Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Florida

Florida Road Trip Part 2

Let me pick up where I left off on the previous post, Florida Road Trip Part 1. Saturday morning, Juliana and I picked up George at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. Once we had him safely aboard the bus, we made haste for Key Largo. Clearly, our speed was not fast enough for others.

One more video as we drive off the continental United States.

Our first campsite was at Pennecamp State Park. With the campsite set up, George had the chance to enjoy his first vacation beer.

As I look back through my pictures, I realize I never took a picture of the seafood dinners George and Juliana prepared. Each day, we would stop at a local fish market and buy seafood for dinner. We had a wonderful assortment throughout the week. Snapper, tile fish, pompano, and stone crab legs. All local fish and all were delicious.

Sunday morning I unintentionally woke up early. The bug bites I had received over the past two days made my feet feel on fire. I know my gnarly runner’s feet are not pretty, but please humor me and notice the welts on my feet. They itched so badly, when I looked at the picture, I felt the urge to scratch my feet! I had these welts on my hands, the back of my legs, my shoulders, my arms and a few on my face as well.

Since I was up so early, I decided to catch the sunrise.

Later that morning, George and Juliana both rented sea kayaks and I rented a paddle board. We spent about two hours exploring the inlet around Pennecamp State Park. Knowing my luck with phones, I left mine on dry land while we were out. So, no pictures.

After eating lunch and cleaning up, we got back on the road and headed towards Big Pine Key. Our next campsite was at Bahia Honda State Park. Along the way, we stopped at KMart and I bought bug protection: a second pair of beach pants, a UPF shirt, thick socks, and a pair of light gloves. The “no see ’ems” were not deterred by my 100% deet. The only way to keep them from biting me was to cover my skin. We also bought two fans to put around the campsite and inside the bus to help the bug situation. After arriving and setting up camp, we went snorkeling off the coast. It was fantastic! Perhaps, the best place I’ve ever snorkeled. We were the only people in the water and the water was so shallow we could see so many fish! After our snorkeling session, we walked out and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

We spent Monday morning at Bahia Honda at the beach. The breeze was strong and the sky was sunny. It was so relaxing.

We walked up the old Railroad/Road Bridge. From here it was easy to see the hurricane damage. The vegetation was shredded and the beach looked trashed.

Sunday night proved to be another rough night with respect to bugs. At this point, we decided to go off script. Instead of staying two more nights in Bahia Honda State Park, we decided to drive to Key West and stay at the Navy Vacation Rentals. So, after our beach time Monday morning, Monday afternoon we headed to Key West. It was a great decision. Who doesn’t love Key West? We arrived in Key West, checked into our hotel and set out to enjoy the town.

After a refreshing bug free night of sleep in American air conditioning, we were ready to tackle a full day Key West style. First up, a sunrise run, of course. With a stop at the Southern most point and Mile 0. Oh and a chicken crossing the road.

We went home to get George and the bus to take a few pictures of the bus at both of these spots.

The rest of the day was spent enjoying Key West without an agenda. As if we were on vacation!

Wednesday morning, we were back on the road again. We decided to again make haste and get further up the coast so we could enjoy a full beach day at Sebastian Inlet State Park. We stopped in Vero Beach Wednesday night. It was a beautiful night for another beach walk.

After a short drive Thursday morning, we were ready to enjoy a relaxing beach day at Sebastian Inlet State Park. We had another excellent campsite. Perfect for watching the sunset.

Friday morning, we didn’t rush to get on the road to our final campsite. We enjoyed Sebastian Inlet a little longer before making the short trip to Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine.

We arrived in time for a beach walk at sunset.

I wanted one last east coast sunrise before heading home. Saturday morning we woke up early and took our coffee to the beach to greet the sun as it cleared the horizon.

After breakfast, we packed up the bus and made haste one last time for Atlanta.

We stayed close to the airport Saturday night because my flight left early Sunday morning. We stopped for a brew and pizza before settling in for the night.

As we left the restaurant after dinner, a storm had passed and the clouds appeared to make a Mt. Fuji. I couldn’t help but see the symbolism. Just pretend the sign says “Japanese” and not “Chinese”. Our spontaneous road trip was everything I needed. It was wonderful having time together with family. We enjoyed many long conversations and a lot of American beer. We shared more laughs than I had bug bites. Despite the distance, the bugs, and time away from Dave, I would do it all over again without hesitation.

Florida Road Trip Part 1

I’m home safe and sound from my Florida road trip with my brother, George, and his wife, Juliana. It took me two good nights of sleep to get over the jet lag. Now that I have my wits about me, I’m ready to share our adventures. Our two week Florida road trip was a jammed packed with good times and sunshine. Let’s start from the beginning. I met Juliana in Atlanta. My flight arrived late on Tuesday night, so we spent the first night at a hotel near the airport. Wednesday morning, we were up and ready to be on our way to St. Augustine. However, we had a slight 1.5 hour delay getting on the road because we couldn’t get the bus started. After receiving help from two nice hotel employees, phone help from George and their mechanic, we realized the problem was rather simple. The bus needed gas. One of our new friends brought us a gallon of gas and the bus turned over right away. We were off to the closest gas station with strict instructions from George not to go more than 200 miles before refueling and never have less than 1/4 of a tank. Lesson learned. I’m happy to report, that was our only vehicle incident. The rest of the trip, the bus ran like a champion! Our trip through Georgia and across Florida went by quickly. Each time we stopped we were greeted with at least one “what year is your bus”? Usually, the person who approached us shared a story. Juliana and I decided more people approached us during the days before we picked up George. His presence, although appreciated by us, seemed to make us less approachable. Eventually, we arrived in St. Augustine. We checked into our campsite at Anastasia State Park in time for a picnic dinner at sunset. By the time we parked the bus for the night, it was lights out!

Thursday morning we went for a jog and as we were returning to the campsite, we came across this beetle working really hard pushing a dog turd. I couldn’t help taking a video. Even now when I watch it, I can’t help but laugh.

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We spent Thursday morning exploring St. Augustine. We walked around the touristy downtown area. This was by far my favorite photo spot! Argh!

We also explored sights off the beaten path. We enjoyed a tour of the Oldest House in St. Augustine.

During the tour, we learned about coquina. (The science teacher in me was so excited.) Coquina is a sedimentary rock composed of sea shells. It was used throughout St. Augustine for construction of buildings and the fort!

After lunch and our enjoyable morning in St. Augustine, we loaded up in the bus and set out for Sebastian Inlet State Park. We had an amazing campsite at Sebastian Inlet. Perfect for watching the sunset.

Friday morning we decided to enjoy a little beach time before getting on the road. The Inlet had a small lagoon – perfect for taking a swim.

While we were swimming, we were fortunate to see dolphins!

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After our morning at the beach, we showered and were on the road by 1:30. We didn’t have far to go for our next campsite. We were staying at Dickinson State Park just north of Fort Lauderdale airport. We had a rendezvous with George Saturday morning. He was flying in and would join us for the second half of our trip. Since we weren’t in a rush Friday afternoon, we chose to drive down A1A and enjoy the scenery. Talk about cruising in the bus.

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We arrived at Dickinson State Park shortly before a huge thunderstorm rolled through. At one point, the lightening was so close we hunkered down inside the bus. As the storm passed, we moved outside and enjoyed dinner. Tomato soup, believe it or not! It was the perfect warm meal during the nasty storm.

By the time the sun was setting, the storm had rolled out.

It it’s wake, it woke up a lot of bugs. We were prepared for the mosquitoes. We had been warned about the no see ’ems. The warning wasn’t nearly strong enough. I went to sleep in shorts and a tank top and work up with bites on every inch of exposed skin. Talk about itchy… The bugs would become an incredible nuisance as we arrived in the Keys. But, I’m going to save those stories and the second half of our adventure for tomorrow. Stay tuned for the rest of the story!

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