February 3 –February 13, 2023 Most Recent Posts:
Koreshan State Historic Site Hiking at Lake Kissimmee State Park
Site 48 Lake Kissimmee: Kayaking
Koreshan was hit badly by the hurricane and has been closed ever since. I was quite worried that I would be stuck in Florida in February with no campsite.
My reservation was supposed to start on the 31st of January for 2 weeks.
Luckily in playing the Florida Lottery I had overlapped my reservations at Lake Kissimmee and Koreshan. Usually I cancel these overlaps but also “fortunately” I forgot about this one. Hmmmmmm
Anyway, the park sent me an email saying they would reopen on the 3rd of February. My reservation at Lake Kissimmee ended on the 2nd so I only need a one night overlap.
I had been on a FHU site at Florida SKP park before going to Kissimmee and had asked them then if I could come for one of their over night or boondocking spots. When I arrived February 2nd they had a 30 amp grass spot so that’s where I spent the night before moving on to Estero. I love Escapees.
I had other RVs on passenger side and the fence dividing me from the next door orange grove which is patrolled by a crowing rooster and some Rhode Island Reds. Same birds we raised for years. I felt right at home. Never saw the rooster but I heard him loud and clear. The hens were busy working over the area around the orange trees.
Hens busy at work
On February 3rd I moved to Koreshan State Historic Site which has a very interesting history that I’ve talked about in previous years’ posts. You can find those by typing Koreshan in the search box on the top right of this blog. I’ll also include a link to a fairly good video in my next post about the grounds. It’s an intricate and pretty amazing story if you hear it all. And of course I have a book if you are really interested in this unusual “community” and it’s even more unusual founder.
I really do love/hate this park. Their Friends group is so active. They do tours of the historic area and have demonstrations, they have an annual “ghost walk” that happened the week-end I arrived but was sold out. They have musical performances and lectures in the Art Building, have ranger talks on butterflies and birds and tons of other things, lead a guided kayak trip on the river and there is a farmer’s market on Sunday.
What I do not like about it is the campground whose sites are very narrow. I thought I’d picked one with a wide opening and it was fine. I got Winnona in but I was too close to the pine tree on the driver’s side where the site narrows. When I went to pull out and move over, the wheels must have been turned and I clipped the tree. No damage to the tree but here’s what happened to Winnona.
Luckily the lights all still work but I pretty much spent the 9 days I was at the park trying to get this repaired at least enough to be driven. Unfortunately when I went to leave the park the connection between the lights on the RV and the lights on the car no longer work. I can’t help but think it’s something in the repair since it had been fine for over a year. Now I have no turn signals or brake lights on Ruby. Pretty sure that’s illegal.
I definitely hope bad luck doesn’t come in 3’s because right after I had this problem and got the RV positioned correctly and went to level up I found the passenger side was quite low. The site was too narrow for me to try to reposition again and I wasn’t in any mood to so I thought I would just use enough blocks to take care of it.
When I went to put the jacks down, they all came down but the passenger’s front which would extend only about an inch. I’d had no trouble with it at Lake Kissimmee, up and down with no problem. I hadn’t used the jacks at SKP the night before. What is going on?
No amount of storing them and putting them out would get me level. Without being level, I couldn’t put the slides out. I called the office for a recommendation of an RV Tech. No they don’t recommend but they could give me 3 cards. I asked the camp host. No he did all the work on his RV himself. Yes that’s what David did, but I don’t. So I started googling and reading reviews. Luckily I had gotten here in time to find someone and call them but more on that later.
In these 9 days, I did hike the trails numerous times and kayaked the Estero River once on my daughter’s birthday February 7 to celebrate one of the best things in my life. I also went to the farmer’s market both Sunday’s I was there.
So I’ll start with the Farmer’s market on Sunday and return to the Friday I arrived problems later.
This is the hike from the campground to the Settlement Grounds where the Farmer’s Market is held. it’s a lovely riverside path through pines and palms and the dreaded bamboo. More on it next post. That’s the river on the left of the picture to the left.
The Settlement has two lovely bridges. This is the one I crossed on my way to the market.
There were many booths selling everything you could think of. I’ll highlight 3 of my favorites.
Artisian Bread is my downfall. He makes fabulous bread and pastries.
Both weeks I bought some of his wares and I didn’t take one picture of them>
The name of this booth was Sea Glass Collections. She’s made lovely jewelry and whimsical signs. My friend Pam collects sea glass on the beach in Duck North Carolina and I know she will love these things.
And finally the produce vendor with I’m pretty sure every fruit or vegetable that grows in Florida and that’s nearly all of them. Well maybe no peas. Too warm now. But plenty of ripe red tomatoes as you can see.
Definitely a great setting for a farmer’s market. And WALKABLE!!
After I dropped my kayak rack off for repair, more on that later, I took the kayak to the boat launch and locked it so I could come any time and take it on the river.
Unfortunately because of my shortened stay and the number of chores I had to take care of, I was only able to kayak the Estero river once. Then, when I got what problems I could fixed I couldn’t get the high and low tides to make it possible for me to go back.
At the time the community was founded, this river must have been much wider and less over hung since they and later all their goods arrived by boat. There were no roads here.
There are two directions to go, east or west. Meaning turn right or left out of the boat launch. I turned right, went under route 41 and continued on as the river got smaller and smaller going toward its source. This has always been my favorite direction to paddle her.
There are many fewer houses facing the river than going east toward the gulf.
As you can see the tide is going out so I can’t stay terribly long but on subsequent days the times were even worse.
There had been several obstacles in the river from the hurrican including what looked like a downed power line which I carefully avoided though I later learned that of course it had been turned off. I wasn’t able to go nearly as far as I usually do when I met with a complete blockage of the river.
I had no choice but to turn around. I was going to pass the park and continue on east instead.
I passed the ruined steps that once led from the dock at the store for those delivering or picking up goods here.
Back behind the trees is the cottage of the original owner of the land Gustaf Domkoller.
This is the Bamboo Landing which was the entry way for all guests and visitors to the site. Not a great look from my low in the water kayak but I understand that at the time, from a passenger ferry or other boat it was quite impressive.
The river is getting lower, the mangrove roots are reaching down.
This Great Blue Heron was the only bird I saw on this paddle. I continued east and the river widened and there was a housing development along the shore. The wind picked up and I wasn’t terribly interested in fighting the wind to see just how much development there was along the section of the river not protected by the park so I turned back and thought I’d come back on another less windy day and see what happens when you paddle west to the gulf, but that was not to be.
Back to the Friday I arrived problem. That was the day I learned my lesson the hard way to ask a campground volunteer host or a ranger to guide me into the
narrow sites here. After my research, I called Affordable Mobile RV Service and of course with such good recommendations they were booked out for a week. I pleaded for them to fit me into their schedule. After the accident, but before I called them I had discovered that my right passenger’s jack would not extend beyond and inch and thus I could not fully level the coach in this site that was very unlevel side to side. If you aren’t level, you can’t put your slides out and it may damage your refrigerator. The woman who does the scheduling, Karen, was one of the nicest people I’ve ever dealt with. She understood my situation completely. She said despite the fact that they were slammed and were one technician short, she would try to send someone today. It was 2:00 in the afternoon.
As dark approached I’d decided it wasn’t going to be able to be today. I hadn’t extended my slides but I was worried about the refrigerator. Then there was a knock at the door. I wasn’t expecting the owner Kevin to show up with his 30 years of experience but there he was that very day to help me with the jack problem.
First he looked under the hood, checked the panel, listened to the hydraulic motor as we ran the jacks up and down several times but to no avail. He’s thinking the solenoid is the problem. Notice that he just leans over and looks in the hood. For me to do that requires a two step stool. Kevin is 6 foot 5.
He doesn’t have a solendoid but he does have a plan. He says we’ll just use a bottle jack to hold that side up. David had a bottle jack and I know it is in one of these compartments but I check and cannot find it anywhere. Did I take it out thinking I would never use it?
No problem he’ll loan me one of his. And down on the ground he goes to set it up.
One problem solved temporarily. But by the time he leaves we’re working by flashlight and I’ve lightened the picture so you can see it.
The next Friday, seven days later he’s back to fix my damage. As you saw in the above picture of the damage, it had to be repaired before I could leave the campground. I was leaving on Monday.
And here’s my hero with the finished job. I need to get a little paint but everything is working. I sure hope this repair was not the cause of my lights problem on Ruby when towing which is my latest problem.
Next problem, I can’t give him his jack back right now because I’m not leaving until Monday and it’s only Friday. I ask if I can drop it off on my way North. He says “don’t worry about it. You’ll need it until you can get it repaired”. A nicer more knowledgeable technician and company you will not find. Boy am I lucky they were so willing to work way overtime to help me.
And now to a problem that I did get solved.
I have had my hullivators on top of my Honda since the year after I bought the car. David gave them to me that Christmas because they are hydraulic lifts. But after nearly 20 years, one of the feet that support them had too much Florida Rust so I took the whole thing to Estero River Outfitters which I had used before and knew they were great. I was right. Justin did the impossible.
I had taken them to several other outfitters selling kayak/canoe car racks. All of them told me that style was no longer made by Hullivator and I’d have to buy a whole new system for $1500 or $1600. Justin on the other hand thought he had some old parts and could fix me up. He said the hullivators themselves were still fine though I should try to mitigate the rust. He took them off, kept the rack itself and in the picture above he’s reinstalling it with some new feet and new bars. Justin’s parents opened this store in the 70’s and their 3 sons co-own it now. Justin is a wealth of information and knowledge. What he doesn’t know isn’t known. Can’t recommend him enough
Here it is all redone and ready to go. I am a seriously happy and now unworried kayaker.
And that’s about it for the things I did at Koreshan other than daily walks around and two tours of the grounds. That will be in my next post.
I’m sorry to fill this post with so many problems but that was what happened over this time. Yes it’s true I seem to have a lot (maybe more than my share) of problems and they do cause me stress and worry. We are all getting older. Winnona, Ruby, and the hullivators are 20 years older. I am many more years older than that. We have our aches and pains but still, we’re going to stick together as long as we can. I Love this way of life.
Woe is you, there’s so much to do to keep your rig on the road.ReplyDelete
It seems Winonah has become a Jonah, and now it’s Ruby the toad?
Just keep up the smiles as you pack on the miles and try not to let it get to you. .
Continue to blog your daily log,
for to us readers it’s your virtue!
BURMA SHAVE 😉
Jonah? Who is the whale? I don't think you're going to make a living as a poet. But thanks for being a faithful commenter. 😉Delete
Ya gotta look up the definition of jonah and you’ll get it.Delete
Sorry I misspelled Winnona. 🤪
True maybe I’m not a poet, but I give myself an attaboy as a lyricist. 👍🏽
I'm so sorry for all the problems with Winnona/Ruby etc. Such is life on the road, but glad you find such great mechanics.ReplyDelete
Thanks Laurie. All this is so much more difficult and much more expensive without David here. I guess I don't remember having so many problems as now but maybe that's because he took care of all of them. Although I do think with age come more problems.Delete
You found some awesome people to help you. That’s fabulous. If it isn’t one thing, it’s something else whether it’s our bodies or our rigs! Glad things are better!ReplyDelete
I did and that was wonderfully lucky. Although I had taken my kayak rack to Justin at Estero River outfitters before for inspection and they were wonderful then too which is why I came back.Delete
So sorry for all of the troubles you've had as of late. However, you're an inspiration to many for what you endure and can make your way through, so it's good to see you keep forging ahead and make it THROUGH such ordeals...ReplyDelete
Quite the blessings to get those racks fixed. Finding outdated parts like that, wow, so great to hear that
With the trailering lights, these are often just piggy backed on to the tail light wires, so unfortunately your hunch is probably correct. They usually pull brakes and turn signal leads off of one side (literally usually the left side, as well) and then the other turn signal from the opposite side.
Should be very easy for someone to resolve, but probably did happen as the whole fixture hung there like in that photo when he worked on it...
He's got the whole Thing totally caulked which means I will have to pay a trip fee and at least an hour labor to get another tech to come out here and take it back apart to see if that's the problem. SIGH!Delete
I have to follow around on the map, Sherry, to see where the Estero River and Koreshan park are located since I don't remember them from our time in Florida. Such a rash of bs you have had to endure lately. As you said, the older we (and our rigs) get, the more problems seem to appear. You have had definitely more than your share lately. I do hope you get a break very very soon. That tall drink of water Kevin helper was definitely a very cool dude and so glad he could help as much as he did. It is still cold here. I do hope that at least you are getting some good weather. I haven't been warm since last October, and we spent time in SOCal and the Arizona desert to no avail. Maybe it is warmer in Florida...or maybe Mexico, although I wouldn't be going there any time soon. Mo has decided to go up to Portland for our birthday trip for her next week. with the kayaks. Guess what. Temps in the 30's and 40's and rain predicted. IF that doesn't change we will leave the kayaks behind and just go hang out near Portland at a refuge where she worked as a kid and a cute town Nickie talked about, Vernonia, and finally with good food and wine in Dayton. A nice birthday trip for Mo, but sure would have been nice to have a bit warmer March to do it.ReplyDelete
Just love your comments Sue and hearing about what you are up to. I am so sorry you haven't been warm for so long. That's just how I felt the year vandalism forced me to spend the winter in Virginia. If anything the weather inches into too warm here but mostly it's wonderful which is of course why I do all this. So I can be outside enjoying myself as much as possible.Delete
Sigh. I'm so sorry you had all of those problems to deal with. But you certainly are an inspiration in persevering. It's so stressful, even to read about. You're right that aging equipment often requires more repairs, and it's really challenging when it gets to the point when you can't get parts. You've found some wonderful people to help you! We really like Koreshan, but those sites are so danged tight! Glad you got out on the river for at least one paddle to give you a peaceful respite in the midst of your repair saga. :-((ReplyDelete
Like I say Laurel, we're all getting older me and Ruby and Winnona. But we're still enjoying ourselves. I assume I can speak for them. LOL Thanks so much for your comment.Delete
Your shot of the heron really stands out.ReplyDelete
Glad you liked it William. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Does my heart good to see you found one of the rare outstanding RV techs that are still out there. Nice to see he took care of your issues, including the remounting of your tailight assembly. Glad to know we were right on track diagnosing the solenoid as the problem with your jack. I think I'll go ahead and order a spare as my RF jack gives me problems every once and a while. If you have the spare, then you'll never have trouble with that component. Mrs. Murphy's law to undo all the trouble Mr. Murphy tries to do. :cDReplyDelete
I actually have two spares Paul. Over cautious? Kevin did a great job on the tail light but I'm pretty sure it's something he did that is the reason I have no turn signals on Ruby. SIGHDelete
So glad SKP came through and with such a nice site. I can understand the love/hate of this park. Sadly, the history hasn't kept up with bigger campers. And you scored with repairs. All vehicles and homes require maintenance and repairs, but it's more difficult when on the road solo. My rigs are also old. But we're doing what we love!ReplyDelete
That's it exactly Galen all homes require maintenance and repairs. And I love my home on the road as I know you do. SKP is great!Delete
It is true that problems seem compounded when handling then alone after so many years of having a partner, but we get it done and you are certainly a continuing inspiration to me. I love the farmer's market pictures. Florida always had such great ones, but even those seem to be fewer and far between.ReplyDelete
Of course while you were keeping up with your blog I was getting behind on my reading! Bummer the tides also didn't cooperate while you were in this pretty place. So glad your nightmare repairs were either fixable or work-aroundable by your heroes Kevin and Justin. Those angels disguised as mobile techs are a true blessing.ReplyDelete