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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride


I’m sorry I didn’t get to write yesterday’s blog yesterday, I guess you were highly anticipating the blog, just like we were anticipating getting to our home yesterday!

Normally we don’t wake up with an alarm unless we really need to, but yesterday Richard was up without an alarm, and up at the crack of dawn! I could hear him rustling around the front of Newman and I realized he was doing everything he could to subtly wake me up. Finally he turned on the light in my bathroom and that was it! I was awake and up! Richard wanted to get going yesterday morning in the worst way possible, so we packed up and were ready to get on the road just before 8:30am…or were we?

Newman wouldn’t start! Oh no. Don’t tell me we had come all this way in 30 days since we left Vancouver Island and now Newman won’t start?!! Apparently Richard knew what to do because he said it had happened before. Richard always leaves a key in the ignition of Newman, because of some quirk with the ignition, but the night before Richard had turned Newman off incorrectly and now he had to manoeuvre himself onto the floor, under the ignition and do something to get the ignition to work. As he was lying on the floor, trying to explain it and I was anxiously hopeing he knew what he was doing, I said “I don’t need an explanation, I just need to know that this will work!” Sure enough when he jumped back up into the driver’s seat, Newman started like a charm and we were on our wayby 8:35am! Thank goodness!

As we approached Gainesville, Florida we noticed a lot of haze or fog in the low lying areas.

Neither one of us has ever spent much time in North Florida, so we were really anticipating seeing some signs to places that we were more familiar with in our travels.

A very happy driver! Richard was exercising extreme caution yesterday. As he said “I didn’t come all this way to have an accident so close to home!”

Ok. We know these places! These were really the first signs that we knew we were getting close to home. St. Stephen and his lovely wife Karen are staying in Zephyrhills for the winter so we know we will be seeing them soon! My dad always used to joke when he was alive, when he used to take my mom to the two Bealls Outlets in Zephyrills, “Are there really any hills in Zephyrhills?”

Once I had seen the sign to Zephyrills, I knew that the ‘Tampa Premium Outlets’ mall would be coming up shortly!

There it is! Somewhere I definitely like to go with Miss H when she is down visiting!

We were anxiously awaiting the signs to Interstate 4, when we knew that we would leave Interstate 75 South and head West on I4. We don’t live too far away from the intersection of these two highways, so the anticipation was killing us!

Our exit is getting closer!

We’re almost at the exit!

Finally! And we saw our first sign to Plant City too at the exit!

Careful Richard, around this sharp corner. We don’t want to lose Newman, when we are so close to home!

We started seeing all of the RV dealerships on I4 which are close to our home. We even saw a big, new Camping World too on I4! Maybe it won’t be such a disappointment as the one near Seattle was, if we need anything from Camping World, while we work on Newman over the winter.

And there is the sign for Parkesdale! Our favourite fruit and veggie market with the best strawberry shortcake and milkshakes in the world! I know Dougie Kurtin always need to stop at Parkesdale for one of their world class strawberry milkshakes. straight from the airport when he comes to visit!

And then we finally saw the sign that we had been anticipating for 30 days!

The Plant City Exits off I4! We bought our home in Plant City almost 13 years ago and we had another home in Plant City, before we purchased this one, so we’ve been coming to the area for close to 16 years now! A lot of people when you tell them you own a home in Plant City, Florida say “Where is that?” Then we say “Its inland from Tampa” and then people understand where Plant City is.

So why is it called Plant City? Despite being the winter strawberry capital of the world and hosting the annual Florida Strawberry Festival in March every year, Plant City is not called Plant City, because of the strawberries! Plant City was named after prominent railroad developer Henry B. Plant in the middle 1800’s. Henry B. Plant boosted the commerce in this primarily agricultural community by incorporating his railroad with the South Florida Railroad. Plant City is located in Hillsborough County (the same county as Tampa) and is 23 miles west of Tampa, and 15 miles south of Zephyrhills. Plant City has a small public-use airport and is the junction of the east-west Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and the north-south Seaboard Air Line Railroad. The tracks cross at a 90 degree angle, forming a diamond junction - both tracks are now owned by CSX. Downtown Plant City is a U.S. historic district containing 38 historic buildings. On the 3rd Saturday of every month in historic downtown Plant City, The Plant City Strawberry Classic Car show is held from 3pm-8pm. We both really enjoying going downtown to see the classic cars and this time of year to see the very festive Christmas lights around the downtown area.

These photos were taken a few years ago, but I’m looking forward to going downtown to see the Christmas lights in the historic downtown area soon, before they are taken down in the New Year!

As we turned onto Alexander Street, in Plant City, I started seeing places that I am anticipating eating at soon!

ABC Pizza House for the best drive through Greek salad ever!

Johnson Barbeque for the best takeout BBQ ribs ever!

The gatehouse for Walden Lake, where we live! No need to stop, we live here!

Walden Lake entrance sign. We’re almost home.

Entering Walden Lake. We never thought we would be coming through here in an big, old RV!

The Christmas decorations are still up at all in all of the little communities in Walden Lake.

I love the fountain at what used to be the entrance to the golf club road on Clubhouse Drive.

Entering our subdivision of 26 homes. It looks like the Christmas decorations are already down in our community. Every year each community decorates their front entrance for the chance to win some money for each communities’ individual home owner’s association.

Our first glimpse of our home. Wow! What a difference having had 5 old oak trees taken down in the past year.

Big huge oak stumps which we will have to get ground out.

And we are home! 30 days from coast to coast in Newman! He did it! And Richard is the champion RV driver of the year for getting us here safely! YEAH!

We don’t have a key to our home, since the locks were changed, so we really hope the garage door opener key pad works!

Yes! The garage door keypad worked as I didn’t want to use the toilet in Newman now that he is going into storage! It looks like we need to do a bit of landscaping at the front of the house now that it is more visible since the big, old oak tree got removed. I think a nice Pigmy Date Palm tree would look nice on that empty spot on the left. I think I will have to get working on this!

Roebelenii Palm or Pygmy Date Palm.

Newman is getting emptied out! What a lot of work to empty an RV which we have been living in since October!

We decided to use the 4th bedroom to store our clothes that we had in Newman.

I spent most of yesterday emptying out pantry items which had expired since we were last here in February 2020. Its a good thing Plant City has now moved to a garbage can by size, because our good friend, neighbour and caretaker Ray, got us the largest size of garbage can. I think I almost filled it, which is sad, with expired goods.

Next up was getting all of the dusty bedding off our bed and washing everything.

I wanted to get hooked up to the wifi too, but since we were last here, we had to get a new wifi set up, so Richard had to phone Spectrum and get the user name and password so we could get access to our internet. One of the worst things about being in an RV was trying to get good internet in an RV park. There were not many places that we stayed in Canada or the U.S. that had good internet. Now we understand why people have their own ‘dish’ installed on their roof, so they can get good wifi wherever they go. Our Wineguard system only boosts the wifi signal, but in most parks the wifi was not good enough to boost, and if we wanted to stream Netflix for example, we usually had to use our data package and we would often ‘burn’ through the data, faster than we could buy it!

Finally good wifi!

And after finally getting everything out of Newman, we anticipated meeting our neighbours again and getting caught up on what is going on in everyone’s lives and in Plant City. It was nice to see Geri and Sherylyn in the driveway for a chat. And our neighbour Bob came by too, to see inside Newman.

Ray, our neighbour who looks after us and makes sure our home is well taken care of when we are not here. We’ve missed Ray and his lovely wife Geri, so it was nice last night to get caught up and sit and relax in our lanai.

Wow! We looked at each other when we got back to 2800 Wedgewood Drive, Plant City and said ‘WE DID IT!’ Who would ever have thought we would be driving to Florida and doing a cross country trip, but we are so glad we did! We have been anticipating our arrival for really longer than a month, because we always had in the back of our minds that if the border opened we might head south, and sure enough, it did, and now we are finally here. I hope you’ve enjoyed our journey, our ongoing trials and tribulations of RV life and living. We’re both still running on adrenaline now I think as Richard is out today trying to get both of the car batteries changed, and paying our property taxes, changing furnace and refrigerator filters and all of the regular maintenance stuff that you do when you own a home, but trying to do it all in one day, so we can finally relax and enjoy some golf and our pool, once everything is done!

So the blogger is going to take a break for awhile from blogging, but I might pop in now and again to let you know how our repairs and fixes are going on Newman. We’re not sure if Newman is in storage now until we return to the Great White North in the spring, or if we might take him out now and again, just to see some parts of Florida we’ve never been to. Regardless, we do know, he has to move off our street today, so that’s probably why Richard is working so hard on getting us a vehicle to drive, so I can follow Newman and Richard up to Zephyr Hills, so we can put Newman in storage and I can bring Richard home.

Thanks for reading our daily travel blog and we wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year from Plant City, Florida!

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30 dec. 2021

Enjoyed reading the 2021 R&R RV adventures and wish you both a Happy New Year!

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