I stayed another week then moved on to Southern Charm RV Resort in Zephyrhills, FL which also has wonderful wifi throughout the park and is part of Enjoy America, a discount camping club associated with RPI. Going to Zephyrhills and Southern Charm was rather a shock for me. Zephyrhills is a mecca for RVers it seems, particularly snowbirds. Never in my life have I seen so many RV parks together one right after the other. Chancey Road seems to be at the heart of it. Southern Charm was not only very nice about giving me the 50% Enjoy America Discount, they were also very flexible and they have the most active senior residents I have ever seen. Every morning no matter how cold, they fill 2 of the 4 volleyball courts with some real skilled players of all ages and both sexes. It makes one giddy to see all the bicycles parked by the courts and watch the “older children” play. Everyone rides a bike at the park. Many have golf carts but still keep a bike around as well. It made me feel so much better to see most of the bikes have either the extra large seat for those of us who have lived long enough to have earned it and need it, or they have bucket seats for those that need the support. Whatever it takes, only the ride matters. I also saw the residents playing some pretty active shuffleboard and horseshoes.
I liked their pool and hot tub. Had it not been so darn cold the week I was there, I would have been in them constantly. I had to check with the office to make sure I really was in Florida that week and had not made a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Geez! I think that was payback for sending my northern family snotty postcards showing the freezing snow where they are and the lovely sunny beaches where I am. Oh well.
The library at the park clubhouse was nice. Not only do they have books, they also have a video rental collection that is so large that they cannot put them all on display at the same time. The cost is only 25 cents per video per night and they have some great videos on VHS primarily. I got to see videos of Branson, MO and the Grand Canyon where I will be heading this year and helps in planning those trips.
While walking around taking pictures of the fulltime resident lifestyle and gathering info for the day when I settle down a bit (only a bit), I got to tour a park model trailer which is very nice and just like a regular home but smaller. I got to check out prices a bit which are pretty reasonable actually compared to houses today with the added benefit of a real old-fashioned community where everyone knows everyone, checks on each other, and plays with each other. The clubhouse is the center of most activity. I also got to ask some questions. I was worried about property taxes but apparently it is insurance that is the real hardship to watch out for. I know insuring my trailer as a fulltimer on the road is very expensive, much more than I expected. Apparently it is every bit as expensive and maybe more off the road so that should be checked before buying into anything. The property taxes are nothing in comparison. It is also good to note that staying somewhere permanently is not just a matter of parking your trailer. It will need a cap or second roof over it and all slideouts to protect the trailer roof s as well as a skirt around the bottom of it to keep out varmints and cold drafts. Most people also add a covered carport at the least or an addon fully enclosed room the length of the trailer. Sometimes it is hard walled and other times it is screened in. A shed is also a nice addition. I am told that often the lot is leased rather than owned and if improvements are allowed, you may sell those improvements to the new leaseholder when you move. I am not sure all parks work this way but one I was told of you buy into the park as a lessee for a few thousand dollars then you only have to pay the yearly dues which are several hundred dollars. There is no monthly rent for residents.
The main reason I went to Zephyrhills was to get in on the Camping World sale and get together nearby. They were offering lots of free seminars and food. Unfortunately, that did not pan out. The sale was abysmal with very little on sale and then only large expensive items. I did get some important info from the seminars but they were much too loosley structured. They were more of a questions and answers session. A real class with a set guideline, more content, and then questions and answers would have been better. I didn’t even get the free food because I went on the wrong day for that. Geez. Very disapppointing. At least my new aircard arrived while I was in Zephyrhills so I could move on.
For more pics, click here.