Maria reserved this campground for the last 2 days on her spring break. It had 50a and water at all sites, was mostly waterfront sites, and absolutely beautiful!
The next day, Maria's friend gave her tickets to Seaworld for all of us, so we enjoyed the day there! It was extremely busy, but we all had a great time.
Stay Details: Trimble Park, Mt. Dora, FL
* This campground is an absolute beautiful campground that has mostly large waterfront sites, and a beautiful serene environment. The bath house was clean, and the playground was small yet very nice. It was a little tight getting around with a bigger rig, but we made it with no problem. We will definitely stay longer next time we come here.
During our stay at Long Pine Key, we met up with Maria, Steve & the kids. It was great to see them after a year of traveling!
After resting and working on her camper for a day, we visited Wooten's Airboat tours. We bought the package which included the airboat ride, swamp buggy ride andgator park. The airboat ride was phenomenal!! Buggy ride.. Not so much. It was still fun being all together though.
The next day we all went to Key West. Visited John Pennekamp State Park and took a kayak tour and small hike. Mark had to work on his class halfway to Key West, so we found good cell signal, and the kids went on their way. They went shopping in downtown, then we met up again to get our pictures taken at the Southernmost Buoy.
We visited the beach, the kids swam in the ocean, and we found a spectacular sunset! After that we satisfied our hunger at a Mexican Restaurant.
Stay Details: Long Pine Key Campground; Homestead, FL:
* This is a beautiful campground nestled inside the Everglades State Park. The sites are dry camping only (no hookups), and are spaced pretty far apart. The kids parked oposite of us, and we were close enough to comfortably share the picnic table and refrigerator. We were also right next to the bath-house, so it was convenient for everyone.
* We walked the Anhinga Trail in the morning, and we saw a large alligator, and many Anhinga's along the way. It was a nice short trail for the kids.
* The only problem we had was some other campers were screaming at eat other until 2am, but the rangers were quick to take care of the problem in the morning.
Well what do you do when you suddenly find out that the Starlink Falcon9 is scheduled to launch in the morning? Well drive to the coast and wait 9 hours for the launch, that's what!
That's exactly what we did when Mark suddenly found out that Starlink postponed their recent flight and it was now scheduled for the morning! On a whim, we decided to head 2 hours east, find any location we could, and to wait until the launch at 3:13am. We planned out a dark park location which we later got kicked out of, then moved to the roadside location where we walked down next to the water and enjoyed each others company while we waited; about 15 miles straight west from the launch pad. We did manage to get a few hours of sleep during the night, and Pica was very well behaved during this crazy night.
The launch itself was spectacular! The SpaceX live broadcast playing in the background; the rumbling of the boosters; the ground shaking from the mighty thrusters that were lifting 60 more satelites into space.. It was just awe-inspiring and emotional to say the least. I don't know why it got to us that way, but maybe it had something to do with the meaning of the mission.
Twenty-four years ago, we took our honeymoon trip to Orlando. We watch a Space Shuttle launch then too! Now after these many years, Shuttles no longer fly. Instead, reusable rocket boosters send up satelites that promise to bring world-wide Internet and communications; our future. This launch was the 76th safe landing return of the first stage booster Falcon9.
Everyone should try to see a rocket launch some time in their lives, but this night was was absolutely spectacular. Watch the 3-minute video to see the entire thing. It gets blurry, but straightens up around the 1:10 minute mark.
We left our previous location early so we could tour the area and park closer to the beach. Most of Florida State Parks are full this time of year, so we used a new resource called "WanderingLabs" which search campgrounds for openings due to cancelations. So, I put in my request for 3 different campgrounds around the Panama City area, and within an hour we had an opening at this park! I had 15 minutes to reserve it, and we were in!
During our stay here, we rode our bikes on the trails, visited the beach, and enjoyed the beautiful outdoors. This is a definitely a park that you should put on your ToDo list if you are in the area. It is absolutely gorgeous and well kept!
Stay Details: Topsail Hill Preserve Campground - Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Site #35. Our site had a broken cement pad, so it was difficult to get the camper up there without hurting any tires. We did a great job as a team once again, and we were situated in no time! Before heading out on the bikes, Mark worked on some class work. Before long, he was ready to relax and ride the trails.
Before dinner, we left Pica in the rig and went to the beach. We arrived shortly before sunset, and were able to get some awesome photos!
There are NO bad sites at this park from what we can see, and this park is very well maintained and clean. We highly recommend this campground if you are in the area. The walk to the beach was .9 miles, and the pool was closed due to Covid.
We reserved Hueco Tanks over a month ago, and we were excited about this visit because of the petroglyphs in the area and many remnants of the native american people that once lived here. It is also a dark sky area, and rich with wildlife.
This site was named from the many huecos ("whey-coes") that form in natural rock basins within the mountain. There is a lot of imagery left by the ancient people, and even a good amount of small hikes that are rich with history. There is even a hike that requires hanging on to a chain in order to get to the top!
The campground itself houses 20 campers, both small and large. We have a beautiful spot, but site 15 is probably the prettiest, with trees and a shaded picnic area.
If you book this area, make sure you book a guided tour well in advance, as they were all sold out when I called to reserve our campsite. If you need to wait in line to get in for a pass, arrive early, as they are only handing out 70 per day right now.
The Hike: The next day, we were in line for another hiking pass at 7:30am. Had breakfast, then headed out to the hardest hike first called the chain hike. We had to use chain to climb about 250ft onto North Mountain. We took it slow, used the chain, and explored some awesome mountains, huecos and rock caves.
After lunch and a quick rest, we took off to the other hikes in the afternoon and found a REALLY beautiful in-rock cave that accended through many more slot canyons and climbs. Mark explored this a lot more, and the walk was awesome!
We returned home tired and sore, but full of beautiful memories.. :-)
Site Details: Hueco Tanks Campground; Site # 001. (31.918863, -106.036933)
(See more photos on our ARIZONA page)
We found this spot on Campendium, and after reading the reviews, I wasn't sure if we were going to find a spot or fit into the spots we did find. We could only go so far, so after passing the 5th cattle guard, we pulled over and rode the bikes in to scope out a spot. Low and behold, there were 2 areas that MAY work, and a few spots to turn around if they didn't.
It was difficult to put the rig into position, but even though a bit frustrated, Mark did an awesome job. Once it was in position, it was also work to level the rig, as we were 8" off. We put one side up on blocks, and the other side we dug a little hole so the tires would go down. Came out to 1/4" off, so we called it good and hit auto-level.
The views at this place are spectacular! We walked the area and found recent evidence of cows, Mountain Sheep, and some dog or cat-like medium type animal. We were at the top of the hill overlooking the rest of the campers, so we set up the cameras to face the mountains, in hopes that we'll see some kind of wild animal activity.
The local cows moved in on day 2, keeping their distance yet welcoming us with their presence. :-)
Stay Details: Indian Bread Rocks BLM; Bowie AZ. (32.240677, -109.506086)
We didn't think we'd see many more Saguaros than we've seen already, but wow! This location was littered with them! We had a nice educational drive through the park, and enjoyed seeing the many plant species that were abundant in the area.
Moving south to Tucson, we wanted to stay just outside of the Saguaro NP so we had easy access to some waypoints.
On the drive in, we chose to drive by the Pinal Air Park and it was pretty cool to see the airplane bone yard! We did not stop with the rig, but you can see the numerous planes from the distance.
The road from the west getting to Gilbert Ray was a challenge, but kept going and ended up having a nice drive. The campground itself is small, and I was really glad I booked a 40' site!
We were on the outside of the loop so we were able to set up some cameras to look for critters. On the way in, we got a really good shot of a Coyote grabbing a snack of road-kill right in front of us!
Stay Details: Gilbert Ray Campground; Tucson AZ.
* Note: I reserved this campgound on November 17th and it was the last large site available, so if you want to visit here, book early!
First time we've seen a coyote this close! While he was taking advantage of some road-kill dinner, Mark took advantage of filming this rare event!
Made a little friend today. Mark calls him our Roadie.
Took a little walk by the Colorado River. He followed us the entire time, coming just feet from us when we were sitting by the water. Really cool!
Did you know that the original London Bridge was sold to Lake Havasu City after 600 years of constant repairs due to improper construction? Some even say the bridge is haunted!
Well the now stronger bridge was dismantled, shipped to AZ & rebuilt. The history here is really cool! Lake Havasu even built the ‘English Village’ by the bridge, welcoming visitors England Style.
We were Blessed to enjoy this first time experience with our friends, and I highly recommend stopping here if you’re in the area.
Stay Details: Lake Havasu RV Park; Lake Havasu AZ