Again, this post is a week late since our wi-fi availability has been abysmal and our attention has been divided by a brand new business endeavour (more on that later).
To summarize, we didn’t spend enough time in Florida, but the time we did spend was simultaneously relaxing and somewhat productive.
We stayed in three very different state parks in Florida, not counting two overnight stays in RV friendly parking lots.
The first leg from Georgia to Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Jupiter was a way longer distance than we remembered planning for. Naturally.
About 6 -7 driving hours.
We decided to leave the night before to break it up, and crash at a Cracker Barrel lot near Daytona.
In case you didn’t know, Cracker Barrel and Wal-Mart are well known for supporting overnight RV parking. I’m pretty anti-Wal-Mart, so even parking in their lot puts me off. So I’ll always choose Cracker Barrel of it’s an option. Plus, you wake up to a pretty kick-ass breakfast.
When you overnight like this without electric or water hook ups, you basically can only sleep.
Our RV is equipped with a fresh water tank that would make a stop like this more comfortable, (so you can flush the toilet and wash your hands).
However, since water is super heavy (8.3 lbs a gallon to be exact) we can’t travel with a filled water tank since we’re already straddling the line of how much we’re able to tow safely.
So we are truly dry camping in these parking lots. You can “use” the toilet, but you can’t flush it. The best thing to do in that scenarios is to have a gallon of water handy…and you pour it into the toiletAnyway, we really enjoyed waking up at Cracker Barrel, otherwise. They have a surprisingly impressive gift shop that captivated Cella for a solid half hour.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Jupiter, FL
Our next park was a bit tighter quarters than Georgia’s generous set up, but had awesome mountain bike trails for Matt, and a trail to an overlook tower situated at the highest natural point in Florida, which I ran. In close proximity were several beaches. We didn’t have great weather for beach time, but we made the best of it!
The stay at Jonathan Dickinson State Park was highlighted by a visit with Aunt Missy and her lovely girls. We all enjoyed some quality family bonding time. Marcella and I also went on a scavenger hunt hosted by the Park’s nature center. The trail was much longer than I expected, so we had to turn around. Cella walked the whole way and was getting tired, so she stopped to play in the sand.
Matt also invested in an inflatable kayak, which we boldly tested out for the first time as a family.
There are no pictures from the actual excursion because I was somewhat terrified by the strong lake current turning us round and round, while trying to hold Marcella still between my knees. Here is Cella bumping around the truck in her wetsuit waiting for daddy to inflate the kayak.
We’ll try again in somewhat more still waters, and maybe just leave Cella out of it for now!
Dubois State Park a few miles away afforded us some beach time on a quiet inlet, where Marcella splashed around in the water and mommy and daddy tried to fight off spoiled, brazen raccoons.
Salt Springs Park, Florida
We continued on towards Central Florida, with an afternoon detour to Universal Studios in Orlando.
SO worth it. Marcella had a blast just running in and out of stores on the City Walk, enjoying her first taste of frozen yogurt, and waving to strangers. We let her run through the splash park and laughed our butts off at her reaction to getting doused unexpectedly. I slowed it down so you can appreciate her facial reaction as much as we did:
Our next park was much more remote than those previous. We were bummed it wasn’t just a little warmer to enjoy a stop in the gorgeous salt spring swimming area. Manatees live in this water! There are steps and a railing to lead swimmers into the lagoon-like spring. The water was surprisingly warm despite the chilly air. We still weren’t bold enough to go in.
We did at least enjoy some magical trail runs through lush saw palmettos and towering pine trees. Not knowing where a trail ends or what’s around the next turn can make for a very spiritual experience.
After three days here we continued on towards the panhandle with an overnight in a Flying J parking lot.
I just about lost my mind that night as four tour buses, pulled into a spot by our rig and idled there for at least 20-30 minutes each. Starting at 9 pm and continuing through the night until 2 am.
Topsail Hill Beach State Park
The next morning was Matt’s birthday. Not a glamorous start to the day, but we forged on towards Destin, Fl and arrived at our new campsite at Topsail Hill Beach State Park and enjoyed a sunset meal at a local waterfront bar.
There were several small lakes on the property, a pool that we never went in, and private access to three miles of gorgeous white sand beach flanked by giant, majestic dunes. My soul sings when I can run barefoot on the beach, especially one this special. We enjoyed a picnic at sunset one night, without a soul to be seen, making for one memorable evening for the Rogers clan.
Our Newest Endeavor
I could’ve used another three days in this park to really enjoy all of its beauty. Much of our time was eaten up by a business transaction, however.
Over the course of the last few months, we have negotiated for and acquired an established website, which is partly how we plan to sustain our life on the road.
We are the proud new owners of infoyoushouldknow.net.
It is largely a DIY archive website, which, if you know us at all, is totally up our alley. This is an exciting and brand new endeavor, one that will challenge these old brains of ours as we figure out how to navigate the internet business frontier.
Wish us luck, or better yet, follow us on Facebook if you didn’t already received an invite and read our posts!
Our travels continue onward to a brief stop in the New Orleans area before a thankfully longer stint in Austin, TX.