Pop-up camping tips, stories, and intentional living.
Author: Ryan McElhany
Ryan McElhany uses his expertise in marketing and public relations to help drive enrollment in higher education. During more than a decade as Director of Marketing & Public Relations, Ryan implemented campaigns to boost awareness for businesses and universities. He also served in management for public entertainment, promotion, and business-to-business marketing. Ryan also teaches business, marketing, management information systems and website design.
But, beyond the professional 9-5 is a guy who loves the outdoors. Pop-up camping, hiking and exploring are great ways to find clarity and inspiration. MacBeTrippin is a blog that documents those adventures and shares helpful tips with aspiring campers.
Day 17 was sort of leisurely. We took our time getting packed up from the Disney campground to head south, hoping we could connect with cousin Mike along the way.
Of course, challenge 1 was finding a place to dump the potty. Disney doesn’t have a dump station. However, they will allow you to dump at one of the full-service campsites if you call them to ask which one is best.
By 12, we were on the road to Miami.
Traffic coming through Palm Beach was a beast. A storm popped up along the way, which caused traffic to slow.
The drive through Miami was a beast as well. We texted Mike about 60 minutes out from the restaurant to let him know our ETA. For the first 55 miles after I texted him, the Google ETA actually went up.
Eventually, we made it to Havana Harry’s for some great Cuban food. Parking was an adventure of its own.
It was a joy to get to spend a couple of hours with Mike and hear about his work and adapting to the Miami way of life. We hadn’t really had a chance to catch up in a couple of years.
Then, of course, I had to ask if we could take a selfie with him.
Sadly, we didn’t make it to 7-mile bridge before sunset. So, we’ll have to see that when we return up highway 1 toward the Everglades on day 19.
The headline of this post is a reference to our shirts for the day.
At the moment it is after midnight LaShera is off doing laundry and I just finished lunch and snack preps for tomorrow.
I also have this snazzy picture of our camper table. I think the kids feel special, since we never eat this much junk when we’re home. To our credit, the sandwiches, apple sauce, etc., are in the fridge until we pack them in the kids’ backpacks in the morning. And, trail mix and granola bars count as health food, right?
Our Day at Epcot
After the day we put in at Magic Kingdom yesterday, Epcot was a well timed second day. We were there early to hit the big ride experiences on the list plus character signings with Baymax (for Emmie), Elsa & Anna (for Libbie), Mulan (for all of them); and we adapted our plan.
The girls all thought that Soarin’ at Epcot was better than any of the 19 things they did at Magic Kingdom. Full disclosure — my oldest 2 girls are chickens when it comes to rides. So, they aren’t comparing against Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, or basically anything with mountain in the name.
As I’ve said many times — “Plan the trip, work the plan, be flexible.” I like rides with excitement, and Libbie (aside from LaShera) is the only one that enjoys them. Sadly, she’s too short for some of the more exciting stuff by about 2 inches.
I am, however, glad that all 3 of my girls are still at the stage in life where they enjoy the fantasy of people in costumes posing as cartoon characters.
When the day was getting long and hot today, snacks and the free cola samples at Coke Around the World were enough to buy us grace to stick it out straight through 3:30. Then, back to the camper for rest while the afternoon rain moved in.
Skillet Quesadillas — Another Meal Standard for Camping
The girls let off some unspent energy while I made skillet quesadillas, which is becoming a substitute go-to quick meal. These were cheese with fajita chicken. (The chicken is pre-prepped.)
If you go camping, I don’t think there is any utensil more crucial than our big cast iron skillet. Whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner; quesadillas, fajitas, tacos, burgers, breakfast burritos, hotdogs, etc.; our skillet has been well seasoned.
After our early dinner, Rather than going back to Epcot, we took naps. Then, around 8:30pm we went down to the resort pool. The girls had been asking since we arrived.
I’m beginning to think we’re checking off a list of swimming environments on this trip. So far, beach, spring/river and pool. I don’t think I have a Lake on the itinerary though.
As for tomorrow — we’re bracing ourselves for a long day at Hollywood Studios.
LaShera and Paula made shirts for each day of the trip. So, part of the fun for the girls is the night before — like opening early Christmas presents to see what their shirts for the next day will be.
We were up at 6am this morning, on a bus by 7:15, on the ferry by 7:45, at the park by 8 when it opened, and it was off to the races from there.
Forgive me for the abbreviated blog entry, but I’m crazy tired.
We managed to do 19 things, which I understand is pretty great — especially considering that 2 of our fast rides broke and changed our schedule, and we had rain move in at 6pm which closed a number of the rides.
After a long day, even with the option of extra hours available from 11pm-1am that would have let us squeeze in a few more things, our children decided they were ready to go back for a shower and sleep.
All of them, except Libbie.
I was most concerned about Libbie hanging in there today. But, she seemed good to go for another hour, even after we’d been in the park for 15 hours.
My favorite moments of the day were with this turkey. She giggled the whole way through the 4D Mickey movie. She also ahhed everything in the fireworks show.
I’m writing this as we ride the ferry back to camp, and her head is beginning to bounce against my shoulder as her eyes fall heavy.
The most amazing moment of the day for the girls was the castle fireworks show. I must admit, it was impressive.
We succeeded on our budget goals for the day. We all had a Dole Whip toward the end of the day, after we had consumed our 2 carry-in meals and all of our snacks.
We brought insulated water bottles and filled those all day for drinks. So, we stayed well hydrated and I don’t think any of us suffered even a smidge of sunburn. Perhaps because I put sunscreen on everyone like a layer of cellophane.
I suspect everyone will sleep hard for the 6 hours they get tonight before we get up and do it again.
I think we’ll take it a bit easier tomorrow at Epcot. We’ll still get there early. But, we’ll take a mid-day break for a hearty meal and either a nap or swim before heading back. We’ll see how that plan shakes out.
The girls are hankering for a swim tomorrow night.
In 2017, LaShera and I were planning our first cross-country camp excursion with our children. For us, it was ambitious — from Texas to the far western coast of California, up, and back again.
On that first trip, we contemplated whether we should go for the big bang and bite off a couple of days in Disneyland. After an initial price check, and after comparing Disneyland to Disney World, we decided that perhaps that once-in-a-childhood experience for our kids would need to hold off for if we ever took a Florida trip.
As you know, we are currently on our third summer cross-country trip. This time, we were Eastbound, with a trajectory straight through Orlando.
As I begin today’s musings, I must mention one thing I neglected yesterday — Coosahachie. Most people think the name of Waxahachie, TX, is strange. But, when we drove into Georgia yesterday, we passed a place called Coosahachie. Even funnier, the initial sign was obscured behind trees. So, it took many forms by the time we saw the full word.
Coosa — Coosaha — Coosahach — Coosahachie —
I think it ranks above Waxahachie, because it sounds oddly gross — like saying the word “moist.”
Now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about today.
We slept in today and made a lazy morning of it before I called Ford to check on the timing of repairs to the truck. (Anything to help nudge them along.)
Because of the setback, day 5 became a maintenance day — hearty breakfast, dozing, camper clean-up and laundry. Somewhere between 3-4pm, we hoped to be on our way down the road toward Savannah, GA. Emphasis on “hoped.”