So the Pandora has been full swing since trees and the Christmas tunes persist now that we’re in the RV full-time. The family has done a super job with humoring my neverending holiday playlist. We hit up the dollar store yesterday and picked up some decorations.
It’s almost Christmas Eve. Let the festivities begin! So amazing to have so much downtime before the big day.
We’ve been hitting the hot tub and ticking off Christmas movies. Life is good!
Guess I left you hanging at the ANC airport. Time to montage our way through to get us caught up to the present. As you can see, the flights were easy as we traveled south. We arrived in Orlando at about 1 am and finally made it to the hotel by around 3 am. Ready for a quick night of sleep, we were all excited to get to the rig and setup.
Thankfully other than a few low tires and some ants, the rig and truck were ready to roll. The kids and I got a head start so we could check out our site. It couldn’t have been more perfect, right by the pool, a few shady trees, and super wide. We waited for Dad, and he backed us in like it was nothing. Within a few hours, we were all set up and ready to start our Florida adventure!
It was a welcome relief after our very intense summer to just sit and wind down until the tree farm. We spent the weeks ahead doing all the things we dreamed about in Alaska. Nails, hair, pool time, hot tub time, tanning, yummy food. It was absolutely perfect. The kiddos got Universal passes, and we spent a few nights at the resort, and then Dad and I got passes too. Universal time during a pandemic is pretty awesome!
And our room at the resort was pretty amazing too! Plus, everything felt so safe and easy. They definitely have it all figured out. And it’s pretty nice to have the rides to yourself! Of course, that meant no Disney, but I just couldn’t do it this year. I think we are finally over our love affair with the parks. At least for now. It was a good run. Liv’s reminded me that we’ve been pass holders to one or both coasts for 14 years!! That’s a long run of Disney! But, because Universal is so stinking cheap, you get to stay on property. It does have its perks!
And as we prepared for the tree farm, we celebrated Liv’s 16th birthday! I can’t even believe it. And how did my little girl spend her bday? By putting a hole in her nose!!! Ahhhh. But I suppose if that’s the worst thing she’s doing at 16, we’re doing pretty good!
We had an amazing 5 weeks in Orlando. Then it was time for the Cunnigham’s to roll south and sling some trees!!!!
After a great winter in Florida. It was time to wrap up the RV and head out on our 50-day European extravaganza! We spent the past week getting the rig ready for storage, packing for Europe, as well as Alaska. As we were packing up, it felt like we had just moved in, but so goes living life in seasons.
On Monday, we moved the kiddos into a hotel, picked up the rental car, and Dad and I finished cleaning the RV. It went pretty fast this year, so that was nice. Monday night, we joined them at the hotel, and by Tuesday morning, the RV was safely in storage.
With our Europe bags in tow, we loaded up the rental car and made our way to the Magic Kingdom for one last amazing day of Disney Magic!
We may say this every year, but we really think this was the last time for Disney passes. After 13 years, we just might have had our fill, but time will tell. In any case, we had a great time, and it was absolutely the perfecting ending to our time here in Florida.
Wednesday morning came quickly, and it was finally time for our long haul flight to London. We had a redeye out of MCO, so we leisurely left the hotel, ran a couple of errands, and enjoyed one last gluttonous American meal. We were all feeling a little anxious, as you do when traveling. In fact, one of the reasons I love traveling so much is that it pushes the boundaries of my comfort zone. I always tell myself that one of these days, I will be totally at peace when it comes time for a trip, but something tells me it’s just not in the cards. Honestly, my personality is not really conducive to traveling. I am an over worrier, a control freak, and highly anxious. But again, it’s for these reasons that I like to put myself in uncomfortable situations. I guess I like proving to myself that with a little determination, I can overcome my own craziness.
So after dropping off the car and getting through TSA, we had just about an hour before our departure. I was pretty sure we were ready, although at this point it didn’t really matter we were going! Like I said, this has been a long time coming, and when you plan for a 50-day, 6-country, excursion for a family of four, there’s just a tiny bit of pressure to make sure everything goes smoothly. And at this point, I wasn’t thrilled with my preparedness level. We didn’t even make it through TSA before we had three of the bag straps break. Are you kidding me?!? And this is why we always travel with zip ties, oh wait except for this time, shit! Luckily a nice woman offered us a few feet of twine, so Dad spent the majority of our time reconnecting the straps, HA! You can see we were off to a good start. I guess we’ll see how I did preparing for the rest of the trip.
I am quite proud of these little bags, I mean, if they hold up that is. Because I’m a cheap asshole, which is really the only way you can be when traveling on a budget, I forced everyone into a 10kg bag, and that’s it! You read that right. One bag per person with all of your necessary and, ahem Livs, unnecessary belongings. She’s lucky her brother loves her and travels light, I think a few of Olivia’s items might have spilled over, HA!
Now onto the plane!
After much consideration, I opted for budget airline Norwegian. If you stick to their low-fare option, you can fly pretty darn cheap. We also took the risk of not paying for seats, and to our surprise, we all got seated together, so grateful for that!
The flight was great. Quite honestly one of the best flights I’ve taken and I was really not looking forward to it! But it was comfortable, and the time passed quickly.
We’re in London, baby!
Immigration was a breeze. With a US passport, you head straight for the kiosk, scan your passport, smile for the automated camera, and off you go. Customs was just a room that you breezed through, and I suppose they would stop you if they saw a reason too. That was it, we were free in the airport, and after a quick trip to the loo and a glance outside to remind you that you weren’t at home anymore, it was time to head to the trains. Everything is well marked, so we headed for the platforms. With a little examination of the tickers, we decided that our pre-booked Thameslink train was due to arrive at platform 3. We did confirm with a “travel advisor” because why not, but we were correct in our thinking. Once on the platform, we once again read through the digital signs and determined we were in the correct location. About an hour later, we arrive at St.Pancras Intl. Hopped off the train and made the quick walk to our hotel. They even let us check-in early.
We were all pretty tired, but it was only about 1 pm, so we showered up and hit the city. We grabbed coffee by the University and hit the Wellcome Museum, free and way cool, we saw Napolean’s toothbrush, I mean, who can say that?!? Finally, about 6 pm we hit a Pret A Manger for some budget-friendly premade sandwiches and wraps and headed back to the room. We only made it to 8 pm and we all crashed.
Now it’s 4 am and Dad and I have been up since 1 am. I guess we didn’t do such a great job at whispering because 230 am rolled around and the kids were done sleeping too. So now we will sit and patiently wait for the breakfast buffet to open.
So before I catch you up on our upcoming adventure, we just embarked on a mini-adventure at Disney World. We finally got to ride on Rise of the Resistance, the newest ride of Galaxy’s Edge. This isn’t just a “wait it out” kind of ride. There’s serious planning and a very early morning to be had if you want to be part of the infamous resistance.
It goes a little something like this…
4 am Thursday morning – Time to wake up and head to the park. It’s clearly a no-makeup kind of day. Hoodie and yoga pants, and of course, a cup of coffee, is all I need to ready myself for the day.
4:50 am – Leave the rig and make the drive to Hollywood Studios. Man, it was dark outside. Typically these days, we’re lucky if we roll out of the rack by 11 am, so this kind of dark was all new!
5:10 am – Shit! We totally just cleaned out our wallets and realized we didn’t have our parking pass. I am so not paying the $25 for parking. Dad turned it around and headed back for the house.
5:30 am – Ok, whew! We’re back to where we were. Disney, here we come!
6:00 am – Parked and making the cold, brisk walk to security. We’re magic banded up, no bags, so it should go fast!
6:10 am – Wow! There’s a shit ton of people here. I see now why they say the virtual cue boarding passes complete distribution in minutes. However, I feel pretty confident. We’re standing just shy of the ticketing kiosks so it won’t take too long to get through the gate.
6:29 am – Sweet! They’re letting people through the gates. Basically, you need to be on the other side of the turnstiles by the time the park opens with phone in hand and ready to access the Disney My Experience app and “Join Boarding Group”.
6:40 am – Ok, we’ve made it through, hit the bathroom, and are making our way down Hollywood Blvd.
6:40 am – We’ve made it to the Disney Vacation Club kiosk near the entrance of Toy Story Land. We’ve decided to hit Slinky Dog because we just can’t seem to get a fast pass or hit it at the right time, and we’ve gotta wait somewhere!
6:55 am – We’ve got two phones logged into our My Disney Experience app and are refreshing the “Join Boarding Group” page.
6:59 am – Everything goes silent. Seriously the crowd just kind of zones in on their phones, and the energy is tense. We’re all trying to do the same thing, and chances are many of us will be left without a boarding pass. What a bunch of weirdos we must look like! Ha! But so fun 🙂
7:01 am – Dad’s in! He’s got our passes. Now cheers of satisfaction can be heard all around! The app is easy. Just keep refreshing the Boarding group page, and once you’re live, the app should recognize who in your party has scanned into the park. Select all, accept the boarding pass, and you’re done!
7:04 am – All the “guaranteed” boarding passes have been distributed, and back up groups are still being issued.
7:10 am – That’s it, folks! Distribution has concluded for the day. I still can’t believe it really did happen that fast, and we are supposed to be here on a slow day if those even exist anymore!
8:30 am – Our boarding group has been called, and we now have 1 hour to make it to the entrance. By this time, we had already hit Slinky Dog, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror. After a quick coffee cart stop and a Mickey Pretzel, we made it to the entrance, so exciting!
9:00 am – The rides down! Ha! This happens a lot! It’s cool though, we’ve got a fast pass for Star Tours. And now that they’ve called our boarding pass, and the ride was down, we have all day to use our pass, pretty nice perk!
After Star Tours and a quick check-in with guest relations, we headed for Galaxy’s Edge again. The ride was still down, but we wanted to scoop up one of these baby’s…
After purchasing our under $3 souvenir, we opted to stay in the area. It seemed like people were starting to gather by the entrance of Rise of the Resistance, so we wanted to be nearby in hopes that the ride was opening soon. Sure enough by the time we get to Smuggler’s Run, single rider line, of course, because it only takes like 20 minutes to get through, Rise of the Resistance was back open. Whoo hoo!
9:40 am – Not wanting to risk the ride going down again, we hopped out of line for Millenium Falcon Smuggler’s Run and raced to the entrance of Rise of the Resistance.
9:50 am – We’re in line, and things are moving pretty quickly. Within less than 15 minutes, we are in front of a cast member inquiring about party size. We are then ushered into a room with a small group and ready to fight for the Resistance.
BB8 and Rey help get us prepared
And then, to our surprise, we get escorted outside to a transport ship. This starts our journey of “oh wow” moments that continue for the remainder of the experience
Once onboard, you’re asked to hold on tight. The tram reminded me of an airport shuttle but a lot more exciting.
Unfortunately for us, we were busted by the First Order…Time to get boarded
And then taken into the most awe-inspiring room of the entire ride
Now it’s time for an interrogation but don’t worry the good guys are there to help you out of your jam
And from there, it’s just one amazing room after another.
The trackless cars are incredibly smooth and sophisticated. There’s a great little drop, and it wouldn’t be Star Wars without an AT-AT encounter
Just amazing! All in all, I think the whole experience takes about 20 minutes. Disney has truly out done themselves. I can’t possibly capture all of the awesomeness this ride has to offer. But we sure are glad we got to be a part of it! Way to go, Disney, you sure know how to keep our hard-earned paper dollars!
So we wrapped our last day of trees on Monday and headed for Orlando.
What an amazingly successful season. I think I’m still in shock!
Not only did we pad the bank account but the kiddos learned so much. Dad and I really enjoyed wrangling trees. And most importantly we did it as a family. Once again another job well done that we couldn’t have accomplished without the kiddos.
We are now back in Orlando enjoying a very leisurely Christmas day. Sipping on mimosa’s, opening presents, and hanging with the fam.
More later, but for now a very Merry Christmas from the Cunninghams!
So Wednesday, we left Anchor Point and made our way north to Anchorage. A couple of nights in a hotel there, and it was time to make our way to Nashville. Probably the quickest and easiest flights we’ve had. Once in Nashville, we picked up a rental car and headed for Lebanon, TN. Just about an hour east of BNA. We crashed out for the night, and when we awoke Saturday morning, it was time for the big reveal of the truck that’s been stuck in Pigeon Forge since December!
After a minor situation with a dead battery, whew what a relief, we were on the road to TYS to drop the rental car. I’ll be honest it was a bit of a quiet ride. By now, we were on our 4th day of travel, and I think we were all a little anxious about the truck. Plus, we had just heard from Grammy that morning that she had a heart attack at Amazon and was going in for bypass surgery. Jeez! Poor lady! So while travel was going well, we were all trying to figure out what to do with the Gramster.
We made it to GA by about 10 pm that night and once again kind of just fell over out of exhaustion. The good news was the truck made it, no check engine light, excellent gas mileage, all signs pointed to success!
Sunday morning, we awoke to one of the shittiest most expensive hotels in the area, and we were grateful no one woke up covered in bites, HA! We met up with our friends for a tour around the airbase and a leisurely lunch. Nice to be in the air conditioning, eating good food with good friends!
As we all predicted, time got away from us, but we got on the road to Orlando about 3 pm, and we were officially Disney bound! Yeah!
The kiddos wanted to do the park on Monday while Dad and I got the rig set up, so we opted for a cheap little hotel on the main drag so we could drop kiddos off early and go pick up our house. In no time at all, Dad and I were up at the storage lot, a few butterflies in our tummies, just wanting everything to be OK with RV.
We popped open the door and quickly did the smell test, a good indicator of anything awful inside. Totally clear, just dryer sheets and my glade air fresheners. Hooray! We did a quick look around, and everything looked to be in good shape! While I continued to get the rig roll ready, not much to do, but we had put down trays of kitty litter, charcoal, and such, Dad set up the hitch on our truck. We had only done this once before, but with a little effort and a manual, we agreed we were ready to roll.
After a few miles of going the opposite direction, we couldn’t figure out where to turn around, we arrived at our RV park, parked, and got situated. And once again the truck did great! This was our biggest fear becuase towing seemed to anger the truck prior to repair, so we have pretty high hopes that it is officialy fixed! By this time, the kiddos were cooked from the hot Florida sun, had done a ton of rides, and were ready to come home. First things first, we got the air, water, and sewer set up, and off we went for the kiddos.
All was going great!
A quick trip to Walmart to gather a few staples, a trip to Chipotle for lunch, and we were all happy in our home, ready for our big adventure!
We agreed that Tuesday would be a day of much-needed rest so we could charge up for our adventure.
All was going great until we heard a big bang and thud from the bathroom. Poor Olivia had fallen, and her leg was definitely not OK. An ambulance ride and an ER visit later, we found it was relatively minor, just a dislocated knee cap, but definitely enough to throw a wrench in our plans.
As of now, she is resting comfortably with a brace and crutches, let me tell you crutches in the RV is for the birds, HA! But she’ll be ok. We’ll follow up with an ortho down here to make sure all is good, but with a little rest and recovery, we think she’ll be fine.
Guess we just have a little more time for school 🙂
As for Grammy, her surgery is tomorrow; we are all thinking good thoughts, and I’m sure I’ll head north to get her settled back in her rig at some point. Liv’s will rest. And we’ll all just be happy we’re able to be together as a family!!
Well, we said goodbye to Florida and all of our Disney shenanigans last Wednesday. We all had such a great time down there, and we can’t wait for October to come around and embark on another new journey!
Our last night at the Magic Kingdom was magical as usual! Surprisingly this is the first time we have ever posed for a pic on Main Street, can you believe that?!? The parks had gotten significantly crowded during our last couple of weeks, crowds that we’ve never really been a part of, I still can’t believe people do this in such a short amount of time. As you know we hit the parks pretty leisurely. Other than a water park day you won’t really catch us in the parks much before two or three in the afternoon, and then we love to close the place down. Less heat and better crowds.
We were so happy to have Nana join us at the parks. We had an amazing time. Meals out, catching up on the Bachelor, tons of Twistee Treat, shopping sprees, new rides…
And we hit the Starbucks Like A LOT!!!! Thanks, Nana!
After Nana left, we had just about a week to go before it was time to hop on a plane back up North. We knew we were going to have a few days of chores and such to prepare for our travel day, but before that, it was time to hit some rides and soak up the last few days of vacation! We hit the big rides, made a list of our must do meals, and stocked up on a few last minute shopping items, things are so much cheaper down there!
Once Saturday hit it was time to move into full travel mode. It was a mellow day of packing and having the rig washed, and UV treated. Since the truck still isn’t in a driveable condition we opted to store the rig in FL and the truck will sit in TN until October. Crazy right?!? Anyways, we thought about purchasing a cover for the trailer, but upon reading through various blogs, and talking to the locals, we decided against it. They are expensive, can trap in the moisture and humidity, and at our price point, we would probably need to buy a new one every year because it just wouldn’t last in the FL sun. So instead of investing in a cover, we will have the trailer UV treated every year, seems like a fair compromise. On Sunday the kiddos and dad decided to hit Typhoon Lagoon while I cleaned. Other than it taking me a hell of a lot longer than I anticipated it went really well. So Sunday night it was off to a local motel so we could officially wrap up the trailer and get it into storage on Monday. We prepared the RV for moisture by laying down pans of kitty litter and charcoal, and tossed bay leaves and flea collars around, and of course my favorite…dryer sheets galore! Hopefully, we come back to a mold-free, critter free, nice smelling RV!
By the time we checked into the hotel, I think we were all feeling a bit anxious. It’s hard not knowing what you might be coming home to. Anchor Point saw a ton of snow this winter and knowing we had to move into our RV the day we flew in was a bit daunting. We always try to live in the moment but sometimes at “transition time” we all get a little anxious. With that said, Monday came early, and it was time for Dad to accompany the trailer to storage. All went well with that, and now we just hope for the best! We took it easy the rest of the day enjoying lazing around the room and eating all the junk food we could before we headed back.
Tuesday, the big day! So initially we had planned to drive to Atlanta, store the rig and truck there, and catch a plane back to AK. Well, that plan was made months ago when we thought we had a working truck. So we did the best we could. Instead of paying a ton of money to change our flights we opted to swap our rental car with a one way rental to Atlanta and drive overnight to catch our early AM flight. But in true Cunningham fashion, we had to hit the water park just one more time before we left. So we dropped the kiddos off at Typhoon Lagoon, drove to MCO to pick up the new rental car, drove over to the old rental car place to drop the first rental, picked up food, and met the kiddos for some fun in the sun.
I would be lying if I said my tummy wasn’t in knots at this point, but it sure looks like we’re having a lot of fun!
So after a few trips down Miss Adventure Falls, a couple of loops in the lazy river, and catching some serious waves in the pool, it was officially time to say goodbye to Disney! Man, it was fun!
A quick drive back to the hotel and we got all showered up, another round of fast food and we were on the road to Atlanta. The kiddos made it to about 1am before they hit recline on the seats and Hubby and I cranked up the tunes and enjoyed a spectacular lightning show in the distance.
We made a quick stop at the gas station to top off the rental and grab a few snacks for the plane. I was pretty exhausted at this point, and we still had 3 planes and a couple of layovers to go. Honestly, it’s all kind of a blur. The plan was for Dad to catch a charter flight before the rest of us so he could stop at the chamber, grab the truck batteries, drive those over to where his truck was parked, get the truck up and running, go scope out the campgrounds to see if we could even drive in, and then go get the rig out of storage and set up shop.
Most of it went according to plan. As the kiddos and I sat in the Anchorage airport, we awaited good news texts from Dad with progress updates. Everything was going pretty good until the storage place dropped the ball. The RV was very much stuck. So with the kids and I getting on a plane to Homer, Dad had to make some executive decisions, and I would just have to see what he came up with once I got off the plane. We opted for a night in a hotel in hopes that he could get the RV out the next day! Mostly we just wanted a hot shower and to fall over and crash for the night, by this time we had been going about 30 hours, so that’s just what we did. Of course, Dad was awesome and made sure the kiddos had dinner and all the things they needed, once I hit the water it was mere minutes before I passed out, HA, he really is something else!
Thursday morning he took me into work at the tax office and set off to rescue our little house on wheels. By the time he picked me up he had the rig set up, filled with water, and all was pretty much right with the world. Amazing right!
It still feels a little weird to be back, and I certainly didn’t miss it up here. But it pays the bills! So I definitely can’t complain about that! And tomorrow we formally ditch the Alaska house, I couldn’t be happier. It was a cool experience, and I’m so glad that we did the Airbnb thing, but we are ready to be even more unburdened, and selling this house is huge! We’re already scheming about our winter plans, but in the meantime, we are prepping for a great summer. We are going to shake things up a bit! A new home for the RV and the kiddos are going to experience some serious independence!
Florida has been super so far. We are officialy on day 23! 32 days left to go before we have to hop on a plane back to the great white North! We’ve been hitting Blizzard Beach like crazy this past week. It’s really hot down here, which is great when you’re baking in the sun. We have our regular spot, and the kiddos have the run of the place. It’s kinda cool when cast members know you by name, or maybe not by name but “bearded guy and family” is tossed around quite a bit. And typically once we set foot in the park, the kids are off to ride the rides while Hubby and I set up shop, get some sun, and hit the lazy river. The rest of the day is usually spent seeing what crazy water slide they can manage to get mom on. Dad’s pretty adventurous, but some of those water slides scare me, HA! Anyways, when we aren’t hitting the water park, we have been loving Epcot. It’s a really nice evening park! So we manage to get some school done and go in for a late afternoon/evening tour. Barring a few logistics here and there life is pretty quiet.
And other than doing the parks and maybe a quick trip out to Clearwater that’s about all we have planned before we head back. We’re still waiting to hear back on the truck, but who really cares at this point, I am sure it will all shake out. The Alaska house is moving forward with the sale, so hopefully, all goes well with that! We’ve officially signed up with Amazon again, and I’ll be updating the information soon, as there have been some changes to the program. So with that said we think that the rig will be stored down here in Florida until we pick it up in October. We do have a special guest coming on Monday, Nana will be spending a few weeks of Disney fun with us! So we are all looking forward to that! Today, we’re not really sure where the day will take us. We are all enjoying a leisurely morning, clearly because it is now 1pm and we are all still in our jammies, yep, this is the life! HA! More soon…
We have been having a great time here at Disney! We love this area so much, and the warm Florida sun is just amazing. We have a great pool and hot tub at our new park, something I have been looking forward to for a long time! Our Disney time is just awesome, we love the way we do Disney. No stress. Go in when we want and stay as long as we want. It’s super great to just enjoy the parks for a few hours and not feel pressed for time. Sometimes we just go in for our 3 pre-booked fast passes, a yummy treat, and call it a day!
We’ve also received great news about the Alaska House, we are officially in escrow! That was such an exciting phone call! Obviously, this just gets the ball rolling, but I am hopeful that things will trek along smoothly and we will be free of the property by April. Hooray!
So we thought it would be easy breezy to get our RV moved from one park to another. We thought we did all the right things, asked around, hired a reputable guy, and then, well, this happened in the hour-long move…
Luckily it’s not too bad. We need a new front door and some new trim,. But per usual it could always be worse. But I just can’t shake the feeling of a “looming dark cloud” Ah well, all part of the experience I suppose. Truck still in the same state when we left, still waiting on a viable part. But the good news…
So we pulled into our RV park yesterday afternoon. It was a pretty easy drive down. We split it up into two drive days. The first day we made it from Pigeon Forge, TN and stopped at our “home park” in Unadilla, GA, met up with some friends for a quick dinner, then it was off to Clermont, FL. I was so happy when we saw our first palm tree and all the air plants. I love it down here!
I have to say I was super impressed with Hubby’s parking skills. This is a tight park and he did incredible. And of course there were plenty of spectators. One guy came up to me and commented on Hubby’s skills, he said, “now that’s a truck driver, been doing it all his life I bet” HA! I love it.
So now Hubby is headed back up north to Knoxville, TN to drop off the truck. He left about 3:30 this morning to make it in time for his evening flight. What a guy, right!!! Once I get some laundry done and the kiddos are awake we’ll Uber into Kissimmee and pick up our rental car. We have 12 nights before I have to figure out how to move the rig, so life is good! Whew! We are so lucky to live the life we do, even when things are crazy I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Lots more adventure along the way!
An end to our Key West adventure. We found a cute little local joint with a 50’s theme. It was really humid and a bit warm, but Florida will be great when we’re old, cold and without children. But still so happy we got the Keys experience.
Sunset is a big thing down in Key West, specifically Mallory Square. There are musicians, fire jugglers, a rate race and guys who can do some crazy things with their bodies. A really neat group of people down there. The kids loved to see all the performers!
A view of the Atlantic…The sun really plays a part in the water color here. When the sun comes out the water gets so blue and beautiful. As the sun peeks behind the clouds the water totally changes color.
We drove to another key to experience a true Florida Keys Beach. Funny enough, they aren’t know for their beaches. Most of the beaches have a considerable amount of sea grass and not a lot of sand. Fortunately we got an insider tip and headed for this spot. It’s completely weird being at the beach and not hearing the ocean. I guess because the water is so shallow around the area they aren’t enough “shelves” to lift and pull the water, hence no waves. It is pretty cool though, that you can swim in the ocean, just like you would a swimming pool. The kids had so much fun racing and swimming around. A whole new beach experience.
We walked down right after we pulled in. The kids had a lot of fun splashing around in the water. They found all sorts of treasures. Coral, shells, rocks and some very cool sea plants. Ryder loved it, no waves and super warm water, definitely his kinda place 🙂
We made our way down the 1 on the overseas highway. We were headed to Big Pine Key, Florida. We stayed on our very own island RV park. I still can’t believe it, but the water was even more blue down here. It was such a weird feeling having that much ocean on both sides of you. It was a gorgeous drive to say the least.
Made of limestone, these solution holes are the result of pooling liquids eroding the bedrock. Picture walking on a layer of swiss cheese. There is a whole world right under your feet on the trail. Pretty cool!
As pretty as the cattail is, it is not native to the area. The native saw grass that inhabits the area is being overrun by the introduced cattail. Unfortunately the animals rely on the saw grass but poor water conditions and the cattail are posing a problem for its sustainability.
So lucky to catch mom and her babies sunning themselves. We learned that the alligators “bumps” act like little solar panels to aid in digestion. They store up heat during the day so when their hunt begins at dusk they have enough energy to digest their meal.
We were walking along a boardwalk over the waterways and came across this guy. We must have startled him because he thrashed out of the water to get turned around, and it was in that moment we realized these “gentle” looking creatures were actually pretty darn quick!
The Wood Stork of the everglades feeds by feel not sight. So the abundance of fish is crucial to their existence. The waterways are extremely important to this diverse area. Hurricanes play an especially big part to maintaining the health of the everglades.
The everglades is such a beautiful and unique experience. You can’t help but notice all the life around you. The busy waterways, the rich soil, and high up in the tree tops. This is one surging ecosystem.