“Man it’s hot. It’s like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn’t take this kind of hot.”
~Matthew Broderick, Biloxi Blues
I read somewhere, sometime that when things went wrong the adventure begins. Now I wouldn’t say things have gone wrong exactly, we are just slowly learning some of the ins and outs of full time van life. Here are some of these well earned lessons.
- If it’s off season, it’s off season for a reason. So we thought maybe it was just our luck, or maybe a stroke of genius on my part to be able to pull in to any campsite in south Florida and pick any spot… this was however not the case. It’s hot. It’s crazy hot. It’s Ace Ventura stuck in a mechanical Rhino hot. I’m guessing now that this is the reason the campsites are empty. We have battled either sweltering heat (no AC), or biblical swarms of mosquitos, and that is just inside the van!
- Never miss a chance to shower. After lesson number one, we quickly learned lesson number two. Life gets a little messy after laying all night in a mosquito sweat lodge. We have found that on the east coast of Florida beach showers are readily available. If there is one thing I am extremely grateful for it’s the abundance of beach showers, cool water and a view!
- Stop when it’s beautiful. We have been rushing way more than we originally planned. From here on out we’ve decided to truly not plan. Just roll where the road takes us. Sticking to our plan of making it to Key West by the 1st of October forced us to bypass some very very beautiful beaches. We stopped for a look, but not enough to truly enjoy it. No more of that nonsense.
So we have now journeyed from Panama City to Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Fort Lauderdale, then all the way down through the Everglades to the Keys. From beautiful empty beaches, waves crashing on white sand, and parking readily available to beaches like Cocoa Beach a tourist trap if ever there was one. No showers and $3.50 per hour parking. The roller coaster of small beautifully built modest homes near empty beaches to sprawling mansions with gates and locks on all the beach accesses is crazy.
We ride for hours with windows down just smelling the salt air, listening to the cicadas and birds singing up a storm. Mangrove forests, palm tree beaches, kids learning to surf with there parents right there, older couples holding hands and walking on the beach, it has truly been an adventure so far. Sometimes a hot, sweaty, biting insect adventure, but sometimes I’m staring into the green eyes of my beautiful wife during a beach sunset and I know there is no place we’d rather be.
For now, we head back north to cooler weather, fewer bugs (hopefully), and more adventures.
ADI UPDATE: The true adventurer has been through Zion (“It’s beautiful” he says), Canyonlands National Park, Mesa Verde, hitched through the Navajo Res… Adi, write a book already man!!!