As some of you know, life has thrown us a few curves lately. I do not want to discuss the specific challenges here, but I need to clear my mind and hell, before prices at the pump soar past $10 a gallon, I need to hit the road again.
So, in mid-July, after my baby brother’s wedding, and Grunty willing, this not-so-young mom will once again go West. And North. And probably in circles, with shaken fist aimed at the GPS goddess in the sky.
Since we’re wandering with a bit tighter budget and aiming to camp this time, suggestions for campgrounds and slightly off the beaten path inexpensive things to see and do along a yet to be determined Northern route very much appreciated.
Sorry to have worried those who thought I was felled by a jellyfish sting. The sting has faded and my foot still feels a little odd, but I am otherwise fine.
We arrived back in Boston yesterday afternoon, driving through the seasons until we reached the cold, gray, monotonous highways 95 North, 91 North, 84 East, 90 East. Since I am not yet ready to accept that my freshly laundered shorts will not be worn again for months, or ready to accept that I have to devote a good portion of each day to tasks like washing clothes, cleaning toilets and recycling old jars of applesauce from the depths of the fridge, I ‘ll share a few photos from our last couple of days in Florida.
Hopefully I will be able to steal some time next week when Max is back in school to write a coherent post about our adventure. Part of me still cannot believe that I drove more than 10,000 miles with an extremely active three-year-old son and my sixty-year-old mother, and emerged relatively unscathed by the experience.
Monday night we got together with friend A in St. Augustine. Aside from playing a few rounds of Scrabulous on Facebook, I had not talked with A in half a lifetime. A was so kind to Max and my Mom, down to earth and funny. I wish she and her family lived closer, and hope we will be able to hang out again soon.
It is difficult to see the sting in this photo, but earlier this afternoon after building sand castle # 312, complete with bridge and access road, Max and I ran into the waves. Only one of us ran out;screaming and carrying the smaller one.
What the hell were hornets doing in the surf, tattooing a white, hot itchy band around my ankle?
Trying not panic, since I am allergic to bees, I showed Grunty and leapt into the hotel pool, assumed a discreet yoga pose and peed all over my leg, nodding as an elderly couple I chatted with last night slowly made their way to a pair of pool chairs to sit and admire my toilet.
According to Dr. Google,I will survive. There are several hospitals nearby, but unless I suddenly cannot breathe or my left leg develops pre-eclampsia, I am just going to suck it up. And drink gallons of unsweetened iced tea from Publix.
There is one other thing to be grateful for: At least I did not sit down in the surf and pull Max into my lap as I had considered moments before the nasty invertebrate reached out and swatted me.
ETA: Now Dr. Google has informed me that Portuguese Man o’ War jelly fish are common in the area of Florida in January. Fuck. Guess I may head to an ER after all, as my sting site most closely resembles those of Man O’ War, and apparently you can seem fine, only to wake up the ext day covered in some kind of mysterious stains.
Money is running low, fatigue has set in and we’re preparing to drive north to Boston after a few more days of fun and sun on the beaches of Florida. Every day I still stop and think Holy shit! What have I done? Am I insane? I suspect that I’ll still be processing this whirlwind itinerary for weeks and months to come, and while home sounds good right now, part of me is already mourning the end of this trip.
So,while Max and Grunty fill the room with snores I am comparison shopping tents and still more tents, drooling with envy over Lazy Daze floor plans,scrounging change to buy more Florida Lotto tickets, and of course, planning our next trip.
We drove the Overseas Highway to Key West this morning, and indulged in some decidedly non-vegan key lime pie–tried but could not find any, and personal ethics be damned, I was too curious not to nibble– from the Blond Giraffe.Someone please make and sell vegan key lime pie so I can indulge without feeling like a guilty hypocrite.
Afterwards, we drove past the Hemingway cat museum and decided to keep on driving as there were several tour groups of very elderly folks crowding the sidewalks and snapping shots of the maniacal roosters and chickens that rule the streets of Key West. Key West is not without charm, but it is largely manufactured and ye olde strip malle-ish.
Forgetting completely to take our picture next to the marker which denotes the southernmost part of the continental United States, we drove back up the Keys towards Bahia Honda State Park, and whiled away the afternoon swimming in the clear turquoise water, chasing more butterflies and sipping pink lemonade.
Bahia Honda was very reasonably priced, and also hosts an RV park. If I have one regret about this trip so far it is that we did not bring our tent to use in Florida and the Southwest. In addition to spending more money on decent, yet bland,accommodations, we have missed out on the opportunity to be closer to nature, and spend more time outdoors.
The Overseas Highway in the background.
Grunty–my mom– and Max.
The old Overseas Railroad bridgeat Bahia Honda.
I have very little time to post tonight, but if you have the chance to visit the Florida Everglades, do so. Aside from being able to wear shorts, chase butterflies and roll down your car windows in January, here are a few reasons:
Before anyone rings CPS, Max was not as close to this gator as it appears in the photo. The viewing area at the State Park Oasis is raised several feet above the water.
Very long driving day today as we left Galveston and passed through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama before arriving at our first stop in Florida. I am….what was I saying? Where am I again?
A few pictures of Max from an accidental visit to Tickfaw State Park, after he insisted I stop the car in the middle of Interstate 10 so he could play on the median with roadkill, beer bottles and shards of truck tires. Tickfaw is located about 11 miles off the interstate, just past a slaughterhouse. My stomach lurched as I drove past , yet the park itself was lovely and was redolent only of pine and moss, with a very nice RV area,tent camping sites, and a pair of playgrounds.
Eventually I will write more about the actual trip, but for now uploading pictures and sharing a quick daily update is all I have time and energy to do.
Another long drive tomorrow.