The Parking Lot From Hell

Wednesday, February 29, 2012, Leap Day

Today started very early for us.  After a noisy night, a stinky morning, we took off like a Sprinter bat out of Walmart hell.  The plan was to stay the morning at Walmart so I could do some preliminary work on two projects, then head a little south where they actually have places to get plans printed, find a nice RV park and stay a few days while I work.  Here is what actually happened:

As I often do, I stayed up late to write. While I was writing, I heard quite a bit of loud vehicles and voices shouting.  This went on for maybe an hour or so, then it got quiet, so I went to bed and Lucy and I watched Leno, then fell off to sleep.  I was out like a light and oblivious, but Lucy tells me the noise resumed and continued for some time.  She said she woke up once and it was quiet and it startled her.  She wondered what was wrong.  Finally Lucy got to sleep.

At about 5:00am I awoke to a horrible smell.  I feared that our sewer had broken or something equally as disgusting, like another RV nearby had dumped in the parking lot and run.  Lucy had been awake awhile trying to look out the windows to see if she saw anything running out from under our van or a neighboring RV. She did not see anything.  We closed up all the windows and vents and the stench lessened, indicating to us that the source was exterior.  That was reassuring but did nothing to reduce the discomfort.  We decided to skip the morning chores and get out of there.  As we drove, Lucy looked up the town Perry on he internet.  What she found was a good explanation for our experience.  It seems that there is a paper mill in Perry which gives off a disgusting odor and if you happen to be downwind you are an instant victim.  The source also said that Perry was famous for it’s drunken parties and loud carousing and fights.  We felt fortunate to be looking at Perry in our rear view mirror.

We drove on south, had breakfast at a cafe in a little rundown town called Mayo.  The food was good and the place was filled with locals, who seemed to be farmers.  The waitress was also the cook and seemed to be overworked but very friendly.  It was called the Mayo Motel and Cafe.  Not fancy by any definition but good down-home food and pleasant, plain, friendly surroundings.

From there we drove on to a place called Springhill, near Weeki Watchee just a few miles from the coast.  We were three weeks away from our last haircut so when we saw a place called Hair, we correctly assumed that we might find a haircut there.  We found haircuts and some entertainment as well.  The person who cut our hair, Monica, was from Brooklyn New Yawk.  she was very entertaining with her accent and her aphorisms.  She warned us that Sprinhill was the last stop before hell.  She hates Florida.  She says they lure unsuspecting people here with the great weather and inexpensive(by NY standards) living.  They sell you a house and then they proceed to bore you to tears.  When we commented on her accent, she quickly corrected us, telling us that we were the ones with accents.  She also warned us to be careful when we traveled through New Yawk.  She said our accents and soft spoken manner would mark us as targets.  She said we need to practice speaking loudly and quit being so damn nice if we wanted to survive New Yawk.  After an entertaining haircut, we drove across the street to the Walmart Arms for the night.  I had to work some so I set to work while Lucy went into Walmart where they had a nail salon.  While she was gone I was approached by a lady who asked me if I had checked to see if it was okay to spend the night here.  I told her we spent lots of nights at Walmarts and had never been asked to leave except once. She said they did too but there was a sign at the entrance which forbade it.  We had not seen that sign, but had seen similar signs at other Walmarts and were able to stay regardless.  She said she would go ask the manager and let me know.  A little later she came back to tell me it was okay to stay.  I noticed she had a french accent and she told me she was from Quebec.  She and her husband had been full time RVers for a number of years.  They even sold their home.  I assumed they had one of those giant motor homes or fifth wheels.  I was surprised to find out that they had a Ford van smaller than our van.  Amazing!  Lucy came back later with pretty finger and toe nails and we turned in for the night.

This was our pace car for most of today's miles

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Today was dedicated to finding a nice park where we could land for a few days while I work.  We drove toward the Tampa Bay area and Clearwater.  We found a perfect spot just about 15 miles north of Clearwater called Port Richie.  The park is called Ja-Mar Travel Park.  It is very nice and clean and has all the amenities we need to be comfortable for a few days.  I did a little work at the Walmart Motel last night, but we pulled in here with the idea that I would complete 3 projects in the next 4 or 5 days.  After we got set up and I was beginning to work, I got another call from a client who has another job for me for next week.  We may have to extend our stay here.  Not a lot of photos today.  Sorry.

The office of our home for the next few days

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