not to worry we still had a major WOW experience!

Much of the site had been flooded from recent rains and much cooler and wetter that normal weather. Clearly there are still many who deny climate change. In another 15-20 years much of the Flamingo campground may be mostly inundated. The NPS is not going to reopen Loop C that had been entirely abandoned and overgrown for many years.
Still some rattlesnakes in that section.

We next moved north to Punta Gorda Fl. and found a campground that apparently was well known for double booking sites. So while we thought we had 2 weeks there we were booted out after the end of the first week as they had already booked a very small class C into our slot. In fact that unit sat in front of the office for 2 nights waiting for us to pull out!

I did call every RV park within a 40 mile radius to see where we could go and stay int he areas. All were booked months and months in advanced and not a scrap of space left. Clearly we were getting discouraged then Thank You RV Parky app on my tablet. We found that about an hour north of us was a place called Linger Lodge near Bradenton, Fl. I called and YES...they could fit us in. Again we are small and all other sites for the big rigs were booked for months in advance.
Small IS Beautiful!!!

Very reasonable rates and we were placed well back and off the beaten path so quiet and dark! Worked very well for 8 nights and allowed us to visit the Lipizzaner Stallions DW has wanted to see forever. We actually went once from the PG campground and then again from Linger Lodge so she saw them 2 times.

Linger has a nice rustic restaurant and we did opt to eat out once while there. Great Road Kill menu, but even though we are hardened field biologists who spent 25 years in the jungles of Central American we did not order from that one and ordered more mundane food. LOL.

We then moved to Clearwater FL. for March 2016 for a month spent working with the Florida Bat Conservancy on the Citizen Science acoustic data. All the while the Scamp was parked in front of our friends house. They had a spare room we used and DW shared cooking chores with our hostess and I assisted the host with kitchen clean up. We both helped with emptying then various wine bottles of red and whites. Francis Ford Coppola's Pinot Gregio seemed to win the taste tests.

Then reality sets in...OMG I gotta do our 2015 taxes. Everything is at home! The April 15th deadline looms so no choice but to leave warm southern weather and head north on the 29th of March.

But Wait. A long time friend of DWs lives in Clermont Fl. somewhat north and well another Florida State Park we did not yet know was near there; Lake Louisa so we hooked up the Scamp and drove 1.5 hours and spent the next 2 nights there. Another WOW but need to move north.

OK we agree we have not seen the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge in Georgia so we head there for 2 nights. Another wonderful GA State Park.

Then we really really need to head north. One can only procrastinate so long, or not.<_<

Our first stop north from the Okefenokee was to be an old RV park along "Old US 41" that had marginal reviews. However for some reason when I added RV park in Actworth GA the Google map search on the tablet we were routed us off I-75 past a huge Cabellas to a differnt campground.

It was not the place I thought, but turned out to be an Army Corps of Engineers ... McKinney Camp Ground. Another WOW and only $12 per night with the Geezer (AKA Old Fart) Golden Age Pass for National Parks. Best $10 spent more then 12 years ago.

As we often repeat when stumbling around we use that old pearl "Even a blind pig can occasionally find a chestnut." DW exclaimed as we pulled into the entrance of this campground "The PIG guided us again!"

We planned to only stay one night. Then the other shoe dropped as they say. DW's sister emailed "Do not come home yet, a bad late winter storm with snow is hitting the area over the next few days."

The next morning I found our slot was still open (sign did still say campground was full) and we stayed 2 more nights. Yippeee.

Then we decided we had to bite the bullet so to speak, and continue north. We spent one night (yesterday) in the Renfro Valley KOA in Kentucky. Cool (low 40s!) and rainy overnight, but mostly fine. Today we moved north to Ohio and stopped at another KOA. Bluffton / Findlay SW KOA.

Why the KOAs???? These were the only places listed as open before April 15th up north. Yeah we could do Walmarts but maybe next time.

So we arrived here around 14:45 and found that the office was closed with big sign on the door "Winter camping! Pick a site and put your fee in envelope and drop in the slot in the door." No one home. No water on 99% of the sites... yep still winter up noprth. So we did find a 30 Amp site back in site w/o sewer or water. Only $25 so OK. Quick set up w/o water or sewer. Then we are hit by a blast of large hail, 20+ MPH wind, then 32 seconds of sun and relief to be followed by more of the same repeating for the next few hours.

OK we will be home tomorrow in about 5 hours. I will need to winterize the Scamp ASAP as the 45 degree days that have been the norm for the past weeks are gone and temps are to now drop again into the teens for nearly a week.

Oh the joys of being based up north.

Or I should say the absolute joy of FG Scamping!
Brief historical review...
We picked up our 16' Scamp in Bakus late October 2014, pulled it home and camped 3 times on the way. Then winterized and stored it in a large pole barn where our neighbor rented space for $45/month until early 2015 when we headed to Southern Calif. for a bat project.

I have recently began thinking about tires looking a tad worn... brakes and wheel bearings and other maintenance/service things I need to do.

I began wondering how many miles have we put on our new (well not now) Scamp since we picked it up in late Oct. 2014?

I did a rough estimate based on the AAA routes I had saved for varied trips in and around Michigan many times including the Scamp pick up from Minn > Mich. Then added the SW trip to So. California and SW and back then two trips to South Florida and back each with different routes like a WV return on one.

Yikes I need to start a Scamp mileage log so I can keep on top of service time for bearings, brakes etc. By the time we reach home early afternoon tomorrow we will have logged +/- 15,435 miles on our 16' Scamp. We have loved nearly every mile of it! The heavy sleet and return of cold today, not so much.

We have met wonderful helpful people from the site like Bob and Marry, Norm and Ginny & another couple in a 19' Scamp 5th wheel on our current travel route. Last year it was Byron and Anne in Death Valley!

With luck we will continuing accruing new friends on our Scamping travels.

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 04-07-2016, 06:41 PM   #2
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Name: Emily
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I LOVED reading this! Your travels sound like so much fun! Glad you are home safe, even if it's chilly
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:31 PM   #3
Name: Rebecca
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Great post! I will get to do a bat project where I'm taking my Scamp next month!
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:17 AM   #4
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Great story!
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Old 04-08-2016, 10:52 AM   #5
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Thank you very much for the monologue. We have not done much in the SE, that is, FL, GA, and AL. You made me set that as a goal!
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:27 AM   #6
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Hi Bruce,
It's nice to know you're having such a great time. This past winter's trip for us included New Orleans for Christmas, Padre Island, Oregon Pipe Cactus National Monument, Katherine Landing, Las Vegas Bay, and finally Death Valley.
A lot of the fun of traveling is the winter travelers are such great people.
Just a side note... While in Death Valley we did see bats flying over where you were camped last year.
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 04-08-2016, 04:13 PM   #7
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Made it home...

We made it home today!

The other couple I mentioned with the 19' Scamp 5th wheel we met at Jekyll Island were Hal and Dorthy who are also on the FG site from time to time. If you have not read their books they are a must! From narrow long boats to a Scamp!

Nice to hear from Byron again as well.

Last night at the Ohio KOA under "Winter" rules we had a revelation of sorts.

I took Esme out +/- 21:00 for last call before we crawled under the covers to stay warm.

There was from 1/8-1/4" of snow on the ground and blowing so hard Esme, who is black... looked white!

After I came back inside and made sure the furnace was blowing max hot air DW causally commented that the ONLY reason we uprooted the Scamp in considerably more southern latitudes was the TAXES I need to complete.

So our conversation kinda went "Ya know... if we were full timing we would have all that stuff with us and not need to head back to Michigan so fast."

Hmmm a point to ponder, however me thinks a 16' Scamp may be a bit on the small side for full timing.

Maybe with a 12'x12' screen room as well?

In any case we made it home. Then a temp winterize of the Scamp, drained the hot water heater added RV antifreeze to the bathroom sink/shower pump that transfers water to the gray water tank. Added a cup or so also to the toilet.

Allegedly after mid week next the weather lairs say we are to be back into the 60s and freezing is over for the spring/summer part of the year. Still into the teens tonight and tomorrow nights!

Another to do item on our Scamp tweak list is to reevaluate the positron of the Suburban furnace thermostat. There is a setting for the "Anticipator" that sets the cycle times. Perhaps I can tweak it to cycle shorter and not go from 60F to OMG warm each time. When I have it set lower it will now wait until it is 58-59F before it kicks in. Eeeeeee a bit cool.

All (well nearly all) things were fine at our house. DW was disappointed that all her African Violets were dead. Apparently the 1x per week house check person and mail forwarder over watered them. The rest of the plants look fine.

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 04-08-2016, 04:43 PM   #8
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Name: Norm and Ginny
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For a number of years we've been doing our taxes online, using TurboTax. It never takes more than a few hours, gets filed electronically and I choose when to pay the IRS. I can't imagine an easier process. It does state and federal taxes as well. In our case living in both Florida and NH there are no state taxes.
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
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Old 04-08-2016, 05:12 PM   #9
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I too use Turbo Tax. We do our taxes anyplace we have an internet connection and pay or get refund direct from our bank.
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 04-09-2016, 04:50 AM   #10
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Name: Bat Dude
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Taxes on the road

I agree it would be possible to file taxes on the road.

That assumes ALL of the necessary documents are with you, which was not the case for us

The first year we returned from Central America I was very excited about "E-filing" and it bite us in the butt. We were charged some $30 filing fee from the tax software, but apparently they were not correctly submitted and after the fact we had to pay late fees to both state and federal taxes.

Still need to calculate some self employment travel costs (2015 trip to Florida to teach a workshop) as they are legitimate deductions for the bat projects with earned income.

Perhaps I should stop doing the bat work and then all income and deductions will be clearly defined in the future.


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 04-09-2016, 07:20 AM   #11
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OMG how quickly the miles fly by

I think the key is converting all documents and records to electronic form. Then all you'd need is a laptop and internet connection.

I do a lot of self-employment paperwork (our family income is cobbled together from about five sources at this point), so I understand the issues with records! Maybe a portable mini-scanner? Perhaps making a list of every paper document you needed from home this time... Then figure out how you could get that information on the road next year.

As to "small for full-timing," that's up to you and you wife, but remember the times you scored a campsite because you were small. .

Haven't said it yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed your trip report!
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