As we pulled out of the driveway at the Swanson Compound in Harwinton, CT, snow still dusted the grass and lingered atop tree branches. We waved a tearful “goodbye” to our family from the window and pulled out onto Highway 72.
We knew the first week of our journey was likely to be our most difficult. With our intention to hit Sugarloaf Key, Florida by week’s end, we had a lot of road to cover and a lot of lessons we were likely to learn. Jonathan was at the wheel for about ten hours, dodging the drift of the tractor trailers and tentatively shifting lanes with our jeep towed close behind.
Around 10 PM we finally arrived at my cousin Noreen’s house in Williamsburg, Virginia. After a tricky parking maneuver in the cul de sac and a quick assessment of the damage done during our first leg–the microwave/oven had come loose from the wall during the tumultuous trip down ‘95–we headed inside for some much needed conversation, food and wine. The next morning, after a delightful breakfast spread, we hit the road again.
This time we were visiting Jonathan’s cousins, Brent and Christie, in Savannah, Georgia. Each stop between destinations takes about 30 minutes between filling up our 80 gallon tank and a inspection of the jeep and towing rig. Not to mention trying to keep Jonathan away from all the southern snacks! It was pretty late in the evening again as we pulled into the Skidaway State Park where we had made a reservation to stay. The roads were neatly lined with giant Southern Live Oak trees with hanging spanish moss that seemed to almost hug us hello. We grabbed our plot coordinates from the front desk, pulled in, dropped the jacks, hooked up the electric, and set up the water and sewer.
The next day was our first official day working from the road and it went off without a hitch! I worked from my modified desk in the bedroom while Jonathan took the main room and dinette. We had the bedroom door and a curtain to separate us and block out some of the sound for when we were taking conference calls. That night, we visited with Brent and Christie at their winter home just a few minutes drive away that night. After a few drinks, we headed to Huey’s down on River Street for Louisiana-style fare.
After another full work day from the RV, we headed out again the next evening. This would be our first overnight at a rest stop just off I95 outside of Mims, Florida. I thought it would feel strange essentially sleeping out on the street, but it was oddly normal. We pushed out our slides, made dinner, and watched TV before going to bed.
Our fourth stop was a bit more eerie–the Miccosukee Casino. Using our AllStays App, we found a casino near Miami where you could stay overnight for free. We figured we could grab a bite at the buffet and maybe spend some time gambling. When we got there, we found a nice spot nestled amongst the other big rigs and RV. Once we headed inside, however, we knew this wasn’t definitely a place we wanted to spend a prolonged period of time in. The patrons were more akin to zombies pushing coins into machines than humans. There was a distinct air of ennui or listlessness. Remember the sketchy casino Uncle Eddie took Clark to in Vegas Vacation? It was like a Miami version of that! We grabbed a bite anyway (which wasn’t too bad!), but decided to leave the gambling for another time.
We were excited for our fifth stop, Miami Everglades RV Resort! It had all kinds of activities from a biking path to miniature golf and a swimming pool. This was definitely a different experience from any of the places we’d stopped so far. While slightly more on top of our neighbors, there was a definite vacation vibe about this place. We decided to dine at the most traditional Cuban restaurant we could find, Versailles on 8th Street. Versailles has been around for more than 40 years serving up what is rumored to be the most iconic Cuban food in the city. We ordered stuffed green plantains to start, a traditional Cuban and the Cuban combination platter, The Crilo, which came with yellow rice, black beans, “Ropa Vieja” shredded beef in tomato sauce, fried pork chunks, ham croquette, sweet plantains, Cuban tamale, and cassava with Cuban mojo. The entire meal (with a Mojito and a Cuban beer) all came to less than $50 with tip!
We took the top off of the jeep and headed out for a quick drive the next morning before work through the Miami Everglades, a beautiful swath of Florida wetland alive with wildlife. We decided to return that evening so we could drive all the way to the ocean. After our late night drive, we headed back to camp to get ready for dinner. We ordered up an Uber and headed to Wynwood, an art district in Miami covered in urban graffiti. Every inch of available wall is covered in street art by artists like How&Nosm, Maya Hayuk, and Shepard Fairey, just to name a few. The streets were filled with young people, lines for bars stretched down each block and music hummed from the windows. We dined at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar and had an array of tapas options each dish more delicious than the last including queso frito, flautas, succotash, and tuna tartare.
We had every intention of heading to South Beach to check out the Broken Shaker, but this first stretch wasn’t yet over and we needed to head further south to the Keys the next morning. We wish we had more time to spend in Miami–but we will be back, no doubt.
Stay tuned for our adventure to they Keys!