23 February 2015

The Forest People

Location: Stage Stop Campground, Winter Garden, Florida
We've Temorarily Split OUR TEAM 

Helen & I will be flying to MEXICO for our next adventure. LOAF will be resting next to Nancy & Jim's park model in central Florida. All his mechanical services will be disconnected, everything that can be locked up, turned off, put away and secured ... will be, and LOAF will be left in standby mode... and, hopefully, will not have another adventure of his own. If you recall the last one, it was when the residents at Rock Creek CG in Florida tried to set him on fire (read about it here), during their 2013 New Years Eve celebrations ... their average age is around 79 and they're a wild,  crazy bunch!

TENT TOWN is Close ... Maybe Too Close?

There's a congregation, of Forest People living nearby in Tent Town, in an encampment of sorts. I'm sure they're all good, upstanding folks ...

Tent Town is located just behind and across from a narrow, deep, drainage ditch, very near where LOAF will be ... left alone! Tent Town is guarded, has paths and streets, its' citizens fly flags, each others' laundry and other stuff, they have a peckish order, keep pets and 'mostly', small farm animals and they collect other people's garbage garbage. They also, steal re-purpose ... re-use, re-engineer and re-cycle more effectively than most of mainstream society does. And, they adhere to a strict set of guidelines in recognition of the daily 'Happy Hour' ... they practise it ... every day, all day long, no exceptions! 

This part of Florida, like others, is experiencing an epidemic of homeless and dis-enfranchised people. It's not unusual to find communities like this one, often established because folks are poor, without employment, frequently with emotional disabilities and unable to cope with mainstream society ... so, they end up in places like this one. There was a fatal knifing in Tent Town recently! Too much drinking and petty crime, accompanied by a constant background drone ... there's often a rumble ... a cacaphony of incoherent, inebriated, non-conversational yelling. 

I asked tried to trick Nancy into taking a few photos of Tent Town. 

Her initial response, in a PM to me ... "Well, today the pitbull that guards the forest people came out of the forest unleashed. 

I threw one of Charlie's dog bones over to him. I don't know why I did that, but I did. The pitbull went back into the forest. Maybe we can send Jim over with Charlie incognito. Jim can wear his good clothes and Charlie will act like a girl dog. I am not going over there Dann. You can take a wander over there when you get here. We will tie a rope around your waist and send you in."  

Her second response ... "Meet your neighbours Dann"

That drainage ditch I mentioned earlier, could provide some protection for LOAF ... just visualize an ancient castle moat, but without the water and with litter. 

These fellows often park at the edge of the ditch ... notice how there are two of them.

Assault and penetration would be moderately difficult, but not impossible. The ditch's steep grade would certainly hinder any intoxicated crossing if attempted upright. But accidentally rolling down one side and then having to crawl up the other would actually be quite easy. Once scaled, an intruder could be 20 feet from LOAF within seconds!

We've placed cable locks around our kayaks, the campers' roof ladder is folded in half and locked in place ... our alternate, keyed gas cap has been threaded on, the exterior security lights are activated on the rig and we have security system signage in place. That's about all we can do. 

Stealing the boats wouldn't do the forest people any good, because their isn't enough water in the ditch to float. Don't think they could climb the ladder, there's only the boats to steal up on the roof and nowhere to go other than back down. They don't seem to be into sniffing gasoline, so the safety gas cap is probably unnecessary. Our motion activated, security lighting is only meant to scare off critters that try and get into our garbage. We won't be leaving any garbage, so that won't draw the forest people over.

That leaves our security system signage ... and it would certainly make me think twice!

Next door is where Jim and Nancy have their park model winter home ... they've said they'll keep an eye out while we're away. They're older now, wear glasses, tire easily, drink some and sleep a lot. And, I'm really not all that comfortable with Jim in the role of front line security officer though ... Nancy maybe?  I'm justifiably concerned! Apparently, Jim has made friends with some of the Forest People ... he's recently been spotted driving them around Winter Garden, to cash in their reclaimed cans and bottles in exchange for local, fresh fruit and vegetables and energy drinks.

I do, however, trust Charlie ... N&J's trained attack dawg. Charlie is their purebred Labrapoodledoodle. He is usually on the job and seems to have made friends with LOAF. He has extensive networking connections in the stuffed toy community that could come in helpful, if he ever needs backup.

                   Charlie ... deals harshly with an intruder. 

LOAF's neighbour to the other side ... Joe, is an ex-Vietnam vet with several guns mounted on the wall of his trailer. He's a big fan of the movie American Sniper and a card carrying member of the NRA ... 

... with Charlie and Joe watchin', I know that LOAF will be fine.

Crusty ... feeling pretty secure!

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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty