Day 19: Front Porch Sittin’ in the Keys and a Whole Lot of Nothin’

We’re at that point in the journey where I always get a bit sad. We’re about 2/3 of the way through. We reached our furthest destination. Everything from this point on is technically part of the journey home.

Our journey will still take us to the Everglades for a fan boat ride. Then, we’ll enjoy some beach time in St. Petersburg, Destin and Louisiana before arriving home.

Still — I can feel the trip winding down, and a little bit of melancholy is creeping in. Of course, sitting around the campfire with these views doesn’t help.

One day I’ll make a great retired person. I’ll take my grandkids to some of these places and think back fondly to these moments spent with my kids.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

For now, we have about 8 days left to milk for all they’re worth.

So, we did a bit of rooftop swimming.

We did a little bit of feeding the key deer. These critters weren’t the least bit shy. In fact, they often ate out of our trash can like dogs. So, when I went to hang my swimsuit under the back bunk to dry tonight, and I saw movement in the dark, I had a bit of a scare.

We did a little bit of sitting around the community fire pit. The girls also hung out along the shoreline looking at fish and brightly colored crabs hiding among the rocks.

I had a little hitchhiker on my water bottle.

The day was crazy hot. So, we spent quite a bit of time in the clubhouse playing pool, ping pong, and Rummikub with the girls. The air conditioner in the camper worked. But, when the weather feels like 99 outside, the AC unit isn’t going to be able to keep up — at least not until I buy those Pop-up Gizmos for the bunk ends to help reflect solar heat.

All-in-all, it was a nice, leisurely day.

Tomorrow, we head up the keys toward the Everglades. Hopefully we’ll see some more alligators, iguanas, snakes, or whatever other critters make the Glades home.

It’s hard to believe we’re already leaving the Keys.

Somewhere along the way, we will stop at a key lime store. We figure we stopped at Peach World in Georgia, we need to find a Lime World and an Orange World while we’re in Florida.

Day 9: The Big Disney Reveal That They Thought Was a Trick

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.

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Day 6: Scenic in Savannah, the Random Tortoise, and Happy Bathrooms

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.

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Day 3: The Longest Drive, Ticks, Photos, and Possible Truck Repairs

We struck out this morning from Aberdeen, Mississippi. It was scheduled to be the longest drive of the trip, and it measured up. We crossed through Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and finished in North Carolina. Total drive time was around 11 hours.

The drive through Alabama and Georgia was beautiful — rolling green hills and beautiful pink flowers. Plus, I20 allowed for a quick pace.

We took one small detour near Birmingham, Alabama to eat at Shoney’s. It isn’t the swankiest of establishments. But, I have fond memories as a child. When we took family trips, somehow we always managed to stop for their breakfast buffet. For a husky child with an affinity for breakfast meats, it was a dream come true.

A fat boy’s breakfast dream — Shoney’s.

My mom said, “That was your dad’s and your happy place. Unlimited bacon.”

Indeed. Emmie was more than happy to eat her fill of sausage. And everyone enjoyed the french toast sticks, which were also enshrined in my childhood memory.

Arrival

We finally rolled into camp in North Carolina in the dark. At this point, I know that our campsite is nice, since I could at least see that in my headlamp.

A fat raccoon paid an early visit, rustling through the foliage. He was brave — rising above the leaves to let his creepy eyes reflect the light back at me.

Beyond that, it was complete darkness when we arrived. So, I won’t know what the campground is like until morning. I do know that it has a marina, and there are at least 3 beaches nearby.

However, I also know that this place has ticks. Within 20 minutes of setting up, I felt a tickle inside my shirt and found that I had a passenger. He is no longer tickling anyone.

I did stock up on insect repellants for this trip. So, we will be testing 3 heavy duty options over the coming weeks.

Addie’s Photography

Addie is experimenting with photography. Before the trip, she saved her money to buy a nice point-and-shoot digital camera. We have had discussions about composition, the rule of thirds, and Fib’s Golden Spiral. It is fun to see how her skills are progressing.

Addie observes the different light hitting a tall pine.
Addie experiments with depth of field.
Addie tests the rule of thirds with the tree, while capturing the vivid sunlight.
Addie explores varying perspectives.

Auto Repair

Oh, and I forgot one last thing. While we were pulling into camp tonight, I noticed a creaking in the front wheel well of my truck. It sounds like it may be strut or shock related. It could also be steering related.

So, in the morning, I get to try out a local mechanic.

Let’s hope it’s nothing serious. And, let’s hope I don’t have to spend the entire day in the waiting area of an auto mechanic.

Se la vie.