Our Vacation Cottage On Wheels

Our Vacation Cottage On Wheels
2002 Mazda SUV ES-V6 & 2008 Cruiser Travel Trailer - Fun Finder X - 189FBR

Friday, July 31, 2009

June 2009 Trip to Fort Meyers & Sanibel Island, FL

It was the first week in June, 2009 and our trailer, still parked on our driveway (so far the Homeowners Association was leaving us alone), was "nagging" us to get back on the road. We decided to spend a few days in southern Florida, visiting Fort Meyers and Sanibel Island, (click to see Google trip map) the latter being famous for its sea shells. The last time we had visited the area was some 35 years ago. We would learn that the area was much more developed than we remembered and, if there had ever been a famous collection of tropical seashells, lying around on the beach and ready for the collecting, they were long gone by the time we got there.

We chose to stay at the Indian Creek RV and Mobile Home Resort. It was huge. During their busy season, October through May, their population swells to more than 3,000 residents. During the summer, when the temperature hits the 90s and stays there, the snowbirds flee for their (hopefully) cooler northern homes and the park is pretty much deserted.

The park was pristine. Everything was clean and well maintained. Here's the park's pool and activities building.

Here's a view down the main drag. You can see some of the MANY mobile/manufactured ("mobile home" isn't really politically correct anymore; people prefer to refer to their factory-built homes as "manufactured"). The "Campsites" are shoe-horned in, wherever there's space (as in an empty lot; we saw evidence on our site of a previous, fixed MOBILE home that had been removed sometime in the past).

Here's evidence of where 5th wheeler trailers may go to retire. This one's elevated up on a 4 foot base. I couldn't decide whether it was sad or "green," as in good, recycled...

And here's our street. Our spot was 4 sites down on the left. Gravel drive, large concrete pad, and water, electricity, sewer and cable TV hookups, with about 10 feet between neighbors.

As I've said, the park was HUGE and DESERTED, with only a handful of full-time residents still around, spread out all over the place. The roadways were a virtual spider's web, laid out in sort of a grid pattern, but also twisting and turning around the various ponds and park buildings. And this is where the "highlight" of our trip comes in:

George and Rocky's Late Night Adventure

Rocky decided that he had to go for a walk at 11:30 PM the night we arrived. No big deal, I walk him all the time. He gets constipated from sitting in a car all day, just like me. The difference this time was the size of the park and the fact that I forgot to take my cell phone, flashlight and BRAIN along with me when I set out. To makes matters worse, I gave Rocky the lead and he decided that he wanted to take a LONG walk.

Again, no problem, the streets were named and the sites were numbered, but - remember - I forgot to take my brain along for the walk. 20 minutes after setting out I knew that I was lost. I knew that we were set up on site number 36 and I was standing in front of site 445, but I had no idea which way to go to get "home." 45 minutes into our walk, both Rocky and I were very tired and still lost. I began trying to backtrack, looking for familiar streets or homes that we had passed. The problem was that every street had an Indian name that sounded a lot like every other Indian street name and most of the homes looked alike. It was then that I began assuming that I might have to sleep on someone's front porch that night.

I did walk past a couple of semi-darkened homes during my trek and did consider knocking on the door and asking for help, but several things stopped me from doing so:
1- Embarrassment over my situation.
2- My male genetic conditioning that MEN NEVER ASK DIRECTIONS. And -
3- It was late at night and the owner might be elderly (maybe even more so than me) and knocking on their door might cause a heart attack or result in me getting SHOT.

Days later (not really; it just felt like it) Rocky and I were still lost. The only difference in our situation was that I was now carrying Rocky, who had given up on walking even another two steps. Even after I reminded him that the walk had been HIS idea. (He's not too good about accepting responsibility for his decisions and usually blames me — as in "Don't look at me! You're the HUMAN!")

Well, we didn't get eaten by an alligator or die from hunger or thirst, but I did think that I'd die from embarrassment when a car finally drove up and, after I threw myself in front of it to make it stop, I had to sheepishly explain that the old guy (me, cane and all, carrying his little dog) had gotten lost and needed HELP. At first the guy driving wouldn't open his window to talk to me, maybe thinking that I was really a terrorist pretending to be a 64-year old retired guy (with cane and terrier). He just sat in there and stared out at me. After raising my voice and waving my arms about, he finally lowered his window a few inches and no, he didn't offer me a ride, or even explicit directions, but he did point vaguely off into the distance and suggest I head that way. And then he was gone and I was ready to lie down in the middle of the street with Rocky and wait, whimpering, for either death or morning.

It was then that I heard a very faint call from way off in the distance: "George! G-E-O-R-G-E! GEORGE!" It was Maureen! After nearly an hour, she had finally torn herself away from "America's Got Talent" and had gone looking for me. Good wife! I tried returning her call, which she claims she never heard, and then began stumbling in the direction of her voice, totally exhausted from the day's adventures.

Well, a few minutes later, a vehicle approached and I was rescued by a stranger in an SUV. He informed me that Maureen was looking for me and was going to kill me when she got a hold of me for forgetting to take my phone along on my walk (She has funny ways of showing her affection for me). It was then that I realized that Maureen was sitting there in the dark, inside the SUV next to her new best friend, Henry. We, or they, actually, had a good laugh about her retarded/senile husband as they drove me back to our trailer. It turned out that Maureen had seen the man pulling out of his homesite when she (finally) went out looking for me and threw herself in front of his car, begging for help in finding her darling, but stupid husband. And that was that, although if any of you mention this story in the future, I've decided to deny it ever happened.

The rest of our 4-day stay was thankfully uneventful. The next day we decided to check out Fort Meyers and Sanibel Island. Just as we were about to leave the park a tourist "trolley" went by. We fell in behind it and followed along through FT Meyers and onto Sanibel, as the following photos attest:

Scenes from the beach:

Some trailer park trash that I met in the parking lot...

Oops! No! Sorry, it's Maureen! Hee hee.

I noticed this old guy hanging around the parking lot. I thought that he looked familiar and, strangely, he was wearing the same clothes as me and was carrying a small dog that looked a lot like Rocky... Hmm, weird...

Lessons learned during this trip:
1- Don't go South to go camping in the Summer; It's just as humid, but much hotter down there.
2- Don't go out walking the dog late at night in an unfamiliar park; send your wife out instead.


Anonymous said...

Loved Rocky and Senile Old Man Adventure story, minus the constipation comment. Didn't need that visual. Can't wait for the next post. Hopefully it doesn't involve "Senile Old Man Crapping Pants."

Patrick said...

I liked your most recent posting. The story about you getting lost made me laugh of course. You really need to either bring a compass, GPS, or navigate via the stars next time.