(Sugarloaf Key, Ramrod Key & Key West)
|Sugarloaf Key KOA at night|
|KW street fair|
|Out for a walk on Noname Key|
2 Feb - 18 Mar 2010
(Clewiston & Sefner, FL)
We pulled out of Sugarloaf on 2/4 with the engine acting weird. It was misfiring at certain speeds and running poorly at others, so it made for a vary nervous drive to the Miami area. The keys aren't where you go to find diesel service and there's no Ford dealer until you get to Miami. So we pushed on, avoiding the worst engine speeds. There is nowhere to pull off to the side of the road with a big 5th wheel in tow till you arrive at Largo.
We finally made it to Florida's Turnpike and pulled off at the first rest area where I stopped the engine. I was digging for the Good Sam emergency road service card and for no good reason I tried to restart the engine... which ran perfectly. Oh great. Does this mean I could have stopped and restarted the engine 100 miles back and not had the miserable drive?! I don't want to think about it. [ Note: After we got back we learned we had 1 bad injector which was replaced under warranty by Bob Turner Ford in Albuquerque, NM ]
|Burning cane nearby|
The downside of Clewiston (motto: "Sweetest Little Town in America"; essentially a company town which exists because of US Sugar) is that the park is in the middle of the cane fields.US Sugar has a new process which eliminates burning the fields to harvest, but the independents still do it the old way: burn the fields (takes about 30 minutes, then let it cool) then cut the cane. This photo shows what it looks like right after they light the cane. Looks bad but the truth is I never did see soot on the rig.
It isn't that the KOA in Clewiston is a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind park- it's actually pretty old with very little updating that I could see. Rather it's the people that stay here that make it special. We had a great time and look forward to coming back.
|Glen, Dale and Doug with the flag|
|Back-row, but facing open pasture (to the right of the road)|
The awning was the last straw. We'd been repairing the Montana all the way across country and there seemed to be no end in sight. Especially since I'd seen that the water heater had developed a slow leak and the electric heating element stopped working. It was likely the next to go.
Since we had been enjoying traveling with the dogs so much, we decided to spend a couple weeks looking at new fifth wheels to replace our Montana which had the front lounge (model 3655FL). Turned out Montana had a new (2010) version of the FL which we looked at. In our view, they had screwed up the design plus it was another 2' longer than ours. So we passed on that. We looked at several brands but kept coming back to the Montana. Eventually we decided on the 3400RL (RL = rear lounge) with the Moving-to-Montana and Hickory Edition options packages and started looking for a unit on a dealer's lot.
|New (right) beside old ready to move our stuff|
|The guy running the tug was amazing as he snaked the new rig past the open slide of the old one!|
We eventually got the rig back to Clewiston, spent a week of getting settled in, then we were off to Santa Fe after a great St. Patrick's Day meal of corned beef and cabbage.