Okay y’all, I feel like we’ve been in a time warp . . .how is it December 10th already? Where did November go? How is it almost Christmas!?! The last three weeks have just flown by. Last time I updated the blog we had just gotten back from a fun-filled trip to Washington state and were enjoying the fall colors in North Carolina. Since then we visited South Carolina, Savannah (Georgia), Blythe Island (Georgia), St. Augustine (Florida), Orlando (Florida) and now we’re near Tampa (Florida).
We spent a crazy SEVEN days at Disney World the first part of December (see photos on Instagram) and although we had a magical time – I’m not gonna lie – I’m soaking up the quiet, empty county park we’re staying in now. I’ll share more about Disney and the Disney campground later.
As we’ve traveled south over the last few weeks I’ve been working a lot. I’m not complaining (mostly explaining my absence) – I’m so grateful for the opportunity to make a living on the road – but it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for travel blogging and even exploring. I have so much that I want to write about – so many stories to tell, photos to share, and places to gush about . I still have a busy 10 days or so of work and then things slow way down – and I’m hoping get caught up with stories and posts here. The rest of the family has been busy getting caught up on school (we took a break for Washington and for Disney). It’s been a lot of quiet, productive days around the trailer.
So what’s next?! We are hanging out at this quiet county park for a few more days, then heading to Tampa, Florida – and I’m so excited to see one of my very BEST childhood friends (from Alaska) who lives there now with her family. Last time I saw her was for her wedding nearly 5 years ago here in the Tampa area. I haven’t met her kids yet – and I can’t wait. We will also be meeting up with the Curren Family (we last saw them in Minnesota!) and I’m looking forward to the kids playing together while the adults get to catch up on Airstream tips and stories of our travels. . .
After Tampa. . .we are headed to the FLORIDA KEYS!! I cannot tell you how excited I am for this. I had completely GIVEN UP on finding a state park reservation over Christmas in the Florida Keys. Every time I searched ‘next available date’ for ANY availability it would show me dates in May 2016. Seriously. And I had looked at private campgrounds in the Keys – but couldn’t find much less than $80-$100 a night. . . and we just did that at Disney (read = EXPENSIVE campground), so I wasn’t feeling it, especially when I knew the state parks were $38/night.
And then today, I’m working away. . .and I get an email about an campsite opening from a cancellation (thanks to Wandering Labs). . . for a full SEVEN days at a state park in the Florida Keys. I had it booked within 2 minutes of the email hitting my inbox. I’m just giddy. AND. . . I found another reservation for New Years Eve in the Keys. . . so we’re set (except for 4 random days in between the two reservations, but I’ll figure it out). If you have favorite places, tours or beaches on the Florida Keys – please share your advice!
Honestly I am pretty sure we would be happy anywhere for Christmas. We weren’t sweating the details – everyone kept asking where we’d be for the holidays – and I knew as long as we were together, that was all that mattered. We have our little tree decorated (Ikea!), Christmas lights up in the kid’s bunk area, Christmas presents ordered off Amazon (and delivered to my friends house in Tampa), the Elf on the Shelf causing trouble every night, Christmas carols on the radio, Christmas movies on the TV, the kid’s advent calendars. . . almost everything we had in our big house – but on a much simpler level. 🙂
After the holidays. . .who knows where the road will take us!?! We’d like to see the Everglades, I’d like to spend more time near Tampa to see my friend and her family, I have a great uncle in Sebring, Florida. . .and I want to see the Florida panhandle. We have family we want to see in Montgomery, Alabama and in Atlanta, Georgia. . . .and we didn’t really get enough time to explore the Carolinas. So many places – so little time! Where do you think we should go in the south!?!
Ultimately, I’m just hoping for fair weather (doesn’t have to be perfect, just no hurricanes) and happy memories. . .as we wrap up 2015 on the road. . . .
Heather Martin says
Hi, random commenter who has been following your journey and imagining what it can hopefully be like for my family and I one day! We live near Tampa in Odessa and would love to meet you and see your amazing home on wheels. We’ve looked at airstreams, but no one carries the model you have. I know this is completely random, so feel free to ignore me ? Have a great visit in Florida!
Lisa Riley says
As a fellow Olympia resident, but on the other end of the life cycle (retirement soon), I would be interested in rv how to’s. Maybe when you return to the PNW, you should put on a seminar. I’d pay to hear about your travels in person, with a q & a. I’ve read your blogs and I live vicariously through you till retirement finds me!
Kathy E says
Thank you so much for mentioning Wandering Labs. I too have been checking daily for multi-day availability of a park in the Florida Keys in the next couple months. I can’t believe your luck! You will love it. You didn’t mention which park, but if you get a chance to go to the John Pennecamp underwater park and go on the glass-bottom boat trip, I’d recommend, even if you’re just able to get into the park for the day. If your reservations are not at Key Largo, I found the Key Largo Kampground had more reasonable rates than many other private parks.
Recommendations for Emerald Coast campgrounds in the Panhandle: I found Henderson, Grayton Beach and St. Andrews State Parks lovely, all for different reasons. The white-sand beaches are wonderful. Enjoy your holidays!
I was born in Key West many (many!) moons ago and haven’t been back since I was 17 so don’t remember much about it. Do they still have the Conch Train? That might be fun. Once there, I hope you can visit the Everglades. Also try to plan to see the beaches between Marco Island and Ft Myers. We lived near Ft Myers about 25 years ago and even though I’m not a beach person, it was beautiful. The most pristine beaches are between Panama City and Pensacola with Destin being the best as well as the most primitive (not full of motels/hotels/condos) even in this day and age. That brilliant white sugar sand can’t be beat. If time and money permits, also try to check out Manatee Springs. Maybe you’ll actually be able to see some live ones as they come into the springs during colder weather. If you visited all the things to be seen along the Florida Gulf Coast, that would keep you busy through February. At least! Hah ha! I wish I could offer you some campgrounds and prices but only lived nearby in S Florida and stayed in a motel my last trip over a few years ago. Most of all, keep doing what you have been doing and that is ENJOY!
If you do visit Georgia again, then you definitely want to check out Cloudland Canyon State Park. Black Rock Mountain State Park is also beautiful, but they are closed for the winter. Love your website and reading about your travels.
HI! When you visit Atlanta, if you go north about an hour and a half, you will find yourself in the tiny towns of Ellijay and Blue Ridge GA. I grew up there, and they are beautiful, inexpensive areas to explore. Unicoi Park near Helen GA is fun and very pretty. Fort Mountain Park is lovely and hidden away too.