Written By: Jeremy
After leaving our wonderful social holiday spot at Cedar Key, Florida, Robin and I both needed to slow down and get some work done. We decided to ring in the New Year at Three Rivers State Park. It was a typical State Park setup with 50 Amp sites with water only, no sewer.
The bath house was close by and satisfactory. Overall it seemed like a great park with the exception that it rained and was cold and cloudy all seven days we were there. We managed to get out each day to walk the dogs but other than that it was indoor time, lots of reading, DirecTV and even some Wii Golf.
In some locations you can just head out and hit the town but here, in the nearest town of Sneeds, the coolest place was a farm and feed store. I am not really being completely sarcastic, I could spend all day in one of these places.
The weather did not seem to deter the duck hunting that started each morning at 6am sharp. I have never duck hunted but I would not have guessed that the average duck requires 6-8 shots from a semi-automatic shotgun to take down. Apparently it does. Or I guess you shoot 6-8 at a time. Probably why we had a pretty nice flock of colorful ducks huddled close to the State Park boat dock most days.
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After a wet and cool week we packed up and headed to a spot that had been recommended, Grayton Beach State Park near Destin. We spent 12 nights here and these would be our last days in the state of Florida. This was a cool place and our campsite backed up to a salt marsh.
Once again, our only complaint is, that of the 12 days, we only had sun for two. In fact, for people coming from Denver’s 300 days of sun per year, we have struggled with almost a month straight of clouds and rain as we passed through The Sunshine State.
I guess we should be disappointed that our vacation was ruined and we did not get a chance to do any of the biking, canoeing or beachcombing we had hoped! But then, we have to remind ourselves that unfortunately we aren’t on vacation. We just happen to live in these different vacation places, and sometimes it does rain, or snow, or generally suck for a month or two out of a year. As long as we remind ourselves that we are not on vacation, then we don’t get too discouraged as we pull away from an undoubtedly cool state park that we primarily experienced from our rainy office window as we pounded out 40 hour work weeks. At least our dog walks never get routine. Looking back at some of these photos, it is hard to remember that they were mostly taken over only a couple of nice days.
Unlike Three Rivers State Park, our new location, Grayton Beach, was definitely a vacation town, There was plenty to do and this place had a hardy appetite for our money. Unlike previous vacation mecca’s like Myrtle Beach, that have block after block of beach stores where nothing cost more than $5 dollars, this place’s tee-shirt shops are called “outfitters” and the tee shirts cost $50. I am sure you know the kind of place.
The sunrise was a main event if we were up before 7:00 am and it wasn’t raining.
It was funny how our big blue F-250 diesel with giant mutt heads hanging out the windows would stick out in a parking lot full of white SUV’s with matching white Scottish Terriers on board. I was happy to find a vegan/vegetarian food truck (airstream) and I eagerly ordered a vegetarian sandwich on seed bread. It was as good as a cucumber and tomato sandwich gets, which is not $12.95 good.
This was definitely the off-season, and most of the eclectic bar’s and restaurants had an off-season feel to them.
Typical packed hipster bars like The Red Bar were only half packed and they had quite a few white-hairs among the hipsters looking for tables, a bite to eat or some live music.
We read some things online about how much the local establishments and service people hate this time of year, when all of the old folks ascend from the trailer park or winter condo looking for early bird specials and two for ones. We couldn’t exactly figure out why the service staff everywhere we went seemed to also dislike us. We aren’t those retired white haired snowbirders looking for the early bird! We work and are young and only some of our hair is white. And when we go out for dinner at 4:30 pm we are looking for happy hour deals not early bird specials! Why do they roll their eyes at us when we make them recalculate the bill because they forgot to take 50 cents off of the beer prices? We aren’t those people they hate! The real problem is that these kids now a’days don’t even understand the value of a dollar.
Um… on second thought I guess we are those people. (RVL #9): Just because we live on vacation, we can’t always spend like we are on vacation. Likewise, I guess we should not expect to be treated like we are on vacation either. If nothing else, it explains that sour, poop under their nose, look of general disdain that we see on the face of so many of our fellow snowbirders as we battle for elbow room and half price shrimp nachos.
Oh, well, I celebrated a very happy birthday in Grayton Beach and we generally had a good time. Although dogs are not allowed on the beach here, there was a good dune area with dog friendly hiking.
We also bought a screen room for our trailer and that was a nice addition for bad weather days. Mostly it was just a nice place that we could trash without making our camp site look like a complete mess.
In any event, and in any weather it is good to remember the beauty in every place and weather condition.
So long Florida it was fun, but we are heading West.
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There is Something About Cedar Key
Written By: Jeremy and Robin
This year, our first holiday season on the road we decided that Cedar Key, Florida sounded like a good place spend a couple of weeks. We had previously joined an online group of other full timing “nomads” and this grouped organized a gathering at Sunset Isle RV park.
At first we were a little surprised to pull in and see what looked like a pin hole that I had to back the trailer into. The usual group of fellow travelers immediately ascended onto the scene to offer assistance. We could tell instantly that this park was different than any we had ever been. Parking was actually a breeze with the helpfulness of our experienced neighbors and new friends. Once we got in we realized we had a gem of spot tucked away in the back corner. Our site backs up to the salt marsh and we even have access to a shared doc area and crab cage.
For good reason, the sunsets are the claim to fame of Cedar Key. Night after night our group of new friends would gather on the docks or at the Tiki Bar next door to see what mother nature had in store and to share a drink and swap stories with a unique group of fellow Nomads.
We had a great mix of experienced road warriors and quite a few others that were newly living on the road just like us. After quite a few weeks of island hoping all on our own, our social calendar was suddenly full of happy hours, trips to wineries, potlucks, breakfasts and nights on the town.
The town of Cedar Key, Florida is charming and we got an opportunity to stock up on fresh veggies and local seafood bought along the road. The restaurants (and most things around town) are causal, quaint, quirky, and colorful – Perfect for our taste.
It is also one of the most dog-friendly towns we have been so far. They seem to be treated a little more like friends than pets. No leash laws and plenty of indoor establishments (even bars and restaurants) that allow well-behaved dogs inside. The locals find all kinds of ways to bring them along for the ride.
At our RV park, an onsite chicken coup supplies the breakfast cafe with fresh eggs and we even participated in a Christmas day potluck for all of us on the road for the holiday.
A community fire pit burns all day and night and an interesting conversation or new friend can be found about any time you stop by to warm up. Best of all, you never had to wonder if you were welcome. Pulling up a chair or striking up a conversation with a fellow traveler always seems natural and easy at this place.
There was wildlife to be seen and photographed everywhere. Unfortunately we didn’t get any good shots of the Wild Hogs and Eagles that we saw while hiking but the flock of white pelicans were pretty cool.
Although the sunsets and wildlife are the claim to fame, the local musical talent and all around unique gathering of friendly, colorful, diverse and interesting people are what made this place like no other. Maybe in the world. On any given night live bluegrass, country, gospel, or folk/rock could be found either at the clubhouse or at an informal gathering around a campfire, or a small venue in town. Some of the locals that winter here are joined by anyone that is carrying an instrument or that can carry a tune. The result is something special as is everything else about Sunset Isle RV park in Cedar Key, Florida. The experience is something we consider ourselves lucky to have been in a time and place to experience. I would try to explain better but I can’t.
RV Lesson #8: Some experiences on the road can’t be captured or recreated in a blog. You just have to live them and learn to appreciate the gift found in every present moment, unique location, and colorful personality.
As we get set to leave we are sad to say goodbye to the new friends and place that we feel like we have known forever. At the same time we are happy to have connected with a group that we are sure we will see again – either here, or wherever the road takes us.
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Posted in Camp Ground Reviews, Florida, General Commentary, Live, Move, Uncategorized
Tagged Cedar Key, Cedar Key Florida