Using More of Our Timeshare

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 11 ~ Day #185
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$18500
$115.22
$16501.55
$89.20
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15566+249.4=15815.4
12056.7
7662
196
35730.1

Current Location: Caliente Resort, Land O’Lakes, Florida

Today’s Total Expenses: $115.22

Transportation: $50.00 (gas)

Accommodation: $28.14 (timeshare)

Food: $37.08
Consisting of:
$5.20 (Subway for lunch)
$5.34 (drinks at the resort)
$26.54 (dinner at the resort)

Miles Traveled Today:
Road Miles: 249.4

Birthday Celebration

Today a Happy Birthday wish goes out to grandson, A. Hope you have a wonderful day!

Booking Caliente Through RCI Timeshare System

When we were checking our timeshare options for this trip we were quite surprised to see the Caliente Resort come up as an choice. Caliente is a very upscale, clothing optional resort.

In the “important information” section when you’re booking timeshare through RCI, it does mention that it’s a clothing optional resort and you have to click a check box to say that you’ve read that information. However, you have to check that box for every resort you book, even if there is no important information. So, we couldn’t help but wonder how many people just click the box without actually reading the information. We also wondered if people had booked through RCI and showed up at Caliente not knowing it was a clothing optional resort.

Madge, Our Magellan GPS

Once again we put Madge into service to get us from Davie, Florida to Land O’Lakes, Florida.

She gave us several options, as she always does, and we decided to take the longer route for a leisurely drive, avoiding any major highways. After all, it was a lovely day for a drive and we were in no particular hurry.

Checking In After Dark

The drive actually took us a little longer than anticipated and we arrived at Caliente just a little after dark.

We checked in at the front gate and were directed to the building where the check in desk was located.

The resort uses very soft lighting in the evening which is very attractive, but it also makes it a bit difficult to see where you’re going. But, we did manage to find the right building, and a place to park, and proceeded to check in.

During the check in process we did ask if people had exchanged into the resort through RCI not knowing that it was a clothing optional resort.

They told us about one incident where a husband had booked the trip without telling his wife it was clothing optional. I can’t imagine that that ended well.

This Isn’t a Studio

On our RCI timeshare exchange we had selected a studio unit. When we got to our room, we realized that what we actually got was a hotel room. We were hoping for some minimal cooking facilities, which is what you usually get with a studio, but all we got was a tiny fridge and a microwave.

Oh, well. We’d just have to make do. At least the microwave would give us the option of having some hot meals. We don’t want to be eating out for a whole week.

Free Cocktails and Dinner

After getting settled in our room, we headed back to the clubhouse which was only steps away from our room.

Tonight was “free drinks for the ladies” night so we each had a couple of drinks and, because mine were free, the total cost for the drinks only came to $5.34. Not bad!

We didn’t stop for groceries before we got to the resort because we weren’t certain about cooking facilities. So, we decided to eat in the restaurant tonight and make a grocery run tomorrow.

Beautiful Resort

Caliente is a beautiful resort with an RV section, condos and a residential area, with some fabulous homes, as well.

They also have several pools, a large hot tub, extensive grounds, and planned activities every day. We were able to see what activities were coming up on the tv in our room.

We are looking forward to spending a week here.

Breakfast at Denny’s

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Aug 12 ~ Day #94
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$9400
$54.00
$8466.43
$90.06
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
13148+112=13260
4451
000
69
17780

Current Location: Sunny Sands, Pierson, Florida

Today’s Total Expenses: $54.00

Accommodation: $34.00
Food: $20.00

Breakfast at Denny’s

We both had trouble sleeping this time and only got a couple of hours at the rest area. So, it was still about 3:00am or so and we were back on the road again.

We had plans to camp on August 12th, but 3:00am was way too early to arrive anywhere.

So, like I said, in a weak moment I said, “Hey, let’s go have breakfast at Denny’s. They’re open 24 hours and that should use up some time.”

So, that’s what we did. We got Madge (our Magellan GPS) to direct us to the nearest Denny’s and we had one of their larger breakfasts.

We didn’t need it, it was way too much food. We had stuff in the car that we could have had for breakfast and it wouldn’t have cost us anything.

Our breakfast ending up costing us, with the tip, $20.00! That could have been applied to a hotel room or campground where we could have used food we have already purchased and also got a much better night’s
sleep.

Like I said, spending a few hours last night at a rest area and then spending $20.00 at Denny’s was really a false economy. Hopefully I’ve learned from this mistake.

Sunny Sands, Pierson, Florida

We will be checking into our first timeshare tomorrow, August 13th, and decided to spend tonight at Sunny Sands, a family naturist resort, in Pierson, Florida.

We arrived way too early at Sunny Sands but were able to check in at 8:00am. We had a lovely camping spot and they also had a sparkling clear swimming pool that was most welcome after all the driving and heat we’d been through.

More Rain

During the afternoon there were a couple of rainstorms, but they cleared up quickly and we were hopeful that the tent would be dry by the morning when we needed to pack up.

Shooting Stars

We were back in the pool around 10:00pm to cool off before turning in for the night and found out that there was a meteor shower predicted for tonight.

Well, we did see one shooting star, but that was it and we waited for at least an hour or so. Still, it was pretty impressive as it streaked across the night sky.

Lots of Driving

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Aug 09 ~ Day #91
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$9100
$56.43
$8208.09
$90.19
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
11585+575=12160
4451
000
69
16680

Current Location: On the road

Today’s Total Expenses: $56.43

Transportation: $48.00
Food: $8.43

Retracing Our Steps

As we head back to Florida we have found ourselves retracing some of our steps.

We passed Stony Brook Campground in Hanover, Maine, where we stayed on July 28th, while making our way to Atlantic Canada.

East Coast Heat Wave

The weather report for the east coast of the US was for a heat wave and, darn these weather people, they were actually right!

As we were passing through Springfield, Massachusetts at 5:30pm the temperature was 91 Deg F. Yikes!

Evident Pollution

I’m sure the heat wave added to the evident pollution, however, as soon as we started getting closer to the more heavily populated east coat areas you could actually see a blue haze over everything. And we’re breathing this crap!

Wendy’s Frosty

For some reason I developed a craving for a Wendy’s Frosty and we went in search of a Wendy’s Restaurant along our route.

Madge (our Magellan GPS) was just a little off on the location this time but we managed to find it anyway.

I’ve always liked the Frosty. You know, the chocolate malted dessert that’s thicker than a milkshake but not quite the consistency of soft serve? I was just tasting it.

So, my question is: “What the hell happened to the Frosty I was used to, and when?” The only choice used to be the size. A Frosty was a Frosty.

At this Wendy’s, in Connecticut, I was presented with all kinds of choices – chocolate or vanilla (What? There’s no such thing as a vanilla Frosty!) – Frosty float – Frosty with mix-ins. Obviously something has gone horribly wrong.

I got a chocolate Frosty and that’s exactly what it was – chocolate – NOT chocolate malted.

Geoff got a vanilla Frosty. Sorry, but, there just shouldn’t be any such thing.

What a major disappointment. There’s now no difference between a Frosty at Wendy’s and Soft serve at McDonald’s.

Wendy’s – WHAT HAPPENED?

Be a Responsible Pet Owner

In yet another cost-cutting measure we decided to push our mileage and grab a few hours of sleep at a rest area instead of either a hotel or camping.

A lot of the rest areas on the major US highways are very nice and even have nighttime security.

Apparently, at this rest area some jerk had just dropped off a kitty and then took off.

I think it was about 4 or 5 months old and had obviously been socialized as it was not afraid of people at all.

How could anyone do that?

Please be a responsible pet owner!

Geoff’s Note
Under different circumstances we would have taken the kitten with us but all we could do was hope that security or someone from the cleaning crew would take it to the local shelter.

Lets just hope the bastards that did this rot in hell.

St. Regis Campground, New York

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

July 27 ~ Day #78
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$7800
$82.67
$7420.19
$95.13
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
9449+337=9786
3856 [4437]
000
69
14292

Current Location: St. Regis Campground

Today’s Total Expenses: $82.67

Transportation: $45.00
Accommodation: $20.00
Food: $17.04

Tim Horton’s Doughnut Shops in the US!

We have started noticing the presence of a lot of Tim Horton’s Doughnut Shops in the northern US states. Tim Horton’s is a Canadian chain started many, many years ago by the hockey player – you guessed it – Tim Horton!

You just can’t beat the doughnuts and coffee at Tim Horton’s.

Go Timmy’s!!!

It’s Summer and Hotels are EXPENSIVE!

During today’s drive we thought we might want to stay at a hotel if we could find a reasonable one.

We used Madge (our Magellan GPS) to show us the hotels that were along the way.

Not only were the prices high but most of the hotels we called were fully booked.

Yep, it must be summer.

St. Regis Campground

We had Madge (our Magellan GPS) find us a campground along the route as we figured that would be the only reasonably priced option for us for tonight.

We stopped at St. Regis Campground in Northern New York and it was reasonable – $20.00 – and gave us a chance to dry out our tent as we had had to pack it up wet.

Dinner was a bit of a challenge because, even though this campground had water and electricity available, there were no picnic tables.

So, Geoff set up the Coleman stove on the ground and we did the best we could.

Canned Chinese Food

Apparently I still haven’t learned about buying canned Chinese food. It always looks so good on the can and sounds delicious, but I’ve done this often enough to know that the results are not good.

However, we had bought two cans of Chinese food and I decided to cook one of them tonight. The results were predictable – disappointing.

Note to self: NEVER, NEVER buy canned Chinese food again.

Watching Movies on our Mac

Along the way, when there is nothing else to do in the evenings, we have started to watch movies on our Mac and that’s what we did tonight before drifting off to sleep.

Marquette to Flint, Michigan

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

July 19 ~ Day #70
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$7000
$140.76
$7213.16
$103.04
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
8594+409=9003
3856 [4437]
000
69
13509

Current Location: Flint, Michigan

Today’s Total Expenses: $140.76

Transportation: 53.50 ($50.00 gas + $3.50 Mackinac Bridge)
Accommodation: $39.95
Food: $47.31
Entertainment: $0.00

Car Trouble

After loading up the car and checking out of the hotel in Marquette, Michigan, we discovered that our car would not start.

Geoff popped the hood and noticed that one of the wires attached to the distributor cap was corroded right through.

Auto Club to the Rescue

We called the Auto Club to send someone out to get us back on the road. Although it took a lot longer than they had said for someone to arrive, the person they sent out, from Goodwin’s Auto Repair in Skandia, Michigan, was both knowledgeable and helpful.

He managed to get our car running on 5 cylinders and we followed him to a local garage. Unfortunately, the local garage didn’t have time to fix our car.

The guy that was helping us was really surprised as he said it would be a fairly quick job, but he didn’t abandon us. He said we could either drive to his shop in Skandia (about 10-15 miles away) or follow him to an auto parts store and he could repair the car himself right in their parking lot.

We opted for the latter and followed him to the auto parts store. Good to his word, he got the parts required and repaired our car right there in the parking lot. Amazing!

Although the service call didn’t cost us anything because of our Auto Club membership, the repair was a totally unexpected expense of $153.28. That was to replace the distributor cap and all the wires.

Late Start – Great Lunch

Because of the car trouble we couldn’t get away at a reasonable hour, so we opted to return to Wahlstrom’s Restaurant for lunch.

Today’s special was a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. A bit much for lunch, but since we had skipped breakfast we went ahead and had a big lunch.

Leaving Marquette at 1:00pm – Or So We Thought

By 1:00pm we thought we were finally on our way again. No such luck.

We noticed that the “Check Engine” light was on and assumed that had something to do with the car trouble we just had.

Fortunately we had the name and address of the repair shop from the receipt for the repair. We had Madge (our Magellan GPS) take us there so they could have a look.

Sure enough the error code that triggered the “Check Engine” light was for a misfire caused by the broken wire.

The guy that fixed the car quickly reset the code for us.

It was now 2:00pm and we hadn’t put many miles on the car at all.

Mackinac Bridge

Even with the late start, we did manage to cross the Mackinac Bridge (where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron) and put 409 miles behind us.

Because we had driven so far we opted for a hotel – The Home Town Inn in Flint, Michigan – for the night.

High Food Costs Today

We did WAY TOO MUCH eating out today and that was certainly reflected in our food costs for today.

Starting with the big lunch at $18.94 (not bad considering that also included the tip), stopping for pie in a tourist area cost us another $12.17 (and we didn’t need this at all), picking up some ice tea when we stopped for gas added another $2.00 and then we stopped for dinner as well and spent $14.20 (not a lot for dinner, but money that we didn’t need to spend). That meant a food expense of $47.31 for the day without the purchase of ANY groceries that could be used to offset costs on upcoming days.

Giving in to the ease of eating out can really add up. And, you know what, the food generally isn’t all that good anyway. We can usually make something better ourselves for way less money.

We’re going to have to watch these kinds of expenses along the trip. Especially when we get hit with unexpected expenses, like the car repair.