On the Road with Taylor, Marcie, & Patches Bingham
This was the third year we have come to Florida in our RV to enjoy the warmth and play in some of the Super Seniors events. Each time we have stayed a little longer and I have played in more events, not at all successfully but having fun nevertheless. An RV provides a great way to participate in the tournaments because it allows us to follow them as they move from south to north much like a migrating animal that moves to sustain life.
This year we came down from our home in North Carolina in time to play in the Naples event at Sterling Oaks. At Naples we stayed in Neapolitan RV Resort, which is on the Tamiami Trail very convenient to downtown Naples. It is a very elegant RV park with only 60 sites all of which are paved and well-landscaped. There is a pool but no other amenities including showers. It is mostly populated with class A motor homes and is very quiet. At about 10 miles from Sterling Oaks it did not seem far when we made our reservations but with the traffic the trip to the club can take 45 minutes. With two dogs to worry about it is a bit far and next time, despite the fact that we liked the park very much, we will look for one closer to the tournament site.
Every year in Sarasota we have stayed at Sun-n-Fun Resort and Campground. We stumbled on this park on our first visit and have returned the last two years each time staying longer. It is a cultural experience in itself. First it is huge. It has 1500 sites (RV and park home) with a population of several thousand. Many visitors have come here for years and stay months visiting friends made in previous trips. They have a restaurant, bar, entertainment at night, a pool and 150 activities ranging from art and drawing to lapidary, poker, dance, Yoga, Mahjong, and on and on. There are several varieties of lawn bowling. It has a fitness room with machines and 7 hard tennis courts that are extensively used by recreational players in arranged play in the morning and, to a lesser extent, in the evening.
The location of Sun-n-Fun (7125 Fruitvale Road) is perfect. It is about ten minutes to the three 2011 venues: University Park Country Club, Payne Park Tennis Center, and The Meadows Country Club. Payne Park offers hourly court rentals and a month-long pass for $82.50. They have a wall to hit on, a ball machine to rent, and it is relatively easy to find a game.
This year, while in Sarasota, I took several lessons from Don Caprio, Director of Tennis at The Meadows. Don is an excellent instructor. He has a great eye for detail, seeing little things that interfere with proper stroke production yet are so subtle that a less practiced eye is likely to miss them. Hopefully I will be able to make his insights an enduring feature of my game.
We have both stayed in the St. Petersburg area and stayed at Sun-n-Fun to play at the St. Petersburg Country Club and at the Sarasota County Parks & Recreation facility. We have not found an RV site near these venues to recommend, but that may be from lack of effort on our part. So we have driven up from Sarasota, which is not as bad as it sounds as I75 allows one to quickly move between the two locations. However, a quality RV site more proximate to the tournament sites would be preferable.
Being able to play tennis and stay in our RV allows us to combine my interest in tennis and stay in our own place. If you have an RV and an interest in playing in the Florida Super Senior Grand Prix you should give it a try.