Crappy Travel Day into Fabulous Tour Start

We’ve had worse travel days, but not many. I’m talking about the day we drove from Tuscaloosa, AL to near Pensacola, FL, just a couple of days ago. We didn’t break down or almost lose the kayaks on the highway or set up in the wrong campsite or back into a tree (okay, we’ve never technically backed into a tree, but I’m not gonna jinx it by saying so). We did struggle with crap driving conditions on the interstate through road construction, then had a hard time getting into a satisfactory fuel stop, and drove through two tight areas in frustration looking for a place to park for lunch.

At our final freaking stop in a long, long day, we were trying to use the dump station at a dreaded Camping World—where Tracy was waiting in the busy parking lot and the only help I could find was people whose first day was of course that day—when we received an email saying the campground we were headed to was closing due to flooding.

Damn that is not a simple fix, especially when you’ve absolutely had it. While Tracy filled up our fresh water and dumped our waste tanks, I started looking up locations and calling park rangers and texting with our local camping expert, Carl. To add to the confusion, I was simultaneously working on getting a physical therapy order from my surgeon so I could try to get appointments at one of three possible practices in Pensacola or Gainesville, so I had multiple calls coming in all from the same locations.

Yes, you multitasking people out there might roll your eyes at how few things would make us panic, but consider that I’m juggling all this while we’re parked in a dubious location with rigs being towed all around us, using a dump station we’re supposed to be members to use, totally at our wits’ ends in the first place.

The good news is several-fold. Thanks to Carl (with a few false starts because our rig is larger than he’s used to thinking about and about half the campgrounds around here are pet-free), we found a spot.

We got most of the way there and were losing cell signal right when I started second-guessing if our campsite would be long enough for our rig. Multiple dropped and returned calls later, we gave up trying to change the site and just drove into the campground, where we saw that the site is plenty long, just very narrow and bordered by trees.

You can’t tell, but believe me, it was a trick to back the trailer in here, especially with me hobbling around behind, on the crap walkie talkie with my swollen knee and grumpy attitude. But, we got in! I guess here starts the good news.

Let the Tour Begin in Ernest

Now it feels like we’ve truly begun our Friends and Family Tour ‘24. It’s warm here on the panhandle of Florida, so we’ve been outside morning, noon, and night. Man does that make a world of difference, like we’re back “home” in the outdoors. Plus, thanks to another local friend, I got several PT appointments for the week we’ll be in Gainesville, which is a huge relief.

I’m hesitant to write about the friends and family part of the tour, for several reasons. Seems like, last time we went up the East Coast and enjoyed the company of so many friends, writing about every stop, every friend, got a little tricky. I may just blog lightly about the people we see this summer.

I will say that we enjoyed the company of Carl and Brenda (whom we met in Alaska) all danged day long on our full day north of Pensacola. We looked at Carl’s amazing photos from that trip and reminisced about the places we saw together and swapped info on places we saw separately or haven’t been.

Carl’s rig parked with Doug and Melanie’s on the incomparable Denali Highway

We shared special beers and talked about travel plans and showed off favorite gear. It was a real nomad hoopla!

Brenda’s shot of us, same place

The next day, damned if we didn’t resurrect the tent. Tracy installed a few parts we’d received in Michigan, and we put it all together just to see what might need further hacking. Lo and behold, it’s actually in fine working order now, much less wrecked as we’d remembered from Brownsville.

So, with the tent back in action, PT appointments on the horizon, and warm weather in our future (and a terrible travel day in our past), this tour is starting out pretty danged well.

6 thoughts to “Crappy Travel Day into Fabulous Tour Start”

    1. Banjo would love it if there were no dogs in the campground! Now just to figure out how to sneak her in.

  1. Ah the joys of travel. Lol
    Days like that are frustrating; sorry you had to go through that. Thank goodness for Carl.

    Enjoy your tour!!!!

    1. Thank goodness for Carl, indeed. I bet your ears were tingling once we got together – it was a fun reunion. Missed you and Melanie.