Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 1 May 2009

Off to a Slow Start

Manatee Springs State Park, Florida

We finally get our RV back from the dealer about noon. We spend one night in the RV sleeping in one of the dozens of hanger-like service bays. We had a list of five things to repair, including adding a little air to the tires. The only thing they managed to accomplish was the air fill, I think, but I haven’t checked that work yet.

They wanted to charge $100 for the tire pressure check and $240 for diagnosing the satellite dish problem. The satellite dish was originally broken on delivery and they didn’t have the parts to fix what they claimed was the problem. I gave them the fish-eye on both issues and they wrote it all off to customer goodwill.

The problem with this dealer is too many moving parts. We dealt with a service advisor, a cashier, a gate security guard, the IT department, the cabinet shop, the parts department, a satellite specialist and numerous others. We had top wait an extra two hours to get a zero balance bill because the service advisor's computer was frozen. I prefer one guy with a truck who fixes the problem and writes out a paper bill.

We made it to the Manatee Springs State park about 150 miles north of Tampa. The manatees left about a month ago when the water in the Gulf warmed up. The big spring empties into the Suwannee River. Right now the water level is high so they are not permitting swimming, diving, kayaking or canoeing. As a result, the park is pretty much empty except for us and numerous very tame deer and armadillos.

It seems very quiet and peaceful, so we decide to stay another day to read, play scrabble and take a drive down to Cedar Key. Cedar Key is a little bump-out on the West Coast of Florida. This 100 mile stretch of coast is about the only place in Florida that lacks good beaches, due to low swampy conditions. The nice thing about that is this part of the State also lacks people.

The deer seem to have been fed frequently by campers. I give one a banana and it comes to the table to sniff around for more treats. Florida deer are small and graceful.

We have lunch in Cedar Key: stone crab, crab bisque, smoked mahi-mahi spread and sauvignon blanc. We don't care for the wine or stone crab, but I don’t expect much in a tourist place. I promise Mrs. Phred better seafood along Florida’s panhandle coast.

Next stop is the white sand beaches of St. George Island State Park on the North Gulf coast of Florida.


  1. sounds like you are off and running...your sil

  2. If you do not like the seafood in better stick with burgers!

  3. For many years Ron and I vacationed at St. George Island. Can't wait to see pictures to see how it's changed! Enjoy your trip.