Monday, April 7, 2014

Stopping for a short interlude in Zephyrhills

April 1-7, 2013
Zephyrhills, Florida
Majestic Oaks RV Resort

blooming amaryllis_thumb[1]

Stopping in Zephyrhills, as we start our slow trek back to the West Coast, has become an annual tradition for us. The main reason for this interlude is for me to spend time with my aunt, brother, nieces, and nephews before leaving the area. There are several RV parks in Zephyrhills, but most are geared more for long term residents who mostly live in park models vs. RVs. Majestic Oaks is no exception to this but we have come to feel quite at home here and the price is right. (Passport America rates in April of $16.00 per night.)

With a drive of only about seventy miles, we pulled into the park fairly early in the afternoon. Good thing as we ended up needing to call a tow truck for our Jeep shortly after arriving.  When Vic was unhitching the Jeep near the main office, he discovered the transmission would not come out of neutral. We had this problem once before near Niagara Falls and it ended up costing us over $1000 to replace the motor on the transfer case.  Our fingers were crossed that this problem would not require more big money to fix. 

We have towing covered with our Coach-Net policy. They were great and had someone there within an hour. Fortunately, the closest Chrysler Jeep dealership was only about ten miles away. The only challenge was we didn’t want to send the car there with the kayaks, bikes, and everything else we had packed into the back end. This is where having family close by came in handy. My brother came with his truck to help us haul everything to our site. We stayed pretty unperturbed through it all, even laughing at Vic’s idea to sit on the tailgate of my brother’s truck while “towing” the kayaks.

vic wheeling kayak2 from tailgate

The next day we learned from the dealer that there was a Chrysler recall for the computer code error that was showing on our dash: Service 4 wheel drive. The recall requires a software update (N-23) that should clear the code and allow the transmission to shift out of neutral. It took another day for them to complete the software update then Voila! The transmission was working fine once again. The best part was No Charge. The worst part though was learning from the dealer that their mechanic did not think the previous dealership did the work they charged us for as the transfer case is still all original. Bottom line: we now have a Case # with the Chrysler Complaint line. We were grateful this problem happened in a place where it was relatively easy to deal with and that the Jim Browne Jeep dealership in Dade City turned out to be a reputable place. 

The rest of our time in Zhills went by very quickly. I went to my aunt’s home every morning for coffee and good long visits. This aunt is my mom’s only living sister (of four girls) and she is my god-mother. I even found a photo of her and me at my baptism—many, many years ago!

1 pams baptism paul pinegar and terry 1956_thumb[9]pam and terry2_thumb[14]

While I was off visiting with my aunt, Vic shifted into major cleaning mode. He washed the entire exterior of the motorhome with a waterless solution, vacuumed all the filters in the ceiling vents, and cleaned all the window screens. What a guy. The temperatures this week have been the warmest we have experienced this winter, so after his cleaning sessions in the morning, we spent time each day cooling off and relaxing by the pool. Since we have been to this park for several short stays before, we enjoyed some friendly banter with many of the familiar faces we saw at the pool.

On the weekend, we had my brother over for one of his favorite dinners: grilled lamb chops (while watching Florida and Wisconsin lose in the Final Four games). I must be feeling nostalgic, as I also found one of my favorite photos of my brother and me from the 1950s. Now our dog Jetta is his baby on the couch!

1a jerry feeding pam 1956_thumb[1]
jerry and jetta1_thumb[1]

The best news from my brother was learning that his son, who was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, has responded well to aggressive radiation and chemotherapy sessions. His overall prognosis looks very good.

jerry and brian_thumb

On Sunday, my whole family in the area got together for a barbeque, a perfect way to say our goodbyes for the winter. These goodbyes were a little harder than usual since we are planning to spend next winter on the West Coast. I guess I have gotten used to seeing my Florida family much more often since I retired as I used to be lucky to see them every few years.

kim shan, bets tom and bri_thumb

We left Zhills this morning on a short drive of about seventy miles to another Passport America park where we have stayed before near The Villages: Southern Oaks RV Resort. The word resort is a stretch, but this is a comfortable park in a location that works well for us as my oldest brother and some family friends are nearby. We are also hoping to get our kayaks wet on one of the nearby rivers, but the weather will have to get better as there is a storm a comin’.  We may have to rest up a little to be ready for our ambitious spring travel itinerary.

spring itinerary 2014_thumb[1]


  1. Wow lots of family in Florida from the Keys to the Villages. They look like a grand group. Love those old pictures. You apparently were wiser than I and scanned them all and better than that, you can actually find them, WELL DONE!! Sure hope that dealship that took you for $1,000 gets what's coming to them. What a rip off. Nice to know of the local honest guys. Almost makes me wish I had a vehicle to take to them. Well, actually, maybe not.

    1. I wished I had all my old photos scanned--that is a someday project. I did scan a big box when my mom passed away to make a DVD of her life. That was my first project on our full-time adventure as her memorial was our first destination.

      You can bet I am going to be persistent in pursuing a refund for our bogus repair. Chrysler is under the microscope these days, so maybe they will be more anxious than usual to settle our complaint.

  2. Glad things have finally worked out with your Jeep. And to think it was a recall and free!! Hope you are able to get your money back from the dealer.

    Good you had such a nice visit with your family before heading west. Wonderful news about your nephew:)

    1. So far so good on the Jeep. And, yes, we are breathing a sigh of relief on the cost of the second repair.

  3. That's a beautiful picture of you and your aunt...and I am so thrilled to,learn your nephew is responding to the treatments.

    So I see on your map you will be in Moab....when will you be there? We have plans to be there in August and maybe some of September. Have you been there before?

    1. The itinerary is our ambitious spring trip ending in Orange, California (where are grandsons are) on June 1. We have not been to Moab before, but if we do get there this time it will only be a short stay to check it out for future travels.

  4. Glad to hear the transmission was an easy and cheap fix.

    How is your brother down here? Has he recovered well from his illness?

    You look a lot like the picture of your aunt when she was younger.

    1. Karen, my brother in Marathon is much better. He now has a pacemaker, but his heart went back into rhythm on its own so it is just there for emergencies.

  5. If you have to have a repair done, free is the way to go. Glad you kept your humor about you!

    Boy, do you and your aunt look alike. Sounds like a wonderful time with the family. So thrilled to hear about your brother's son. Thanks be to God!

  6. Glad your Jeep trouble worked out and free (my favorite four letter word). Some days the stars do align in your favor. :c)

  7. It is good to have family have your back. My y'all have safe travels as you meander westward. Our westward trek will end Sat. when we arrive in Madras.

  8. looks like you should pass us at some point as we have similarly planned paths...


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