travel

March 21, 2021

Spring Van Trip Observations From Minnesota to the Florida Keys

Spring Van Trip Observations as we have spent the last week in a van from Minnesota to the Florida Keys

  1. Covid-wise, each state has felt very compliant with Mask Mandates except … Wisconsin. Over half the people at the convenience store gas station did not wear masks.
  2. There are so many places to eat outside while on the road that we have eaten out a ton more than I anticipated, but we have missed it! I have had Culver’s in Wisconsin, Saltines and Butter while at a campground in Kentucky, She crab soup and oysters Rockefeller while in Charleston, South Carolina, Stone Crab Claws at PB Catch in Palm Beach, Florida and Mahi Mahi tacos and Lobster Rolls in Key Largo in the Florida Keys.
  3. Charleston, South Carolina, is a beautiful city and perfect for a 4-day trip. Beautiful historic houses and gardens and fantastic food and seafood. Many historical museums give the history of the slave trade and the cultural aspects of plantation life.
  4. The state of Florida has tons of campgrounds, and they are full of people wintering in motorhomes and temporary RV Homes. Many of the RV parks have beaches and reserve spots for travelers.
  5. Palm Beach, Florida, is the wealthiest place I have ever visited. The houses were magnificent, and everybody in the town looked like they stepped out of a Lilly Pulitzer catalog or were modeling Ralph Lauren beachwear. When we went to dinner, most of the ladies had fancy sandles, and their masks matched their spring dresses. A glass of decent wine was $22, but a Wagu Beef cheeseburger and fries was $18. I loved the beautiful town but honestly it was a bit too rich for my blood. So many fancy cars and I felt like I didn’t belong.
  6. Short shorts, short summer dresses, and bell-bottoms are back in fashion – with platform sandals, everyone is wearing platform sandals. Men are still wearing khaki shorts, pressed shirts or sport shirts and mandals.
  7. The van is as comfy as ever. You might think camping in an RV park is cheap, but it is generally about $70 a night during high season in Florida. We usually can park at an excellent spot for about $30 a night when on the road and for fancier places $50-$75 with pools, restaurants, docks, and activities.
  8. St. Augustine is a lovely Florida town. There are lots of touristy things to do, but there is also an old fort and lots of historical sights as it is the oldest established town in the United States that was discovered by Ponce De Leone, who was looking for the fountain of youth. For the record … 300,000 Indigenous people were here when Ponce de Leone landed.
  9. There are 800 “keys” in the Florida Keys stretching over 180 miles. Key largo is the most extended key at 30 miles long.
  10. There are 13,000 manatees in the world, and about 6,500 of them live in Florida. Manatees have fart sacks to help them stay buoyant. A constipated manatee has a hard time swimming.
  11. There are signs for gators at many swimming holes and beaches. Gators are protected in Florida waters. I have yet to see one but I am looking.