A Visit to Land Yacht Harbor Airstream Park
I picked up my father's rebuilt Airstream trailer from the dealer in Ohio and drove down to Land Yacht Harbor Airstream Park in Melbourne Florida. It has been at least 20 years, maybe longer since I've been there with my parents way back in the 20s and I was eager to see the difference that had occurred over the years.
The drive was long but was made much easier by the auto-pilot in my Tesla Cyber Truck. I got off I95 and turned down John Rhodes Boulevard. It is a lot different from what I remembered with a lot of new construction and new commercial properties. I almost missed the turn into Land Yacht Harbor Airstream Park because of the changes. There is a tall fence or wall around everything and as I pulled in, the automatic gate opened apparently somehow being able to know who I was. I drove down Midlane Place and my navigation system guided me right to my site which was a pull-through site and very easy to navigate into.
A fellow named Jim came over to help me get hooked up although it wasn't very difficult with the new systems they are employed now. He stayed and we talked a bit. Jim offered to take me around and show me everything that was new, which I accepted eagerly.
We started off with a clubhouse tour which from the outside was very reminiscent of what I remembered. There were video screens everywhere with useful information about park activities. Everything changed once we went through the front door. On the right where I remembered a wall was now open to a very nicely equipped camp store. A row of vending machines offered everything you could ask for. On the left, the door that used to be the post office is now the door into the showers. The Post Office has not been needed for many years.
We walked a little further and I was pleased to see that the billiard tables were still there and the rest of it looked pretty much the same except on the left was the new bigger library in what was the corner of the main floor.
Jim led me through the library into the new laundry which was where the library used to be. He showed me the fancy new washer dryer folding machines that were there. He said it was a big deal getting them a few years ago. All you had to do was put your clothes in this basket and set it on the conveyor and the machine took the basket in, washed and dried the clothes and folded them, and put them back in the basket! All you had to do was come and pick it up when it was done! He said that people really loved them and didn’t really miss not having the drying yards.
We then went out and took a right turn to the south towards the back of the building. I was pleased to see that the woodshop was still there as I remembered it many years ago. Jim said it was used for storage and not used as a woodshop anymore. The new woodshop was to the right and extended off the back of the main building where a series of old sheds used to be. We went in the large workshop door with lots of wonderful equipment! They even had a 3-D printer which they used to reproduce parts on some of their old Airstream trailers since parts were no longer available. They even had a CAD system, very impressive.
Back outside we faced the southern border wall and the boardwalk that I was pretty sure wasn't there before. Jim told me it has only been there 10 years or so. It is a 6-foot wide boardwalk that goes down both sides of the park front to back attached to the outside border walls. We walked up the slight ramp and turned left (E) towards the back of the park and walked on the boardwalk. The wall here on our right was much taller than the wall on the rest of the park which Jim said was because of the soundproofing from the industrial area on the other side of the wall. Every so often along the boardwalk, there would be a little bump out with a bench. Some of them even had a shade over them. Video screens were everywhere replacing the old bulletin boards. An occasional tree provided shade while we walked. There were people sitting reading and talking. It was a lovely walk. Jim said it was much easier on everybody’s legs to walk on the boardwalk rather than walking on the pavement and safer too. We got to the back of the park and things looked quite a bit different. The entire back 40 feet or so was occupied with trailers that were stored there. I mentioned to Jim I thought this was not done before and that the people left their trailers on their sites. Jim said they didn't do that anymore, that those who want to leave their trailers here could park here in the back if there was room. Otherwise, there is a place next-door that stored trailers or they took them home as it’s a lot less expensive that way.
I wondered how that worked. I really didn't remember how it was back when my parents were here. He told me that if you were a shareholder you could pay a yearly fee for a particular site that was yours whenever you wanted it and then you paid an
additional fee by the month for the time that you came down here but you couldn’t leave your trailer on the site for more than a month if you weren't here. It seemed like a pretty reasonable way to do it.
I wondered how they paid for all of these additions. Jim said it was done in a variety of ways. One of the ways was asking people to include LYH in their wills which a number of people did. There are other ways, for instance, you could buy a brick in the brick path in the front garden area. He said he’ll show me that later. The camp store was a good source of revenue too. They had other fundraising events and various things that people could contribute to for doing things in the park much like the go-fund-me system.
We continued our walk across the back and I noticed there was a rear entrance in the back that I was sure wasn't there before. Jim said that that was done about 15 years ago. LYH made a deal with the property owners to allow access to North Road which made traveling for shopping much quicker, although most people use delivery services these days.
We got to the north side of the park and got back up on the boardwalk and continued our walk to the front (W) of the park. There were the same bump-outs with benches and enclosures with trees for shade and people walking and talking and having a wonderful time. When we got to the center of the park the boardwalk stopped and we walked down into a large recreation area that had pickleball courts, badminton courts, and a whole bunch of other things in what used to be a large grass area across from the pond (which now had canoes and paddle boats). Across from this where there used to be bocce ball and shuffleboard had been reimagined with the tennis courts and various other things. Even a swimming pool and spa.
Back on the boardwalk and heading east to the front we got up to about the halfway point there was now a small pavilion in what was an old drying yard. Jim told me that they had entertainment there. He said it was also where they had their water treatment plant. All the water in the park was now done with reverse osmosis and was very drinkable.
We continued along to the front of the park where at the end of the sites we came to a beautifully landscaped garden with curved paths, places to sit down with small little water features and lots of flowers. It was here Jim said were the bricks you could buy. People paid money to have their names on them. Some people liked to leave a little remembrance of the time they spent at Land Yacht Harbor Airstream Park. This helped finance some of the things that were done.
We got to Midlane Place at the crosswalk. I waited on a car that was coming but Jim said, no problem the gates won’t open if there's anyone in the crosswalk. The other side was more of the same lovely gardens and walks and water treatments with wonderful places to sit and enjoy the time. The wall between these gardens and John Rodes Boulevard was built in such a way that most of the road noise could not to be heard at all! When we got to the south side of the park there was the boardwalk again and we walked up on that and walked back down past the garage and the woodshed and back to where we started. I had a lot of questions and Jim was ready to answer them so we went over to the pavilion area and sat down and had a nice talk.
Jim said that converting the center areas to pull-through sites had several advantages. It did not reduce the number of total sites, we still had 300. The extra length of each site allowed for two vehicles on the site whereas before you can only have one and that alleviated a lot of the parking problems.
The old 9x10 sheds were replaced with sheds on the same square footage but they were longer and narrower in order to accommodate the new space. Another thing that was quite nice was that they were able to reverse the direction on two of the one-way roads so that you did not have to drive down the wrong way in order to park the trailer for any of the back-in sites along the side which was really nice.
Note: I put this imagined story together from ideas I picked up during my one year as President (2020-2022). My idea is this would give the shareholders and long-term users a glimpse of what might be done. I hope this starts a discussion with new and even better ideas.
Are these possible? Are they wanted? Keep an open mind as you consider these thoughts. While they ‘could’ be done doesn’t mean they ‘should’ be done. Remember this is 25 years in the future when I’ll be 102! It is easy to say that none of these things could be done but indeed all of them could be done given enough time, money, and effort. But I think it is for the younger among us, those not 77 like myself, to decide what to do because it is they who will benefit from everything that is done.
Frank Hogg March 2022
Let’s consider them one at a time.
Boardwalk along the property fence line:
Is there room? Yes. Behind my motorhome on Alpha #4 is 13 feet to the fence/property line. In the future with pull-through sites in the middle, you would likely not put large RVs on the sides so there is plenty of room for a 6-foot boardwalk. The ground slopes into the ditch which would not be impacted by a boardwalk above it. The boardwalk by itself could be at near ground level and go over the ditch. The golf carts use these areas for maintenance but because of the soft ground at the bottom of the ditch, they stay well away from the fence only going close to mow which would not be needed if a boardwalk was there. Conclusion: Yes, it’s possible. Why do it at all? Jo and I often go to Erna Nixon or Wickham Zoo Linear Park to walk along their boardwalks. It’s easier on the bones and we find we can walk twice as far and not be tired. Also being out of the street is nice and shade from the trees makes walking during the hot days enjoyable.
Post Office space used for showers:
What will the USPS be like in 25 years? This story assumes that paper letters will be completely gone by then and package delivery will not use the PO. The current PO is next to the bathroom which makes the plumbing for showers easy. This could also be used for the laundry instead of moving the library for the same plumbing reason.
Camp Store instead of the office:
While we would likely still need an office it probably wouldn’t need to be as big as what we have now. Perhaps the corner office inside the current office would suffice. I had considered a very small, “Camp Store” as a set of shelves on the left wall as you walk in the door but it would not be big enough to offer much. However, opening up that space to the hall makes for a much bigger space and could be a reasonable source of income and convenience to the denizens of LYH.