Hudson and Lakeland, FL

Sunday morning, February 6, as we brought in the kitchen slide, 2 bolts broke off on one of the rails. Jim got the problem fixed temporarily and we left Clerbrook at 10:15 – a bit later than we had intended. Acey has 80,411 miles, Thor 99,072, bikes 1,717.2

We stopped in Wildwood for diesel and filled up Acey’s tank. We had hoped to leave earlier so we could try to Zoom with our Sunday School class when we were at the truck stop, but it was too late now. While we were stopped with the engine off and filled the tank, Jim noticed that the battery voltage was really low – the batteries are not holding a charge. Thats not good! The 4 “house” batteries are 6-volt lead acid batteries that we bought back in 2019. We should be able to get 8-10 hours out of them; not just 3 minutes! We will need to get new batteries and SOON! When we boondocked at Yazoo last October, the batteries were fine – so something happened to them since then. (And, YES, Jim checks the water levels the first of every month) The 2 12-volt engine batteries are AGM type batteries, and they seem to be fine.

The 4 “house” batteries are on the left, 2 engine batteries on the right

We arrived at Suncoast Designers in Hudson at 1pm. After we made lunch, Jim needed some parts to fix the kitchen slide, so off we went to the hardware store. Looks like all is OK now as the slide goes in and out – no jamming and the drain line moves better now.

Suncoast Designers provide water and electric for their customers, and a dump station also. We are here because the window by the driver’s seat seems to be foggy in the center.

They re-did all of our windows last February and gave us a life-time warranty on the windows; they should never fog again! It was interesting that there were several motorhomes then – and now – that are only a couple of years old, and they already have problems with the windows fogging! Glad we got here early in the day as there is quite a crowd here in the parking lot already!

We made pizza for dinner and zoomed with the family.

Monday morning, they took out the driver’s window to see what is wrong. After a while, they reported back that the window needs a new piece of the glass; they will order it and we’ll need to come back in a week or 2 to have it installed.

The photo doesn’t show very well the 15 coaches parked in the overnight area.

Meanwhile, we will use the window as is. It really isn’t terribly fogged, but they will cover the repair under their lifetime warranty, so we may as well have it fixed! After the window was re-installed, we went down to check out Hudson Beach on the Gulf. It’s still a bit on the chilly side here – in the 50s and breezy, so we didn’t stay long!

Tuesday morning, we left Hudson about 10:15 with Acey’s mileage at 80,505.2 and Thor has 99,090. It’s 50F and has been raining all morning, and we expect rain all day – kind of like the weather in Seattle, rather than Florida! We drove south and east to Lakeland – to the Sun & Fun Expo campus at the Florida Air Museum.

We arrived at 12:30 and got parked on the tarmac! We are the 6th RV in on right side.

The runway is situated in front of Acey with planes taking off and landing.

We got a bit wet detaching the toad and getting set up, the jackets we purchased before we cruised to Alaska in 2009 are NOT raincoats – they do OK in a light rain, but we need some waterproof jackets. We went shopping and found some waterproof windbreakers, on sale even, at Dick’s Sporting Goods. We have had to move on a few rainy days and the “emergency ponchos” (not much better than a garbage bag!) don’t do well; and our jackets were not great, but NOW we are set!

We are attending our very first RV rally; an FMCA, SEA rally. (Family Motor Coach Association – South East Area) – being referred to as The Luau in Lakeland 2022.

They are expecting just over 400 RVs for the rally. The FMCA logo has a Flxible Clipper RV bus on it – like the one in the movie R V .

And there was one at the rally that belongs to Steve Cramer.

The one in R V – the movie – was red

This sign in the front window told more about this interesting bus! (More here!)

The rally is being held at the Lakeland Airport and we are using 4 hangars; 3 for seminars and one for vendors, plus a few other buildings for activities. There was a lot of planning to put on this rally! Wednesday was the first official day of the rally and there was a “First Timers’ Meeting” to let us know what is going on and what to expect at the rally. Of the 793 rally attendees, 156 of us are “first timers”.

We are in the 3rd row – Jim – red shirt, Linda – lilac

Wednesday evening the entertainment was the movie Yesterday – an interesting plot; a struggling musician seems to be the only one who knows about The Beatles – and a few other things like Coca-Cola and cigarettes also don’t seem to exist!

Amazon has a big facility at this airport with at least 3 buildings

Each morning there was coffee (or hot chocolate or tea) and donuts available; activities, seminars and entertainment went from 7am till 9-9:30 at night!

The seminars were very informative – one about fire safety was interesting and encouraged us have Proteng fire suppression installed in our engine compartment and generator. We may add more protection later. There is an extinguishing agent in the tubing that is heat-activated. “It minimizes fire damage by effectively extinguishing fire at its initial stage by eliminating heat.”

Another seminar talked about having a “Grab ‘n Go Bag” ready for emergencies – which may be a good idea even for those who are not travelling in an RV – have one in your home and maybe even in your car – be prepared! here’s some ideas: Bug-out bag

The entertainment on Thursday night was the Waikiki Dancers and Musicians from Tampa – very appropriate for our “Luau” theme! The stage had great decorations.

The gals had a few costume changes as they danced; representing different island nations.

The chiefs also danced for us…

There was audience participation – here are some of the FMCA officers on stage with the dancers!

On Friday was the “Romeo and Juliet” luncheon; 328 attended.

Linda is seated next to the fellow with the yellow lei and Jim of course next to her!

The speaker was John Leenhouts, the President & CEO of the Aerospace Center for Excellence. Read more about ACE here They have an amazing program where the students can learn to fly while in High School! The rally had a 50/50 raffle with 2 drawings. 50% will go to a lucky rally attendee and 50% to the Lakeland Aero Club to help pay for the expensive flight tests. Read more here!

Airplanes of all sizes took off all hours of the day; fortunately, not terribly frequently!

The entertainment on Friday was The Rogues – they played a lot of hits mostly from the 70’s – great entertainment!

Saturday was a busy day! As mentioned earlier, we need to get new “house” batteries. One of the vendors had Lithium-ion Phosphate batteries – and had 3 different brands available for purchase. Because of the high cost of Lithium type batteries, Jim was thinking instead to buy 4 AGM 6-volt batteries. He called all over Lakeland, and even Tampa, and the only ones he could find in stock were $416.00 each with only a 6-month warranty – other places could order the batteries and have them “in a week or two” and had a 1-year warranty – they were about $300 each. We really need to replace the batteries NOW! So, we got a Battle Born 270 Ah 12V LiFePO4. It has a 10-year warranty – it cost a bit more NOW but should give us good service for many years. AND we were able to purchase it from the vendor at the rally – we really needed to have something!

While Jim had the power off and installed the battery, Linda went to an Instant Pot Class. Linda’s brother Rob gave us an Instant pot for Christmas a few years ago and we have used it many times, but mostly as a slow cooker. The class was really good; Amy used 4 instant pots and made applesauce, broccoli, boiled eggs, a pasta dish with ground beef, a chicken dish and rice (the rice cooked on top of the chicken in a silicone bowl) we will likely be using our pot more often as a pressure cooker! She recommended several websites for recipes:,,,

Jim got the battery connected and we will take the old batteries to Batteries Plus Bulbs; Jim had called about buying batteries there, and when they didn’t have what he wanted in-stock, he had asked if they would take the old batteries and they said they would…. (He had bought them at Batteries Plus Bulbs in Nashville)

Jim wants to insulate the wires connected to the batteries – taped up for now anyway.

We toured the Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum. The first thing we saw was this sphere that can show the weather – and we watched a tropical storm in time lapse – and they can show movies on it as well – there are 6 of these in the world – sorry we didn’t catch the name of it…

Having never gone up in an air balloon, it was interesting to see a basket close up!

Lots of airplanes on display!

Here’s a replica of the Ford Flivver – Ford only built 5 of these single-seat planes, hoping to be “the Model T of the Air”. Production was halted after a fatal crash off Melbourne, FL – this model “didn’t take off”

When displaying a powerful acrobatic plane – why not hang it upside down?!

There was an exhibit about Howard Hughes – with a model of his “Spruce Goose” overhead – it’s ONE flight took place on November 2, 1947. With his brilliance and all his million$, Hughes could afford to pursue his avid interest in aviation!

An artist’s rendering of the famous flight

We saw the real thing at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, OR when we were there with Ted and Nancy in July 2020 – the “Goose” is HUGE!!!!

A little red Aeronca

We went into the restoration center which had a lot of engines, a machine that made propellers – a few planes being worked on… the only photos taken was a little bit from the Wright Brother’s history –

An interesting place to visit!

Later, we had a box dinner from Firehouse subs followed later by some country music with Dave and Daphne – we didn’t get a photo – but here’s one from their website Dave wrote a touching song “A Little Hope” that they say Carrie Underwood will soon release!

We enjoyed our time at the rally – we met many RVers and learned a lot at the seminars. We didn’t have to leave until Noon on Sunday, so we were able to Zoom with our Sunday School class and watch on YouTube a worship service from a couple of weeks ago at Stephens Valley Church. We finished packing up and headed to Eustis, FL where we will stay for a week.

Here are some miscellaneous photos to share with you!

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10 thoughts on “Hudson and Lakeland, FL”

  1. Seems you are both learning the mechanics of land, sea, and air while we are learning to drive defensive dodging potholes and crazy drivers. Good to hear you’re getting your RV in good shape and taking a week off! May you continue safe travels. God bless✝️

    1. I was surprised to see her brown the ground beef right in the pot! That would save another pan when using ground beef – or ground turkey – in a recipe!

  2. I honeymooned, on the Queen Mary back in the ’80s and the spruce goose was right next to it in Long Beach California. I wonder if they just towed it on the ocean to its new home? Glad Jim caught the low voltage situation. Hopefully the alternator is doing its job.

    1. We visited the Queen Mary when we were in Long Beach – before a Carnival cruise. Cool ship! We have seen the Spruce Goose a couple of times at Evergreen Aviation – they removed the wings and towed it on the ocean and then by truck to get it to the museum. Really unique!
      The new battery should serve us well for a long time!

  3. Looks like your seeing a lot of interesting things. Thanks for sharing content list for an emergency quick bag. I was thinking about putting one together.

    1. The folks leading the seminar said they have used their “go bag” 4 times – tornado warnings (a motorhome would surely NOT be a safe place)
      They also mentioned that the red fire extinguishers could be toxic – the white ones are safe for pets, so probably safer for humans too!

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