Florida

Fulltime Families Tally Rally

We attended our 5th Fulltime Families (FtF) rally in Tallahassee, FL at the North Florida Fairgrounds. Affectionately known as the “Tally Rally”, this was the biggest rally we have attended so far at approximately 85 families. I have to admit, being an introvert, I was quite overwhelmed by this many people at first. When we first pulled into the giant field where we all camped for the week, I really had second thoughts about whether or not we should have come. But I needn’t have worried about that. Within an hour or so some good friends from previous rallies stopped by and we got out and about meeting old and new friends. We ended up having a blast!

0202171155_hdr

fb_img_1486607387358

Here is a cool video that a rally attendee made early in the week:

The rally week started with a field trip to the Mission San Luis where we were transported back to the year 1703 and learned about how the Apalachee Indians lived.

0131171502a_hdr

0131171529a_hdr

fb_img_1485903089716

The next day we had a field trip to the Tallahassee Museum and Tree to Tree Adventures. The boys had their first experience on a ropes course. Jesse was not yet tall enough for us all to do the larger ropes course with zip lines, so Jake and Jesse did the ropes course for smaller adventurers. The larger one looked like lots of fun so once Jesse is a little bit taller we will look for a place for us all to do this together.

0201171409c_hdr

Besides the ropes courses, the museum was fun to explore. It was more like a zoo and gardens.

0201171518b_hdr

0201171530_hdr

fb_img_1485989957912

One of the really fun activities for kids at the rally was building a box city. Many thanks to the mom who came up with this idea! It was a big hit with all the kids. They built a city out of boxes and then had to sell stuff and earn “money” to spend at other businesses in the city. Some of the kids thought it was funny to commit crimes so they would be arrested and brought to the city jail. ūüôā

0202171418a_hdr

0203171045a_hdr

0203171106a_hdr

One afternoon some of the adults played bubble soccer. This was hilarious to watch! Chris played, but I did not. It looked pretty dangerous and painful, and you even had to sign a waiver in order to play because you could get seriously hurt or even die. No thanks, I’ll just watch. ūüôā

0204171538c_hdr

0204171538e_hdr

fb_img_1486607235603

fb_img_1486607298513

One evening the moms attended a Pampered Chef party, other evenings were spent having potluck dinners followed by games or dancing. After all the other festivities, we usually could be found at one of many campfires around the fairgrounds while the kids ran around and played until they crashed from exhaustion.

0131172126a_hdr

fb_img_1486744358215

We had such a great time at this rally! If you are a fulltime traveling family or planning to be, I would highly recommend attending one of these rallies. For us it has been a great way to get to know other families living this lifestyle.

 

Categories: Florida, Fulltime RV'ing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

St. Andrew’s State Park – Take 2

Last year I wrote a post about the not-so-great experience we had at St. Andrew’s State Park in Panama City Beach, FL. The manager offered us 3 free nights if we would come back again sometime, so we took him up on that and I am so glad we did! This time we ended up with the best site in the park and it was amazing! Our site was on the end so we didn’t have a neighbor on one side which gave us so much space, and it was right on the water. I was up early our first morning there and was rewarded with the most beautiful sunrise. It was like God was painting the sky before my eyes that morning for about 30 minutes. The colors and reflections in the sky constantly changed while I watched the Master Artist at work.

0117170627_hdr

0117170629_hdr

0117170642_hdr

Our campsite was on the lagoon side, but the state park is also on the Gulf of Mexico so in the evenings we went over to the ocean side to watch the sunset and play on the beach.

0117171659a_hdr

0117171700b_hdr

0118171718a_hdr

We were surprised to find out that our friends Kym and Galen from Fernandina Beach were in Panama City at the same time as we were. We kept missing them in Fernandina so it was so nice to finally catch up with them somewhere else.

0119171046b_hdr

My parents came to visit us there too which was lots of fun. The boys got Grampa out playing football on the beach with them. These pictures mean so much to me because my dad is 72 years old, and it’s so awesome to see him so energetic and playing on the beach with his grandkids. Just before Jake was born (over 12 years ago) my dad had quintuple bypass heart surgery. Every time I am reminded of that time, I am so thankful that he is still around to play with his grandkids. He is such a blessing to them!

0120171656c_hdr

0120171657_hdr

0119171703f_hdr

0120171701_hdr

Jake and Grampa walked way out almost to the end of this jetty before they had to turn around because it was getting dark.

0120171707_hdr

I stayed behind on the rocks and watched the boats and birds.

0120171723a_hdr

0120171731a_hdr

We went on a short hike at the campground on Gator Lake, but we didn’t see any gators.

0121171055b_hdr

My sister always likes to pose my kids in front of signs like this to make it look like they’re breaking the rules, so we took this one for her. ūüôā

0121171109_hdr

Chris got to do some fishing while we were there too, but it was all catch-and-release since every fish he caught was so small.

0120171601_hdr

0121171123_hdr

We had a great time at St. Andrews and I’m so glad we came back to give it another try. Next up another Fulltime Families rally in Tallahassee!

 

Categories: Florida | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Disney’s Fort Wilderness

While we were in Florida last winter we purchased Disney annual passes. We got some use out of them last December and January and then headed west. Now that we’re back on the east coast again, we headed back to Disney to get some more use out of those passes before they expired.

We stayed at¬†Disney’s Ft. Wilderness campground for Halloween and went back again a few weeks later to enjoy the sites decorated for Christmas. Ft. Wilderness is still my favorite campground ever. Disney just knows how to do everything with excellence, and their campground is awesome. Of course you have to pay for that awesomeness. Ft. Wilderness is definitely the most expensive campground we ever splurge on. For us it’s worth it to stay right on Disney property and take advantage of the bus, boat and monorail transportation to all the parks as well as all the amazing amenities this campground has to offer.

Our first stay started the day before Halloween so that’s where our kids went trick-or-treating this year. Many people decorate their campsites for Halloween and give out candy. This was such a fun place to go trick-or-treating!

1031161907a_burst01-2

Sorcerer Mickey and the Storm Trooper

Some nicely decorated campsites.

1031161924_hdr

1031161936_hdr

1031162011a_hdr

1031162008_hdr

Can you tell which storm trooper is Jake and which one is a decoration?

1031161938_hdr

Ft. Wilderness has so many fun things to do that you could really stay there and not even go to any Disney parks if you don’t want to. They have a really nice bike trail that goes between the campground and the Wilderness Lodge Resort Hotel.

1106161258_burst09

1106161258a_burst08

The marina beach area on Bay Lake is really nice. From there you can catch a boat to Magic Kingdom or to the Contemporary and Wilderness Lodge resorts.

1104161823a_hdr

At night you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the Bay Lake beach and also the electric light parade passes by every night at 9:45. Both are awesome to see!

The pool at Ft. Wilderness has a water slide, a kid’s splash park and a hot tub. Every day they have a pool party and games for the kids.

1110161623_burst03

One weekend while we were there some really good friends from our Nassau County Homeschool Group (NCHE) came to stay with us. Our homeschool group had planned a Sea World field trip which was perfect timing so we could attend and see lots of friends from where we used to live.

1110161625a_burst07

We took a break from Disney (as if we ever need a break from Disney!) and went to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Atlanta and then my parents in Charlotte for Thanksgiving. Then it was right back to Ft. Wilderness for my favorite time of the year to be there. The way some campers decorate their campsites is something to see! We like to rent a golf cart whenever we’re there in December so that we can ride around the camping loops at night and check out all the decorations. Ft. Wilderness is huge! Having a golf cart to get around is nice, but certainly not necessary. They have internal bus transportation to take you all over the resort if you don’t have a golf cart. Disney charges way too much for golf cart rentals so we rent from someone off property for half the price Disney charges. Keep that in mind if you go, there are other options. ūüėČ

This campsite was right in our loop and it’s amazing. They come every year I think because we’ve seen this set up many times and it’s one of the best.

1129161731b_hdr

Another one that seems to be there every year is a site that includes a lighted walkway and they allow you to walk through their site and check out all their decorations. It’s pretty amazing and super nice of those folks to let a bunch of strangers wander through their site.

1202162138_burst02

1202162139a_burst03

1202162140a_burst01

1202162141_burst06

1202162142b_burst01

And lastly, Cinderella’s castle at Magic Kingdom is stunningly beautiful at Christmastime. Although I really miss the Christmas lights they used to have at Hollywood Studios.

1130161954b_burst05-2

I love traveling all over the country, but I will always love coming back to Disney whenever our travels bring us back east.

If you need advice or tips on traveling around Florida, please check out my friend’s blog over at Crazy Family Adventure for the Ultimate Florida Road Trip. They put together a great post with ideas for visiting many different places in Florida. Their post also contains some helpful links for visiting Disney World.

We’ll be spending the remainder of this year with friends and family in FL and NC. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed 2017!

Categories: Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Our last stop in Florida was in Pensacola Beach.  We stayed at Ft. Pickens Campground on Gulf Islands National Seashore.0305161203e

This place is perfect if you are looking for a peaceful, quiet and uncrowded beach.  Our campsite was just steps from the beach.  It was the most beautiful white sand beach, and we almost had the whole beach to ourselves.  It was rare to even see another person out there.  We spent most evenings on the beach watching the spectacular sunsets.

0228161730d

0228161735b

Sometimes during the day I took the boys to the beach to play in the sand or I just went by myself to enjoy a good book.  This was the perfect place to relax!

0302161349a

0229161741a

0229161742b

0228161730

One day we saw lots of dolphins swimming in the waves and we saw this large group of ducks or birds floating down the current all clustered together.  It was a strange sight!

0302161353b

Even Fat Cat loved this place.  She wanted to be outside all the time; she even made friends with an armadillo!  I really wish I had a picture of that!

0301160903a

Gulf Islands National Seashore is part of the National Park system which means they have a Junior Ranger program.  There was a bike path from the campground to Ft. Pickens so the boys and I went over there one day to tour the fort and do some activities towards earning their Junior Ranger badges.

0301161059a

Touring the fort…

0301161113b

0301161117a

0301161128

0301161133

0301161136c

There was also a museum to tour where we learned about the birds and sea life that is common in this part of Florida and we watched a movie about the history of Ft. Pickens.

0302161031

0302161038b

Earning new Junior Ranger badges…

0304161008a

0304161015a

We enjoyed this park very much!  I would highly recommend it if you are looking for an uncrowded place to go near the Gulf Coast.

Categories: Florida, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

St. Andrews State Park

St. Andrews State Park is in Panama City, FL on the beautiful gulf coast. ¬†Like most Florida state parks, it takes some diligence to get a reservation, and even more so if you want one of their highly coveted lagoon front sites. ¬†I didn’t make this reservation at the 11 month window because other than going home to Fernandina Beach, I don’t usually¬†know¬†that far in advance where we’ll be.¬†So for this reservation I had to watch for cancellations and was happy¬†to eventually find a waterfront lagoon site had become¬†available¬†for the dates I wanted.

Here is a picture of our site on the lagoon.  Too bad it only lasted about 20 minutes!

0221161547c_HDR

0221161546_HDR

You know, living in an RV can sometimes come with some challenges.  The day we got to St. Andrews was one of those days.

The first thing that happened was we couldn’t find our site. ¬†It is not clearly marked from the road. ¬†Once we found our site I realized it was at a very weird angle and I¬†wasn’t¬†sure how Chris was going to back our house into it. ¬†He starts getting the rig into position to give it a try when this joker in a little convertible comes whipping up beside us and pulls into our campsite like he’s just going to spend the day there. ¬†Um, no, I don’t think so! ¬†Chris told him he’s getting ready to back into that site so he pulls out, but instead of driving away he pulls up right next to Chris so that Chris can’t even start backing into the site until this guy¬†gets out of the way. ¬†Meanwhile I’m behind the rig on the phone with Chris because my job is to¬†direct him in and we’re both just wondering what this joker¬†is doing sitting there in the way. ¬†The guy acts all mad at us like we’re inconveniencing him or something, but he finally drove off.

Next Chris could¬†finally start trying to back into the¬†site and I have to say that he did an amazing job. ¬†He has really gotten quite good at this! ¬†Our RV has an automatic leveling system so once he got in the site and unhitched he started the leveling process. ¬†When it was done the tires on one side of the rig were up off the ground. ¬†The site was that un-level! ¬†We realized that’s not going to work so we had to re-hitch to the truck and move a little, get some buckets¬†of dirt and make piles under the levelers so we could try again. ¬†Don’t ask me why we don’t have leveling blocks… that’s something Chris says he’s going to get one of these days. ūüėČ

Anyway, attempt #2 worked and we¬†were finally¬†unhitched and leveled and ready to set up. ¬†That is until I realized the refrigerator wasn’t working. ¬†Then I realized half of the RV doesn’t have power. ¬†A few minutes later the whole RV lost power. ¬†By the way, if you’re an RV’er and you don’t have one of these Electrical Management Systems¬†(EMS), get one. ¬†I think this saved our appliances and electrical system from serious damage that day.

We called the park office and they sent a park ranger to check out the electrical pedestal. ¬†He wasn’t able to fix it and since it was Sunday they would have to wait until the next day to get an electrician to come out and fix it which means we had¬†to move. ¬†What? ¬†Are you kidding me?? ¬†After all the trouble it was to get into this beautiful site, now we have to move? ¬†Oh, and there are no available water front sites either.

Here is a picture of the new site. ¬†Nothing really wrong with it. Nice and woodsy and lots of room. ¬†It was also across from¬†the playground which the kids loved. ¬†It just wasn’t the waterfront site that I had worked so hard to reserve.

0221161652

0221161649a

Anyway, we thought they were getting an electrician out on Monday to fix it, but on Monday the park employees acted like there was nothing wrong with the electric at that site and we should just move back to it if we wanted to. ¬†Chris took our¬†EMS back to that site to check the voltage readings and it was not good at all so he told the employees we can’t move back until they fix it. ¬†By Tuesday it seemed nobody was really taking this seriously and they were just blowing us off, so Chris asked to speak to the park manager who came by our site Tuesday afternoon.

I have to say the park manager was awesome! ¬†He listened to our¬†concerns and took full responsibility for the whole situation and said he would get an electrician out to look at it as soon as possible. ¬†The electrician came out Wednesday and confirmed that yes, there was indeed an issue with that electrical pedestal and the issue could eventually¬†affect the other sites nearby. ¬†The manager was very good to us and refunded us for half of our stay, and offered to give us 3 free nights if we would come back sometime. ¬†We will certainly take him up on that. ūüôā

In spite of all that drama, we did enjoy our stay. ¬†St. Andrews is a beautiful park with one side on Grand Lagoon and the other side on the Gulf of Mexico. ¬†The boys and I hiked the trail around Gator Lake. ¬†We didn’t see any gators though until the very end when a lady pointed one out to us. ¬†It was a small gator and covered in green stuff so he was hard to see.

0223161432a

There were some cool trees to climb on this trail.

0223161427a

0223161430

0223161446b

We also saw several deer at the campground.

0222161718a

And my favorite: the sunsets.  You know I love sunsets!

0225161731_HDR

0225161735

0225161738

One more thing went wrong while we were there. ¬†As soon as we were hitched up and ready to leave on our checkout day, I noticed a bubble on one of our tires. ¬†So Chris had to change a tire before we left. ¬†He’s getting pretty good at that too, it was the second one in 2 weeks!

I honestly wouldn’t trade this traveling life for anything, but sometimes things don’t always work out the way we want. ¬†I always remind myself that whatever happens I can trust God¬†to make sure we are where we need to be. ¬†I pray over all the plans that I make and every trip we take. ¬†I pray that if the plans I made are not His best for us that He will change them. ¬†So when things don’t go exactly according to my plan, I try not to get too disappointed and trust that things happen the way they are supposed to. ¬†It’s not always easy though, because you know I am human. ūüėČ

 

Categories: Florida | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

We’re Still in Florida

Since my last post we have been very busy hanging out in Florida. ¬†There’s no sense leaving the state until it warms up in other states, right?

We spent a couple of weeks at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness, and my parents came to visit for part of our stay. ¬†Those of you that know us well, know that we are Disney fanatics and when we lived in FL that is where most of our vacations were spent. ¬†So anytime we’re back in FL you can be sure part of that time will be spent at our favorite place.

IMG_0694

IMG_0697

My mom sure does look young, doesn’t she? ¬†And she rides all the roller coasters too! ¬†I’m so thankful to have such cool parents. ūüôā

IMG_0272

IMG_0670

Next¬†we attended our 3rd Fulltime Families (FtF) rally at Lazydays in Tampa. ¬†If you remember that is where our adventures started last year. ¬†It was like a “nomadiversary” celebration being back at Lazydays.

At the rally last year, the boys started a new scouting program called FtF Explorers. ¬†At this year’s rally they finished up the required activities to advance to the next level. ¬†Here is a picture of the ceremony for the kids that graduated from Stargazer to Pioneer.

0213161900

One of the Explorer badges they earned was the Fire Safety badge by planning and executing a fire drill in our house.  Here is a picture of them learning how to use one of the fire escape windows.

0210161151e

The rally was super fun and super busy with several activities like a Valentine’s dance, an adult Hungry, Hungry Hippo game and a field trip to Legoland.

This is Chris playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos. ¬†This was hilarious! ¬†I played it too with Chris pushing me around on the floor, but I don’t have any pictures of that unfortunately. ¬†I must figure out how to get in more pictures!

0213161641

0213161642a

We enjoyed a beautiful day at Legoland with more than 300 other fulltime RV’ing families.

24644495639_b6d0b0e1a0_o

0212161026

0212161133

0212161504x

I must admit that after several weeks of visits with family and friends in addition to Disney trips and a rally, we were quite exhausted. ¬†Chris & I are introverts. ¬†And that doesn’t mean we don’t like to be around people, we most definitely enjoy all of this social activity! ¬†But what it does mean is that we need some mix of downtime in between to recharge. ¬†Well, we didn’t have much of that since probably sometime in December so you can imagine that after leaving the rally we were pretty worn out. ¬†It was time for a few days at a peaceful and quiet campground. ¬†Eastbank Campground on Lake Seminole on the FL/GA border was just perfect for a chance to relax and recharge.

0216161131a

0217161711d

Our campsite was huge and had a fantastic view of the lake and we enjoyed gorgeous sunsets and campfires every evening.  We even enjoyed a lovely visit from my sister and brother-in-law.  It was very nice to relax and unwind with them as they also have been very busy and needed some downtime.  I loved watching my brother-in-law Chris enjoy the scenery with his ever-present camera.

0216161721

0217161755

0219161803a

0220161739

Next up? ¬†More Florida travels…

 

Categories: Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ft. Clinch State Park

Ft. Clinch State Park is located on Amelia Island in Fernandina Beach, Florida. ¬†We lived in Fernandina before we began traveling, so whenever we come back to visit our hometown this is our first choice of places to stay. ¬†Besides being close to where we lived and our friends that live there, it’s a beautiful park to visit. ¬†But just like most Florida State Parks it is very difficult to get a spot to camp unless you reserve it well in advance. ¬†FL State Parks have an 11 month reservation window so if I know that we plan to be in Fernandina Beach that far in advance I will go ahead and reserve it.

We spent the first two weeks of January there and had such a great time visiting with friends. ¬†We enjoyed having friends over to visit and sit by the campfire, and the boys and I went to our Community Bible Study (CBS) class that we had attended when we lived there. ¬†It was so nice to spend so much time with as many friends as we had time to see. ¬†Because we were kept so busy with social activities we didn’t have much time to explore Ft. Clinch, but since we used to live there we have explored it many times before.

Ft. Clinch has two different campgrounds: Amelia River and Atlantic Beach.  We stayed on the Atlantic Beach side and it was beautiful!

0104161539

Sand dunes and the ocean in our backyard!

0111161712

Jake and I went for a bike ride one day to see the Egan’s Creek scenic lookout where you can see the Amelia Island lighthouse in the distance.

0110161505a

Jesse and I took a walk down the beach to the fishing pier.

0112161442

0112161446

0112161449a

0112161453

0112161507d

0112161506

0112161521_Burst04

The sun setting behind the campground.

0115161737_HDR

So peaceful!

0115161739_HDR

There are several other things to see and do at the park including nature trails and bike trails and of course touring the fort. ¬†Since our main purpose for coming to this area was to visit with friends we didn’t have time to do all that. ¬†But if you plan to visit this area, it’s worth taking advantage of all that Ft. Clinch has to offer. ¬†But I would highly recommend making your reservation as far in advance as possible.

Categories: Florida | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Home for the Holidays

Home. ¬†Where exactly do we call “home” when for the past year home has been where we parked it? ¬†Going¬†home consisted of a few different places this year. ¬†First, we went home to Fernandina Beach, Florida where we lived before we started traveling. ¬†Going home to Florida was a strange feeling. ¬†Wandering¬†around our old hometown and driving through our old neighborhood was really weird. ¬†Everything still looked pretty much the same, but felt so completely different. ¬†We visited with our old neighbors and it was strange to look across the street at our old house and realize I can’t just walk over there and go inside like I could have last year. ¬†It really was wonderful though to see some old friends. ¬†I really enjoyed catching up with one of my closest¬†friends Kim¬†over Mexican dip and wine. ¬†I really miss this girl!

1204152234

We camped¬†at Ft. Clinch State Park. ¬†Another blog post about that park later, but it was a real treat to stay there. ¬†I had tried several times to get a reservation there for weekend camping trips back when we lived just 10 minutes away. ¬†I used to ride my bike there and loved the campground, but it was always booked. ¬†It’s one of those state parks that you must book several months in advance to get in.

This is the beach just beside the campground loop we stayed in.

1203151717a

While we were there¬†we visited Santa’s house because everyone knows that Santa Claus really lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida, not at the North Pole. ¬†We used to visit Santa several times every¬†December when we lived nearby. ¬†I have pictures of the boys with him every year since they were babies. ¬†Santa’s house always looks so beautiful!

1205151909

1205151913

Going “home” for us also included a trip to Disney World. ¬†When we lived in Florida we usually had Disney annual passes and would go there several times a year. ¬†My favorite campground has always been Disney’s Ft. Wilderness, and even after all of the campgrounds we have stayed at this year, guess what? ¬†Ft. Wilderness is still my favorite! ¬†Visiting in December is my favorite time to visit because several of the campsites are decorated for Christmas and it’s really fun to ride the golf cart around at night and look at all the beautiful sites. ¬†This was one of the best. ¬†They had a lighted walkway to allow visitors to¬†walk around their site.

1206152131a

1206152131b

The weather was beautiful that week and warm enough for the pool, and not the least bit crowded as you can see by the empty chairs in the background. ¬†I remember coming here when every single chair was taken and the pool was wall-to-wall people. ¬†It’s kind of nice to come when it’s not too busy. ¬†This was obviously in early December before the massive crowds that I heard were there this past week.

1206151444a

1208151355crop

1208151158b_cropped

Another great thing about visiting Disney in December is the amazing display of Christmas lights at Hollywood Studios.  I absolutely love seeing these lights that dance to Christmas music.  Sadly, this is the last year they will have this display.

1208152057

1208151910a

1208152051c

After Disney we visited my sister and brother-in-law at their new place in Georgia.  While we were there we went to another really nice Christmas lights display.  We love to take goofy pictures!

20151215_194635

20151215_194656

20151215_195718

20151215_195219

And finally, coming “home” also meant home to Charlotte, NC where Chris & I lived before moving to Florida over 15 years ago. ¬†We enjoyed a wonderful family¬†Christmas at my parent’s house.

McKayFamily_Snow

We had a chance to see Chris’s sister and family that we have not seen in a few years so that was very¬†nice!

IMG_2667

1230151620_Burst02

IMG_2658

It was also a nice treat to visit with old high school and college friends during our visits to GA and NC. ¬†Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of all the people we visited, but here are a couple.

20151218_192024

20151220_190403

And of course I can’t forget to mention that Fat Cat enjoyed the holidays as well. ¬†She even got wrapped up in paper like a present and she liked hiding under the Christmas tree. ¬† ūüôā

20151224_152406

McKay_Christmas_2015_W0A4887

It was so nice to spend time with so many friends and family over the holidays.  To me, that is what coming home means.  Being at home means being with family.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and have a blessed 2016!

Categories: Florida, Fulltime RV'ing, North Carolina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Destin, Florida

One place I have always wanted to visit was Destin. I have heard how beautiful it is, and I was definitely not disappointed. I love the Gulf Coast because I love to watch the sunset over the water and I love the soft, white sand. We stayed at a really nice resort called Destin West RV Resort.

On one side of the resort is the Choctawhatchee Bay:

0307151632a

0307151632

The other side is right across the street from the beach.  There is a Ramada Plaza hotel across the street that is somehow associated with the RV Resort so we were able to use their pool and facilities. They have a really nice pool with a volcano waterfall, but the water was too cold to go in. Their other pool was heated so the kids got some use out of that one.  Here is a picture of the volcano pool:

0307151646

One thing I thought was really cool about this hotel is their poolside rooms.  You can step right off your patio and into the pool!  If I were going to stay in this hotel I would definitely try to get one of these rooms in the summer time.

0310151401

On our first night the kids loved playing in the white sand making “snow” angels,

0307151654

and then playing at the ocean playground,

0307151658

and then dinner at the Crab Trap

0307151704a

where we were able to watch a beautiful sunset.

0307151745

0307151747d

The next day we went to a place called Track where we rode go carts and bumper cars. I’m sure Chris would want me to mention how he got whiplash because I crashed into him at the end of the track. The employees were directing everyone to park because the ride was over, but I guess I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t stop in time. Oops! I’m just glad they didn’t yell at me! But they did yell at me when we stopped on the track to take this picture:

0308151130

0308151138a

Then we went to the Harbor Walk which has the most beautiful views of the blue-green water

0308151245b

We had lunch at Margaritaville where the kids got to have some yummy strawberry smoothies

0308151251

0308151252a

0308151249

The kids loved playing on the beach and building sand castles

0308151722a

0308151726b

0308151726d

0308151756

0308151800b

0310151335

And of course another beautiful sunset.  Did I mention I love sunsets?

0308151818a

On a side note, I wanted to mention that before we started out on this adventure, Jesse was not very excited about the idea. ¬†Jake loved the idea as much as Chris & I did, but Jesse was hesitant to leave our house that he loves. One thing that has been really awesome is that Jesse is loving this new life just as much as the rest of us, if not more! ¬†He hasn’t missed home one bit and now says he loves doing this. ¬†Doesn’t it look like he’s having fun?

0308151742

We celebrated Chris’s birthday this week — not a bad location to celebrate a¬†birthday! ¬†He is now the same age as me for 3 days. We’ll celebrate my birthday at our next stop when I become the “older woman” again.

We very much enjoyed our last stop in Florida before we head west.  Next stop: Alabama!

Categories: Florida | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Suwannee River Rendezvous

We just spent 2 weeks in Mayo, FL at the Suwannee River Rendezvous RV Resort. This was quite a change of pace for us since we hit the road. The first several weeks of our travels were so busy between moving, going to the rally, and spending time in Orlando with new friends. Although we have missed all of our new traveling friends, the past 2 weeks have been a good time to get caught up on school and work, and try to get settled into a new routine.

Speaking of missing new friends, I have realized that one of the hardest parts of this lifestyle is all of the “good-byes”. After spending 3 weeks with some really good people in the Fulltime Families¬†group, saying good-bye was really hard! I know we’ll see them again someday when our paths cross again, but it doesn’t make it any easier to say good-bye for now.

Suwannee River Rendezvous is a very nice campground. Very clean, super nice people and a great Verizon signal which is important for Chris and me to get our work done. One of the owners is raising pigeons and he let Jake & Jesse come and see all of his birds and even hold some of them. We got to see some tiny babies that were just born that day, and some mother pigeons laying on their eggs.

IMG950249

IMG950240

IMG950246

They have a very nice pool area at this campground, but most of the time we were there the weather wasn’t warm enough. Jesse decided to give it a try anyway.

0223151536

They have lots of activities at the lodge on the weekends like bingo, karaoke and sometimes they have a band play. While we were there some good friends of ours from home, the Norstrem family came to visit.  Here is a picture of me with Kelli sitting in one of the cute swings by the river.

0227151824

While they were visiting we went to Troy Springs State Park.

0301151202b

0301151215a

0301151233b

During our down time at Suwannee River, the kids got to get started earning their badges for Fulltime Families Explorers. FtF Explorers is like a Boy Scouts for traveling families. The kids earn badges for various activities like RV Maintenance, Pet Caretaking, Elderly Appreciation, Cooking, etc. ¬†They started on some badges this week, one of them being pet caretaking by taking care of Fat Cat. Jesse now feeds her and makes sure she has clean water, while Jake cleans her litter box and takes her for walks. Yes, we take our cat for walks on a leash — we don’t want her to get too fat!

0304151815f

Another thing we accomplished during our stay here is we went back to our house in Fernandina one last time to get the last of our stuff out of the house and get an inspection done. Our house is under contract to close on April 9th, so as long as all goes well, we don’t plan on going back to our house anymore. We will be able to take care of the closing on the road. Leaving our house for the last time was pretty emotional for me. Chris and the boys were outside waiting in the truck while I took one last look around the house to make sure we didn’t forget anything. I walked into what used to be the nursery and I remembered all the hours I spent in there rocking and nursing my babies to sleep. I walked into the boys’ room and remembered all the nights spent reading bedtime stories, saying bedtime prayers and singing them to sleep. I walked out to our back patio and pool area and remembered all the wonderful times we spent out there. I finally said good-bye and walked out to the truck. Of course the boys all laugh at me because I’m crying. They think it’s so funny that I cry about things like this.

Anyway, I’m writing this from the truck as we travel down I-10 on our way westward towards our next destination. I am very excited about this new adventure in front of us. It is hard to let go of all those things from our past, but like I said in a previous post, I take those memories with me. And I look forward to making many more memories where ever the road leads.

 

Categories: Florida | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.