February 15-28 (Florida)

Our last day with Lisa and John was great. We went to the beach and found this fun dog beach where the dogs just run free. That night we went to Bingo. They kept us very busy.

Next day Lisa made another amazing meal for lunch and then we were on our way back into the woods. A short two hour drive to Kicco. On the west side of the Kissimmee River is KICCO, which is pronounced kiss-oh. It takes its name from the Kissimmee Island Cattle Company that operated here from 1915 through the late 20s. KICCO contributed to the development of towns such as Kissimmee and Sebring that depended on beef production and river trade. At one time, this camp spot had homes, a bunkhouse, mess hall, company store, ice house, power plant, schoolhouse and even its own steamboat landing! Today, there’s lots of cows and that’s about it. We got an amazing spot right on the river. These spots are free as long as you go online and register for a permit.

We had to drive though this huge amazing Ranch to get to the 12 mile dirt road that lead us here. Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo for those who like “Glamping,” this is the place for you. They have 600 square foot teepees for $499.00 a night. We are gonna go explore the place on the way out tomorrow. I think they have three restaurants, a petting zoo and Rodeos on Saturdays.

Next day we decided to stay a night at the giant RV Ranch. We got ourselves a tent site which was less than half the price of an RV site and if you ask me the tent sites were way better.

This RV Rodeo resort was the Cadillac of all RV Resorts!! I could have stayed here a week and will definitely be back one day. This was Glamping at its finest, even though we stayed in the tenting area, we still had access to all the glamping luxuries.

Plus the whole feel of a Ranch with farm animals everywhere made you feel like a country girl and Cowboy. I highly recommend this place!

The next morning, I woke up to a frog in the van. I have no idea how he got in but there he was. Soon after, I ran into an Armadillo on my morning walk. I guess you could say it was a good day for wildlife!

It was a short trip across from central Florida to western Florida where Greg’s parents live in Palm Harbor. They have a beautiful place with a driveway perfect for Moochdocking. We enjoyed our time there and they took us out to some great restaurants with fantastic food. We joked about the great accommodations at their Bed and Breakfast. Greg and I also had our new iPhones delivered there. I got the 12mini which makes flying the drone much more convenient. Greg got the 12 pro so photos from here on out are going to be so much better. The camera on his phone is amazing.

We also got our mail sent to us thanks to our awesome neighbor, in Raquette Lake, thats been collecting and sorting the mail and keeping us well informed when the important stuff arrives.

I’m not sure yet which coast I like better in Florida, we will have to keep exploring. We are currently at Myakka State Park. This is the most wildlife we have seen in a day since we have been on the road. State parks in Florida seem always to be booked solid and now I know why. We were lucky once again to get a spot. But only for a night. I would have loved to spend a few nights here.

We took a nice bike ride and hiked across a suspension bridge above the canopy. They also have a restaurant and a gift shop on site as well as a visitor center and bike rentals and scenic boat tours. It’s a great park.

Next morning we went on another bike ride and saw like 10 giant alligators and a bunch of really cool looking biggish birds including white Pelicans and these pink spoon beaked birds.

We had a visitor for breakfast. He stayed with us for about 45 minutes. So black and big.

Checkout was at 1:00 which is awesome and then we headed to Siesta Keys on the recommendation of the Park Ranger that signed us in at the campground. We found a great Oyster place that had $8 Oysters which is a great price so if we went to check it out. The beach there is super white sand and beautiful blue water. The parking situation was a nightmare especially with the van. We did finally find a spot at a paid meter place and really enjoyed walking around and especially the Oysters.

We decided to stay at another Harvest Host location. This membership is great especially for busy beach towns like this one . The place we picked was called Cock and Bull Farmhouse and it was a brewery slash pizza place with a nice outdoor sitting area where it looks like they have outdoor bands on the weekends. The pizza was actually pretty good too.

The place was not typical of most Harvest Host locations. It was right in a main road with lots of traffic and we were parked right at the entrance to the place so people walking past the van all night. It’s fine for me, I go to sleep at like 8 o’clock. Lol The next morning we hightailed it out if there to a nice little park down the road. Spent the morning there enjoying the park and even played a little basketball. If you’ve never seen Greg play basketball, I highly recommend it. It’s quite entertaining. After the park we were on a quest to get our haircut. Greg went to a nice Barber for a pretty pricey cut. $25 bucks. To me that was cheap cause I went down the road and my haircut was $60. It’s weird getting a hair cut at random places cause they really don’t know my hair. I have way too much hair. Plus my stylist was Romanian or Something so there was a bit of a language barrier but I’m not too fussy and I think it came out great, atleast for now until I take a shower.

Our new haircuts

While we were getting our haircuts, I was able to reserve another night at the State Park we stayed in two days ago. Lucky there was a spot open because it’s a pretty amazing park. And it certainly didn’t fail the second time around. We got spot 47 in the Old Prairie Camping section. We took another bike ride and saw lots of wild life again.

There’s another State Park just half an hour from here that the lady at the site next to us recommended. I went online to book and there was one spot available for one night so I booked it. We have been getting lucky with the State Parks which of course we love a zillion times better than an RV park. This state park is Oscar Sherer State Park. The campground was nice and big and they had a rail trail bike trail that went all the way To Venice Beach. I love Rail Trails.

There’s this website called Free Campsites and I hardly ever go on it because it’s a tricky site to navigate but this morning I decided to see if anything was listed in the site in this area and BOOM, just like that I found a spot in the Water Management area just outside Punta Gorda. They allow free camping here on the weekend and lucky us, today is Saturday. The spots are pretty nice, some even have picnic tables. The bugs have been pretty brutal here in Florida the last few nights. Thankfully they seem to only come out at dusk. I’m ok with that. I usually go into the van when they start biting. Or like last night, I doused myself in Deet. Every once in a while a few of them come into the van while I’m sleeping and they beeline right to whatever body part is outside the blanket. Not fun. I’m thankful though that we have screen doors on the van. I can’t even imagine what it would be like without those screens. We watch a lot of other VanDwellers on YouTube that don’t have the screens. I just don’t get that. How are they dealing with that?

Our Free Campsite

Last day of February and time to post the blog. We found yet another secluded spot in a State Forest. Ten bucks a night but with the Reservation America fees, add another $8 to that. (Annoying) Used to be that you just put your ten bucks in an envelope and slipped it into the metal pipe and be on your way. COVid has ruined that for campers like us but we are still thankful that this place is open and available.

Another great spot for the night.

And last but not least is my little calendar where I keep track of camping and gas expenses. Diesel has definitely gone up this month. It is what it is. We are still spending less each month than we originally thought we would. Plus we are happier than we ever thought possible.

Monthly Calendar

5 comments

  1. Love that you are in Florida and got to visit with family. You missed a month of snow here, I keep telling myself are one day closer to spring…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Espo, i love your log of all your travels. Reminds me of my mom and dad and I traveling through Florida . So glad you are enjoying retirement. We did a lot of traveling but used motels.your adventures are much more exciting and fun.

    Joan Smith ❤️ Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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