We spent an overnighter at Forsyth park in Savannah. We had stayed in this park last year. For those who remember it was the park where the Tornado alarm went off and sent me running for cover. A lot of the places were closed last year for the pandemic so we were happy to be able to get some rooftop Happy Hour Oysters this year at Sorry Charlie’s. Savannah is really a great place to explore. So much to do and see. Being in the city has its benefits. We were able to have a nice breakfast, free of charge at the Hampton Inn and found a nice hotel lobby to sit and relax and charge our phones.
The next day we had a very short drive down the road to the KOA Kampground in Richmond Hill. Check in was at 12 which was great. Gave us lots of time for swimming and exploring. It’s 80° here so it was really great to spend some time in the pool. KOA’s are really great to stop at once in a while. They are always clean and they all have these cute stores, great showers and good people watching.
This KOA did not disappoint. Plus we are on a lake with so many swans swimming. And the best part about it is we are 7 minutes down the road from a bar called Flashbacks where Greg’s friend from the ships is performing. For those that don’t know, Greg was an entertainer on Carnival And Norwegian Cruiseline for 15 years. He started performing professionally at 18 so all of his closest friends are also performers which makes visiting them so much fun. It was so great to see and hear Tia sing and to catch up with her. She is so much fun!
Next day we met up with Tia again. She took us to Fort McCallister to check out the Park and Campgrounds. Next time we pass through we will definitely stay here over the KOA. It’s a beautiful park. She also took us to a seafood market which was more like a small shack on the side of the road. We bought some shrimp which we cooked up later in the day and they were so sweet and so delicious! Best shrimp I’ve ever eaten. We also made another pit stop at the meat market there. That was a little overwhelming but we managed to pick up some burgers, steak, pulled pork, and all kinds of sausage. Enjoyed our time with Tia and her mom, Gloria. They are just such great people.
We drive our normal hour heading west on Interstate 10. The diesel here in Florida is $3.99 so driving an hour a day in this state will have to do.
Besides that they have Rest Areas every 30 miles or so. The Rest Areas on this interstate are really nice. Covered picnic tables and 24 hour armed security guards. Not that they are needed because in our experience here so far, these rest areas are quiet and peaceful. They allow overnight parking and most people do not take advantage of that. They pull in at night, get some shut eye and leave in the morning.
Next day, we decided to spend the day at Ponce de Leon springs Park. The pool is formed from a natural spring so the water maintains a 68° temperature year round. It was cold but really refreshing! We spent the whole day here. Had a nice lunch and then moved in at 6 to our next stop.
We didn’t want to get to the Rest Area too early so we stopped off at Kim’s Kountry Laundry and threw a load in. Really a great laundromat. Huge, so many machines and a car wash and a taco food truck. A hodge pudge of all kinds of people just getting together to wash clothes. I wish I took a few pictures but it slipped my mind.
Our night was pleasant at mile marker 60 on I10 westbound. The rest areas are just immaculate. It’s amazing! Woke up and went to Mass on our way to Pensacola.
We then spent the entire day exploring Pensacola. So much fun.
They had some kind of witch bike ride fundraiser at the park here which was fun to see.
I’m glad we did all that walking. We have a concert tonight at The Pensacola Bay Center and didn’t really want to leave the van down there in that area. So we found a nice spot to park by these fancy apartment buildings. Parked right in the street and then walked down to the concert. The concert was amazing. Not used to staying up that late but was defined worth it.
We walked back to the van after the concert and had a nice uneventful peaceful night. It was our first time “street sleeping’l but all went well. No issues at all. Vandwelling at its best.
Next morning we drive to Destin Florida. This place is famous this time of year for their fish tournament. It lasts all of October. it’s a pretty big deal around here. We were there kind of early morning on a Monday so not a lot of action. Most places were closed but I can imagine what this place must be like on a weekend night. So many gigantic bars with live music. Really fun boardwalk.
We stopped at Bass Pro shops to kill some time in the air conditioning. This is our favorite store to go FAKE shopping in. We don’t do much real shopping anymore. It’s just the nature of living in 60 square feet. However Greg did buy a new raincoat and a couple of pairs of shorts. And I bought a new chair. It’s like a triangle hunters chair. It’s very small and perfect for the van.
From there it was finally late enough to attempt to check in at the campground. We were lucky enough to get a spot for the night at Henderson Beach State Park. This place is a very sought after camping destination. The sites are big and beautifully separated and very well kept. The bathrooms are air conditioned and very clean. The only issue right now is that The Red Tide is here!!!!!!!!! It’s horrendous!! It’s an airborne thing that immediately makes you cough and cough and cough. It also makes your eyes tear and nose run. It’s like allergies times ten. We rode the bikes down to the beach cause the boardwalk by the campground was closed for repairs. By the time we got to the beach, we were already in the throes of red tide symptoms. So we figured we might as well go down yo the water and walk around a little. The sand here is like talcum powder. Just beautiful. The dead fish, however, not so beautiful.
There was a Joes Crab Shack across the street from the Campground so we took the bikes over and enjoyed and amazing feast of Crab Pots!!
On the way out while Greg was unlocking the bikes, a lizard jumped on his hand and wouldn’t get off. Lol
Today we are heading away from the shore and away from the Red Tide. Thankfully we have the ability to do that. I can’t imagine what it must be like for these people that live and work here, especially the people that work outdoors. So we are heading to a free campground called Cotton Landing about an hour and a half from here.
The Campground is a part of the North Western Florida Water Management Area. There are three spots along a river down a long dirt road. You have to reserve the spot on their website before coming in. The site is free and we were lucky enough to get Site#1. It’s really mind boggling to us that sites like this are free and yet other sites in state parks and other campgrounds are 50 bucks or more. This site has a beautiful picnic table on a cement slab with a covered roof and a nice fire pit. It’s a great site.
We had the whole place to ourselves until a local guy showed up at Sunset to let his dogs have a little play time. Next day woke up to blue skies and sunshine. However, after checking the weather, we saw a big storm heading our way. Definitely don’t want to be on a river bank during a big storm so we made dinner for lunch and then headed out to explore Tallahassee.
Tallahassee was a total bust. If your ever exploring Florida, we suggest passing by Tallahassee. It’s the capital of Florida but that’s about all it’s got going for it. Oh wait, I take that back, we found a great market where we bought some dessert. Tiramisu was amazing!
Our original plan was to stay at a Harvest Host location in Tallahassee. It was an automobile museum that looked really interesting. The problem was that they close the gates at 5 pm which means we would be locked in there with the van. That would have been fine if there were actual things to see and do in the area that we could walk or take the bike to. However, the only thing in Tallahassee in that area where the museum was is a Waffle House and a Circle K gas station. So that was a bust and we decided to travel on. That’s the beauty of having no real plans.
We wound up at another Rest Area on Interstate 10. Florida really knows what they are doing when it comes to their rest areas. It’s amazing how clean and safe they are. I think maybe because they post on the signs that there is 24 hour security. I guess that kind of keeps the rifraf out. It rained all night and pretty much all day so we kind of stayed out and did some people watching. We generally never spend the day cooped up in the van.
We decided by late morning that it would be better to get to a campground because at least there we can open the awning and sit outside. So we found a campground in the National Forest for just $12 a day and off we went.
Eventually it stopped raining and the skies turned blue. But there’s a cold front that came through so it was pretty chilly here.
Greg did some repairs to our solar system and we had enough food to spend 3 nights. This was the roughest pond I’ve ever seen and taking the kayak out in it would have been a mess. So we just enjoyed the peacefulness of the place and lots of campfires to keep warm.
Today we head about 2 hours south to another water management free camping spot. And just like that, October is over! Happy Halloween. See you all in November.
Below is our monthly calendar of where we stayed and the costs of the campgrounds and gas.