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Surviving Florida

Surviving Florida: RVing in Hurricane and COVID Season

October 11, 2020

This last month has been marked by a hurricane, a flat tire, and one very tired RVer. I set up domicile in Florida before making a three-day journey to Texas. Now I’m focusing on re-energizing and setting up a healthier and more productive schedule. While taking the road less traveled gives me the freedom and flexibility I desperately sought, it hasn’t always been conducive to building a powerful routine. And that’s my goal for this fall.

Trekking through a Soggy and Maskless Florida

I spent the first week of September at the lovely Myrtle Beach State Park, in South Carolina. Then I headed south to Florida, where I spent the remainder of the month. Folk, the Sunshine State is not the place to be in September!

Running from the Weather

The rains fell almost every day of my stay in Florida, and if it wasn’t raining, the soaking wet humidity forced me inside. My first stop in Florida was at Silver Springs State Park. It’s a lovely park and spacious campground, but I admit to being a little fearful of alligators. I braved a kayak trip, in which I spotted a single alligator hiding on the shore. Plus, I enjoyed the park’s glass-bottom boat ride, which gave me an amazing view of the springs bubbling up from the earth.

From Silver Springs State Park, I drove to an RV park in Tallahassee, for what was going to be a one-night stay, before driving to Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, where I would spend the week. But a tropical storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico developed into a hurricane; and it was headed toward the park. I took a call Sunday morning from Fred Gannon State Park, informing me that they were evacuating the campground and had cancelled my reservation. What’s a girl to do?

RVers have to be flexible and make plans on the fly. So that’s what I did. I hung out at the RV park in Tallahassee for most of the week, and moved my scheduled appointment to take care of domicile matters from Monday to Thursday. And then . . . Hurricane Sally slowed to a crawl. It hit landfall on Thursday, forcing the county offices to close. My reason for staying in that part of Florida was gone, so I headed east to an RV park in St. Augustine and then camped at Anastasia State Park, where I had made reservations months ago. It was a good move, as it gave me a few days to explore St. Augustine and kept me out of harm’s way.

I returned to the Panhandle, staying at a lovely lakeside campground, and was finally able to take care of the legalities of setting up domicile in Florida. I got my Florida’s driver’s license, registered my vehicles and put on my new plates, paid taxes, voted, and met with an attorney to move my LLC from Virginia to Florida. Plus, I secured health insurance, which outside of camping fees, is now my biggest monthly expense. Not cool, America!

Masking Up

Wearing a mask in public during these days of COVID-19 is a no-brainer. But after traveling through 19 states, the facts are clear: If the local government and businesses set a mandate requiring masks in public places, people will wear masks. Otherwise, all bets are off. While practices varied widely, I have to admit that parts of Florida shocked me. Yes, truly shocked me!

Silver Springs State Park and the local city (Ocala) were blatant violators of basic public health practices. The park staff congregated without masks, people stood in line without masks, the waiter in the restaurant wore his mask around his neck, a table filled up with mask-less young women toasting each other at a happy hour. In fact, of the 19 states I have traveled in, Florida was by far the worst in terms of mask-wearing. It was alarming.

While Silver Springs got very low marks, I found the opposite approach at Anastasia State Park, in St. Augustine. The park rangers wore masks as I checked in, and perhaps because the city is so reliant on tourists, or the local leaders are willing to take precautions, I found that most wore masks. Then when I visited the “other side” of the state – the Panhandle – mask-wearing was again unpopular. Sadly, leaving the state felt like the safest thing I could do, for the protection of my own health.

Slowing Down in Texas

It took me three challenging driving days to reach my destination campground in the hill country of Texas. I wasn’t far into my trip when the alarm went off on my tire monitoring system and I watched the PSI drop as I headed to the nearest exit. With the help of roadside assistance, I managed to make it to a campground in Louisiana for the night. But the experience reinforced the incredible value of having a tire monitoring system.

The Campground Scene

By the time I reached my campground in Texas, I was exhausted. The poor quality of parts of I-10, the high volume of truck traffic, and an early morning traffic jam outside of Houston made for a very long three days. I could barely function my first weekend here. But over time, I’ve done some exploring and am appreciating the uniqueness of this campground and its close proximity to some hiking trails and interesting towns.

Building a Routine

The summer was crazy! I was overly-ambitious in my travels. And while I loved exploring so many different parts of the country, it was exhausting. Now I’m on slow-down mode, and wondering how I will like staying at the same place for two months at a time. Will I get bored? Will I get a healthy routine going? Will I be able to plow forward on my business plans?

My life strategy is this – DREAM. PLAN. SAVE. DO. Nothing happens unless you take action, so here’s what I am doing to build a routine and to be more productive.

  • Running! I am in week #2 of the Couch-to-5K running program. It’s a 9-week program that I’ve used successfully in the past. My goal is to run/jog for 30 minutes straight by the end of November.
  • Meditating and Qi Gong. Once again, I will try to build a consistent meditation practice and carve out time to practice a qi gong routine.
  • Scheduling. I am setting up a weekly work schedule that pushes me to further develop my social media presence, promote the Gutsy Women Club (since disbanded), create an RV Superwomen journal and a Gutsy Woman journal, and fill up my January Financial Freedom Workshop for Women.
  • Exploring. I am making time during weekday mornings to explore local trails, parks, and towns. Fun remains near the top of my list.
  • Connecting. I will continue making an effort to meet people. I’ve already met a really neat person at the farmer’s market and will interview her for my Gutsy Women profile series.

Want to participate in the journey and launch your own dream life? Subscribe to my YouTube channel and join the Gutsy Women Finances community.

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Dr. Brenda

Dr. Brenda is a sociologist, financial coach, and full-time RVer. Her offerings include the Gutsy Women Finance community, the Financial Freedom Academy, and Financial Freedom for Women Workshops.

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