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Winter Winter Everywhere!

Jack frost visits the area and we keep reminding ourselves of this great blessing we have to be on the road full time south of all the cold fun.

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Floridians must have wanted to remember what they were going to be missing when they retreated to Florida and developed this area. We are staying now in Winter Garden, which is just down the road from Winter Haven, Winter Park, Winter Springs, Winter Green and Frostproof! This past week the cold weather dipped down into Florida with some areas seeing hard freezes that did damage to plants. Even pixie dust at Walt Disney World was not immune when Epcot Center “had a visit from jack frost.” We made another visit there on Thursday and found that there were many flower beds either black and dying or completely covered up by the imagineers with white blankets. It is easy to forget after the being here now for five weeks that it is indeed winter and that what is sometimes dark, dreary and brown here is a not under 8-12″ of white stuff!

Jason’s parents are now with us again, they too left Frostproof early and that has given us a chance to spend more time together here at Winter Garden RV Resort. We have finally found a campground with a working pool and enjoyed a deep! Low 70’s with a breeze brought a decent wind chill, but we were enjoying a swim, outdoors, in January, and it wasn’t a polar challenge! There are farmers markets in our area and there are countless numbers of semi trucks moving produce on the highways.

We visited the Silver Springs State Park and greatly enjoyed the glass bottom boats. There are numerous deep springs feeding and the water turns over every two minutes with millions of gallons of water. The water is crystal clear and each boat has a huge glass window in it that everyone sits around while the pilot hovers over each of the features and narrates. They have glass bottom kayaks and canoes in addition to the motorized tour boats. There are some very brilliant fish in the waters here. It was really worth a visit and if it were not for seeing this on because of one of our favorite Youtube inspirations, Less Junk and More Journey, we would have never check it out.

Sunday we visited the East coast of Florida and took a lunch boat tour up and down the Halifax River in the Daytona area. It was a great experience, a two hour tour on a well equipped “paddle” boat that served some really tasty meals on the “Dinner and a Cruise.” It was also one of those things in which we sort of just cast our fate into, “well it’s only $19.95, if it is bad we are not out much” sort of feeling. It was nothing like that, it was a really great experience the four of us experienced together. From there then we went out onto the Daytona Beaches and we drove up and down the hard pack sands while the Atlantic was at low-tide. Fate phoned again while Jason took a work related call to talk about the 8″ to 12″ of snow that the University’s emergency management team is tracking back in Wisconsin!

RVtravel.com’s Worth Pondering Message, January 2018: “Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed by them.” —Henry David Thoreau

Rate Cards

We had a duh moment checking into the RV resort this time. We didn’t pay attention to the daily, weekly and monthly rates.

We should have booked two solid weeks instead of 6 days and a week. This is because paying for one week plus six days costs more than two weekly rates back to back. Sometimes it is cheaper to book the longer rate to get a week or a month and just leave early. Many parks will have a stay X days get 1 free sort of deal too. Sometimes you can use the various discount programs, but most often those will only apply to a daily rate and not to any of these special stay a while deals.

This coming week we continue to be in Winter Garden before we depart a few minutes South for Clermont. We are currently in the Winter Park RV Resort that is part of the Encore Resorts system, which as a Thousand Trails member we received a 20% discount on the stay. Since we love the quality of this park, we want to come back here one more time before we leave Florida. We decided to also add the “trails collection” to our Thousand Trails membership, which adds another 100+ parks around the entire US. Otherwise we just have the “Southeast” zone of Trails parks. It is an ongoing challenge to keep optimizing our routes around the membership parks, with the 14 days in a park and then 7 days out requirements of the membership. Jason is planning to return to the office around April 1 and we continue to consider the route and options these memberships give us. In addition to opening up parks all over the country, this now also gives us 5 parks in Wisconsin we are now eligible to use.

Winter Garden RV Resort

We have stayed here now a total of three separate times over two different winter seasons. (Jan 15-28, 2018) (Feb 18-Mar 3, 2018) (Dec 3, 2018 - Mar 3, 2019)
Feature1st Stay 20182nd Stay 2018Winter 2018-2019
CampgroundWinter Garden RV Park
13905 W Colonial Dr
Winter Garden FL 34787
(407) 656-1415
http://www.wintergardenrv.com/
Encore Resorts Property
Nights Stayed13: 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.)
90: December 3, 2017 - March 3, 2019
Parking SiteSite 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.
Site 279

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.
Site 169

We were to be on site 191 but when we got here it was a complete mess. They had recently dug it up for an electrical project and the entire site was loose dirt. There was no way we could be in there and not sink in, so they allowed us to move to site 169. 169 actually has afternoon and evening shade from a tree on the west side of the lot line and turned out to be a much better site.
Restaurants
Attractions
WELS ChurchesCrown of Glory
http://www.crownofgloryorlando.org
2101 S. Apopka Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32835-5802
Less than 20 minutes away is Crown of Glory
http://www.crownofgloryorlando.org
2101 S. Apopka Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32835-5802

About 45 minutes to the Northeast is King of Kings , a larger church with a bigger school but it is farther.
Remember for Next TimeCamping 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.
Great Super Target in Winter Garden Village, Lowes next door. Publix is across Colonolio Drive from the RV park.

Camping World is now closed locally and is their cheap RV brand America's Choice RV.

Showcase of Citrus, Highway 27, Clermont, Florida - do not be afraid of the corny roadside attractions, the produce is all from their orchard. If you want you can grab a bag and head out to the trees to pick the fruit for yourself.

Indenpendence RV - Newmar dealer where we bought the 2008 Kountry Star 3916 - an amazing dealership!
AT&T Coverage4G LTE very good, low latencyAT&T is turning out to not be the better of the two carriers this time. Using the Weboost with the hotspot.
Verizon Coverage4G LTE goodVerizon is doing very well using the external antenna in the window. Weboost not as effective with this right now.
WiFi CoverageNone at the sites, only at the recreation buildingWiFi is available for a charge at the sites, otherwise it is free at the recreation bulding
Anytime FitnessThere 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.
There is a 3rd Anytime Fitness center to the South, with better access during traffic.
Mail ServicesCan 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.
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