Road Trip to Naples, Florida

5th - 9th April 2007


Boy, oh boy, were we excited to hit the road and escape from the chaos of the boat yard for a few days much needed break.    The road trip to Naples was around 300 miles and we decided to combine it with a spot of RV fact finding.   In the used RV magazine we'd spotted several dealers advertising vehicles of types that may be suitable for our needs, located between Green Cove Springs and Naples.   To be sure we'd have enough time to call on a few on our way, we hit the road early.


After stopping at a couple of smaller RV dealers south of Orlando, our next stop was Lazydays RV centre.   We'd expected a similar set up as before, a used vehicle lot with thirty or forty RVs for sale.   However, Lazydays RV centre turned out to be an amazing RV kingdom, almost the size of one of the nearby theme parks and we were in awe.    

After being set up with our own personal guide and choosing a few possible RVs from their extensive used inventory which we wanted to view, we were given a complete tour of the Lazydays empire.    First we passed the huge bays in which even the largest of RVs could be serviced or repaired under cover.   Then we were whisked in a golf cart past millions of dollars worth of motorcoach - sized new RV inventory.    After a brief tour of the RV park for visiting campers, we were finally in the used RV section of the park, which turned out to be as large as an airport carpark.   We were glad that our tour was by golf cart not on foot as each RV on the list we'd selected turned out to be tricky to find in the huge lot.    

Lazydays RV-world

On our return to the sales office, we gave our saleslady extensive details of what we might be looking for, which we knew would cause frequent bombardment in the future with phone calls and mail shots, but it would be worth the pain just for the experience of visiting the amazing place.    If we'd planned our visit better, we would even have got a free lunch but by the time our tour was finished, the cafe had closed.

The next leg of our journey took us south on the interstate towards Naples, where, after a near miss when somebody stopped in the outside lane of the freeway for no apparent reason, we congratulated ourselves on our earlier decision to have the brakes serviced on Vivian's car.   That had been another dealer visit which left us inundated with mail shots!

We'd visited Naples once before, during a fly-drive holiday several years before we owned Anju.  The most memorable thing about our previous visit was a stay in a seedy motel, where we discovered a large hole in the roof of our bathroom.    Needless to say our expectations of the town were fairly low but on arrival we discovered that somehow, on our earlier visit, we'd managed to bypass the main part of the town, which is very upmarket and well manicured.   As we neared our friends address, passing palatial waterfront property after palatial waterfront property, we began to wonder if we should perhaps have rooted out some posher clothes for our visit!    

Finally we arrived at Dan and Carmel's beautiful home and were happily reunited with our buddies.    They whisked us through their house to the lovely pool-side terrace overlooking the water, where they sat us down and handed us ice-cold drinks to help us recover from our shock!



Once we'd begun to acclimatise to the luxury, not to mention the joy of seeing a fully functional inside kitchen and a selection of luxurious bathrooms to choose from, now a novelty to us, we fancied ourselves up as best we could for a trip into downtown Naples for dinner at a lovely restaurant.   It was Easter weekend and the main street of town was very lively.    Dan told us that the town was always busy right through winter until Easter and then many people left to spend the summer in more northern climes.   

Recovering with Carmel and Dan from the shock of seeing a side of Naples we'd never seen before!

We spent a fabulous weekend with our chums but weren't allowed to spend all of our time lounging by the pool.   We were set to work on sorting out a few computer glitches and fixing a few little problems on Dan's boat, Cowheel, ready for their impending trip to the Bahamas.    Another important task was the curry masterclass, where Phil passed along his curry recipe secrets to Carmel.

We'd have loved to stay longer but it was time to get back to work and leave Dan and Carmel to get ready for their trip.  On our last evening in Naples, we enjoyed a delicious meal together at their favourite Thai restaurant.

About to enjoy a delicious dinner

Is this dock deep enough for Anju??

On our way back from Naples we decided to bypass Orlando and chose a route through the more central parts of Florida, ending up on some back roads from the Interstate back to Green Cove Springs.    It was interesting to see some of the less-populated parts of Florida and enjoy some undeveloped countryside.
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