These days, the morning view out my window changes, but the window does not. My window is not cracked or broken , nor is it tinted or streaked. It is a permanent fixture in my life of constant change.
Some mornings I wake up in a parking lot, the bright lights still illuminating the stillness of dawn, the sound of a busy freeway nearby, the smell of fresh coffee in the air. As I take Daisy out for her walk, I observe the suits and ties, the college students and the retirees, make their way into nearby establishments for some breakfast. Occasionally, I get some odd looks.
Other mornings, I wake up in a campground, the early sunlight bouncing off of the dew dropped landscape, the sound of birds communicating and the smell of a campfire burning. As I take Daisy out for her walk, I observe each campsite and the activities of the dwellers. Whether they’re cooking breakfast, packing up to leave or tending to energetic children, I almost always receive a good morning greeting.
Of course, I do prefer the latter scenario. Knowing that we will stay put for a few days where I can inhale peace, exhale serenity and consume nature, invigorates my soul. Nevertheless , I do admittedly feel a tinge of excitement every time we pull into a public place to sleep.
We left the east coast of Florida a couple of weeks ago where we spent close to a month in a gated retirement community on the beach. It was quite luxurious, complete with heated pool, rec. center, and wi-fi. We found ourselves enjoyably amidst a sea of 65-year-old tanned bodies. Whether they were congregating in the pool, walking a dog, or enjoying an early happy hour on a neighbors lot, the customary greeting went something like “It doesn’t get better than this”. Golf carts were the major mode of transportation, there was no activity post 7pm and there seemed to be some sort of communal alarm clock that went off between 6-6:30am that only the ears of that generation could hear.
From there we traveled down the coast and across to the Everglades, spending 3 days in the heart of the park . River pretty much summed up our exciting activities in his post. I will add, that other than the wildlife we encountered, some interesting people also crossed our path. On one hike, a canoe emerged from the canal unloading a slew of young passengers seeming a bit confused. They happened to be traveling the U.S. together, each hailing from different countries, including France, South Korea, Nigeria, and Scandinavia. With English being the accepted language, we indulged in friendly conversation and provided navigational and photographic assistance before parting ways. It pleases me that the kids were able to take part in this, as they later on became very inquisitive on the subject of foreign travel and language. After all these years of talking about it and seeing photos, I feel that perhaps now they may have a better understanding of what it was like when Bri and I backpacked through Europe.
On the west coast, a necessary stop was St. Petersburg Beach, being the place that Bri and I first met 20 years ago. We had been looking forward to going back to our old digs and immediately after we set up camp, we headed out to cruise Gulf Blvd. in search of young love memories. We located the apartment we first rented together as roommates, the hotel we were both employed at as a cook and a bartender, and the bridge we dared each other to jump off of one crazy night! It always astonishes me as to how places appear to be a lot smaller as you grow older!
This past week has found us in travel mode. That means logging more daytime driving miles, pulling off the interstate to utilize wi-fi hotspots for work and school, and sleeping in various RV friendly parking lots. Rather than “Are we there yet?” we quite often hear from the back seat “Where are we sleeping tonight?” Thankfully,the kids have become very adaptable to this lifestyle in just two short months. Mercy even recently informed me that she enjoys boondocking almost as much as she does camping. I get the feeling that she’s been peeking out my window.
We have arrived in Louisiana, staying at Fontainebleau State Park, roughly 30 minutes outside of New Orleans. The plan is to stay here 4-5 days and explore the area. The campground is bountiful in nature, wildlife and history and the hiking and biking trails will definitely keep us busy for an entire day. The rates are affordable, and the amenities include free WiFi, hot showers and laundry facilities. The Dunns are happy campers!