01 New Home

Trip Start Nov 08, 2009
Trip End Apr 16, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Saturday, December 5, 2009

After limping back to Toronto with Momma, who had been beat up by three trees during a gale in Jasper National Park (a true act of God), an alternate home was needed once my insurance company said they would not provide coverage on a written-off vehicle. Sister Moyra (Supergirl?) came to the rescue by re-contacting an auto-wholesaler (read friend) to help secure a pickup truck coming off-lease and she also found a slide-in pop-up camper in Parry Sound (read new home) which was purchased for a song.

Momma’s last task was transporting Baby, my BMW bike, back to Toronto for sale since it is too big and heavy to ride on the truck‘s front bumper; a smaller on-off road machine will be secured once my bank account recovers (hopefully soon but unexpected expenses keep arriving).

In memory of Momma, the new truck, a 2007 Ford F150 with only 40K km plus all the electric bells and whistles, has been christened “Storm” (thanks to Cindy for the suggestion). Storm also has four-wheel drive to better help get into (and out of) wilderness areas.

The Slide-in Pop-up Camper has many advantages for my current way of life; to name a few: a three-way fridge (120vac, 12vdc and propane) to keep beer cold, a propane furnace to handle late fall and early spring coldness, a drier spot to read plus stand up and stretch during bad weather, a three burner stove and it can be easily removed (dry dock?) when staying in campsites for more than a week (or when eventually replacing Storm in ten years).

Left Toronto on November 9th with Erik, the kayak, mounted perilously on top of the camper and had a good visit with Pete & Lois in London. We had dinner at a local pub that has a Sunday night trivia contest; didn’t win but it was lots of fun. Up early the next morning, I pushed off towards Cincinnati (after getting scotch at duty-free) to meet up with Cindy for the trip to the Everglades. A neat aside; I purchased a cheap pair of walkie-talkies to help us stay in touch while driving.

After an extra night in a non-descript, but inexpensive, Motel 6, we reached Amanda (Cindy‘s daughter) & Danny’s place in Tampa for a short visit. Played guitar hero (they have the whole four piece band and I was definitely the neophyte), went garage sailing, watched college football (GO GATORS GO) and watched some early Grey’s Anatomy TV shows, via DVD (Cindy is now hooked and is ordering more from the local library).

Our first real camping outing was two nights at Collier-Seminole State Park, a great place to relax. From Naples we took the really rough Loop Road through the Big Cypress National Preserve (my favourite place in Florida) so we could camp a couple of nights at Pinecrest (free camping) where we had really nice stars and campfires. The only real problem is keeping Bogie's cast dry (only another month to go, hopefully). Since we couldn’t move into the cabin until Friday, we camped one night in the Everglades at Long Pine Key, where Cindy works.

Since moving into the same Glade hut on November 20th, I have been working non-stop trying to organize Storm and the pop-up (I am downsizing again since Momma actually carried more stuff). I have also jury-rigged kayak racks for Storm using two-by-threes in the pickup bed-post-holes. I have also ordered roof-racks with new Thule clamps plus an auxiliary battery and isolator for the pop-up which will hopefully be installed next week.

To date, I have yet to sleep in the Popup - not even using the table area which converts to a bed without popping the top… The christening will take place in Storm’s later adventures… Stay tuned and have a great holiday season...

PS: The insurance settlement for Momma, my Ford E150 van, was more than fair
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