Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Florida SKP for the First time

January 13-19, 2023                                                          Most Recent Posts:
Florida SKP Resort                                     Highlands Hammock to Start 2023
Wauchula, Florida                                   Days Before and After at Alafia River



Woke up on moving day with a puddle of water on the dashboard on the driver’s side.  Obviously there is a leak.  I had already discovered what may well be a much more serious leak and arranged for Todd to come to SKP on Tuesday so I’ll just add this to his list.


20230113_163131I’ve been a member of Escapees RV Club (SKP) for years but this is the first time I’ve ever stayed In one of their parks.  Pretty sure they are the oldest RV Club in the country with an interesting history.  Link to them is above.  

When I was making my reservations for this winter ELEVEN MONTHS ago, I ended up with a gap of 6 days where I was unable to get a reservation in any state park even reasonably near to the one I would be leaving January 13.

This is a membership park meaning that members own their lots and rent them out when they are not using them.  Escapee members have first chance at buying and renting.

The park is mainly RVs but there are also a few park models.  My site G18, was right across from the pool and club house, laundry, and library.  Very Convenient.


The pool, on the right was closed for pump repair.  That’s the clubhouse beyond.


Like most private RV parks during Florida Winters, this one has “activities”.  A few were listed on this sign on the corner across from the clubhouse.


They gave me the January Events Calendar when I arrived and clearly they need new toner in their printer.  I’ve enhanced this quite a bit so that you can read it, maybe.  It appears the ukulele is big here with lessons and performances.  I’ve never seen that before in any of the private parks I’ve visited looking for somewhere to be for 1 or 2 months rather than moving every two weeks.


Too bad I didn’t arrive in time for the Baked Potato Lunch & Ukulele show at noon that day. What a hoot!   And I was too busy with Mike to do Breakfast or Happy Hour on Monday.  But I did make it to Bingo at 7pm on Wednesday though I did not take any pictures I realized as I was putting this post together.


Another wonderful thing about being here was that I had located Mike who said he would come by and take a  look at the RV and give me a price to wash and wax it.  He came the afternoon I arrived and said $300 and I said yes.


He came the day I got there and every single day I was at the park.  That’s Friday to Thursday.  He was even there the day I left. 

The first two days he brought a helper, in the picture, above but the 3rd day he said the guy wasn’t helpful enough.


On Tuesday morning at 9am I opened the door and said hello Todd and he said no I’m Tony, Todd sent me.  I had researched local RV Techs and found only two that were highly recommended and Todd was the less expensive of the two.  Tony had a website but not enough comments on line about his work.  Todd had sent Tony who did jobs for him.  Tony told me he had taken over Todd’s Florida number when Todd went to NY for the summer and then set up his own business.  Obviously he does not have enough customers so he needs to take Todd’s over flow.  I feel it was very unprofessional that Todd not to tell me he could not come since the reviews upon which I based choosing him were all about him not his business or anyone else who worked with him.  Word to the wise.  Make sure the person you think you’ve hired is actually coming.  I was not happy and won’t use Todd again.  In future,  I’ll pay more for RV Guru who I found had great recommendations from people in the park and make sure he’s the one who is coming.

20230125_114812This is why I called Todd and  my biggest problem which has been going on a while apparently.  I’m 5’ tall and don’t use my shower for anything but storage.  I shower in the campground showers.  So I never look up there but when the wetness got close to the medicine cabinet, I noticed it and I am very very worried.  I called immediately to set up a Tech to come when I was at SKP.  Pressing the wet areas the morning I moved here when the water was on the dashboard, they were wet and soft behind the ceiling carpeting.

20230117_094456Tony said all he could do was caulk around the skylight.  That’s probably true but I have the roof of this rig checked every single year by either a mobile tech or an RV service center.   SUPPOSEDLY it was just checked in May before I came when my slide topper was replaced.  How could they not see the sealing around the skylight was cracked, if they actually checked all the caulk on the roof which is what I asked them to do.   I have no idea how long this leak has been going on but it doesn’t look new.

He caulked the skylight and around all the running lights so now I’m waiting for another big rain.

But how can I get the damage to the inside repaired?  And will it get worse if I don’t?   I assume it might be rotten behind the carpeting.  Will that spread like mildew and rust??   I’d really appreciate your advice if you have any.



The day I arrived, I had been visited by Marianne who brought me a bag of goodies with information to welcome me to the park even for only 6 days.  She had come back this morning to invite me to a happy hour that one couple did in the driveway at their rig. 

So at 4:00 I took my water and walked up.   I put my chair down next to Marianne since she’s the only person I know.  That’s her sitting by me on the left.

There were quite a few people and inside the screened patio some folks had brought snacks.  I was glad to see people that seemed to be my age or younger.



Only the lack of hiking within walking distance of the park, or anywhere near the park actually, makes me hesitate to try to stay a month here.  Below is the map of the park’s “measured mile”.  I folded it up and put it in the pocket of my jeans which is why it looks so bad but  the first few times it was hard to remember which way to go and which roads to use twice.  Not sure you can see the arrows.  The white lines are the streets.  The park is not large, which I like.  There are 3 streets running N-S and 3 running E-W.  You start at the clubhouse, turn left, go to the end of the street, turn left and just keep making lefts until you are back on the original street when you turn right and then right and so on.  You travel the middle street twice.  It seems to take forever but I dutifully did it 3 or 4 times each of the first days.


After a couple a few days of doing the measured mile I was pretty sick of it and looked for other hiking opportunities the only one that wasn’t just a sports park was  Paynes Creek Historic State Park 13 miles from the park.  The day before I left SKP, I paid $3 to get in so I could do some “real” hiking.

I put Ruby where you see the P for parking below and hiked down to the boat ramp sign on the Peace River in the upper left


There is a small drop off spot but you have to drag your kayak through these posts and down to get to the put in which is along the Peace River.


This is the launch.


Looking down river.  Looks like a nice “Peace”ful  place to paddle as it appears you could paddle either direction and not need a shuttle.  The river supported a large population of Calusa Native Americans who occupied this area hundreds of years ago.


I walked a ways along the river which obviously has sandy banks including up to to where Paynes  Creek flows into the river and then headed back to the central area in the park.


Walking along the river I came to what was a dock I assume that must have been washed out in the recent floods.  Many state parks on rivers all over the state were closed for a long time because of the flooding caused by hurricane Nicole.  She’s the one that sent me from Fort Clinch when it closed in November.


This is the trail map they give you and shows the Kayak Launch and other trails in white dots.  As you can see, the trails are not named, color coded or are numbers used to enable you to know where you are at any given time.   I thought this was seriously ridiculous.  And it turned out to be a real problem.


Notice on the map above where the Suspension Bridge over Paynes Creek is located.  It takes you over to the monument.  I went to the bridge first.

Sorry for the white beam in the photo below.  I meant to take another one from the other side of the bridge at this same distance but with my back to the sun.  However,  when I came back there were several people on the bridge and I forgot to do it.



Paynes Creek which the bridge crosses


20230116_145820I’m not terribly keen on monuments to white settlers who moved into the Native Americans’ homeland and took over. 

In this case, in the spring of 1849, tension between settlers and Seminole Indians prompted the federal authorities to establish the Kennedy-Darling Trading Post on the northern end of the Seminole Reservation.  In July 1849, the post was destroyed by what the park calls “defector Seminoles”.  Probably meaning those who weren’t keen about having their land taken.

In response, in late 1849, Fort Chokonikla was built nearby as the first outpost in a chain of forts established to control the Seminoles.  And no doubt resulting in the Seminole Wars.

I’ve blown the picture  up so you can read the memorial to the two men who were killed.   Wonder where the memorial to the Seminoles trying to protect their homeland is.


After this I went to the site of the trading post and then thought I would round out my 10K steps for the day on the trails.  Mistake.  I got well and truly lost even with the trail map I showed above.  No trail names, numbers or anything to tell you where you are.  Eventually I found my way out by trying to retrace my steps but everywhere in the Florida Scrub looks the same.  I was too busy trying to figure out where I was to take any pictures, and too tired when I finished to stop at the Visitor Center on my way out.


PXL_20230118_230921185 Over the course of my 6 days at SKP,  in addition to washing and waxing Winnona, Mike was detailing the rig, washing and waxing Ruby, I didn’t ask him to he just said that such a great looking rig had to have a shiny red car to pull and he was right Ruby needs washing and waxing.  He sealed the roof, treated the rust on my steps and bins and painted them, washed the windows inside and out.  He really likes my rig and wanted to do whatever he could for me.  A nicer guy you could never find.

I ended up giving him $300 in cash and a $200 check.   He obviously wasn’t paid by the hour.  And I felt like I had gotten a lot for my money.   He also checked and assured me that Tony had in fact sealed all the running lights and the skylight.   He wasn’t there all day always but part of every one of the 6 days I was at the park

And now I’m moving along to Lake Kissimmee State Park where I also have never been before.  This next post should have me caught up to real time finally.


  1. So sad about the water issue, you didn't mention the dash to me. Hopefully I can check it out on Friday briefly before we have to leave...
    I love, love, love the suspension bridge!
    I got nervous just reading about you getting lost. NOTHING looks the same going the opposite way. (I often look backwards at memorable spots or features while hiking out of habit for this very reason.) Yes, scrubs all just look like scrubs, especially as daylight fades and you start to 2nd guess yourself. Glad you were able to retrace your steps. Thanks for the pics and the adventure!

    1. I wasn't there late enough to be really worried. Had I not been able to get out I Would have called the ranger station. Assuming of course that there was a signal out there. I love that you were concerned. You are such a good friend. I thought we were meeting at the restaurant on Friday not here

  2. Ah, so sorry about the leak. But glad you found trustworthy Mike!

    1. Thank you so much for the comment. I must must remember to ask my commenters, in the notification email I send out, to make sure their name is somewhere on the comment especially if Blogger makes them anonymous.

  3. You definitely got your moneys worth out of Mike! He’s seemingly a rare breed with a work ethic - a rapidly disappearing virtue.

    Sorry to hear about that water leak. Unfortunately, it’s a deal breaker when water stains appear on a ceiling headliner, or brown streaks run down the walls. Hopefully the sealant fix will stop the intruding water. Good luck removing said stains, if you don’t like looking at them.

    Almost became lost, eh? Once again I’ll ask if you have some sort of personal locator device just-in-case?

    Ah, Kissimmee. Not too far from The Villages. There’s a slim possibility I’ll be visiting friends in TV this summer. If you’re anywhere nearby, I’ll drop in on ya. 😘

  4. No locator device. I don't backpack anymore. And seldom hike more than 5 miles round trip so it's really not necessary. Where is TV that you are going this summer? I am not in Kissimmee Florida I am in Wachula Florida at Lake Kissimmee state park.

  5. Ugh, leaks in RVs are never a good thing. What a guy to go the extra mile and do Ruby too!

  6. Leaks are the absolutely worst thing that can happen to an RV and I need to get somebody to deal with Damage that I didn't even know what's happeninge out and look at what I can do to repair the interior. What I paid him was way out of my budget but the rig hadn't been washed or waxed since David died and he did so much more.

  7. Winnona is looking so shiny I have to wear sunglasses just to view her on your blog! :cD

    1. She does look great finally Paul. I was amazed that he could make her looks so good after so long. But I'm very worried about the sky light water damage. I was hoping you might have some ideas. What would you do if that happened to your journey? I assume you have a skylight over the shower.

  8. Replies
    1. As someone said earlier, he has an old fashioned work ethic.

  9. Baked potato Lunch and Ukulele Show! Cracks me up! Well, you can't say there was nothing to do! I remember you reading the activities calendar to me. Hilarious! Glad Winnona and Ruby got all prettied up-

    1. It's great to have them both protected finally. I truly am sorry I didn't get to see the ukulele show if only to see how many people are taking ukulele lessons.

  10. Sounds wonderful to have someone else do all that work cleaning and waxing and detailing. Hopefully that makes the water issues more bearable and hope you can get them fixed. Leaks are the worst. We had some in our first motorhome, the baby MoHo that was also made by Dynamax, but very small and the leakage was round the windows. Nothing like wet bedding to make your day. Getting lost?? that would make me crazy. Some landscapes really aren't conducive to not have a map or a phone or some kind of device that works. Glad you got outta there before dark. Ugh. I have only been lost a very few times. Once as a soil scientist in a forest of second growth lodgepole pines, ugly sticks all close together on a glacial outwash plain that was flat as a pancake for miles.. In the days before we had good GPS units. I wandered around a LOT before suddenly walking right into my truck. Fun day, fun times,. Lots of fun experiences before we had all this techie stuff to keep us "safe"..

  11. I don't really take very long hikes and so I don't have any technical stuff but I do think those maps were irresponsible of the park. Even for 5 or 6 mile hikes, especially on trails that run into each other, you need to know where you are. Thank goodness I have nothing like wet bedding from my leaks. I can't even imagine.

  12. Water issues! Oh no! Glad to hear about Mike. Not wanting to work hard does seem to be an increasingly alarming issue in this day and age. Also glad you were able to make your way back through the scrub despite the unhelpful map. I wonder how many folks get lost there. I bet it's plenty. Thdy do need a marker for the Seminoles. Poor folks had their homeland stolen. The walk was definitely prettier than the "measured mile"! Neat park with its activities, but I can understand why you prefer to camp non-private.

    1. Water is definitely an oh no. I was horrified to find it after we and I have been so careful to have the seals checked. I guess it just shows that unless you do it yourself you can't trust anybody. Your father did it himself and we never had any problem.

  13. From what I can see regarding your water leak…..assuming the penetrations have been caulked and sealed outside…. IMO…The best thing to do would be to have someone pull back that carpeting. Spray the carpeting and wood with a mildew product. Put a dehumidifier in there and close that door for several days until the wood dries. Then have the carpet glued back in place. Absent having someone cut that out and replace it, that’s about all you can do for now. Cutting it out could be costly and not sure it’s needed if you agrees the problem and kill any mildew. But if you treat it with mildew remover, dry it out, and stop more water from coming it, that should be enough. Killing any mildew and stopping more water from coming in will at least not compromise your health. Hope this helps. Take care and good luck.

    1. Thank you so much for your detailed recommendation. I only wish I knew who you were so that I could thank you personally. I hate it when Blogger makes people anonymous.

  14. If you don't use their parks, is there a benefit to being an SKP member? This one looks nice even if their hiking options are limited. Poor signage is my biggest pet peeve - how hard can it be??? Mike sounds like a saint who fell in love with Winona. So glad you finally found someone who could give her some spa love! Next time someone checks your roof I'd ask them to video it with your phone so you can confirm no cracks or loose grout. Although now it's probably fine for a couple years. I think there are meters that will detect mold but no idea who would have them to try on your ceiling. Look at you all on time with your blog :-))))))

    1. Escapees is the oldest RV club and has other benefits and groups. I'll look for the mold meters. Since I already have respiratory problems I can't deal with mold. Can't believe I'm caught up.

  15. I'm so glad you found Mike to help you—what a great guy! I sure hope your leak problem is fixed now. Leaks are bad anywhere, but especially in RV's. :-(( That Escapees park looks really nice, but it would be challenging to be there for a long period of time if there isn't nearby hiking and kayaking. You're not exactly a person to just sit around, LOL. Although you could take up ukulele! :-)

    1. LOL t me with a ukulele!! But Bingo I can deal with. I might spend a month here to get out of the NEW FL Parks reservation system but there just isn't enough hiking and kayaking.

  16. Lynn, Duke and Dave are here now at Lake Griffin State Park till Feb 9th! Would love to get together for a hike somewhere! Call me, 989-297-0060

  17. Stayed at SKP park in Congress AZ for 30 days while doing PT for my wrists. Lots of activities I wasn't particularly interested in. Water leaks are the worst and many RVers have horror stories. With all the vehicle flexing going down the road things happen. Definitely take care of the ceiling issue. Lousy signage on trails should be a crime.


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