Monday, July 20, 2015

Florida Round-up...

We originally planned on spending only February in Florida.  But, it turns out we were pretty naive about the amount of planning it takes to spend a winter amongst Florida snowbirds.

It seems that most folks make reservations at RV parks and campgrounds a year (or two) in advance.  Since Bill and I tend to fly by the seat of our pants we had a hard time finding places to stay, especially in southern Florida.  We could have axed southern Florida all together, but it would have meant missing both the Everglades and Cayo Costa State Park, two of the places that we'd been especially excited to visit.

So, instead, we decided to extend our time in Florida and do a bit of scrambling to procure campsites.  And I'm so glad we did.  Here's a photo round-up of some of the places we visited and things we saw (and some tips for wintering in Florida at the end of the post)...

Grayton Beach State Park...

 Florida Springs...

The Everglades...

Cayo Costa State Park (One of my very favorite places.  Bill and I camped on Cayo Costa a few years ago.  You access the island by ferry and no cars are allowed.  This time we just went for the day.)...

We lucked into a campsite at Key Largo...

After the Everglades and Key Largo we drove up the east coast of Florida and stayed in Jupiter and St. Augustine, both of which were really wonderful.  We went on a ghost tour in St. Augustine and Bill did some fishing while the dogs and I looked for Seashells.

If you'd like to spend the winter RVing in Florida, here are a few things to keep in mind...

1. Plan ahead!  If there's a place you know you'd like to stay, especially if it's a popular destination, like Sanibel Island, the Keys, or the Everglades, book a place to stay well in advance.

We ended up finding places to stay, however we were often farther away from each place of interest than we would have liked and we often ended up at very crowded or not-so-nice RV parks.

If, like us, you don't want to plan too far ahead, keep checking the reservation system for State and National Parks.  We lucked into a spot on Key Largo because someone else cancelled their reservation at the last minute.

2. Be prepared for the expense.  Florida RV parks are some of the most costly that we've been to.  There are often nice amenities like clean laundry rooms and showers, shuffle board or horseshoes, and convenience stores, but you'll pay a premium.  Something to consider if you're on a budget.  (If you're a member of Good Sams or AAA, you'll usually get a small discount.  Passport America discounts don't apply during the winter months in Florida).

3.  It's hot!  Even in February and March we were glad that most of the places we stayed had full hook-ups, which meant that we could plug in and therefore, use our air-conditioner.  When we stayed places that didn't have hook-ups it got pretty uncomfortable inside the RV.

If you're traveling with pets, make sure you don't leave them alone in a too hot motorhome.  This might require some planning ahead if you'd like to spend the day out and about without Fido.  We boarded the dogs once or twice while in Florida, both so that they could have some playtime with other dogs and to give them some time in a nice, cool place.  Some doggy day care facilities require a temperament test before you can board your dog with them.  You might need to take your dog in ahead of time before the facility will allow your dog to play with other pups.

So, that was Florida in a nutshell!  Stay tuned for New Orleans! :)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Catching up...

Oh, hello there!  Um... things have been much quieter than we intended here on the blog.  It turns out that figuring out how to live, work, and get around in an RV has taken up much more time than we thought it would.

While we were getting ready for this trip, I imagined lots of evenings spent relaxing around the campfire.  I pictured rising early to watch the sunrise with a hot cup of coffee in hand and I figured I'd have lots of time to put together informative and carefully crafted, weekly blog posts.  (Heh!)

I think we've had maybe two or three campfires and relaxation has been minimal.  And while there has been copious coffee drinking, I have yet to wake up before sunrise (although, Bill has had several pre-dawn photography outings).  The one morning that we tried to eat breakfast outside, we we're quickly swarmed by mosquitoes.  And, well, the blog posts definitely haven't been weekly.

Even though the hoped for romance of the situation and the reality of things are not quite the same, we've been to some wonderful places, met some really interesting people, and seen some amazing things.  I don't regret setting out on this adventure even the tiniest bit.  

We spent the month of June at home in Colorado where we took care of some business-y kinds of things (including a quick trip to NYC for me) and did lots of hanging out with family and friends.  Now we're back on the road and are working our way north.

With six months of RV life under our belts we have a much better idea of what works and what doesn't.  We've made some plans and goals for the next few months, one of which is to share more about our travels and to keep this blog more up to date.

In an attempt to catch up on the last few months we'll do a series of short posts about some of the places we've visited.  And I'm also hoping to do a post or two about what it's like to live and work in an RV.  Stay tuned for those catch-up posts, but for now, here's a glimpse of our last couple of days in Cody, Wyoming.

We hope you've been well, wherever you are!
:) Brooke

PS: If you're ever in Cody, Wyoming, be sure to visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West!  They have a wonderful natural history museum, an extensive exhibit about the life of William F. Cody (aka Buffalo Bill), a great Western Art museum, and not-to-be-missed exhibits on the history of the plains indians.