Monday, 23 January 2017

After the storm

It sounds like a movie, doesn’t it? You probably all know that we had a terrible weather forecast here in Florida for yesterday with high winds, storm cells with lightening, nasty downpours and a tornado warning. Yep, it happened, no tornados but during the night the rain drummed a staccato on the trailer’s roof and the wind gusts buffed the trailer.

That storm here in Ocala brought down quite a few branches from the old Oak trees that adorn our RV park.  I kept my fingers crossed that our trailer would be spared of any large branches that kept crashing to the ground all around us.  Thankfully they all landed elsewhere with only a couple of lightweight branches landing on our roof.

So today Art, our RV Park host, and Bobby, his right hand man, had their hands full to clean up the aftermath of debris. It appeared that there was a stubborn branch dangling precariously over a parked fifth wheel by just a few strands.  Just recently the RV Park had acquired a new bucket truck to use throughout the park.  That bucket truck came in handy today to hoist someone up into the trees to remove that branch. Okay, lets stretch the name “new” a little; it was a new addition to the park’s inventory, but a well used utility bucket truck from the state of New York and not a spring chicken anymore.

The lucky guy to get the job was Art, the RV Park host.  The bucket truck was driven into position and in short order Art, now in the bucket, hoisted himself up by activating the lever in the bucket.  But wait, not all the way up, because all of a sudden the hoist stopped.  Now what?  When I passed by the bucket truck quite some time later, three guys were desperately putting their brain power together trying to fix this problem.  Soon they had more onlookers and RV residents trying to help with suggestions, but apparently fuses in the truck kept blowing out.  After a while standing there I decided to go home to our trailer to make lunch thinking that the guys had this in control. 

After eating our lunches we were surprised to hear the siren of a fire truck coming into our RV Park yet again (they were here a couple of weeks ago) I went to see what was happening.  All the while we were having lunch at our trailer, poor Art had been stuck up there in the bucket that wouldn’t budge.  I was told that there was an attempt made to get him out the bucket by telling him to rope down, but Art himself not a spring chicken anymore, did not like that at all, it could have ended in a disaster and the idea was abandoned. The truck’s electrical issue stayed persistent and Art was getting itchy so someone suggested calling the fire department to get Art down but he wouldn’t hear of it.  However, dark ominous clouds were appearing in the sky and it looked like it could be raining soon. Art noticed them too and said: “Ok guys, go and call the fire department.” 

The pictures should describe the whole event.  Once Art was safely down with the assistance of the nice fellows from the fire department you should have seen his smile.
And the guys got the job of cutting off the culprit of the dilemma done too!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Gala of the Royal Horses came to the RV Park

Yesterday afternoon we had the pleasure to watch two of the beautiful horses from the troupe of royal horses perform right here on the lawn in our RV Park.

The Gala of the Royal Horses is an equestrian troupe that came originally from Australia. They have settled here in the Ocala area on a large farm where they give residents and visitors the opportunity to see the troupe in action with performances of the Andalusian, Friesian, Lipizzaner and Arabian breeds.  Rene Gasser, the owner of the establishment, told us that the troupe travels extensively all over the country to entertain people with their specialized horse show.  The horses of Europe are some of the most celebrated in history, favored for centuries by royalty and the performance is about the tradition, athleticism and grace of these admired animals.

Rene Gasser performed movements on an 8-year-old Lipizzaner horse called Cubano that were very impressive to me. Meanwhile his daughter had the audience in awe with performances of her Arabian horse.  It was interesting to learn that typically their horses start at the age of 3 with their training and continue with different levels until to the age of about 12 to 18 to be fully trained. So it takes 10 years for a horse to command all the movements and then they become teachers for the young riders. 

To learn more and to view a video of the horses click this link The Gala of the Royal Horses  of their official website.

We very much appreciated the performances and entertainment provided to us here at the Park. It was a beautiful event on a warm 82F/27C Saturday afternoon.  Stay tuned for my blog post about our daytrip last week to the Navy's finest that took a 637km/400mile round trip with our truck.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Fire at the RV Park

It’s a scary sight to see a plume of smoke rising from the roof of an RV.  That is exactly what happened yesterday afternoon while we were sitting over our cups of coffee and polishing off the last of our delicious European cookies while glancing out of the side window.  I noticed smoke wafting across the row of 75 yards away-parked fifth wheels and motorhomes.  My first thought was of someone having a campfire, but it was way too early for that.  I’d seen a rig being washed before and the spray and mist of the pressure washer making it look like smoke, but I ruled that out and I said to Benno to go out quickly and run over to investigate to see if in deed it was smoke and if our help was needed. 

Yes, there was a fire going inside of one of the parked motorhomes and a fellow RVer had just gotten on to the rooftop with a garden hose to spray water into a vent beneath him.  Several people had gathered around watching helplessly as more and more smoke and a flame billowed out of the now busted rooftop vent.  The owners of this 2004 Safari CHEETAH motorhome were outside as well looking upward where the smoke wafted around the roof.  Within minutes I heard the siren of a fire truck approaching.  (They came from the Marion County Fire Department and Art Sarrach, our RV Park Host rushed with his John Deere Gator to the Park entrance to guide the fire truck to the motorhome.)  As soon as the fire truck stopped on the paved road in front of the motorhome the firemen rushed out setting up a long fire hose while another fireman ran to the rig with a fire extinguisher.  The fire crew went on quickly about extinguishing the fire, but there was more smoke before the fire was out.  In the meantime another fire truck had arrived followed by a water truck and the fire chief in a separate car.

So what happened?  Today I talked with the owner of the motorhome.  He and his wife were sitting inside when they thought they smelled burning electrical wire but they could not see anything burning so they went outside to have a look and see what was burning. That was when they discovered that there was smoke coming out from the roof of their rig.  There was nothing they were able to do but to call the fire department.  The fire had started in the vicinity behind the Norcold Gas Absorption Refrigerator.  According to the owner, the electric heater element of the fridge did not shut off and that started the fire. This Diesel Pusher Safari CHEETAH   motorhome with a CAT 330 hp motor is 12 years old and had a warranty issue with the refrigerator, which was dealt with some years ago. By the time the firemen were finished, wall panels and rooftop liners were torn out in order to get to the source of the fire and hot spots.  There is extensive destruction inside in addition to smoke and water damage.  The owners stayed in a motel overnight and today they were waiting for the insurance adjustor to come for an assessment. Their insurance is giving an allowance of $750 for hotel expenses but I presume it will be a lengthy process to either fix or replace this beautiful motorhome.
Later, when Benno talked to the owner he was told that they had just recently done several upgrades to the rig including all new Michelin tires.  With tears in his eyes the owner told Benno that they are full-timers and they do not have a place to go to.

This was a very sad and scary incident that motivated me to search the Internet about RV fires.  Apparently there are over 6000 RV fires annually and refrigerator fires cause half of those and most of the fires occur while being stationary.   My goodness, that is an awful statistic.  I shudder at the thought of what might have happened if the owners had been away from the RV Park when the fire broke out.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

It can get cold here in Florida too.

Yesterday we enjoyed lovely temperatures here in Ocala, FL. With lovely I mean sunny and warm but not hot, just right and it lured the dogs and me to sit outside in the semi shade of the big oak tree for a while watching the squirrels and our surroundings.

 It was also Elsa’s 1st birthday, which meant another hotdog for each of our two rascals to celebrate the occasion.  Instead of a birthday hat Elsa chose to dress up with a pink bow, a girly thing. By the time the warmed up hotdogs appeared, Elsa and Reggy were more than ready to devour them and there was no way of holding them back.  Afterwards Benno and I took them for a walk around the RV Park.

For the last few days we have observed a crew working on the existing Cable TV for all sites here in the Wandering Oaks RV Park. The traditional TV cable system had served it’s purpose and now the crew from the Dish Network installed a satellite dish close to the Management location and fitted associated electronic parts and boosters for feeding a digital signal into the upgraded cable system. Every site has a new hookup post; I must say the picture quality has improved tremendously in addition to all the new channels we are now enjoying. Hey we now have satellite TV, what a park right :))

This park does not have a website, but is generally booked out quickly to 90%. The Wandering Oak RV Parks is well kept, has a loyal clientele and staying here is not killing your budget. So, if any of our readers are interested, I took a few pictures while walking around the three lanes between the rows of parked RVs.  There are large grassy areas to the south and east sides of the park and the north and west sides are adjacent to forest and treed parcels.  Although we see and hear the traffic of the US Hwy 441, there is quite a bit of open area in-between the park and the road. Ocala offers good shopping for food, 2 Walmart Supercenters, 10 Publix Supermarkets, 4 Winn Dixie Supermarkets, 2 ALDI Supermarkets, 3 Save-A-Lot Supermarkets just to name a few. For the boys there is a Northern Tools store, a Harbor Freight store and a huge Gander Mountain for hunting and outdoor goods, so that he could get off the couch.

 Our site is the second last at the end of this road

This is our site

What a difference a day makes.  While I write this the temps outside have changed dramatically from yesterday.  Overnight we experienced a big storm with severe lightening and thunder accompanied with torrential rains.  Inside the trailer the pounding of the rain on the roof sounded like a machine gun on full power and this ruckus lasted for hours. I had to take both doxies into the bed under the blanket because they were scared.  When we all woke up this morning the clock showed 9:30 a.m.  I don’t recall ever having slept in that late into the morning. Tonight the forecasted temperature will hit -3C/26F, but next week looks already much better.