Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Many Miles, Alligators, Great Blue Herons and A New Legal Residence -- Oh My!

It has been a very busy past few weeks.  We left Maine on October 7 for a 1200 mile drive to Jacksonville, FL to meet up with Steve and Kathy Burnett, to turn over ownership of Moose to this Florida couple.  We stayed in JAX for a few days to pack our possessions and then transfer them from Moose into a 17' U-Haul truck.  I purposely rented a bigger truck than we really needed because I did not want to stack stuff real high, and risk having boxes tumble going around a corner.  It was a smart choice and made the transfer of boxes very easy.  On Friday the 14th we left Jacksonville and drove about 150 miles to Inverness, unloaded the truck, returned the truck and then drove another couple hundred miles before turning in for the night.  Instead of sleeping in a motorhome we slept at a Country Inn and Suites.  Very nice.  We arrived in Illinois on Sunday, Oct. 16 and stayed with family.  We visited friends and then spent two nights in Chicago at my daughter's house to get to better know Luke, our 9 month old grandson.

Luke and his Dad, Brad share fun times  

The following Monday we left Chicago at about 5:30 a.m. to get a jump on rush hour and to begin the final 1200 mile leg of our travels.   Leaving early was another good decision, but driving in Chicago at any hour is a wild experience.  The speed limit on the Dan Ryan was 55 but we were being passed by projectiles moving at 75 to 80 mph.  By Wednesday noon we arrived at our rental home in Inverness and unpacked the car.  And by Friday evening we were 99% unpacked and kind of settled in.

O.K.  O.K.  What about alligators?

Our rental home is on a connected series of canals and we wondered if there were any gators.  Today we spotted a baby alligator about two feel long drifting in the water and looking for a meal.  I'll  get  photos next time.

But I did get a photo of the Great Blue Heron that hangs around the dock and back yard.  He and his mate are building a nest across the channel.  That should be interesting to watch. 

For the past few days we have been busy becoming official Florida residents.  We needed to get a Florida driver's license, but to do that you need to have an auto insurance policy with your Florida address.  So we got car insurance today with Progressive (Flo is happy) and learned that rates in Florida are higher than in Illinois.  Next we had to go to the County Tax Collector's office to get plates for the car and our driver's licenses.  

We should have known that dark clouds were on the horizon in having to go to a tax collector's office for plates and licenses.  We walked out $550 lighter.  Yikes!!!!!  But on the brighter side, there is no sales tax on food and the annual license plate renewal is about 45% lower than in Illinois. 

Here are a couple of photos of our home for the next six months.

Sometime early next year we will begin looking for a home to buy in Florida and a small travel trailer in which to begin anew our RV travels before high heat and humidity envelop Florida.  Florida will make a great place to winter while we plan our travels for each upcoming year. 

Meanwhile it feels really strange to have so much living space and to not worry about what is going to break next. 

Stay tuned.