Finally we arrived “here” – here being our site at Riverbend Motorcoach Resort in Labelle, FL where we would spend two weeks. As mentioned in a previous post, the last time we were here was in March of 2016. As soon as we pulled in, we could tell that major improvements had been made to the resort. Was this a result of the clean up efforts after the hurricane? Or was it because of the new management company and the new landscaping company who services all of the common areas? Whatever it was, the resort overall looked awesome!
And speaking of awesome, we could use that adjective to describe our lot (#263) as well! Last time we saw it, our plants and shrubs were quite small, but not so anymore. Surprise, surprise, they grew substantially and seemed quite healthy, thanks to the efforts of our previous landscaper and the fact that the intermittent problems with the irrigation system had been fixed. As far as we could tell, except for the loss of the two palm trees and one of the bushes that we already knew about, there apparently had been no other significant damage from hurricane Irma.
It was a busy two weeks. Besides the usual errands, there was socializing with our next door neighbors, Bobbie and John and a get together with friends, Gay and Gerry and an unexpected visit from friends, Clayton and Gail, Entegra owners from Maine. Shortly after our last visit to the resort, they put their lot up for sale and moved to a different RV resort in the area.
We also had a chance to visit with our friends, Bob and Chris, from RI and former yacht club members who now live in North Fort Myers. We had written about Bob’s remarkable carving talent before – he has won numerous awards for his creations. At their house, Chris showed us one of Bob’s latest woodworking carvings that he sells – carved wooden pencil tops. Amazingly it only takes him about 3 hours to carve one from a 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4″ x 3″ piece of wood.The detail is incredible! Note that the one shown in the photo below still needs to be painted.
Later we had a delicious dinner at La Fiorentina Steakhouse Italiano in Punta Gorda with Bob & Chris. What a good time we had catching up on everything that has happened over the past two years!
The following week they drove to Riverbend to see our new coach and to join us for a delicious breakfast at the Alva Country Diner. Can’t beat the price ($4.29) of their daily bacon and cheese omelette special served from 7 a.m. – 11 a.m.!
Another of our favorite meals at the Diner is their “Broaster“chicken, way better than KFC. Stopping there for lunch one day, we enjoyed their daily 1/2 broasted chicken lunch special. Dark meat only (2 thighs, 2 legs) for $6.99 for me while Rob chose the white meat only (2 breasts, 2 wings) special for $9.99. Served with potato and veggie.
We were disappointed to learn that our favorite produce farm, Ritchey’s, had closed permanenty. Darn, I was so looking forward to their delicious tomatoes drowned in my Temecula Basil Oil. As a possible alternative to Ritchey’s, Buckingham Farms in Fort Myers, was recommended to us by several of our friends.
Buckingham Farms is a 50 acre hydroponic farm, country store and nursery, that not only sells their own produce but also has a cafe which serves breakfast and lunch. One morning we stopped by and both had their Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit ($4.95). The homemade biscuit was absolutely delicious! Sure beats McDonalds! The selections on the lunch menu looked interesting, will definitely have to return here in the future. Dinners are available on Fridays only and must be picked up between 5 and 6 pm.
Guess the tomato season was over because they didn’t have any that looked good but they did have other in season veggies as well as other interesting items.
We were fascinated by the bottles of health elixirs and jars of Bee Pollen for sale which we learned can be used to help with asthma, allergies, stomach problems and health maintenance. The girl at the desk explained that these particular jars of pollen would only be beneficial to the allergens in this particular area – don’t take it to New England and expect it to help there.
In addition to the pollen, they had several varieties of honey that could be sampled including Avocado, Brazilian Pepper Mango (which we bought), Cabbage Palm and several others. Tasting them side by side provided an opportunity to really experience the difference in localized honey flavor.
Outside we wandered around their gardens. Highly recommend a visit here.
Back at Riverbend, we met with the owner of New Look Landscaping who services a large number of lots in the resort to discuss our becoming a potential client. Because he immediately impressed us with his ideas on what improvements he would make to our landscaping to make it appear less overgrown, we immediately hired him. Cross that off our list of things to do!
During previous visits, we have hired Larry Fields’ company, Mobile Wash (239-248-1502), to wash and detail our coach. Our coach was still covered in filthy grime from the long journey back from California, however, this year we opted to just have a wash ($125). As usual, Larry’s crew did a very, very thorough (from the roof down), professional and excellent job! We have had our coach washed at various places in Texas, California and Arizona, but Larry’s crew, by far, tops any other wash (and detail) we have had.
Despite the fact that it was pretty hot (in the high 80’s/low 90’s) and of course very humid, Rob decided that it was time to conquer a major project that has been hanging over his head since we purchased our lot. Some of the OSB sheathing around the west facing window of our coach house had rotted thru due to a leak around the window and needed to be replaced.
This would require the not so easy task of removing all of the vinyl siding on that side, as well as the window.
After all the vinyl siding was removed, a full sheet of the OSB sheathing was ripped out and replaced. In addition the rot had damaged a few of the studs in that area so four 2×4’s needed to be replaced also. Rob really missed having the speed and ease of his air powered nail gun, it’s been a while since he had to do any extensive manual hammering.
The biggest headache and most tedious job though wasn’t removing and replacing the siding – we both spent hours scraping all of the globs of ineffective sealant from the window and from some of the siding so things would fit back together properly. After all our hard work, neither one of us felt like making supper so our reward was a 12 piece bucket of Broaster chicken from the Alva Diner.
The door to the shed also has some rot but that was too big a project to tackle on this visit so that will remain on the list for another time.
When the temps cooled down late in the day, we would hop on our golf cart to take a ride around the resort with the ultimate destination being the beautiful live oak grove next to the Caloosahatchee River. Not surprised to see that quite a few of the coach houses have been upgraded to the new maximum size of 16′ x 24′ (ours is one of the original 10′ x 16′).
We had heard that Irma had vented her wrath on a number of trees in the grove, but from our perspective except for the remains of a few large cut logs on the ground, the majority still remained standing. Although most of the trees weren’t harmed, it was quite noticeable that a lot of the thick cover of Spanish Moss had been blown away.
We were surprised that Riverlandings, a luxury motorcoach resort next door that has been under development (for at least a decade) still has not been finished. Besides the boat dock and a walkway over to the nearby island, only three or four waterfront sites with cottages have been put up and at least one of those was still under construction. The rest of the resort was still undeveloped and lacked landscaping, or any tenants for that matter. Only 5 or 6 of the eventual 66 sites seemed to be occupied and it was interesting to note that every one of those had a Prevost bus conversion parked on it.
After our golf cart excursions, we would return to our site and bask in the last vestiges of the day as the sun slowly sank across Grand Lake. How gorgeous those sunsets were! Once the sun set, the voracious skeeters looking for dinner would appear, quickly forcing us to retreat inside!
For more photos check out our Riverbend Site #263 photo album!
Riverbend Lot #263 Available for Rent 1/1/2019 – 3/31/2019
Before we left to continue our journey back to RI, we decided that next year we would rent our site privately instead of letting the office do it for us. If any of you Class A owners reading this post are interested in a 3 month rental beginning on January 1, 2019 to March 31, 2019, please contact us directly for further information. Our 3 month rate will be a savings of over $2300 vs. renting thru the office! And that will include several perks you would not otherwise get, such as use of our golf cart (normally $200/mo), firepit, cantilever umbrella and other furniture.