We bought our Safari 25 in February and did a 2 night shakedown only 20 miles from home. After a few improvements including new wheels and tires, we headed out on Thursday for our first rally. WBCCI Florida Unit had a buddy rally with Florida Springs Unit in Cedar Key, about 200 miles from our house. We drove I-95, the Beachline Toll Road, the Florida Turnpike, and several 2- and 4-lane highways with the last 30 miles or so being the deserted drive through the Suwannee and Wacassassa river marshes to Cedar Key. The trip was uneventful, but we did stop at about 10 and 70 miles from home to re-torque the lug nuts on the new wheels and torqued them again before leaving to come home. It was a new experience to use our own "restroom" at a rest stop, and grab a snack and drink from the pantry and fridge instead of going into the vendor area at the turnpike service plazas. The 2006 F-150 got about 10 mpg. The tires ran about 20 degrees above ambient and the pressures came up about 4-5 psi during the trip.
We stayed at Sunset Isle RV Park, an old Florida park on the water just outside of Cedar Key. The spaces are very close together both side-to-side and front-to-back, but are arranged such that from under our awning we couldn't see anyone else under theirs. The neighbors were all quiet, and even though crowded, the stay was very enjoyable. They have several waterfront sites, each with a dock. We will go back in the fall when we can reserve one of those sites.
Thursday night we went into town for dinner. My best description is 10% of Key West with 1% of the people. There is a strip of restaurants and bars about 3 blocks along the marina. We enjoyed dinner on a second floor deck overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The rally included breakfasts sponsored by members, and happy hours each evening. The camaraderie was great; we made a bunch of new friends and got to see some very different Airstreams from vintage trailers to newly refurbished motorhomes.
Friday night was a pot luck dinner and Saturday night was "bring something to grill" with salads, potatoes, vegetables and dessert provided. Friday we toured Southern Cross Seafood Farms where they farm mostly clams, shipping about a million clams a week all over the country. I learned a great deal about the industry, particularly clam farming, and have a new appreciation for the quality of Cedar Key farmed clams. They start with spawned clam eggs, nurture the young clams that look like grains of sand through several months feeding them naturally grown algae until they are about the size of a dime when they place them in bags and put them in the gulf where they eat naturally occuring algae until they are harvested.
Saturday we went into town for lunch. Tony's Seafood Restaurant has won the clam chowder cookoff in New England in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Needless to say, we had chowder for lunch. If your store carries it, buy some!
The week before we left, NWS was predicting highs around 80 degrees for the rally. Unfortunately, they blew it. The temperatures were great Thursday night, but started climbing and by today it was in the high 80s. Except for last night there was a good breeze off the gulf that kept it pretty comfortable. I love three-point hookups and our air conditioner!
Dumping tanks was an educational experience. This was our third experience with the process. There was hardly anything in the black tank. The boondocking suggestion to use a basin to wash dishes and dump it into the toilet is a good one. We discovered how handy the hose and spray under the bathroom counter can be to flush the black tank. We did three iterations of dump, rinse until full, and dump, and when we were done, the effluent was clear. Beats hooking up a hose to the flush elbow and the dump valve.
We drove back today as we have a non-Airstream trip to start out on Wednesday and wanted to have time to put the Safari away properly before we leave.
The drive back was completely uneventful, again with about 10 mpg and tires running great. One tire seemed not to rise in pressure or temperature. I think I may have programmed the unit for the spare, instead of one of the wheels on the ground
We are scheduled for Alumalina the Fall Edition, Falluminum, and Canopener 2015 and are looking forward to those and hopefully cooler weather.