We hurried in to St. Pete ahead of our self-imposed deadline, assisted by a cold front that looked pretty scary to Bob (wuss!). After New Orleans, we stopped near Foley, Alabama, then followed US 98, the coastal route, passing through the numerous beach towns. We wanted to spend a night in Panama City and get together with one of my former colleagues, but without advance planning discovered a huge motorcycle rally was taking place and no RV spots were to be found in the area. We ended up in Mexico Beach that night, with a lovely pull through forested spot, then left early ahead of the rain showers, reaching Homosassa Springs near Crystal River. The following day we arrived in St. Pete.
We’ve put about ten thousand miles on Rosy since April and are happy with the transition to RVing. There are many similarities to the cruising life. We’re used to small living quarters and a constant change of scenery, and as Bob says, there is always something to fix. Land travel is definitely more comfortable than boating. While RV driving does not feel as risky (except for a few heart-stopping moments in the right seat from time to time) I’m guessing the odds of being injured on the highway are probably far greater. One of the bonuses of RV travel is the ability to visit family and friends along the way, and that was one aspect we really enjoyed.
We continue to learn valuable lessons. Trees may be larger at the bottom than at the top, and if your partner says you are going to hit a tree and is standing right next to it, “No, I’m not” is not the optimal response. Checklists and departure routines are critical even if you’re only backing up 100 feet. Always do a final walk around and make double sure you’re unplugged from the power pedestal before pulling away. Lucky the damage was only on our end after one particular fiasco that I’ve been requested not to discuss further 🙂
From my perspective, the venture through mostly “red” states was enlightening and I’m glad I was persuaded to take this route. We stopped in 45 red counties and and 17 blue counties (yes, I tracked) finding that blue states can have vast red areas and red states may have blue areas. The definitive characteristics seem to be rural vs urban and multi-cultural vs non-diverse communities. People were nice to us everywhere (except for one grumpy camp host) although I suspect that our reception might have been different in some places had our skin color, accents or attire been different. The biggest takeaway I found was that the day to day life, demographics and economic needs are so different across America it’s no wonder we are a divided country, political affiliations and religion aside. Not sure how you fix that, but trying to understand a little about other people and their communities is a place to start.
A frequent question is, “What was our favorite place?” There are many places we’d love to return to and some we might enjoy for a seasonal visit. Perhaps the best answer is that it’s not one specific place, it’s the journey. For us, this journey from Florida to Michigan to Oregon and back, was simply awesome.
Rascal has updated his page too. The littlest traveler seems to have adapted to the lifestyle and his crazy humans with a thirst for changing scenery.
So that’s a wrap on the 2017 adventure. We hope to be blessed with another RV travel opportunity next year to continue the story. Thanks for following along!