When we bought our travel trailer back in 2016 we had a vision of freedom to explore the United States, staying under trees, in open spaces, feeling the Earth as we went. We were going to stay put in some places long enough to get a glimpse of what it would be like to live there. We’d avoid the dull Eville winters, roaming from sea to shining sea.
The reality was much different. Winter is winter everywhere in the contiguous 48, and where it’s the least bit tropical or desert-ish there is a serious shortage of places to park a 30-ft. travel trailer. Those state parks in warmer climes are cheap, but generally unavailable during the winter months, as are the nice RV/campgrounds that cost more than a hotel room. It’s almost like a whole lot of people had the same idea and got there first. The weather between here and there is often prohibitive of travel in winter, too. The trailer had to be loaded up in freezing weather and de-winterized after arrival in warmer temperatures. For two years we spent March in Florida; though it was warmer, it wasn’t necessarily “nice” weather and we weren’t real happy with our campsites, either. By the time we returned from New Mexico in September 2019, we had decided that we wanted something smaller for our Adventures.
As You know we sold the travel trailer quickly and started exploring our options. Particularly we considered just How we wanted to use a camper. We didn’t like the snow-bird camps in Florida — too clique-ish, felt like it was a secret society. KOA was helpful for overnights when there’s a lot of driving involved and affordable, too. We wanted the capability to drive up into the higher elevations and/or to boondock. We ended up buying Goldie, a 20-ft high-top conversion van, and started making changes to meet our needs. Casey reworked the electricity so that we can plug into shore power; we removed the passenger seats and put in two 3-drawer plastic bins. The bed folds down and we figured we’d be able to sleep sideways, curled up, without difficulty…but maybe not…
Starting a couple of weeks ago, I checked forecasts daily in our closest “warm” spots, generally along the panhandle of Florida (about 10 hours driving), and prepared to make a test run for an overnight stay in the Goldster. Just after the inauguration, the prediction was four days of warm temperatures, January 24-28, so off we went…to Disney World, of course…with a stop at Casey Jones Campground in Lake City, FL.
It was an easy drive, no major slow-downs, no stops in Atlanta, and partly cloudy skies to shield us from glaring sunshine as we traveled south, arriving just before dark. We hooked up to cable, watched some shows we hadn’t seen in a long time, and ate sandwiches. So far, so good. The low temps were predicted 60degrees and we didn’t need a heater, just our cozy blankets. Tired, we fell out early. I woke up several hours later trying to get comfortable and repeated the process several times during the night, to no avail. By the next morning, I had brainstormed a way to improve the sleeping facilities, but my back hurt, my legs were stiff, and my arms felt like they were still asleep.
Good thing we were going to do a lot of walking in WDW, where we stayed at Pop Century Resort…
At first I was planning on camping one night down and one night back up, but when the temps dropped, they dropped into the 30s, so we drove straight back, leaving early in the morning of the 28th.
We learned a lot on this short trip! I’m real excited about adding a foot of length to our bed, and a new storage box to replace the chest of drawers behind the driver’s seat. Casey went right to work on it and it’s looking Great so far.
This is much more like we had envisioned our travel, giving us freedom to Go Now when the conditions are right. Since WDW is currently the Only Place I know of where a mask policy is strictly enforced, and it’s usually warm there, I’m grateful to have an annual pass so I can visit often. However… I’m seriously looking forward to the time when we can Go Someplace Else. Hopefully, that will be in the Fall, after we’ve brought in the crops.
In the meantime, we’ll be visiting our Disney Pals with the Jr. family for Spring Break this year. We hope the Jose’ fam can join us there, too.
… And we may just run down there when the weather’s just right, and our modifications are complete, just because we can…