Portland, TX – Exciting News

As the month of June rolls to an end, I’ve got some great news to share.  First and foremost, I am finally leaving this campground and heading to my next destination.  Tomorrow, July 1st I’m packing up, hitching up, and leaving the place I’ve called home for the past seven months, and heading to Boerne, TX.  New sites, new smells, new surroundings, but likely the same oppressive heat that I’ve had for the past couple of months.  Oh well – that’s how it goes.  But, it’s a change that I greatly look forward to.  For the other really, really big news, keep on reading.

I’m Officially About To Become A Floridian!

Well like several of my similarly retired brothers, I too will soon have a “place” in Florida.  Not a place in the traditional sense (like a house or condo), but a place that is more suited to my nomadic lifestyle. I have recently executed a sales agreement to purchase an RV lot in a 55+ community on Saddlebag Lake in Lake Wales, FL. Nothing fancy – just a 4,000 sq/ft piece of grass with a concrete pad complete with RV full hook ups (power, water, sewer), and a new shed with power and water, all on a beautifully landscaped corner lot (pictured left – RV not included). It’s a place I can park my RV and enjoy community living. It’s a medium sized lake-side community off the beaten path and surrounded by orange groves.  It’s made up of 790 owners – 200 of whom live there full time, while the other roughly 600 call it home during the snowbird season. The community has all the standard fair of retiree amenities including a pool, tennis/pickle ball and shuffleboard courts, and a recreation center that hosts a variety of activities and social clubs.  It also has a nice lake for those who enjoy boating and fishing.

While I’m not yet ready to settle down, the combination of my own recent health event (eye surgery), combined with this year’s pandemic and most recent civil unrest, has led me to think it prudent to have somewhere I can call Home Base. Somewhere that I own and control and could go to at any moment in time if the need or want arises. Meanwhile, until I’m ready to enjoy it myself, I can optionally rent out the property to other RVers looking to spend time in sunny Florida.

The location of this Home Base is smack in the middle of the state both north/south and east/west.  The small town of Lake Wales has its own charm – complete with shopping and dining opportunities as well as tourist interests such as vast orange groves and juice production.  It is also the host town to the famous Bok Tower Gardens, complete with a 60 bell carillon. Other popular venues are also nearby including 15 min to LEGO Land, 50 min to Disney, and 80-90 min to the beaches on either coast.  It’s also centrally located and allows quick and easy visits to any one of my three brothers who also reside in various parts of Florida.

So who knows what the future may bring. When I’m ready to slow down my travels, perhaps I could spend 6 months in FL, then spend the other 6 months continuing to explore cooler places to the north. But in any event, it will be nice to own a Home Base that I can count on and go to when life events dictate. Someplace I can call home!  I’m looking forward to closing on the purchase in the coming weeks.

Note:  The photo at the very top is a Google satellite view of Saddlebag Lake Resort.  The heart shows where my soon to be lot is located within the community.

One Additional Project Complete

In the last blog, I told you about my National Park bandana project that I completed.  This month, I took on a project to help reduce the summer heat in the RV, and to better control the flow of natural light.  The RV door has a window in it that is frosted so you can’t see in or out, and has no native curtain or shade to block out the sun.  So, on a nice day I don’t get the benefit of seeing out the door, and I have no way to block the sunlight from pouring in.  This is a common issue with RV owners and many, like me, have taken the initiative to resolve the problem.

Thankfully, the window in the door has a standard size and mounting method within the RV industry, and a third party manufacturer has developed an easy replacement solution.  Their product features a tinted clear window, with an integrated accordion shade which can be open or closed to control both the sunshine and view through the window.  Installation was fairly straightforward by completely removing the old window and framing, and installing the replacement window assembly.  Literally a 30 minute job.  Since I didn’t have a second pair of hands, I used tape on the outside to hold the outside window and frame in place while I removed the dozen or so screws from the inside that hold the entire thing together.  Simply reversing the process was all it took to install the new window.  I love now having the ability to shutdown the flow of the bright sun beaming through into the RV in 90+ degree weather, while also having all my windows now with a nice consistent tinted view from both inside and outside.  Another project checked off the list!

Roadside America

With all the hunkering down I’ve been doing due to the COVID virus, I have not been doing much in the way of sightseeing or generally playing tourist.  Most of the local attractions have been closed for months, and even if opened, I’m not sure I’m ready to venture into them with lots of other people.  I’ve had a bunch of Corpus Christi Roadside America sights marked off on my to-do map, and with time running out, I decided to take a scoot ride there on a nice day and check them off the list.

First up was a visit to the Selena memorial and bronze statue.  Selena Quintanilla-Perez was a young up and coming singer/songwriter, model, and fashion designer.  She was Billboard magazine’s top-selling Latin artist of the 1990’s, and often called the Queen of Tejano music.  In 1995 at the age of 23, Selena was murdered in a hotel room in Corpus Christi by Yolanda Soldivar – her friend, business associate, and former principal of her fan club.  Two years later, this memorial was created, and also happened to coincided with the release of the movie titled “Selena” featuring Jennifer Lopez in the staring role.  Truly a sad story and tragic end to this young and promising girls life.

The next item to visit was a status of Jesus in a boat in front of the First United Methodist Church.  The statue depicts the calming of waters while keeping a watchful eye on the Corpus Christi shoreline.  This statue certainly has a wonderful waterfront view!  Next up is a sculpture of a man and woman inspecting a car having a For Sale sign in the window.  History tells that this was commissioned by a land owner to be put on a corner piece of their property.  This corner was very well travelled and would often find real cars with for sale signs parked there.  This way, the land owner would no longer have to to call and threaten to tow would-be car sellers.  What a neat and effective solution!  Next is a 30 foot tall, two ton metal fish-eating Heron that adorns the entrance to the Oso Bay Nature Preserve and Learning Center.  Named “Rusty”, it was built from scrap metal in 2015 by Texas artist Dixie Friend Gay.  Very cool!

Last up is a tribute to the first ever “Whataburger” burger joint.  As mentioned in a previous blog post, Whataburger was founded by Harmon Dobson in Corpus Christi back in 1950.  Sadly the original stand that started it all was long ago bull dozed before its historical significance was recognized.  So, a storage building in the parking lot of a new Whataburger location was painted to replicate and pay tribute to the small burger stand that started it all.

What’s Next

Well, as noted in the intro, I’m very excited to be leaving this place and moving on to something new.  I’ve also been working on finalizing my plans for the rest of 2020, and setting up preliminary plans for 2021.  However, the Florida RV lot purchase may convince me to change my winter plans, and subsequent 2021 travel agenda.  I’ll be giving some serious thought to that in the coming weeks and months, especially once I’ve officially closed on the property.  I’m very much looking forward to visiting with a friend I’ve not seen in decades at my next stop, and continuing that travel and friend visit trend at least for the next several months.  So, onward I go and until next time, be well and safe travels.

12 thoughts on “Portland, TX – Exciting News

  1. Congratulations on your RV lot. It’s a great idea. YAY I can’t wait to see you. It’s been at least 31 years. I left Maryland in 1989. Safe travels to Boerne. Be careful with all the road construction on I10 west of San Antonio to Boerne. See ya soon.

  2. Congrats on your lot purchase. I have been thinking over the past week or so about trying to see if I can get back on the road and do some traveling and visiting and camping. However all the places I have an interest in either still do not allow you in (Canada) or the attractions are still closed and may remain so for the year. I finally decided to not bother to prep the camper only to have to winterize it again. I have decided to completely write of 2020. I will spend some time in York and have a couple of nearby day trips to do some caching. I am finding that all the home time is allowing me to finalize many projects that have been on the back burner and have been holding me up on continuing with the book project. So there may be a silver lining in this. Hopefully 2021 will allow Kathi and I to spend a month or more in Florida, get an extended trip to Canada in the summer and get to Germany to watch Rachel run the Berlin marathon. And there is still Nick’s wedding and a rescheduled memorial for Paul. Time will tell but I am hoping that science will win out. Enjoy gertting back on the road. You must be antsy!

    1. Yea, I agree with you. 2020 is turning out to be a bad year for travel and tourism. I too hope next year will be better. I’m so looking forward to resuming normal, worry free travel, with sites and venues up and running. Fingers crossed!

    1. Thanks Doug. I did get to do some Roadside America stuff which was fun. But I missed a lot of other things to do and see because they were all closed. Guess I’ll just have to swing past through here again sometime down the road. Hope all is well with you and the family.

  3. Congrats on the purchase. My dad used to live in Lake Wales and they loved it – they now live near Sarasota. Having a place to go is probably a wise decision!

    Safe travels and enjoy your next location!

    1. Thanks MG. Nice to hear your dad lived there and liked it. I’ve spent a few months virtually researching the area, and I really liked what I learned. I’m looking forward to visiting and spending time there this winter when I go and check out my new home base. Hope all is well with you.

  4. Congrats on the new “Home”, I didnt even know RV retirement communities like that existed….another possible retirement scenario for me. I may also be interested in the rent option, at some point i need to get out of town. Love the new window in the door, PLEASE share the link, as always I love your ideas, and tend to re-use them. Stay safe and enjoy life in the road.

    1. Thanks Chris. Glad I was able to provide you with some future retirement options. There are lots of RV sites for sale all over the country. Some are 55+ limited, while others have no age limit. Here are a couple of web links you can use to get a sense of what’s available:

      https://www.rvproperty.com/rv-lots/rv-lots-for-sale/
      https://www.rvparkstore.com/rv-lots-for-sale

      As for the window replacement, I got that from Amazon here:

      https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRRNQNP/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_zpFaFb9VHM1RN

      Hope all is well with you and the family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *