Home, sweet home – reflections

It is February 8th and I am sitting in our kitchen wondering what just happened.  We drove over 4000 miles covering every state in the Southeast. It is an area with a rich history, wonderfully diverse cultures, and blessed with a biological environment the makes you hope that man does not destroy it. Are we really on top of the food chain?

All said, the most lasting memory will be of the people we met along the way. With almost no exception,  everyone was friendly,warm, helpful and inviting. Campers just strike up conversations which last for quite awhile. Waiters and waitresses spent time explaining their part of the world.  Bikers gave an insight to their life, and older folks exhibited so much energy that it filled us with hope that we can do many more of these trips in the years to come. 

Robin, my wife, best friend and co-pilot was a real trooper through out the trip. It was with trepidation that she was in the RV seat next to me on that cold January 3th morning. As the trip progressed I sensed a reduction  of stress and a feeling for both of us to be in the moment. We discussed next year’s winter sojourn and the only debate is how much longer to make it!

To those that read these long drawn out missives, thank you.

The end of South East Winter Sojourn Blog.


February 7

Cold start to our morning as we headed out about 8:15 a.m. (That’s kinda what’s been the usual time we get ourselves organized and ‘unplugged’).

The ride was a familiar one north on I. 81 and we stopped in New Market, Virginia, for lunch at a ‘local’ spot which was very pleasant.

Next stop was Home Depot in Hagerstown so Drew could get a compressor and winterize the Minnie himself, which he did when we got into the driveway as I unloaded just about everything (can’t leave liquids in the camper as they’ll freeze and bottles will split).  So, leisurely fun over, probably about 6 loads of laundry I’ve already put a dent in, and I’ve about an hour worth of moving clothing Monday a.m. Before camper really empty.

House looks great and feels even better :). Put a pizza in the oven (camper doesn’t have an oven) and will get back into routine of paying bills and doing our normal chores without missing a beat.

Great trip; learned a great deal and observed a great deal more about this RV culture ….

And, never needed to ask a “friend’ to ride home with us

Looking forward to seeing my kids and grandkids this week…::))   Drew may add his two cents…but for me, 

My heart is where my home is…



Coming on home…

Leaving Colleton State Park, very small, but large sites, we were heading for Wyetheville Virginia.  This KOA is where we started the trip 35 days ago.  Almost as soon as we drove in Interstate 77 the environment went from swamps, palms,and other subtropical fauna to what I would call our northern oaks, maples,pines and brush.  The green look turned ashen grey and with it I felt a pang of longing to go back to the Keys.

But home is family and friends and that is where we belong now. We did take a couple of beautiful mountain shots as we climbed the Appalachian mountains to get on I81 and our KOA. 

The challenge for the night of the 6th of February was to keep all RV water systems working without winterizing.  Temperatures were in the low 20’s. Did I all know and by morning the tricks seemed to work. 

Last day of trip is today feb. 7th and will take between 6-7 hours. We will get home tonight and hopefully all will be safe. 

One more wrap up blog tomorrow. 


A great trip…

You know it’s  something special when you just want to do it again, in a hurry!  Roughly 5 weeks on the road at Nashville to Memphis to Nachez to New Orleans to Disney and Kissimee Lake to KEY WEST to  Monument Lake in the Everlades to Naples and MARCO ISLAND and then brief stops on the way home.  Today we travelled from Florida through Georgia to Colleton State Park and hour outside of Charleston ( yes we should spend another 3 days in Charleston but our wonderful family and friends beckon us home). We are so thankful to Becky and her family and Ben and Angie and family for keeping the estate in pristine condition through the mighty wrath of January ( now that you are practiced in this we should do it again).

Tomorrow we head to Wythesville Virginia, where the trip really began.  Sunday we will be home in time for the Super Bowl, which seems particularly unimportant. 

The river Edisto is flooding 10 feet below our camp ground so who knows, maybe a boat ride is our next adventure!


February 4th, Thursday

On the road again…headed straight north to Gainesville.  

Weather is changing in this area; those warm temperatures will be gone over the next week or so – and evening temperatures will be in the 40s !!

So, about an hour outside of our destination, the skies separated and it rained like crazy.  Whenever we’ve hit rain while traveling, it’s not been a drizzle but a deluge ! Rain on a major high = accidents and we jumped off about 90 minutes before our destination and drove through Ocala and north on a back road to get to Paynes Prairie State Park before darkness fell. 

Good to be still.  

And, ya know, that can of Dinty Moore hit the spot !! Hahahahaha.  No photo of that meal !!  

Off tomorrow to just over the Georgia line to a state park in South Carolina.  We have decided to again, drive back roads and keep off 95 on our way home so we have a very creative route ahead of us.

While getting home feels good, driving to DRIVE and not looking forward to a destination makes these highways more  grueling if that’s possible. 

….on the road again…..


February 3rd, Wednesday

Final day in Naples….

   Because Drew had so much fun walking across the ‘river’ and hiking through the mangroves to get to Turtle Beach yesterday, I decided to join him today.

O. M. G.

That ‘River’ was at high tide (and I saw ‘things’ jumping out of the water before I walked in…).  The wind was blowing this afternoon (‘River’ a bit choppy) and, my flip flops stuck to the mud on the bottom of the water and made a ‘sucking’ sound when I tried to release them to walk.  AND, the water was at least up to my chest — so I’d have to hike my swim bag over my head and if I fell over – geezy, everything, phone and all, would have gotten wet.

So, I stopped and turned around and wouldn’t go. 

The other path to the beach was probably almost 2 miles of walking….by the time I got to the gulf shore , I was happy to sit and roast for 3 hours. Done. Drew swam his heart out (he kinda had to because I WALKED FOR MILES AND MILES FOR HIM TO GET THERE ).  But, it was a beautiful afternoon and concluded this week of warm weather very nicely.

Back at the campsite, we hung around at the pool and hot tub (with a few other camper people ).  A nice clean (heated) pool is more like it.


Tiger Tail

Only two more beach days and we are headed north. So after some morning housekeeping and hunting for lost DVR remote (still lost) I headed out for a new beach.  Tiger tail beach was the choice and what a different experience. After parking the car you walked through Mangroves to arrive at a not so impressive beach. After awhile, I observed people on a pilgrimage across the bay to the other side.  Once there,they disappeared into another set of Mangroves. Acting as a Lemming, I to waded the bay and proceeded into the Mangroves where gators are known to hide.  On the other side a beautiful white beach and blue waters of the Gulf appeared. Definitely worth the trek. The water is warming and temps about 85. 

Headed back home to the Minnie and Robin (stayed back to do more her kind of stuff) and found the “moonshiner” types hanging around the back of the camper. They had pulled in and pulled out their chairs and…you get the idea. 

Just before sunset we headed out to a local restaurant,  Capri Fish House, on the island of Capri. Mostly locals which is unusual. Food okay but it was like a crab house right on one of the back bays. Sunset was perfect. 

Last fun day tomorrow. Mom bought great new swim suit and we are going to Tiger Tail for an encore swim. 

February 1st….

Drew’s birthday month…omg…like January hasn’t been HIS party !

Today we ‘touristy”‘d it and went on a canal ride to find some manatees.  I suppose we saw about 30 or so, just blubbing around, sticking their nose holes up for air and eating some of the sea grasses that were free floating.  They look like floating potatoes :); it was humbling to watch them ‘frolic’ (hahaha, manatee’s frolicking …funny thought) in their natural surroundings.

Very nice morning…liked the Pelicans, too.


Headed to beach on Marco Island after lunch– 82 degrees and, kinda too hot !!  Gulf water warming daily and beach was busy with families and older twosomes…

Had to turn on air conditioning in our rv.  First time ever (Ben, our cookies MELTED).  Weird being closed up in our ‘box’ when it’s not freezing outside. 

I was successful at removing the conch animals from my conch shells this afternoon (don’t ask how) (they died overnight  – I know, I know….very unlike me to do something where an animal gets sacrificed, but they would have died on that beach).

The shells, though small, are gorgeous, and will make nice bases for my air plants.

Great weather predicted to finish up our week; we pull out Thursday morning and camp in Gainesville, then in South Carolina just off 95 outside Summerville and then north of Rocky Mt, North Carolina.  No more blizzards…at least not this coming weekend. 

Drew may have more to say but I’m over and out tonight.