March 1-15 Florida

Headed out of the Fort Pickens Campground and decided to stop at The Opal Beach which is still a part of this Gulf Island National Seashore. We basically had the whole place to ourselves and it was awesome. It’s pretty foggy and cloudy today but still a great day at the beach at 75° with a nice breeze.

From there we headed to one of the most beautiful Florida State Parks called Henderson. The landscaping here is beautiful and the sites are large and very private. We were very lucky to get this site.

Site #11

From there we continued on to Cotton Landing Water Management area. This is a free spot. There’s three spots here and we were lucky enough to get one of them, although the reservations said that the other two spots were taken, we were still the only ones here. What a great place to have all to ourselves.

We headed out the next day and decided to treat ourselves to a stay at the KOA in Perry, Florida. We booked a tent site and were asked if we have a tent. This seems to be a thing in these RV type resorts. They just do not like van people for some reason. We decided not to set the tent up until someone comes over and tells us to set it up. Nobody ever came, so we just slept in the van. My original plan of coming here was because I wanted to enjoy the pool but I never did get there. We just sat around the campground and watched people walk by and then went for a walk to watch more people. The bathrooms here are my second favorite of all campground bathrooms I have ever been in. Fully air conditioned and 8 separate rooms within the facility. Each room has large shower, toilet, sink, mirror, etc just like your bathroom at home. The only reason why it is my second favorite was because the shower head was super high up and the mirror was also put in place only for tall people. I had to stand on my tippy toes to see my face in the mirror.

From there we started to head back to Palm Harbor to visit again with Greg’s parents but first a stop a Weeki Wachi Mermaid show. We arrived at 2:45 pm just in time for the 3 o’clock show.

After the show, we continued our drive to Palm Harbor. Took an hour and a half to drive 20 miles on a Jericho turnpike type of road with a zillion cars and a zillion traffic lights. Ugghhhh. But once there we decompressed from all that traffic and enjoyed our birthday weekend with two nights of dinner and some Vampire Penguin flavored snow. we had a good time with Marilyn, Ron, Uncle Kenny and Kim.

Marilyn surprised us with this awesome birthday present that she made for us. She transformed our VanStopsHere logo into this beautiful Diamond Dots sign for the van. We absolutely love it and love the way it sparkles in the sun.

The weather in Florida sure is getting hot!! After leaving Palm Harbor, we drove over to to Venice Beach which unfortunately has a case of Red Tide so being outside is not enjoyable. Coughing, runny nose and watery eyes is what happens when you are in proximity of The Red Tide. So we spent just one night and then continued to the East Coast of Florida to get as far away from it as we could.

We are currently back in Hollywood Florida which we really like. Spent the afternoon at the Hollywood North Beach and then had some dinner and we are back to our old stomping grounds at the Bass Pro Shops Parking lot.

Woke up and headed back to the beach at the state park across from where the cruise ships dock. It was so hot that we actually went in the ocean to cool off which we don’t do that often.

We spent the night again at Bass Pro shops and then visited a new park in the area called the Anne Kolb Nature Center. There were several hikes which we took and even saw the Hard Rock Guitar on one of the hikes.

We stayed at the Hard Rock Casino that night and lost our allotted money WAY TOO FAST!! But we had a nice time and a nice dinner and slept well so it’s all good.

Next morning we went to visit my Dad and Ro. We got another Airbnb but this one was not nearly as nice as the last one. But it was super close to my Dads place and basically we were just going to the Airbnb to sleep and shower. The rest of the time was spent relaxing around their pool.

We went out to dinner twice. Both times were great!! Rosemarie has a knack for picking out restaurants with amazing food. We also headed to the RiverWalk in Fort Lauderdale and enjoyed a stroll on the water and watching the Yachts go by. We had a nice visit with them and I enjoyed playing cards with their friends that live in their community. Rosemarie won the first afternoon we played and I came in second the next day. It was a game called 31. Lots of fun.

Headed for another visit to Boyton Beach to visit my old friends from Islip. You may be wondering why we are back on the east coast so soon. Normally we would still be far from the east coast but we have a special trip coming up.

We are going on a two week cruise to the Eastern Caribbean!!!! We leave on Saturday and are extremely excited about it. So the next blog will not be about Vanlife, it will be about Cruise life onboard the Holland America Volendam.


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