Hillsborough River State Park – January 4 – 17, 2023

Wednesday January 4, 2023 we left Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont, Florida and drove a little over an hour to Hillsborough River State Park near Thonotosassa, Florida. This would be our second time staying at this State Park. We were here for the first time back in 2021.

We were booked into a different loop this time and it was not nearly as nice as our first stay. The sites were flooded by the persistent rains and were extremely muddy. The trails were nice and we hiked some that we did not hike the first time we were here, so that was fun.

When we originally booked this stay back in February of 2022 (you have to book Florida State Parks 11 months in advance due to their popularity for Northern visitors in the winter months) it was so we could spend some time with my brother and his family in nearby Wesley Chapel during his birthday month. But in October of 2022 he had the opportunity to sell his home and make a move to Miami, Florida. Although I was sad we missed a chance to see him and his family, I was happy that they were happy.

On Saturday January 7th we drove over to Ybor City to go to the Farmers Market. We always enjoy visiting there, picking up some fresh produce and then having lunch at the nearby James Joyce Irish Pub. We got some good photos of the chickens and roosters that also frequent the Ybor City Farmers Market and are protected by the local government.

And it turned out we used the stay to take care of an add-on to Nomad. You may recall my trip to the RV dealer in Ocala to have a leak on our living room slide-out looked at (if not, you can read about it here). After discussing it for a while, Cindy and I made the decision to go ahead and have the recommended slide-out awning installed on that side. That way, temperature contraction or not, we could keep water from leaking in through the edge of the slide-out. There is a dealer in Seffner, Florida about 45 minutes from the State Park and we thought since we already had a site reservation we couldn’t change that we would schedule the work for that time. I contacted the dealership and set up the appointment for Friday the 13th (dum, dum dum dum dummmmm). It would mean tearing down our campsite that morning and coming back that evening to set everything up again, but it was what worked the best for our time frame.

We dropped Nomad off at the dealership around 10am and left to go run several errands we needed to take care of in the area. We were told it would be ready around 3pm so we returned around that time to find it out in the front parking lot ready to go. Except…as I said to the service advisor when we saw her inside “We have a problem.”

As I looked Nomad over, admiring the living room slide-out awning, I noticed that they had also installed an awning over our kitchen slide-out. When I saw the service advisor I showed her the email I sent when we scheduled the work stating that I wanted an awning over the living room slide-out. I was afraid they were going to take it off (since I had no intention of paying for the second awning) but she looked at the email, said “Well, you just got a second awning for free.”

For once, we came out ahead on something. I was SO glad I had that in writing.

We got back to the campsite just as the sun was setting and got most of Nomad set up (despite the mud and muck) while we still had some light to work with, only having to use a flashlight for the last few tasks. I’ve seen people come into their site to set up in the dark and it’s something I’ve never wanted to do. And I still don’t.

We had to cut our reservation short one day early so we could drive back over to Orlando so that Cindy could have the orthopedic surgeon have one last look at her broken shoulder before we leave the area for 10 months. I also wanted to get a new tire to replace our spare on Nomad so while I was having that taken care of Amber came by the tire dealer, picked up Cindy and took her to her appointment. The doctor said she was healing up nicely and gave her some exercises to do, so we were happy that her shoulder was getting better. We spent Tuesday night, January 17th boondocking in the Cracker Barrel parking lot and had one last dinner with Amber, Abby, Ann, Mikey and Charlotte. We also all wore the Kirkland T-shirts that Ann had gifted us all at Christmas.

And while we’re talking about RV’s using the parking lot at Cracker Barrel; it would be nice if people could learn to READ and OBSERVE the signs that mark the spaces for RV’s and busses. You can see in the photos that folks just ignore the signs. I ended up parking Nomad on the back lot with Cracker Barrel management permission.

Our next stop is Bell, Florida.

Thanks for following the Wandering Wetheringtons.

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