RVing for beginners

Florida. Finally it's warm! More RVs - trailers and even huge mobilehomes towing tiny compact cars or quite large pick-ups on the roads. Our Eddie looks among them like a poor cousin from the country or a tramp from Eastern Europe. Clearly it fits us well.

In one of many brochures from Welcome Center we find pretty good offer (120 USD for 7 nights with all hook-ups) for this week. We checked into Southern Palms RV Resort in Eustis, near Orlando.

At the campgraund we meet Albert, nice elder gentelman who works as a handyman at the campground and helps us to set up and patiently answers all our stupid questions. We are lucky - he lives at the campground so even though it's Sunday, he is there. His owns almost 30 ft long brand new Fifth Wheel, probably worth around 50 thousand USD. At the same time he's probably the first American person we ever see, whose teeth are very incomplete...

Trailer for dummies vol.2.
Campground, according to Passport America listing has almost 900 sites. It is large, one RV next to another, but to our surprise it's very quiet and we hardly see any people. And from those few we see we can tell that we significantly lower the avarage age. We see just one couple with school kids. 

We get to chose our site during a ride on the golf cart. Albert shows us a nice and large spot near pond. There's alligator living in it. It's not very agressive - says Albert - he rarely goes out of water. However I wouldn't eave kids unattended - he adds. Just in case we chose another site. 

More than 10% of RVs at the campground are there for good, they are actually small houses. Next to us for example lives a couple who spends half a year here, half a year in Detroit (anyone still lives there?). Albert and his family seems to live there permanently. 

First backing up with a trailer goes surprisingly well. Mostly thanks to Albert who directs Paweł as he was a puppet - wheels to the left, wheels to the right, etc. It seems easy - trailer turns in opposite direction than a car. But then it gets really complicated.

After we're in our site there's a moment of consternation. All our hoses and cables are too short. Even moving the trailer doesn't help. Luckily Albert helps us with his equipment and we've got it all. Electricity, water, dump, tv (we'll watch it maybe for an hour), all done in 10 minutes. We level the trailer with levelling jacks so it doesn't swing too much, we open the awning (that was fun, Albert pulled one side way too far) and we're all set. It took us an hour. Not bad for the first time!

Finally we go into our trailer. We've been inside just a couple times before - before we bought it and when we threw our suitcases in. Each time it was just a few minutes as it was in icy-cold north. When we start unpacking we realize it's a size of matchbox. There's annoying number of tiny little cabinets, even in places when a bigger one would be more useful than divided into few smaller ones. Well, tiny, but we call it home. We'll live here for next 6 months. We get used to it's size surprisingly quickly and we make it cozy. Ale we clean it very well.

We spend first days getting organized - shopping. Luckily we are in not the most fancy area so it's full of charity shops, thrift shops and dollar shops. Our friend from Ft Lauderdale confirms that Ocala region is Florida third world. We managed to buy a toaster for 4 USD (not working), exchange it to working one (Black&Decker!) for just one more dollar, we buy chairs, dishes, cords, etension cords and more useful things. After a week we feel at home.

That's what our campground looks like:

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Our site is more or less half way down Florida St. (nice, isn't it?). At the campground there's an office, field for some game we don't know yet, laundry room and a large hall for different occasions like Saturday dancing or dinner with Bob Hope's successors (Albert: you know of course who Boba Hope is? You have to stop by today, there will be guys who took over after him... We didn't). 

Social live is there, but only until dusk Then it gets quiet. In the morning the active ones go for a walk (sometimes they walk their dogs) or bike rides. Than the less active get up and golf cart drivers take walkers' place. Those who are here for longer have the whole set: car, golf cart, sometimes even a motorboat. Oh, well, it's goog to be retired in America.

Most of RVs and motorhomes are brand new. Some of them have pop-up living rooms and kitchen, they look a bit like cyborgs. We will make a slamm photo gallery one day. Good that they let us in. It's not so obvious, some campgrounds let in only RVs younger than 10 years.

Almost every RV (recreational vehicle - anything you live in, no matter if it has an engine or not) has a table on the carpet in front of it (Franek too told us we have to get one), here and there a lamp, vase with flowers. Clean and nice, like at American suburbs. We see grills but only gas ones. Nobody wants to get dirty in charcoal. Good they let us use our charcoal grill worth less than 20 USD. We wouldn't be surprised if there was a rule against using it somewhere in small print.

Everyone is very nice but not really interested in aliens like us. We really met jus this one couple from Detroit, they helped us with gas in our trailer. We talked a few minutes and that's it. We probably won't make friends for live on those campgrounds. We might be different, but for someone who was in Vietnam and Korea and their grandkids keep talking about Afghanistan and Iraq moving an iPad during talk on Skype so Hindu Kush gets in the frame, well... we are not so interesting...