Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sightseeing in Florida (in my VW Van)

It doesn't feel like I just typed that last post yesterday morning. While traveling, it is almost like I'm not even part of the world anymore. Days blur together and I hardly think about anything other than my present moment at any given time. If only we never ever had to work. Life could be a permanent vacation. Someday I will figure out how to financially support permanent fun, but for now I will just enjoy my highly fulfilling and essential days of new experiences, until I need to go clean some more houses back up north. My busy summer cleaning tourist-season awaits me, come June - September.

After washing my load of laundry yesterday in Brandon, Florida, I believe it was, I spent several hours back at Lithia Springs Park, sunbathing next to a tiny toad who was cooling off down in the sand, floating on my back around the crystal clear spring, and snorkeling around with lots and lots of fish. It was so relaxing I could have stayed there forever. But, it is hard for me to stay in one place for long (unless I'm working), so I only swam until 2:00 and then headed northeast across the state, thru Orlando, and ended up in Daytona Beach. The last time I was in Daytona Beach it was because I was having van trouble and getting a AAA tow from Ormond Beach to New Smyrna Beach. It seems like I got towed right thru Daytona during the middle of bike week, or perhaps it was right as it was starting. On this Florida trip, however, I have had no van trouble what-so-ever. :-) Knock on wood! My van is finally giving me plenty of love back, after years of me pouring so much love into her. So this time, instead of being towed, I purposely headed to Daytona, popped a few dollars worth of quarters into a parking meter, and spent several hours metal detecting on the beach and just enjoying the cooler evening hours. I really like the feel of Daytona Beach - very laid back atmosphere, extremely soft sand, and a very nice, welcoming beach area. I ate some mahi-mahi, rice, and steamed broccoli at the Big Kahuna Bar & Grill off Atlantic Boulevard/A1A, and also took a ferris wheel ride to catch a spectacular night-time lit-up view of Daytona.

Sometimes I wonder if people realize that you can have an amazing trip without pouring money into hotel rooms, expensive paid parking lots, and super-duper dining reservations. My time spent at Daytona Beach was extremely relaxing and well worth every bit of pocket change that I put into that meter. I feel like I got a steal! Once it got dark around 9pm, I just hopped into my van and drove up to St. Augustine, Florida, where I spent the night at a Flying J truckstop, next to two other obvious travelers in their little RVs.

Today I'm in Jacksonville, Florida, and I'm pretty darn hot. Going to have to get a shower soon, probably tomorrow. The Lithia Springs campground had nice bathhouses, so that is where I showered last, early yesterday morning. Today I basically drove around Jacksonville and stopped at several thrift stores, trying to find myself a new article of clothing. I ended up with a pair of striped pants and a nice red, sleeveless top. I really didn't buy much today, but I definitely enjoyed browsing thru air-conditioned stores. And I also really enjoyed dinner at Qdoba - I love their naked taco salad and chicken quesadilla. I could probably eat there every single day.... and although I wore sunscreen throughout the week, I got quite a bit of a sunburn on the tops of my shoulders, so I've really tried to stay completely OUT of the sun today.


Don West said...

The Boardwalk! Wow! From the time I was about a year old until I was thirteen we went to Daytona every year for vacation. Two weeks! The Boardwalk was the place to go lol! It's changed quite a bit now. It went into neglect for many years and has been revived in the last few years. I had a blast down there! Isn't that beach great! We used to drive up and down the beach at night for miles.
St. Augustine is a great town too.
You're right in the moment is a wonderful thing. It took me 53 years to get to a point where I truly do live in the moment. Simplicity of living is the key. The simpler the better :-)

Have fun and be careful darlin'

Anonymous said...

You have hit some really nice parts of Florida. Used to live in CLermont, @ 30 miles west of Orlando. A few RV parsk there on HWy 27N. You also just missed the Leesburg Bike Fest. Lots to do and see in FL.
Thanks for sharing.

Todd Temple

Michael Ultra said...

I know exactly what you mean, I do the time warp already cleaning out my possessions and getting ready to sell my house. All the days seem to run together. I can't wait until I'm out on the road and they all run together. My brother lives in Palm Coast and I have traveled that area many times. If you go back to Daytona, be sure and explore the Tomoka State Park. I'm glad you're having a good time. If you get bored, stop by and have a read.

Anonymous said...

Are you still in Jax? There is an interesting thrift store on 2624 Atlantic Boulevard, I try to go there once a week. I go also some times to "MBK Thrift‎" on Phillips Hwy. If you're at the beaches, the Goodwill on 1036 Beach Boulevard is "ok".

yea you're right, it's getting hot here, toooo hoooot !

how you like it so far?
Looking for a place to eat?
European street cafe & sliders are two places I enjoy.

Anonymous said...

When I was in my 20's I traveled free and unencumbered all over the country and spent some time living in the Virgin Islands. People who have never traveled without an agenda cannot imagine the freedom and lack of stress from just going where and when you want! There is however someone back home always willing to drag you back into the slavery of an Apt. or mortgage or school.I would give anything to be free like that again! Thanks for the great blog posts.

BC said...

Great pictures. Thanks for sharing.
Stay safe.


David said...

Hey! I'm glad you're back to posting and traveling. I can't tell you how much I enjoy "traveling with you" on your journeys. I suffered a terrible bicycle accident last week and spent four days in the hospital, so your travels and fun is all I'll be able to enjoy for a while.

My wife and I spent the night in Brandon several years ago. I really like the town. Of course, we stayed in a hotel.

We enjoy both ends of the economic spectrum when it comes to vacation and traveling. While we enjoy staying in nice hotels with comfy beds, and eating at fine restaurants, we equally enjoy hiking the Appalachian Trail, sleeping in a tent or shelter and eating trail food. While senic vistas abound while traveling by car, the best views are always reached on foot.

Since I have some free time on my hands I might get around to updating my own webpage with a few of our more recent travels and adventures.

In answer to your, probably rhetorical, question "I wonder if people realize that you can have an amazing trip without pouring money into hotel rooms, expensive paid parking lots, and super-duper dining reservations", I think that most have never made the connection. Which is a shame. Based on own experience both traveling styles, cheap and expensive, give wonderful contrast to each other. Indeed, one enhances the other.

May I offer a suggestion? (I'll assume you said yes.) It might be fun to track some of your statistics. For example, money spent by category, miles driven, loot found with with your metal detector or whatever fills your fancy.


KLR Camper said...

Hello! I too am glad to see you are traveling again. Glad you are enjoying Florida. I live in the Daytona area and it seems strange to me how common the beach and ocean has become to me. I just returned from a week long motorcycle trip to TN/NC and the mountains wow me. I'm ready to just leave and live out my days like you but from a motorcycle... and in the mountains but I can't quite figure out all the particulars :) I have trouble letting this life I have go. Either way, I love reading your blog. Wish I knew you were around earlier as you could have stopped into our gunshop and had a look around since we know of your love of firearms :)

Scarlett said...

Hey Girl!!! Yaaaayy!! you're on the road again! Are you gonna go down to Key West!! I can't wait to see more pics and hear more stories! Glad you're doing well and watching your new YouTube videos! awesome!

travel well !!

Instead said...


Anonymous said...

I'm 30. Every weekend in the Summer of my life from ages 7-14 were spent at Lithia Springs or Crystal Springs. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

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