Posts Tagged With: Florida

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!

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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. 😉

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.

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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. 🙂

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.

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There were some cool trees to climb on this trail.

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We also saw several deer at the campground.

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

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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. 😉

 

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.

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Sand dunes and the ocean in our backyard!

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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.

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

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The sun setting behind the campground.

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So peaceful!

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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: , , , | 2 Comments

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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.   🙂

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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

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