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Old 08-29-2013, 05:17 PM   #43
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OK ... manatee season is "iffy" in May. Typically, manatee come into warm water to escape cold water ... that puts manatee season around Thanksgiving. That's because the Gulf is colder than the rivers.

Most areas in Crystal River and Rainbow River are spring fed ... they are 72 -74 degrees year round ... honest !! The Gulf and Atlantic vary ... Springs do not.

You cannot avoid Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area. It's just a question of where you cross the state. If you come in Alligator Alley you arrive in Ft. Lauderdale.
Unless you turn south at US27 at mm22 at the end of the alley and then proceed to sr997 south to US1 to the keys. you will not get near Miami proper or Ft. Lauderdale.
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:28 PM   #44
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If I stay at either Highland Hammock or Ortona South I will most likely be coming down on Hwy. 27 anyway and then switch over to Hwy 997.

I just need to check how Hwy. 27 is and locations of gas stations.
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:41 PM   #45
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If you come down US27 there is an excellent campground at South Bay it is a county
campground (Palm Beach) around 30$ . Check their website.
27 is 4 lane some small towns no big deel. I use 27 when I don't want to pay the turnpike.
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:13 PM   #46
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Unless you turn south at US27 at mm22 at the end of the alley and then proceed to sr997 south to US1 to the keys. you will not get near Miami proper or Ft. Lauderdale.
I think there is a significant difference between "Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area" and Downtown in either .... To me it's like comparing the Beltway to downtown Washington D.C.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:00 PM   #47
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I will be taking I-10 until the Tallahassee area.

My original plans was to stay about 3 nights at all of my stops. But now I am thinking of doing the 3 night (or more) stays at the Rainbow Springs and the Pennekamp stops. This will mean I will need an overnight stop between home and Rainbow Springs and then one between Rainbow Springs and Pennekamp. I will be staying at Bahia Honda for 7 nights and then 4 nights at Bluewater. It would be a plus if the overnight stops had pull-true sites where I would not have to disconnect the car. We have not decided on the return route yet.
allstays shows some walmarts in southern florida that welcome rv parking overnight. (yellow)
if you find a walmart in an area that you want to stop, i would call them even though allstays shows them ''red''. we have had good luck doing this.
the allstays website is free and is kept up to date by users of the site.

Florida FL Wal-Mart Store Locations

Overnight RV parking etiquette
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:36 AM   #48
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allstays shows some walmarts in southern florida that welcome rv parking overnight. (yellow)
if you find a walmart in an area that you want to stop, i would call them even though allstays shows them ''red''. we have had good luck doing this.
the allstays website is free and is kept up to date by users of the site.

Florida FL Wal-Mart Store Locations

Overnight RV parking etiquette
This may be an option going and coming back. I read the FMCA Etiquette and it does not say anything about running the generator or not. My issue with staying like this is I cannot sleep if I am hot.

Is running a generator OK or not?

Another concern I have is concerning my toad. Are the spots that are set aside for us set up where I can pull straight through to it? My local Walmart does not allow RV's so I cannot look at how they are done.
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:30 AM   #49
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This may be an option going and coming back. I read the FMCA Etiquette and it does not say anything about running the generator or not. My issue with staying like this is I cannot sleep if I am hot.

Is running a generator OK or not?

Another concern I have is concerning my toad. Are the spots that are set aside for us set up where I can pull straight through to it? My local Walmart does not allow RV's so I cannot look at how they are done.
the walmarts that i have stayed at told me to park on the outer perimeter of their parking lot. i ran my generator most of the time. i park so that i can open my bedroom slide over a grassy area, next to a tree, or whatever when possible. i did not disconnect my toad most of the time. i usually did not park in a marked striped space.
it is important to ask management or security for permission to park overnight and where to park when possible. when i arrived after the store was closed, i parked on the perimeter of the lot. there were usually other rv's in the lot.
do not block the trucks delivering goods at night.
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:38 AM   #50
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I think there is a significant difference between "Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area" and Downtown in either .... To me it's like comparing the Beltway to downtown Washington D.C.

The only ''city'' you get to going this way is inhabited by alligators. It is west of the urban development boundrys down here. There is only 2 gas stations and 1 remote trailer park that has been out there for 40 years or better from I75 all the way to 997 and US 41 at the Indian gambling place. There is no fast food and only 4 redlights

from I 75 to 997.
I don't know anything about the beltway but it sounds like a place to avoid.
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:12 PM   #51
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The only ''city'' you get to going this way is inhabited by alligators. It is west of the urban development boundrys down here. There is only 2 gas stations and 1 remote trailer park that has been out there for 40 years or better from I75 all the way to 997 and US 41 at the Indian gambling place. There is no fast food and only 4 redlights

from I 75 to 997.
I don't know anything about the beltway but it sounds like a place to avoid.
My comment was in response to the OP's comment:

"the Jonathan Dickson SP puts me on the route that takes me through the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale areas that I want to avoid."

If "Miami/Ft. Lauderdale areas" means "the City of Miami and the City of Ft. Lauderdale" then your route will avoid those cities. I consider the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area to be the populated areas of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties ... larger than city limits. I don't really know what the limits are for the OP. He may mean he wants to avoid certain types of routes (I-95 or the Florida Turnpike) rather than a specific geographical area.

Beltway (I-495) around DC is roughly the equivalent of 836/826/874 around Miami versus using I-95 thru Miami.

I'll let the OP decide how to get to the Keys ... my route is likely to be different.
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:17 PM   #52
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My comment was in response to the OP's comment:

"the Jonathan Dickson SP puts me on the route that takes me through the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale areas that I want to avoid."

If "Miami/Ft. Lauderdale areas" means "the City of Miami and the City of Ft. Lauderdale" then your route will avoid those cities. I consider the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area to be the populated areas of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties ... larger than city limits. I don't really know what the limits are for the OP. He may mean he wants to avoid certain types of routes (I-95 or the Florida Turnpike) rather than a specific geographical area.

Beltway (I-495) around DC is roughly the equivalent of 836/826/874 around Miami versus using I-95 thru Miami.


I'll let the OP decide how to get to the Keys ... my route is likely to be different.
bruceisla:

When you first brought up the suggestion to look at Jonathan Dickinson SP I immediately did a quick route check on Mapquest. This route appeared to me to run right down the middle of Fl. Lauderdale and Miami along with several other cities. This route did mean I-95 and the Florida Turnpike. This is why I dismissed this park and route. I value your input and I hope I did not insult your opinions in any way. I apologize if I did.

Now that this issue has been resolved I have discussed the Manatee's not being available with the DW. Being that is out we have decided not to make mini trips in the route to the main objective which is the Florida Keys. We can go see the Manatee's on one of our many trips later. Our RV traveling history is just starting.

All of our stops going and coming back from the Key's will be overnight ones. This has changed my route and my campgrounds some. Listed below is what I am looking at now. Each of my days traveling will be about 250+- miles or roughly 5 to 6 hours long.

1) Defunick Springs, FL. - Sunset King RV Park
2) Old Town - Lucky Charm RV Park
3) Sebring - Highland Hammock SP
4) Key Largo - Pennekamp SP
5) Big Pine Key - Bahia Honda SP
6) Key West - Bluewater Key RV Park

When mapping these out it takes me from I-10 to Hwy. 27 throught the middle of the state and then over to Hwy. 997 to Hwy. 1 which is similar to what has been mentioned before. I am in the process of checking out the reviews for the campgrounds more, but so for they seem to be highly rated.
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:00 PM   #53
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bruceisla:

When you first brought up the suggestion to look at Jonathan Dickinson SP I immediately did a quick route check on Mapquest. This route appeared to me to run right down the middle of Fl. Lauderdale and Miami along with several other cities. This route did mean I-95 and the Florida Turnpike. This is why I dismissed this park and route. I value your input and I hope I did not insult your opinions in any way. I apologize if I did.

Now that this issue has been resolved I have discussed the Manatee's not being available with the DW. Being that is out we have decided not to make mini trips in the route to the main objective which is the Florida Keys. We can go see the Manatee's on one of our many trips later. Our RV traveling history is just starting.

All of our stops going and coming back from the Key's will be overnight ones. This has changed my route and my campgrounds some. Listed below is what I am looking at now. Each of my days traveling will be about 250+- miles or roughly 5 to 6 hours long.

1) Defunick Springs, FL. - Sunset King RV Park
2) Old Town - Lucky Charm RV Park
3) Sebring - Highland Hammock SP
4) Key Largo - Pennekamp SP
5) Big Pine Key - Bahia Honda SP
6) Key West - Bluewater Key RV Park

When mapping these out it takes me from I-10 to Hwy. 27 throught the middle of the state and then over to Hwy. 997 to Hwy. 1 which is similar to what has been mentioned before. I am in the process of checking out the reviews for the campgrounds more, but so for they seem to be highly rated.
Absolutely no problem! I tend to use Interstates and Turnpikes more to ensure availability of diesel fuel and easy in/easy out gas stations. I'm sure you will enjoy your trip and have great memories. Weather should be very good. If you get a chance you can run the "average temps/rainfall" for each of your stops. Typically, the Keys don't vary that much month-to-month.

Have fun !!
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:06 PM   #54
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Fuel stop locations are a big deal with me. I tend to plan to much sometimes, but I do not want to get stuck. I use GasBuddy and have started to use Find The Cheapest Truck Stop - TruckMaster Fuel Finder . I then use Google to look at how I can get in and out without any issues.
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:21 PM   #55
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Fuel stop locations are a big deal with me. I tend to plan to much sometimes, but I do not want to get stuck. I use GasBuddy and have started to use Find The Cheapest Truck Stop - TruckMaster Fuel Finder . I then use Google to look at how I can get in and out without any issues.
Good thinkin' ...
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Old 08-31-2013, 06:34 AM   #56
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BTW, this is a really nice park in the panhandle:

Welcome to Florida State Parks
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