One thing we’ve discovered about being in the town of Melbourne Beach for the winter is the fact it is somewhat isolated from the rest of the state. That is a good thing, in the sense that it doesn’t experience the crowds that other areas of Florida see. The downside is State Route A1A is the only way in and out, so we don’t see a lot of new scenery. That is just fine for many folks, but when your identity is exploRVistas a little break is called for every once in a while. And when we are able to look for adventure with other explorers, it’s even more fun!
At the end of our last post, we left you with our just having a new suspension installed on our rig. Taking a tour of Florida would allow us to test out our modifications before we headed west in April. My sister Judy and her husband Dale had recently arrived at Lovers Key near Ft Myers Beach, so we made plans to head that way to see them. Diana had also contacted her cousin Tom, as we wanted to see him and his wife Lisa. They live just southwest of Orlando. Tom suggested that we meet at Disney, as he works for them and could get us all passes for the day. We jumped on this opportunity!
We decided on Epcot, as it is one of our favorite parks. Diana’s dad actually worked on the construction of one of the Communicore buildings near Spaceship Earth back in the early 1980’s, when Michigan’s economy was in the doldrums.
We sure had a great time with Tom and Lisa!
Disney sure knows how to provide a pleasant atmosphere at their facilities. If you choose the right day when the crowds are down, they are very enjoyable places to be!
Next up, we visited with Judy and Dale. We were able to grab four days at Marco Naples RV Resort. It was less than OK, but served its purpose. The four of us checked out some of the area’s dining establishments, the pool at Lovers Key, and Barefoot Beach.
It’s always fun hanging out with my big sis and her hubby!
From Naples, we decided to take Alligator Alley across to the east coast and head north from there. That was the first time we had been on that stretch of road since we were kids, so it was interesting to see. We were impressed with the rest areas that came complete with boat launches. There was one family that had just put in a pontoon boat, and another gentleman was fishing off the dock. Peering into the water, we could see it was teeming with fish.
And that’s not all it was teeming with. I guess that’s why it’s called Alligator Alley!
One thing I mentioned earlier was our suspension. We are happy to report that everything is working tremendously well! On the way to Orlando, we had our rig weighed by Bob and Sherry Frizzell of RVSEF. They weighed each individual wheel of the entire rig when it was hitched together, and of just the truck disconnected from the trailer. Armed with this information, I transferred some weight from the truck to the trailer to balance everything out. We also now know the proper inflation level for our tires, given the weight of our rig when loaded. Throughout the trip, I monitored the tire temperatures using our infrared thermometer. Everything checked out great!
This is the second time we have went through this weighing process with RVSEF. The first time was before we hit the road in 2014. It is very important for our safety and the safety of those we share the road with. Just because there is room in a cabinet or drawer, doesn’t mean you are allowed to fill it and haul it down the road. We are constantly aware of our cargo carrying capacity, pin weight, tire pressures, etc. Most fulltime RVers practice the rule that if you bring something new in, something of equal weight has to go. The last thing we want is to blow out a tire at highway speed.
Back in Melbourne, we met up with our friends Fred and Bonnie for dinner.
We had met them at the RV-Dreams rally in 2014, and we caught up with them in Fruitland Park, Florida in 2015. They are in Melbourne for the month of March, so we will be spending more time with them while they are here. It sure is great to see them!
While we were at Disney, Lisa mentioned that she had recently retired from Universal Studios Orlando. Diana said that we wanted to go there sometime, as she really wanted to see the Harry Potter areas of the park. These books came out while she was teaching and made it cool to read big thick books. Diana read the J.K. Rowling series as a way to stay current with what the kids were excited about, and fell in love with them too. Lisa said she still had tickets available to her, and she offered two of them to us. That was extremely generous, Lisa…thank you! We ended up going this past Friday and had a fabulous time!
The attention to detail in Hogsmeade was amazing!
Here we are outside Hogwarts Castle. We must admit, we didn’t do so well on the ride through the castle, as it was an all-out assault on our senses…but we survived!
We rode the Hogwarts Express between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, which was also very much like the Harry Potter movies.
Diagon Alley itself was also well done, complete with the shops that were featured in the books and movies.
It was fun to watch the children (and several adults) in their capes wave their interactive wands to set the displays in motion.
In other parts of Universal, we met up with other famous people.
There was Jimmy Fallon…
Popeye and Olive Oyl…
…and Diego and Dora the Explorer! Hey…let’s explore that vista! We had a tremendous day at Universal. 😃. Thanks again, Lisa and Tom!
In less than a month, we will be headed west. Be sure to stay tuned to see what our next adventure might be!
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