Friday the 13th….Hmmmm. We got up around 7:00 and made our final preparations to leave. I was able to pack up and off-load everything into the Jeep, except for the canned goods and refrigerator items. We had 288 miles to go today, so we left the campground at 9:00 under sunny skies and a temp of 79. Traffic was pretty light on I-10 and I-75. We crossed over the Suwanee River (as in the song) and the river was full to its banks.
As we neared Gainesvile, we left the forested areas and crossed the “old dried up swamp” (Paynes Prairie Preserve) as Bob calls it.
We ran into a few pop-up showers that ended quickly, but storms were popping up all around us. We arrived in Palmetto around 2:00 and made our way home. We stopped in front of our Auditorium to unhook the Jeep from the bus and unload the Jeep at home.
We unloaded the Jeep at home as the dark clouds came nearer and the thunder clapped above us. We saw a flash of lightning every now and then. One bolt hit very close to the house and we both jumped. We picked up more empty containers and went back to the bus to unload the fridge and freezer. We backed the bus closer to the building, locked it up, and planned to return in the morning to finish unloading the few items we have left and do a little cleaning before moving it to our storage facility, North Manatee Storage, on the north side of Palmetto. As we finished locking up, the rain began. We had timed that perfectly! Back at the house, Bob relaxed after our 5-hour drive, while I put away a few things. Auggie is ready to be home and survey his domain for geckos. He told me that he missed his little friends. We’ll wait to see what Tropical Storm Fred does in the next two days and once it’s gone, we can unpack the shed and set up the lanai. Until then, there is a lot to unpack and put away in the house to keep us busy. We relaxed with a cocktail before dinner while the rain continued off and on.
We spent a little over 6 weeks (44 days) traveling between Florida and Wisconsin. We traveled a total of 3593 miles in the bus and that doesn’t include our side trips in the Jeep. This trip was a little out of the ordinary for us. You would usually find us on a sightseeing trip visiting national parks, historic sights, and places of interest, avoiding large cities whenever possible. After a year of COVID restrictions, we made this a trip of time spent with family and friends. The hugs and in-person smiles and conversation were priceless. It was food for the soul. We threw in a few places to see just to make it interesting, but it was all about the people.
Update: Today is Saturday and Tropical Storm Fred has moved farther west and offshore from Florida. We may get some rain and a little wind, but not what we thought we would. That’s a good thing. Unfortunately, there is another one right behind it called Grace, so we’ll watch that one carefully as well. We spent a few hours this morning emptying the last of the stuff from the bus. Then I washed out the fridge, vacuumed, and washed the floor. That was all that I had left to do. Bob had to empty some items from the storage cabinets in the bottom of the bus to bring home. Once we had that done, we moved the bus to our storage facility a couple of miles from the house. It will be clean and ready for our next adventure.
We have enjoyed having you come along with us on this trip and pray that the rest of 2021 keeps you happy and healthy. Happy trails until we meet again. Bob, Cindy and Auggie