Jason’s at the Space Center
“Kennedy Space Center” needs to be renamed to “Mars Mission Propaganda Center!” After dropping Deina and Barb off at the Cocoa Beach Pier Jason continued up the coast about 20 minutes to the Kennedy Space Center. After waiting about 90 minutes to get tickets and then to grab lunch, Jason began his exploration. The main attraction is only the Mars mission pavilion which focuses on explaining why spending your tax dollars on Mars missions is important. Bus tours were abbreviated as well and only now stop at the Apollo building. It was sort of fitting that the biggest attraction there is a “green screen” where you too can get your picture on the moon. Maybe the conspiracy theories are right about walking on the moon was hollywood special effects? What cool was being able to see the rocket booster that launched the Falcon Heavy SpaceX into space back on earth for reuse in its next mission.
We returned to Winter Garden last week and this is the second of our two weeks with Thousand Trails. Wednesday night of this week my sister Deina, flew into Tampa to visit for a few days. I had butterflies watching her flight on Flight Tracker as she left Minneapolis late. It seemed like the plane just hit the Florida humidity wall and turned around to head back when flight tracker showed it heading North instead of South! But once she was on the ground I was giddy waiting for her to arrive from the gate and elated to see her and to give her a big hug. We Facebook video call often, but it is nothing like the warm hug. We had Deina fly into Tampa because we had originally planned to be in Bushnell, which is only 45 minutes from Tampa airport. Winter Garden is about 75 minutes when the traffic is good, which at 10PM no problems.
Thursday Jason took a vacation day and we all headed to the Cocoa Beach area. After an amazing breakfast at Keke’s Café we Jason dropped us off at the beach. He then headed over to the Kennedy Space Center where his visit wasn’t so good. On the beach we had an amazing time, watching the “beach people” while sipping fruity drinks under a rented umbrella eating chocolate covered frozen bananas! After Jason picked us up we stopped in at our favorite Key Lime Pie place to buy a couple to take North with us and then we had another amazing mean at Grills Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar in Cape Canaveral.
Friday Jason worked a full day but us girls headed over to my favorite beach, Pine Island, on the gulf side. It was really warm and really busy now, much different than when it was in the 60’s on New Years Eve! We had to wait an hour to even get into the parking lot. But the wait was so worth it! The water is much calmer here than at Cocoa Beach so we enjoyed a warm dip on a really hot day. While we were in the water a couple of dolphins came by and swam with us for a little bit. Check that off the bucket list, “swim with dolphins” is done!
Saturday was a low key headache day, we returned to the Dinner and a Cruise in Daytona Beach this time with my sister to cruise the Halifax River. This cruise went in the opposite direction of when we were here with Jason’s parents, so it was like a new cruise all over again. It was much warmer this time too, but it was a lot of fun. After we did a bit of shopping in the city at Catherines and headed back to the Winter Garden area. Jason surprised us with the Magic Kingdom fireworks because he did some Google Map research to find an open field behind the park. From the tailgate of our truck we enjoyed the beautiful display. Jason “volunteered” to sleep on our converted sofa bed and Deina shared the king size bed with me. This meant many nights of “slumber parties” while Jason got to bed at his normal time and up for work each morning.
Unfortunately, we had to take Deina back to the Tampa airport for her return home. It took over 2 1/2 hours to get to the airport area from the Winter Garden area, the traffic on I-4 was really horrible. However, we recovered by having a late lunch, early dinner, at Rumba Grill with fresh citrus rum drinks, crab mac and cheese and some amazing fresh crab, shrimp and scallop pasta. It was so good. We drove out on the causeway and then returned to The Dessert Spot that we had found on Wednesday night when we had picked up Deina. They have the most amazing toffee and things made from toffee. Deina took a bunch of it home to the family. Then we had to do the sad thing, I walked Deina to her security checkpoint at the airport and cried. It was really rough. I know it is only a few more weeks before we roll back into her neighborhood, but it is still really tough.
|Campground||Winter Garden RV Park
13905 W Colonial Dr
Winter Garden FL 34787
Encore Resorts Property
|Nights Stayed||13: January 15-28, 2018||14: February 18 - March 3, 2018
(12 nights, we left on Friday and did not stay to the very end of our reservation. 14 in the "system" officially.)
|Parking Site||Site 191|
Site is not too bad, it is small but the East side of the site is up against an older park model home. This actually secludes the space and there are some shrubs too. The full time seasonal neighbors to the West were nice, quiet and working day/night shifts. CATV was not good. There is an extra sewer connection in the way of the outdoor kitchen. Good distance to the dumpsters and the bathroom that serve the area of the park. Up on a hump, level once you are up on the hump. Not really walking distance to the pool from here. It was pretty quiet here, with the exception of the working neighbors who were very courteous to their door slamming as they come and go.
Stayed this time on the Trails Collection add on package. 279 is a tiny little spot in the Northeast corner by the fire station and is 5 speed bumps from the front entry. The electrical system at this site is very old. The CATV is not available here, had to run a cable over to the neighbors site. The 9th Street to get to this site is really beat up, no speed bumps but the entire road is such a mess it might as well have tons of them. Really tight to get into sites on this row because of the storage units that are on the North side of the road. You may or may not have space for swinging into your site on the South side of the road. Not walking distance to the pool from here. Other than the fire station this is a quiet spot.
|WELS Churches||Crown of Glory
2101 S. Apopka Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32835-5802
|Remember for Next Time||Camping World is about 2 miles to the East, but is old and tiny.|
Book a full two weeks and not 13 days, their discount for weekly rates is deep vs. the daily rates.
|Winter Garden RV Resort is an Encore park and is then available as the Trails Collection package.
Tampa airport is about 1h45m from the RV park with good traffic. With bad traffic it can be over 2 hours away.
Access to Magic Kingdom through the 528 route south from Highway 50. About 20 minutes and you come at it from the Contemporary Resort side.
|AT&T Coverage||4G LTE very good, low latency|
|Verizon Coverage||4G LTE good|
|WiFi Coverage||None at the sites, only at the recreation building|
|Anytime Fitness||There are two Anytime Fitness facilities in either direction about 2 miles out main entry. One to the East that takes twice as long to get to but is half as far as the one to the West. The Eastern gym in Winter Garden has more modern equipment but the Western gym in Clermont has less stop lights. There is also a third a few more minutes to the South.
Campground has a good fitness room with low-end fitness grade equipment. Also there are well paved roads in the park are good for biking and walking. There are two warm pools in the park.
|Mail Services||Can receive packages via USPS and UPS at main address, First Class envelopes are accepted. Must have the site number and the name in the address. The "Wi-Fi" room at the main office building has mail slots, you have to check there to see if you have a pack slip in your mailbox. You can also steal other people's mail there if you are so inclined.|