Follow our journey by clicking on the map below which opens a map browser that highlights our exact route and each stop we made during that year. But before you get started, here are a few general notes about the maps:
- Our travel years are not based on the calendar year. Since we started full timing in September 2013, we decided our travel years would run from September 1st to August 31st.
- Hovering the mouse over the route line, or clicking on it, displays the start and end points of that route segment which is generally a full travel day.
- Hovering the mouse over the pushpins displays the name of the campground and date of our stay, clicking on the pins additionally displays links to the campground website (if there is one), our review (if there is one) and any blog posts we’ve written detailing what we did during our stay there. Note: we are a bit behind in our campground reviews so some locations may not have links yet.
- The bright red push pins designate our favorite campgrounds/rv parks for that particular year. They are definitely ones we would visit again.
- In some cases, we had to travel the same route more than once. Unfortunately the route only shows as one line on the map – there is no way to differentiate between the overlapping routes, but by clicking on the push pins you can deduce our next stop.
How to use the map browser:
- Click on the map below to launch the map browser.
- To zoom, use the zoom tool (+/-) in the upper left hand corner, or the mouse wheel.
- To move around the map, click the mouse button and drag.
- If you want to filter by any available map layers click the layer tool on the left (icon that looks like a stack of coins).
Our Journey 2014 – 2015
2014-15 was our 2nd year as full time RV’ers. Our winter would be spent wandering around the southeastern US, mostly in Florida and Alabama.
By the time we snowbirds hit the road it was mid-October, the late start being attributable to completing all of our annual medical appointments. Not being fans of I-95 in the NYC area as well as Baltimore/DC areas we favor a route incorporating I-84/I-81 which avoids the more congested areas. After a few brief overnight stops at Twin Grove RV Resort in Pine Grove, PA, Endless Caverns RV Park in New Market, VA and the RV Resort at the Crossroads in Roanoke Rapids, NC, we spent a few relaxing days at Myrtle Beach State Park. Although there are no sites directly on the beach there, it was just a short walk or bike ride from the campground to the ocean and a mile of protected beach amid the extensive commercialization to the north and south.
A holiday highlight was a four night, early November stay at James Island County Park where we were lucky enough to enjoy a test run of their spectacular Holiday Festival of Lights, quickly putting us in a holiday mood. Besides enjoying the festive lights, we took a city tour of Charleston where we learned about the city’s rich history and observed many fine examples of Colonial, Victorian, Georgian, and Gothic Revival architecture. After the tour we continued sightseeing on foot, stopping to sample some of the delicious local cuisine at Magnolia’s Restaurant. It didn’t take long for Charleston to earn a spot on our favorite cities list.
Another southern favorite of ours is the historic city of St. Augustine, FL on Florida’s “First Coast“. Although we were only there for two nights and there was not much time to do a lot of sightseeing (been there and done that) somehow a tour of Fort Matanzas National Monument ended up on our itinerary. Very interesting and well worth a visit!
Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound, FL was a fun two week stay on the “Treasure Coast“. Here we not only wanted to explore the park as well as the surrounding areas but we had an appointment with a boat broker to visit Fort Lauderdale to look at boats. The sightseeing went well but the boat search not so much. We had intended to buy a bigger boat that year to live on in the summer, but nothing came along that met both Rob’s and my criteria, so it’s been on hold since.
Savannahs Recreation Area Campground a bit further north in Fort Pierce was our base for the Thanksgiving holiday. Here we were able to do quite a bit of sightseeing in the area and enjoy a two mile Sunday Stroll in a Savanna. But best of all we were able to visit with our good friends Jim and Ann, former NH condo neighbors, at their beautiful home in Vero Beach.
The month of December was spent at Riverbend Motorcoach Resort where after much deliberation we decided it was the right time for us to purchase a lot there. After visiting each lot that was for sale countless times, we made an offer on lot #263. Woo hoo! Our offer was accepted but we would have to wait until April to close because it was rented until the end of March. In between all of the realty doin’s, we did find some time to pay a visit to Ave Maria, an unincorporated planned college town developed through a partnership of the Barron Collier Companies and the Ave Maria Foundation led by Roman Catholic philanthropist and activist Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza.
A visit to Florida is never complete without a visit to Disney World. While we stayed at Disney’s Fort Wilderness campground, we discovered that having fun at Disney doesn’t have to include buying tickets or visiting any of the parks. Riding the free transportation, visiting the hotels, taking free tours, watching the fireworks from the beach and browsing the shops in Disney Village are great ways to enjoy Disney without spending hundreds (thousands?) of dollars!
We love Florida State Parks and we were lucky enough to visit several of them during this winter. Several? I would say visiting 13 different State Parks in one winter far surpasses the term several! At Rainbow Springs State Park we not only enjoyed the campground but loved walking around the Headsprings. This once was a very popular tourist attraction developed back in 1930’s until the advent of Disneyworld and I-75 which bypassed the park.
Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center is another one of our favorite Florida state parks. So much to do here. There’s a museum with very cool dioramas depicting scenes from the songs written by Stephen Foster, a gift shop, Craft Square where visitors can watch demos of quilting, blacksmithing, stained glass making and other crafts and numerous trails for hiking and biking. You can do all that while listening to the melodies of Stephen Foster emanating from the 97 bell carillon throughout the day. One day we visited the largest whitewater rapids in Florida which are located at the nearby Big Shoals State Park – well worth a visit.
For a change of pace from interior Florida, we stayed at Ho Hum RV Park in Carrabelle on the “Forgotton Coast“. The selling point of this park (which doesn’t have a lot of amenities) is that it has some sites right on the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing beats having a panoramic view of the ocean from your front window. We liked it so much we ended up staying here in early February and returned again in March. During our second stay we hiked in the spooky sounding Tate’s Hell State Forest so we could see the dwarf cypress trees.
It seems that since we began RV’ing in 2011, we have been constantly drawn to Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Santa Rosa Beach on the “Emerald Coast“, 2015 was no exception. We actually visited there twice – once in February and again in March so we could meet up with friends.
In between our two visits to Topsail, we made our way to the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area of Alabama. We love this area with its beautiful white sand beaches, friendly natives and less traffic congestion than Florida. And after a hard day of walking on the beach or biking on the paved Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Trail, visitors can enjoy seafood delicacies, southern cuisine or any type of meal at many of the excellent restaurants.
During this winter journey, we returned to Florida’s “Forgotten Coast” which sure has a lot to offer! While at St. George Island State Park, we spent a day away from the beaches and drove to Apalachicola, “the oyster capital of the world”. That was a fun day! During our stay at St. Andrews State Park, we enjoyed walking around and learning about the history of the small town of St. Andrews.
We had never heard of Wauchula, FL until we stayed at the SKP Escapee’s Park. Although the park was quite nice, the highlight of our stay was in Ona, FL where we took a tour of the funky 12,000 sq. ft. Solomon’s Castle. The middle of a Central Florida swamp sure seemed like a strange place to build a “castle”.
It’s always been very difficult to make reservations at the very popular Myakka River State Park in Sarasota on the “Cultural Coast“, but somehow we were lucky and managed to snag a reservation for a full hookup site for four nights. By taking a boat tour and a tram tour we were quickly educated on not only the wildlife found in the park but also its history. If you love nature, this is the place to be! For those who enjoy a more luxurious setting, our next destination, Myakka River Motorcoach Resort might be a better choice.
Finally in mid-April it was time to return to Riverbend where we officially became the proud owners of lot #263. During our three week stay here, we enjoyed some of the activities, met with several landscapers, bought a new patio set and other items and just spent time relaxing and enjoying our new purchase.
After our lovely but busy stay at Riverbend, our next stop wasn’t that much fun – Lazy Days in Seffner, FL for what we thought were some minor repairs. Once parked in the campground, we discovered that our less than one year old replacement radiator (installed in June 2014) was leaking. What we thought would be a quick stay there turned into what seemed to be a very long 10 day stay while we waited for a new radiator to arrive and be installed.
Before starting our journey northward, our next destination was a brief stay in Bushnell, FL at Sumter Oaks Campground where they have a Smart Weigh station. No sightseeing planned here – instead having our 2013 coach weighed was our goal. The end result was good news – we didn’t need to go on a major diet but just needed to make a few adjustments by moving some of our heavier items to a different location.
After several stops along the way, in mid-May we arrived back in East Greenwich, RI where we would spend most of our summer. As soon as we arrived, we shifted gears from our RV life to our boating life because we had to get our boat ready to be launched.
Once the boat was successfully launched, after a few weeks we hit the road again heading downeast. Our first stop would be in NH for a short visit with my brother and sister-in-law at their place in Warner. From there, we headed to lobstah land on the coast of Maine, making brief stops in Wells where we spent some time exploring the Kennebunkport and Ogunquit areas.
Further north while staying at Camden Hills State Park, we experienced the essence of Maine – fog, sunshine and lots of lobstah! Our next stop was Narrows II Campground in Ellsworth where friends of ours were work camping. While staying here, we would take a cruise to the Cranberry Islands, visit Castine, a historic town under the elms and by the sea, explore the bar in Bar Harbor, visit Asticou, Acadia and a Fjard, and visit Prospect, Maine where we would tour Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory. And during our entire stay we sampled downeast deliciousness at the local restaurants. How can you not love Maine!
On our way back to RI, our last planned stop was Freeport, Maine where we said bonjour to Bean. Always a fun roaming around the L.L. Bean store which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!
Our fun 33 day spring jaunt to Maine finally ended on July 14, 2015 when we arrived back in East Greenwich, RI where we spent the rest of the summer living partly on the coach and partly on our boat.