The Third Leg: The Countdown Until Shower Day

Towering pines dotted the Glen, and there were a few rvs parked around the outside. Emerald eyes flashed at him from across the field and he yelped.

-A

The campground was bathed with inky black shadows as we pulled through, looking for a site. There was only one or two other vehicles in the grounds, and we were truly shocked to find anyone at all this far out in the middle of nowhere.

We couldn’t decide if we should be comforted or deterred by this.

Sleepiness overtook unease, however, and we set up in a space several over from the other folks and around a bit of a bend. We had practiced setting up the tent before leaving, making putting it together now in the dead of night much easier. We were set up and had a campfire going in about 20 minutes. As we sat before the fire, we gazed up at the stars again, and marveled that the lights from surrounding city’s still didn’t reach the horizon where we were.

We crawled into the tent for the night, relieved to be able to stretch and lay flat as we slept for the first night in a few. But sleep itself didn’t come easy.

Neither of us are seasoned campers, and it had been a few years since either of us had gone, so every noise we heard popped open our eyes. From bugs pinking against the side of our bright green tent, to wind shaking dead palm fronds, to the occasional frog that chirped, we were on alert. Eventually however, we drifted off and were only woken again when the heat from the rising sun began baking the moisture in the tent.

As we opened the door to our portable sauna, we were greeted with another bright and beautiful day. The camper and his two large dogs across the way peeked over at us as we rearranged the car and began tearing down our sleeping arrangements. We never intended on staying long, just finding a spot to spend the night. That doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy the beauty of the spot, however.

We weren’t aware of peppers new color until the sun rose, and it looked much worse after we left. -A
This campsite was really an oasis in the middle of the Everglades.- A

As we rolled out, navigating the winding path back to the campground entrance, we were much more cautious of oncoming traffic. The one lane road with narrow pull offs at each bend was easier to drive down in the evening, when headlights would have warned me about oncoming cars. We passed an official looking truck, but no others.

The campsite booth seemed much friendlier in the daylight, and a gentleman was working out front as we pulled up. I scurried out and grabbed an envelope from the box very clearly labeled “camping fee $10 per night” and stuffed a ten into it. I filled in our information appropriately and wrote a sorry note on the back about not paying it ahead of time.

Part of me wonders if anyone even realized we stayed the night, having only been there around 10 hours. As we always do as well, we took only pictures and left only footprints.

Having deposited the fee, we began back down the 30 mile dirt road back to the main stretch, eyes open for signs of native fauna.

Kites (the bird, not the play thing) soared above us as we peeked into the ponds by the culverts in the road for gators. We did spot one as we left, and got out to take a couple pictures of the relatively small dinosaur.

He was a little too far away to take a decent picture of. -R

The needle on my gas gauge began to sink, and my fingers gripped the wheel a little tighter as I handed my phone to Ron. Any gas station would do, but we needed to stop somewhere.

Miles went by in slow molasses like minutes as my dash reminded me I has 40 miles ’til empty. 18 miles to the gas station. Hypothetically we should make it right?

And we did, thank God. I pulled into a bustling miniature city of a truck stop, alive with tractor trailers, minivans, and pickup trucks hauling trail muddied atvs. Weaving through pedestrians I pulled up to a pump, and marveled at the price of 3.15 a gallon for unleaded.

We decided to pass this station up for one just up the road for much cheaper.

As we made this decision, however, attendants had begun cleaning off our car. A flock of tawny brown birds descended upon Peppers grill, dislodging gigantic dragonflies, mosquitos, and all sorts of mangled insects that we had picked up on our already long journey.

After the birds had finished their wash cycle, we pressed on and filled up. Along the way, sunlight and caffeine kickstarting our brains and helped us come up with a game plan for the next two days. We decided we would check out a beach in Miami before cutting south and camping one more night before we began our stay in Orlando the next day.

It was then it dawned on us, that we would check into a hotel tomorrow.

Tomorrow was shower day.

That thought alone brought us joy, and we rolled the windows down to better smell the fresh spring air as we rolled down the highway.

This joy fractured as we hit traffic, however, and I slumped into my seat as we patiently made our way into the city.

Growing up outside of Philadelphia we both knew that highways could become parking lots in an instant, and that impatient drivers usually caused more problems.

The beach itself was not any better either. Families were set up at Pavilions having birthday parties and all sorts of get-togethers. We tossed towels down on the empties space on the beach we could find and padded down white sands to crystal clear water. The beach was a in bay in Miami, so as you can imagine there were yachts parked just beyond the swimming area, occupants blasting music and partying in the mild April sun.

We spent some time cooling off in the water, enjoying the weightlessness the waves brought us after having sat in the car for so long. Eventually we were driven back to the shore, as Ron’s insulin pump began alerting that he needed to hook back up.

Eventually, I’d like to make a post about traveling with someone with type one diabetes, and Ron has expressed interest in talking about it. It’s certainly a unique challenge, but one that we’ve managed to overcome to help his dreams come true.

As we dried off on the beach I began looking for somewhere to sleep for the evening as Ron looked up somewhere to eat.

Remember those free campsites I mentioned before? I discovered something incredible about the state of Florida. The land is divided into 5 water management districts, and in any of those given districts is land that they have set aside to ensure its untouched for drinking water. Most if not all of these sites are host to hiking and horseback riding trails, game land, and free campsites. The only catch? You have to apply for a permit to the site online. Finding a site close to where we were going was more difficult than applying for one of these permits however, and I managed to secure one for a campsite halfway between us and Orlando.

In chatting while booking the site we decided on bbq for dinner, and that we’d pick it up and take it with us to the site.

We let the sun bake us for a while longer before we felt it’s heat begin to fade and storm clouds began to loom threateningly in the distance. It was time to make our way back to the car. We were going to try to make it to the camp before sundown, but the change in the weather spurred our heels and we got back on the road.

The restaurant was humorously named Spanx the Hog. – A

After we picked up our food, the aroma of the freshly cooked meats filled the car as we drove, and our bellies rumbled as the GPS slowly ticked down miles to our destination. At this point we were driving directly towards the storm, and the sky began to darken from the monolithic clouds before us.

Thunder began to roar as the sky swirled with dark grays and purples. And I mean purple. It was accentuated too by bright purple bolts of lightning spider webbing through the massive clouds. We drove closer and closer, untouched by the rain until we got beneath the massive shelf of the storm.

Then quite literally all hell broke loose.

Wind whipped the car and rain pelted down, blurring the lines on the road, visibility dropped dramatically, and I gripped the wheel tighter as none of the cars around me slowed down. The rain fell harder as we drove on, and cars began to turn hazards on and pull over. We followed suit, less concerned about how fast we got there and more with getting there at all.

While stopped, Ron pulled up a weather radar on his phone to see how long we’d have to wait for it to pass. Luckily, the worst was past us and the storm was beginning to lighten up. But there was another cell that we would have to drive through to make it to the campground.

We continued moving, carefully making our way down the highway until we reached the break in the storms; lightning from the maelstrom behind us reflected off the much darker wall that stood in front of us. As we drove beneath this one the world around us became much darker, like the sun had already set. The rain wasn’t as harsh, but it was just as persistent.

Unfortunately we didn’t make it before sunset, but the rain had stopped well before we pulled into the park hosting the campground.

One other car sat in the lot by the obviously closed visitors center. The diesel pickup truck was idling near the exit, and we were wary if it as we drove around back. After reading and rereading the map, we finally located the locked gate that led to the campgrounds, put in the entrance code, and made our way to our spot.

As we got out of the car, Ron began waving around his giant spotting light, taking in what was surrounding us. Towering pines dotted the Glen, and there were a few rvs parked around the outside. Emerald eyes flashed at him from across the field and he yelped.

“What was that!” he yelled, hands fumbling with the flashlight to try to find it again. As he focused the flashlight on the tiny intruder, we made out the adorable face of an armadillo as it bounced along.

Okay so it wasn’t that scary of an animal, but armadillos do carry leprosy, so there is some amount of real danger in seeing one. We managed to set the tent and campfire up even faster than last night, and cozied up as we enjoyed our takeout. While we ate we watched field cats and possums make their commute to whatever buffet they were helping themselves to that night, they took little mind to us.

We felt much more comfortable here as we tucked into the tent to sleep. Something about being surrounded by a fence with a main road nearby just settled my mind more.

The next morning greeted us with more sunshine and blue skies, and we stretched out as we made our way to the parks restrooms for morning relief.

Both of us were chaperoned by insects during this experience. Ron screamed as a palmetto bug charged at his open toed feet, but I was too distracted by the mud dauber wasps hovering just above my head to hear it. A little shaken up but feeling better, we returned to the car to get ready for the day.

I require some time to become a human being in the mornings so I posted up on the picnic table for a few minutes to let the sun wake me up. Ron joined me, and shortly after a dragonfly landed on his shirt. Both of us were astounded by this, and talked very softly to it as we looked it over and took pictures. The poor creature had a broken wing, and was likely exhausted from trying to keep up with the moderate breeze blowing today.

All life is sacred and precious, no matter how small.-A

As eager as we were to have our new friend, we did have to keep moving, so I scooped it up in my hands and set it gently on a tree where it took off from a few minutes later.

An extremely kind campground attendant came to check in with us as we packed up, inquiring about our trip. After she walked away I commented on my own stench and how I wish I could have had a shower before interacting with someone that closely.

It dawned on us.

Today was finally shower day.

We excitedly took to the car, destination set for Orlando, where we would spend a few days at Universal Studios. Make sure to follow to hear about our time there, how we got trapped in a timeshare meeting, and all sorts of misfit adventures!

The Second Leg: The Beginning of the Grand Tour of Florida

For just a few minutes we allowed ourselves to feel very small under the vastness of everything around us.

-A

First, I’d like thank everyone who’s taken the time to read my first few posts and my new followers for coming along for the ride. I hope yall enjoy reading about this journey as much as we did taking it. As I write this I long to be back on the open road with no plans ahead of me. We got our second Covid vaccinations yesterday (get vaccinated!) and to say it’s inundated us is an understatement. That being said it’s the perfect time for me to wrap up in blankets and continue the story. So where were we?

Right, the rest station in St. John.

When “planning” the trip, we had anticipated on arriving around Jacksonville, watching the sun rise at the beach, then driving to the southernmost point of Key West where we would watch the sun set.

That was the plan. I’ve learned that when adventuring with Ron, all of our most fun journeys involve a general lack of a plan.

I must have been dreaming of sugar plums or dancing mice when Ron woke me, because for a moment I had no idea where I was. Dawn light bathed the car and the orange lights at the rest stop in front of the car flickered off.

“It’s 6:30!” Ron shouted, just as bewildered as I was. My head swam as I tried to piece together what he was saying. Okay, I’m in my car, and it’s 6:30. Wasn’t that when sunrise was supposed to be?

Oh no.

I sighed in disappointment as I checked my phone and realized in my tossing and turning I must have turned my alarm off.

“Well now what?” Ron asked me reluctantly.

When we started the trip, one thing we were planning on doing was watching the sun rise on the east coast, and set on the west coast. It was something I was looking forward to, so today’s setback broke my heart. We decided to regroup after a restroom visit and an opportunity to stretch out after the cramped night in the car.

Ever my rock, Ron hugged me and suggested that we just get in the car and drive today. He reminded me that we had a few weeks worth of time to make that dream happen, and told me the weather wasn’t looking the best for the Keys today anyway.

We agreed to make our trip to the Keys later, at a time where we could spend a full day enjoying the splendors of the white sand beaches and crystal blue water.

So what do we do instead?

We only had a few definite dates that we needed to be somewhere. We had a check-in at a hotel in Orlando, at an Airbnb in Weeki Wachee, and at Ron’s best friends house before we made our way home. We basically had unlimited free time punctuated by those few dates, so it was agreed that we should see as many places as we could.

For now we set our sights on Sanibel Island, somewhere I heard about through whispers of travelers as a seashell and shark tooth Hotspot. With plans finally nailed down, we were off and back on the road.

Living in northeast Pennsylvania my whole life I had become accustomed to giant mountains and forests bedded with thickets of thorny shrubs. My family had taken a handful of vacations to Florida over my childhood, but never spent very long there and even less time in the parts of Florida not actually targeted at tourists.

This being said I didn’t know just how diverse all of Florida was. From swamps full of knobby kneed cypress, to grasslands spotted with nursing heffers, to orange trees with errant ladders poking up randomly from the canopy.

And we saw it all.

That drive was one of the best parts of the whole trip, truly. It nearly felt like a drive through an exotic country, foreign and new but still familiar enough to feel a sense of ease.

Until we passed a sign for bear country.

Growing up in Pennsylvania however, this was not a problem for us, so we drove on.

Passing through the toll gate to the island, I whispered an apology to my parents who were about to receive a handful of toll-by-plate letters in the mail. As we drove to the beach we set as our destination, we gawked at the giant houses and hotels that lined either side of the street on the island. Sun-kissed women in straw sun bonnets and cotton jumpsuits drove golf carts up and down the road to run errands or pick up their kids.

My god I really cannot imagine having more money than I know what to do with like that.

We rolled into the palm tree enclosed parking lot and hastily stuffed towels into a bag before sprinting to the waters edge. It had been a few days now since we showered last, and the thought of a rinse in the ocean lifter our heels across the hot sand.

The path to the beach was a romantic stroll through a coastal forest where it seemed like fall and spring were happening at once. -A
You’re tall. 😉 -R
As inviting as it looks, it was still freezing and carpeted with razor sharp shells. -A

I stopped dead in my tracks at the edge of the water.

It’s so cold.

Ron had done the same, and hesitantly inched forward. As we made our way in we laughed and threatened to splash each other with the water before finally submerging to rinse off. The breeze hit twice as hard after my head broke the surface, and we decided perhaps an extended stay in the water was not the best idea. We climbed back out of the water and spread a blanket, sitting back and enjoying the sound of the waves rolling against the beach.

It had occurred to one or both of us, at this point, that we didn’t have a plan for lodging that night. We had brought a tent and air mattress with, anticipating having the ability to camp at a few free sites I managed to locate before we left. I grabbed my phone and began searching for one.

I’ll be completely honest, I don’t for sure know what was going through my head when I picked the camp ground that I did, besides that, well it’s only a few hours away.

The site was called Bear Island campground, sounds safe enough right? We decided to head for it after we relaxed for a little while longer, and run out the rest of the time on our parking meter. We did walk up and down the beach a ways, flipping over cracked scallop shells and digging in discarded sea grass. It was late in the day, and a majority of the jewels of the sea had been picked up by beachcombers hours ago, so we returned to the car with our pockets empty.

After a change into dry clothes and grabbing a snack from the trunk, we zipped back down the road, eager to make camp for the night.

As we drove, there was an abrupt change in landscape. Hotels and condos would crowd the road then suddenly just street lamps, then nothing. Ever in a good mood however, we sang into the night as we drove deeper and deeper into uninhabited land.

While the bear crossing signs didn’t really deter us, one set of signs did waiver our constitution. Panther crossing, read a friendly yellow sign. Oh good.

The farther we went the more skeptical of this campsite I became. Very few houses dotted the highway we drove down; I marveled at a school bus stop sign unable to recall the last time we passed a school.

We were about 45 minutes from the campsite when we came up to the visitors center of Big Cypress National Preserve. The campground was on park lands, so I figured we’d at least stop here for a moment to make sure everything was still open. I had also seen that this site offered camping as well and thought we could check it out. We rolled up onto the rv clean out spot and shut the car off for just a few minutes.

The headlights faded, and the sky lit like wildfire.

Darkness surrounded us on every side but up as we basked in the light of tens of billions of stars. We laid bad on the warm hood of the car and just took it all in. For just a few minutes we allowed ourselves to feel very small under the vastness of everything around us.

The cold began to shake us, so we moved back into the car and drove around to where the campsites were.

When pulling up we spotted two cars halfway down the open field, and one person leaning against what must have been a hammock. Tiredness and strain on my eyes must have been playing tricks on me, and the fact that we hadn’t seen another human being for nearly an hour didn’t help the situation. Both this individual and the others nearby with red lights on their foreheads wigged us both out so bad that we didn’t even stop. Looking back on it now we realize that those folks were there for the same reason we had stopped: some good non-threatening stargazing.

With only about 30 miles between us and the campground, we turned onto… a dirt road? Dirt is generous, the road was made of white chalky dust, rocks, and potholes.

“In 30 miles, your destination will be on the right.” The GPS helpfully chirped. There were no offshoots of this road, it just went straight back into uninhabited jungle. Minutes crept by as I carefully made my way down the road, going as fast as I could while still feeling comfortable. Ron pulled out a giant flashlight and idly scanned the roadside for glowing eyes.

“Well. If we’re going to see a panther, it’s probably going to be here.” I said, trying to be vaguely optimistic. I did want to see one of the endangered big cats, just from the safety of the vehicle.

Ron returned an unamused chuckle.

The last street light I remember passing was about 15 miles down the road, shortly before a corral of air boats and monster trucks haphazardly parked by an ‘Airboat Adventures’ sign. Okay so this road is used at least every now and again.

The road to the campsite was not easy to photograph. This snippet was taken from an “If You Find This” video we filmed on the way in. -A

Glancing at the GPS, I noticed we were coming up on a crossroad, and excitedly told Ron about it. I remember saying we could probably use it to get out of the area faster in the morning. As we approached I could see the lights of crossing highway traffic, but my optimism wilted when the road rose higher, and higher, until we were passing under the overpass of 75, not even a maintenance ramp in sight. On we pressed, determined at this point to get there and too tired to turn back.

A screenshot of the GPS coordinates of the campsite. It was only accessible via a northbound dirt road that connected to the one at the bottom of the map. – A

We finally approached the end of the road, marked by two red reflectors. Following the GPS, we turned left and found a shack that we could only assume was the campsite welcome booth. Obviously at 11:30 at night, the booth was not occupied.

At this point I was hopeful to find the site and possibly a pit toilet or a hole in the ground that I could occupy for a moment, so we agreed we’d return in the morning to check what the fee for camping was. The website I had found the campgrounds on had made it seem like there wasn’t a fee.

The GPS chirped again. “You have arrived!”

There was still road before me, and we had only gone about 200 ft down the road from the shack. With no campground in site yet, we ignored her and pressed on.

The road wove left and right through thickets of grasses and palm trees, fog rising from puddles alongside the road. At least we’re the only ones out here? I thought to myself as I tapped my thumbs impatiently on the steering wheel.

Again, I was wrong. We crept into the campsite well after quiet hours, and slowly passed a handful of other vehicles adorned with night lights and family sized tents.

Now, a sane person would have thought longer about this than we did, turned around, and drove the hell out of there.

We were 30 miles driving access to the main road.

Cell service was spotty at best.

And we had no idea who the people camping near us were.

I do love a good cliffhanger. I’ll leave off there for now, but check out the next post in a few days! What happened with the campsite in the middle of nowhere, and what kind of dangerous animals did we run into setting up camp at our next campsite?

The First Leg: Florida or Bust

We realized the true American freedom of the open road, windows down, and radio up.

-A

It was drizzling the day we set out. Overcast skies dripped occasionally as we took way too much gear out to our little red Subie hatchback lovingly named Pepper. She just had her oil changed and was ready for the trip. Several laps to and from the house for double-triple-check items later, we pushed back and made our way to the first stop: a fill up.

With a full tank of gas and energy drinks in the cup holders, we set off on the real first leg of our journey.

A storm front was rolling over the island just as we were approaching. -R

The first official stop was set to The Island Creamery in Chincoteague Virginia for some comfort ice cream.

In college, my major required me to take classes at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, a cute little campus Nestled against Nasa’s Wallops Flight Facility. After putting in long hours in the field or lab we often treated ourselves to a handmade waffle cone of fresh churned Lancaster dairy at the Creamery, so it held a special place in my heart. We indulged in some signature flavors like pony tracks (their version of moose tracks, aptly named after the Assateague Ponies) and rocket fuel (dark chocolate ice cream mixed with cinnamon and chili Powder, my favorite!!).

A hot fudge sundae with my favorite flavors, a picture can’t do it justice. -R

Bellies full of ice cream, we continued down the road to the rest station at the tip of the Delmarva peninsula. This was our first overnight of the trip, and we unfortunately had to spend it in the car. We pushed the seats back, cracked the windows, and drifted off to the sounds of trucks passing through the toll gate.

Just before daybreak, we began stirring and preparing for another day of driving. Today’s goal was to make it to Jacksonville.

Before setting off across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel we detoured back the road about a mile to visit Kiptopeke State Park, another place I discovered in my college years. This absolute marvel of a site is a bay blocked by wave breaks. This in and of itself isn’t all that impressive, plenty of beaches are maintained the same way. What’s unique about this site is that the wave breaks are giant retired barges made of concrete. Unfortunately, the drone needed to update after we set it up, and we didn’t have enough battery to fight the strong winds over the bay. That means no footage here this time, but we are planning a return trip soon.

As the rising sun broke up the storm clouds from the night before they were bathed in blues, yellows, and oranges to look, quite frankly, biblical.

This trip definitely made both of us appreciate getting up for sunrise a little bit more. – A

We took pictures and enjoyed a short nature walk along the bay before the wind drove us back into the car. It was a little colder than we expected, and the prospect of being somewhere warmer by the evening drove us on.

Pulling back out onto the highway, we continued south and crossed over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. It’s named this because not only is it a bridge, it’s also a tunnel. And it costs a fun $14 to cross in off season. From toll plaza to toll plaza the hybrid road spans 20 miles over and under the Chesapeake Bay, connecting the tip of the Delmarva peninsula to Virginia Beach.

White knuckles on the wheel the whole way, I safely drove us over this monstrosity of modern engineering. A lot of the fear generated in this whole trip honestly came from driving. I count myself as a pretty great driver (knock on wood) and even more so after the completion of this nearly 5400 mile journey with no accidents and no pull-overs. I do also have a CDL, which people somehow find as the most surprising thing about me. But that’s another story for another time. Having it did help, however, navigating the twisting roots of the US highway system.

While we mainly drove highways we also took quite a few detours, especially when searching for rest stations, restaurants, and fill ups. We used Google Maps for the entire experience as we’ve only had minimal issues with it before, and it updates with changes in traffic so it kept us going the best way. That’s not to say she always makes the best decisions as she is an AI and not a human. You’ll see what I mean later in the trip.

One detour she took us on involved a long drive through the forest, and a turn onto ‘Old Rt. 666’. I’ll admit now neither of us are religious, rather we can appreciate a good scare, ghosts, and all things Halloween so we found this amusing. What we didn’t find amusing was when that road wound through a decaying ghost town, complete with massive trees and Spanish moss hanging from everything. Ron fumbled to get his camera rolling, but managed to catch a few seconds of footage of this little wonder. As soon as we finish processing it we’ll share that with you here!

There are a ton of abandoned looking buildings south of where we live. -R

The road took us past a huge lumber processing plant as well; we were bathed in the smell of fresh wood, and sweat as trucks carrying boards and logs pulled out in front of us Final Destination style.

Weary from the road, we rolled into a rest station to stretch our legs and enjoy some thing to eat. We had brought a cooler full of groceries and snacks to enjoy along the way in hopes of not blowing all of our money eating out. So from that we enjoyed some lunchmeat sandwiches, a stroll, and a stretch. As we walked I noted how the cars at the rest stop all looked like they were covered in a yellow Dorito like dust. I shivered and covered my nose for a moment, realizing that it was pollen. I don’t know if perhaps I’m not as allergic to whatever was coating every inch of North and South Carolina as I am in Pennsylvania, but luckily the literal showers of the yellow bee dust didn’t bring us down, and we kept moving.

North and South Carolina are some of the most beautiful states I have ever seen, by the way. I can’t believe I didn’t get around to visiting them sooner. Wisteria covered everything not occupied by Spanish moss, and its giant grape-like blossoms hang heavy from every inch. We wound down creepy backroads and passed plantation houses that were likely centuries old. Trees that you and a friend couldn’t wrap both your arms around dressing each side of the driveway.

As we drove down 95, dodging people falling asleep and aggressive drivers, the radio was blasting and the windows were down. We’d play with stations to fit our mood as favorite songs punctuated the conversations we wee having. Both of us sang our hearts out and prepared to be hoarse the next day. Minutes turned into hours and our great mood was as unwavering as the sunlight that followed us the whole way as we drove straight on into the night, and we finally rolled into a rest stop in St. John Florida.

We were treated to some really stunning sunsets along the way. -R

We made it.

And what a drive it had been, I had been behind the wheel from 7am til nearly 1 am the next morning. I certainly didn’t mean to be on the road for that long, honestly the drive came easy and natural to me. Both my mothers father and my fathers father used to drive tractor trailors, so perhaps some of that comfort on the road came from them.

We realized the true American freedom of the open road, windows down, and radio up.

After a sprint into the rest stops bathroom for a much needed break, we walked around for a little to stretch our legs before an attempt at sleeping in the car again. I excitedly began pointing out every tree frog, gecko, and lizard that crossed my path. Something about them always excited me, like a child chasing a butterfly, entranced by its colors. I can’t help it, I love the little lizards.

That’s all for this part, but please subscribe so you don’t miss out on the next part of the journey; ever wonder what its like to sleep under the stars in the absolute literal center of the Everglades? We didn’t start the trip with that idea, but we found ourselves there anyway.

In the beginning, there was Some Fear

I still remember my first session with my councilor. “It sounds like you’re just burnt out!” he chirped helpfully. I struggled not to roll my eyes.

He wasn’t wrong, but I had gotten to the point were I felt absolutely trapped.

He initially explained to me the fight or flight response; an animal that’s stressed out will either fight its attacker or flee from it. I had always drempt of running away, but now it felt like my life depended on it, and I knew what he meant. Because it obviously isn’t smart to fight your job, I decided to run.

My fiance and I had a small collection of ideas that we called our plan to vacation to Florida. It was an opportunity to meet one of his heros as well as for us to do some information gathering on moving down to the gulf coast. When I found out I had the ability to take a leave from work, ideas became framework, reservations were made and we were gone.

We stayed in the car the first night and didn’t sleep well. We were rewarded with a stunning sunrise at Kiptopeke Park.

And truly I still can’t believe how fast it happened, even more so I can’t believe it’s already over. We traveled to some truly unique locations, camped under the stars and inches from gator infested water, met friends of 7 years who had never been met in person, and that’s just the start. Probably the best thing that happened is that I was inspired to start this page.

Our tent sire the first night we camped, 30 mimes down a dirt road in the heart of the everglades.

On the drive home we began talking and reflecting on everything that the last few weeks had brought us. As the sun set we quieted down and slowly realized that neither of us wanted to go back to the mundain 9-5 waiting eagerly for us to return from our jaunt.

I bit at my fingers thinking about slinging sandwiches for hours, and my chest tightened. To get my mind off it, since I still had a few more weeks, I off handedly mentioned how nice it would be to travel full time. We looked at each other and basically asked, why couldn’t we? I decided to start this blog to showcase Ron’s pictures of our adventures, and to practice my own writing skills and spin yarns about the cool things we do and see. After all, both of those things are always one of the best parts about a vacation.

Lately too I’ve grown to enjoy reviewing places and trying new restaurants or parks. Regretfully, we’ve both been a little shut in recently, so we are looking forward to getting out and experiencing more of what this absolutely gigantic world has to offer.

We’ve since returned home from that trip, and began putting this blog together. The hardest part was coming up with something to call ourselves. Branding is so much easier in theory!

At the beginning of our trip, Ron recalled having a moment when he shouted “no fear!” in reference to riding a slingshot ride at a roadside attraction lit up in the distance. As we got closer the tower loomed taller and taller over us and the color drained from his face. “Some Fear…” he mumbled as we finally passed it.

We laughed as we reflected on that humerus moment, and chatted about how it was good to go into life with no fear, having some fears was definately reasonable.

Like certain spiders.

Or some snakes.

Or camping in the site we found that was in the heart of 30 miles of marked panther territory.

Just down the road from our desolate campsite, we kept a healthy distance from each other. At least we could see this one.

Right, so it’s good to be a little cautious. Not to mention neither of us have maintained a blog or posted photos online before, so needless to say that also scares the $*** out of us. But that’s also fun. We’re excited to hear audience criticism, and I can’t wait to make your day with a new story about us getting stuck in some rediculous situation.

So here’s to new beginnings. To the start of new adventures, to living life to the fullest, and to doing something that scares you. Here’s to Some Fear Adventures.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started