What a year this has been, huh?
When I sit down to write, I’ve recently felt overwhelmed with thought.
It’s hard to find a starting point to answer the question,
“What’s up! What happened to you guys! Where have you guys been?”
It’s hard for me to talk about our experience these past several months because I know we all have been drastically affected in some way or another. To a certain extent, I believe that no one could have predicted we’d be where we are now. This time last year, we made a plan to travel for a year in our teardrop trailer.
Here’s a replay of how our first year on the road (and all the moments we weren’t) actually went:
In July 2019, Devon and I quit our jobs and left Newport News, VA. We did a quick loop through Virginia, up to Hershey, Pennsylvania and back down the Eastern Shore of Virginia before heading back to Newport News for one last visit with family. By that time, it was mid-August. On our way in from literally our last campsite to Newport News, we had, “car issues,” to put it simply…
Long story short, we were out $3000 for a new engine and a month and a half of time.
We left again in September, eager to be back on the road, and headed for the Northeast. We made stops in Cape May, NJ, Rondout Valley, NY, Manchester, NH, and Portland, ME before heading further west. By October, we were in Salem, MA coming across Northern Pennsylanvia, Northern Ohio, to Indianapolis, IN. From there, we turned South and stopped in Mammoth Cave, KY and made it to Nashville, TN by Halloween. The weather was getting colder, so we decided to head south as quickly as possible, stopping in Chattanooga, TN, Charleston, SC, Tallulah Gorge, GA, and finally Myrtle Beach, SC by mid-November. We were excited to be home for the holidays, replenish some of our savings, and get further out west in the new year.
After the holidays, we hit the road again, excited for Part 2, though Trial 2 might be a better title. We left the beginning of January 2020 with the plan to go south stopping in Atlantic Beach, NC, and Savannah, GA before making it to Florida. The big plan was to make a loop around the state going down the Eastern side and coming back up the Western side. We had a fantastic month exploring some of the natural springs near Ocala, FL, meeting up with different friends that had moved down near Fort Lauderdale, and even spent a couple quiet nights in the Everglades.
On our way back up the West side of the state, however, just after our time near Fort Myers, FL, we had a car accident. We are beyond lucky that no one was hurt. On February 8, we were on a two lane road when a chair blew out of a truck’s bed coming towards us. We swerved to avoid hitting the chair, and somewhere along the way the trailer (1) came unhooked from the car and ran into the back of the car and (2) flipped on to its side and flipped back up on its wheels. After talking with Insurance, the only place to take the RV to be worked on, was 3 hours back to the East coast of Florida, in Port Saint Lucie.
We spent the next two weeks living in a hotel, and a week living with Devon’s family even further south in Palm Beach, Donnie and Ken, waiting for the trailer to be done. It was originally projected to only take a week. By that point, it was the end of February, we were told the parts were going to take an unknown amount of time to come in, and we couldn’t afford to just keep waiting day by day by day as all expenses were coming directly out of pocket.
While waiting in Palm Beach, we decided okay maybe this is a sign, let’s just maybe start applying for work-camp jobs. Basically, a job where you’re paid to work, but you also live there on property, “camping”. We found and emailed a few, and suddenly, we had a job at Fiesta Key RV Resort for 5-6 months starting April 1; Devon working in the marina store, me at the front desk 🙂 If you’re reading this, I highly encourage you to take a look and visit when you can! 🙂
So with a job in our pocket, and a never ending wait for the trailer in the foreseeable future, we decided to go back home to VA and hope to be back on the road by April 1. Again, it was the end of February at this point. It wasn’t maybe more than a week after we got home that businesses started closing in VA because of COVID-19; including the place working on our camper. And shortly thereafter, Fiesta Key, as well 🙂
The wait seemed to go on and on and on. It wasn’t until the end of May that we finally got a call that the trailer was ready. Somewhat conveniently, our job was also pushed back to start right at the same time we’d be going down to pick up the trailer. We had mentioned a few times that we wanted to see pictures of the trailer before we came down. We were sent one, and I immediately told Devon something didn’t look quite right. Nonetheless, we drove a straight 12 hours down to Port Saint Lucie on June 4.
The plan was:
Thursday, June 4–get to Port Saint Lucie, FL
Friday, June 5–pick up trailer in PSL, FL, stay one night in case anything goes wrong
Saturday, June 6– stay with friend in Sunrise, FL 2 hours further South
Sunday, June 7– get to Fiesta Key, FL 3 hours further South
What actually happened:
Thursday, June 4– got to Port Saint Lucie, FL
Friday, June 5– Picked up trailer in PSL, FL; To say we were very displeased with the job that was done, is an understatement. Below are pictures of what the side that was not dragged (left) vs. the side that was (right) looked like when we picked up the trailer after 4 months of repair. We were told by Interstate RV, and I kid you not, “It really doesn’t matter in the RV world when you go to sell it.
We were told, “Yes, I would take this as a customer.”
Saturday, June 6– got to friends’ house in Sunrise, FL, the A-frame has completely collapsed in on itself and the trailer needed to be towed. Remember, COVID is also still running rampant throughout the state so businesses still aren’t running at normal hours so we had to wait until Monday to talk to anybody about what’s gong on…wonder if Interstate RV would take it now?
Sunday, June 7– I honestly don’t even know
Monday, June 8– We quickly got in touch with Geico emphasizing the shock, frustration, and damage that could have been done. We also quickly reminded Geico that they said they would be paying the rent difference for an employee travel trailer at Fiesta Key RV if, for whatever reason, our trailer did not make it to the job. Once all of our ducks were in a row and the trailer was off being towed to a shop near Tampa, FL, we finally hit the road for the Keys.
For the past month, Devon has been working in the marina store and my position was changed from Front Desk to Pool Monitor. As the Pool Monitor, I was responsible for enforcing a variety of COVID restrictions. Up until July 1, I could only let 24 people into the pool at once. At 50% capacity for the reservations in the park, the pool would easily fill up at any moment after noon. Anyways, I finished there after the Fourth of July and started up at the Front Desk now. It’s big a change of a pace but I’m eager to learn the world of RVing.
It’s hard to believe so much time has gone by already. Living here is like living in another world. You quickly learn how much convenience was once a priority. How, “Shoot, I need to grab ___ from (Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, etc.),” is no longer a readily option. Nonetheless, we’re lucky enough to be here until October, so let’s hope things run as smoothly as they have been until then. Everyone we work with is incredible. I have a lot of respect and love for all 16 of the others on staff. It really is like a little family here with more than half the employees living on property.
This year has been one hell of a rollercoaster. We’ll see what travel is in store for us come October, until then, we went there, and now we’re here… in the Florida Keys, can you believe it!!!!!!!
Here’s to the next 3 months 🍻