Ventures North

 

Once we left South FL to head north, we decided one last stay at the beach was in order before we got too far north and too far into the cold. So, we stopped in Flagler Beach and camped at Flagler by the Sea, right on the ocean, I mean you looked out our front windshield and there were the waves crashing on the beach. Very cool, have done that before in the Keys, and just can't get enough of that sound and sea salt smell and picturesque view, love it! Very small campground, with very nice neighbors. Everyone welcomed us, had many curious questions about the Eco Womb, riding on veggie, and full-timing with kids. They were so sweet, shared a few sea stars with the kids, and were sad to see us go the next day. But, our journey called, so we were off to Jekyll Island, a little island off the southern coast of Georgia. Our favorite part, they don't even have a gas station on the island, haha, we don't need one :-). Beautiful campground, enclosed in a canopy of forest, and just a short bike ride away from a fishing pier, horse riding trails, and a driftwood beach with more crabs than I have ever seen in one place crawling all over.

We've stayed here before, only part this time was that we arrived on a Sunday, got set up, built a fire, enjoyed watching the Superbowl with my boys (baby girl fell asleep in my lap next to the fire), and then it started to rain. And, boy did it rain, all night and the whole next day. Hmmm, we have spent all this time outdoors, exploring and playing and learning, so what to do on a rainy day? Well, we read, and wrote, and played games, and enjoyed having PBS for the first time since moving into the RV :-). A lack of TV hasn't really been an issue since we never watched a lot in the first place. And many campgrounds do have cable, but to hook it all up for one or two days isn't really worth it. We've been too busy exploring for TV time. Plus, what's a little (or a lot) of rain anyway? Hmmm, just means puddles galore to splash through on your bike. Which is just what the kids did as soon as it let up. Fun! And, before we left Jekyll Island, we drove on over to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center for a morning field trip excursion as Daddy worked and waited for us in the parking lot. I love my life.

After Jekyll Island, it was time to head west, yes away from our beloved ocean and toward our other love, the mountains. Bittersweet because the ocean has always called to us, but amazing because we now can do both whenever we want, and it has been so long since we enjoyed winter in the mountains. The kids all got snow boots and mittens and hats for Christmas and have patiently been waiting to try them out, so the anticipation was building. We took it easy on our drive from South FL, only going a few hours a day and around Daddy's work schedule, but actually a lot better than pushing a ten hour day with three littles. Since we had explored the Georgia Sea Turtle Center all morning, we didn't actually hit the road going west until after noon, and made it to Pine Ridge Campground in Spartanburg, SC later in the evening. It was dark, couldn't see a thing, the road leading to the campground was windy and narrow and it was one of those drives that only got more harrowing. But, we made it just fine and pulled in and set up without the wiser as to where we were. Very cool to feel completely comfortable in your own home with all of your own things, and be obviously to where you are parked. Obviously we were safe and sound, and the bonus was that we could cozy down for the night without having to adjust to any new surroundings. Then, the fun was waking to a new place to explore, a new playground to play on, a new lake to walk around, new birds to watch, new mud to play in :-), and why yes, even a patch of frosty ice which my kids were amazed with. "We're getting closer!" they exclaimed. Yes, closer to the mountains, and closer to winter. Because winter in South FL means wearing a sweater or light jacket and something more than flip flops. Frost on the ground! They were enthralled with that alone for over an hour!

Then, onto our next stop, Asheville, NC! Yes, we have been here before, a few trips actually over the past seven months. But, something about us being full-time this time made it more exciting. There was no packing for just a trip, there was no looking back, we were on our way! We decided to stay at Rutledge Lake RV Resort just south of Asheville after reading only good and great reviews. Hard to know where to stay when you are basing your decision on what their website looks like, or what reviews people leave, but it is a base nonetheless and quite telling when there were only rave reviews about this place. Plus, it was convenient to where we could rent a car for a day (since the Eco Womb does not have a tow vehicle yet), and close to some service centers where we could get advice and work out our glitch of no hot water, sigh. Lovely campground, very quiet since it was out of season, and beautiful lake and trails to enjoy. Plus, we got a space right next to the playground! And, there was another full-time family parked on the other side of the playground, what fun! Love all the people we are meeting on the road, and especially love when we meet like-minded souls working for themselves, handmade artisans creating more than a living but a life. This family runs a custom woodworking business making the most beautiful pieces, you have to check them out. Had a ball playing with their little guy, and the best part was playing in... snow!

Yep, we got to see snow! Our baby girl has never seen snow, and our youngest son doesn't remember it, as we moved from Northern VA to South FL when he was only 2.5 years old. It has been a long time for the rest of us and we reveled in the memory of it and simple beauty of it all. Took the kids out at night to catch a few flakes on their tongues, and then they got to wake up to a winter wonderland. Granted it only snowed maybe two inches, but to our kids the amount didn't matter, it was white and cold and the ground was covered. We bundled up in all of our greatly anticipated snow gear and made our way out to enjoy each flake. We made snow angels, threw snow balls, slid down a snowy slide, and went on a beautiful walk through the snow covered woods. It was beautiful!

Yes, we got our hot water heater fixed, too, and just in time as the temps dropped and we moved further north into the mountains and into the cold. I guess it is all relative, though. I mean a few weeks ago if it dropped in the 60's I was cold :-). Now cold is anything below 50, and nights in the 20's, brrr.

From the beach to the mountains you see a whole lot of change in temperature, precipitation, landscape, wildlife, and even people. We have also experienced a whole lot of change in this transition. Loads of good, freeing moments, and some whoa, how do we do this moments, all equally amazing to experience. I feel so blessed, though, that we are experiencing all of this change. So amazed at how our kids are transitioning, and grateful for the whole process, the evolution of this journey. I mentioned to a friend recently that the transition was taking much longer than I had expected, to feel settled, to feel that we were on our way, to find that balance with work and being on the road. And then, I reminded myself, it isn't where we are going, it is the journey, the process along the way. That is living life to its fullest. So I am here on out not thinking we are in transition anymore, but allowing the journey to take as long or as fast, as straight or as curvy, as smooth or as bumpy, as up or as down as it needs to take. I am in it for the experience, and I am loving the ride!

Angela Malson