Visit Tarpon Springs

We managed to Visit Tarpon Springs, FL. Tarpon Springs is a beautiful gulf community founded in 1876. By 1895, sponge divers from The Florida Keys discovered sponge beds just off Tarpon Springs and the Sponge industry took off here.

Soon after, more than 500 Greek sponge divers were brought in and established the Greek enclave that is still there. or 30 years, the sponge industry was the largest industry in Florida—larger than citrus or tourism. Tarpon Springs was known as the “Sponge Capital of the World.”

In the 1950’s, a sponge blight essentially decimated the industry. New beds were discovered in the 1980’s and Tarpon Springs is again the natural sponge capital of the USA.

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Tarpon Springs and especially the Sponge Docks area is now quite commercialized with many gift shops and sponge related sales. Fortunately, the Greek influence remains and there are many, many Greek restaurants and bakeries all around the town. Here is a picture of the one we had lunch at.

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Our first stop was one of the 4 visitor centers operated by the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, http://tarponspringschamber.com/ We spent several hours walking up and down the main street by the sponge docks. What a fun place! There are still sponge boats at the docks, and several boat tours will take you out in the harbor and up the Anclote river to the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico. There are also several interesting museums dedicated to the sponge industry and the early history of the town. Add to that a beautifully maintained Greek Orthodox Cathedral and you will have a full day. Visit Tarpon Springs when you are in the area, you’ll be glad you did.

Here are some more pictures of our visit.

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LTRVD0362 RV Boo Boos

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RV Boo Boos are the main subject of this show. First though, we give an update on the I-75 road closure in Tennessee. Both southbound and one northbound lane are now open according to the State Department of Transportation website, http://www.tn.gov/tdot .

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Next we talk all about our trip to the town of Tarpon Springs. Located at the northernmost part of Pinellas county above Tampa, Tarpon Springs was the largest sponge operation in the entire country in the 1920’s. Most of that has been replaced by foreign competition, but the docks remain along with much of the Greek heritage that made the town what it is today. We stopped first at one of the 4 visitor centers, this one near the city marina and sponge docks. Call them at 727 937-8028 for more information. We’ll do a blog post with many pictures.

We start the RV Boo Boos section with a detailed account of how one RVer handled dropping his 5th wheel trailer on the bed of his pick-up truck. He went into a lot of detail on how it happened, how they handled the aftermath, and how they fixed the truck.

Next we recount many of the stories told in a thread on the Living the RV Dream Facebook group all about RV Boo Boos. There were stories of showering while driving, sliding out of the bed after a sudden stop, and many others that were funny only after the fact. There are a lot of lessons learned here.

LTRVD0361 Workamping National Parks

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We discuss Workamping National Parks in a segment where Kathy discusses working for a concierge company that supplies seasonal workers for our National Parks. One of the companies we know well is Xanterra, http://www.xanterra.com/ who supplies workers for the Grand Canyon among other locations.

We talk at length about what people think they should have known more about before starting out in the RV lifestyle. This came from a question asked on our Living the RV Dream Facebook group. The question was “What’s the one thing you wish you had known or learned about before beginning the RV lifestyle?” Kathy and I did our take and advice on some of the answers to that inquiry.

We’ll be moving back to the Horseshoe Cove RV Resort at the end of the month and continuing the planning for this year’s Gathering rally in October from the 11th to the 16th. For more information, send an email to ltrvdgathering@yahoo.com.

We also asked if anyone has information on electric bikes as we are considering getting them. Please respond to johnandkathyhuggins@yahoo.com on that and any other topics or questions.

LTRVD0360 Bad Campground Behavior

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Before we get into Bad Campground Behavior, we answer the week’s emails. One correction from a previous show was a blog address that discussed preparing a map of your travels with pictures embedded. The proper address for that subject is http://keithc855.blogspot.com/ . In another email, we were told of a good place to purchase reconditioned cell phones and other computer equipment at http://buy.gazelle.com .

Next, Kathy lists the upcoming RV shows for the rest of March, and there are many.

Our friend Greg Gerber, editor of the RV Daily Report www.rvdailyreport.com and Lets RV www.letsrv.com newsletters recently posted a question on several popular RV groups on Facebook. He asked people to provide examples of horrible campground etiquette, or those obnoxious actions of others that can take the fun out of RVing.

I read the top 20 examples of Bad Campground Behavior along with many of the runner-ups. Some are funny, some are sad, and some are just downright dangerous. I hope we all take away some better understanding of how to better enjoy our campground experience.

LTRVD0359 Spring RV Preparations

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Spring RV Preparations are the main segment of this week’s show. During the email segment, we received an answer to a listener question about how to make a map with all the places they have visited with attached pictures. We got a great answer from Keith Cooper on using a spreadsheet file to upload to MY Maps in Google Maps. Keith provides an example in a blog post at http://keith855.blogspot.com/ .

In the main segment, we cover many aspects of Spring RV Preparations. We start with removing the cover if you use one. Then we cover reinstalling and charging the rig batteries along with filling propane tanks.

Then we move forward to checking vital fluids in motorized rigs engines as well as in generators. We discuss exercising your generator with a load.
Next up we cover repacking wheel bearings and checking tires for dry rot cracks and airing them up to the recommended cold pressure. We also check all smoke, carbon monoxide, and lp gas alarms and replace batteries as necessary.

Next up is a test of all propane fired appliances. We save the water heater until after we de-winterize the fresh water system by removing all antifreeze from the system. This is a good time to sanitize the fresh tank as well.

Now we fire up air conditioners and check all circuit breakers and GFCI circuits. This is also a good time to flush both the grey and black water holding tanks. Check all your water hoses as well as sewer hoses for leaks now as well.

The first trip in your rig should be a short shakedown to verify all systems are operating including exterior lights.

We discuss our upcoming rally, the Living the RV Dream Gathering that will happen in October at the Horseshoe Cove RV Resort in Bradenton, FL. A new addition this year will be a safety seminar and voluntary rig weighing by the RVSEF staff.