It was one of those days that started with the best of intent. We woke up early and left Sam’s aunt’s house just outside the Jacksonville area. The plan was to drive south along the coast, stopping at different beaches along the way, find a place to park in the Keys for the night, wake up early to watch the sunrise as we WOD on the beach, get a few hours to relax on the beach before driving to Bradenton, FL for Monday’s all day event.
We stopped in Daytona and Cocoa Beach and our day seemed to be going as planned but as we’re learning this year, all good stories stem from when things get a little crazy. And after leaving Cocoa Beach and trying to find a place to eat dinner near Boca Raton, things took a turn.
While we looked all astray, we got ourselves dressed up in some cute clothes and made our way to a restaurant for dinner, something we don’t do too often. The food wasn’t good and the service was terrible so we booked it out of there as fast as we could and were excited to keep driving towards the keys. And as we got closer, the anticipation and excitement grew.
The windows were rolled down and we were laughing and giddy as the salty breeze blew through the RV. We had our RV Parky app open and after arriving to Marathon, started trying to find RV Parks to stop for the evening. What we failed to remember was that within a week we went from being somewhere that was considered in it’s “off-season” to being “in-season.”
RV Parks were full, gates were closed, after-hours phone numbers were answered by some crabby people, and the only place with a person was super sketchy and we hightailed it out of there knowing that at the end of the day our safety came first. We tried a few more parks until we ran across an open gas station. Katie filled up the tank while Sam ran inside to see if they’d allow us to park even for a few hours.
Did we forget to mention it was after 1am at this point? Yeah, we were tired.
The clerk wasn’t the friendliest but also informed us that the police are very aware of RVs and unless we’re in a campground, they are known to run off RVs. We left feeling discouraged and continued to drive in hopes of finding something. We made it all the way to Key West when we found a street with cars and moving trucks parked. We had hopes that this would be our spot along the water and as we tried to find a good place to turn around, drove past a parked camper with two cops with lights flashing directly behind.
It was at this point we knew our tour and time in the Keys was coming to an end.
We found the closest place deemed for overnight parking, Katie shook up a Spark, and off we went for the 3 ½ hour drive. Pulling into the rest stop at 4:30 in the morning and plopping directly into bed.
Obviously our failed trip to the Keys made for a change in plans. Though we woke up later, we didn’t lose hope for some time at the beach. We found a beach that was about 30 minutes away and then as we got closer we hit traffic. And we sat. When we finally found some beach and a place to park, we got about 10 minutes to dip our feet in the water and take in the sunshine. It wasn’t what we were planning but regardless, it was necessary.
We’re sure this is one of those stories that we’ll look back someday and laugh. In fact, most of you can probably already see the humor. With full tanks as we drive through the Everglades, we’re still a bit bitter but give us a few days and we can all have a good laugh!