Several people have asked how we ended up coming to Florida and the answer is simple. The cold chased us in that direction! We left Minnesota the night of November 30th, and we just drove straight south. We stopped in Missouri for a couple of days, but there was a cold front coming. It was in the 60’s during the day when we arrived, but was going to be in the 40’s the day we left. We drove straight down to the coast that night. We had a hard decision, going east or west along the coast. We searched for boats that we wanted to look at, and found more on the eastern route, so we went east. We stopped in Alabama where we had unfortunately had car trouble. Again, it was nice and warm in the 70’s when we got there, and a couple days later it was in the 40’s. So we just kept on going. We stopped to look at a couple of boats along the way, but didn’t really see anything that really seemed what we wanted. So when we got past the Florida pan-handle, we followed the road south, taking the scenic route pretty much the entire way.
We had lived in Bradenton, Florida for several years, so when we found several boats all in the central Florida region that we wanted to see, we picked the Tampa area as a good place to hang out for a while. Kind of like coming back home, although things have changed so much that it doesn’t actually feel like home.
We looked at a bunch of boats, each having things that we like, and things that we didn’t, and each having something that was just not going to work for us. But the end of last week, we found one that we agreed had most of our must-haves, none of our can’t-haves, and had been very well maintained. We are under contract on this boat, pending survey inspection. So we are crossing our fingers that nothing major comes up, or at least nothing major that can’t be fixed. We’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, we have been kind of moving around the Florida state parks and campgrounds. It has been awesome. We never went camping or really did a lot of exploring while we actually lived in Florida. We are making up for it now, and it has really been amazing. We’ve been to several that have tram tours through various habitats, an air boat tour, and most have great hiking. We’ve seen more birds that I think I saw the entire time we lived in the state, along with alligators, possums, wild hogs, white tail deer, and armadillos (which drive our dog, Kevin, absolutely crazy). It’s amazing the variety of habitats and scenery that we’ve been exploring since we’ve been here. I feel so fortunate for being able to spend time really exploring nature in-between boat shopping.
Sidenote: We have a better cell signal now, so we can make phone calls and text, but still don’t have a good enough signal to upload pictures. Tomorrow, our to-do list includes finding a location with great wi-fi. Our last couple attempts of using wifi at McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants has been less than satisfactory, barely getting a signal. Tomorrow we will give a library a try. On a related subject, we are now looking at the options for wi-fi and cellular signal enhancers for our boat. Hopefully getting a signal from the boat will be better than getting a signal from in the middle of the woods.