After having a good laugh at Pappys expense, we hit the road. It did not take us long before we were out of the state of Mississippi. Mobile was the next big city we would come to. I don’t know what my deal is, but I just do not care for the tunnels that one needs to drive through. I pull out my phone, bow my head and play until we are through it.
I don’t think I mentioned, we have our little doggie Leo with us too. He does not travel well. I took him out of his Sherpa crate (soft sided crate) and put him in-between hubby and I. He stops his crying and snuggles right down and goes to sleep. I usually do not take him out, but with the past few months – my nerves have just been shot and I cant stand to hear him a minute more.
Whew – we are out of the tunnel and on our way. Florida, here we come. I have to say that with the many trips we made to and from Mississippi through the past few months, I was looking forward to getting home and having space to spread out and just having a little peace. HA! So what do I know.
Of course, as all people who are coming into Florida – YOU HAVE TO STOP AT THE FIRST WELCOME CENTER!!! Why? Well, because they had out a shot of fresh orange juice or grapefruit juice. Its your choice. We stop and get our customary shot (anybody got vodka, just kidding) and rest for a half second. Hubby starts in about how we should take another day and spend it somewhere and just sssslllllooowwwwlllllyyyy make our way back home. I get it. He is tired. He hasn’t driven a truck pulling something huge in a long time. Plus, with all the trips back and forth across the south, he just needed to relax a little.
Out comes our ole handy Good Sam book. Cousin, being from an area that does not have a beach really wanted to see the beach while she was with us. So, we made the command decision to get off I-4 before Tallahassee and find an area near the beach. As we made our way toward the Gulf, I flipped through our book. Every place I came upon, that was near the beach, was at least $75 + tax for the night. We just really did not want to spend that much and we didn’t really have the money to spend a whole lot. This is where frustration started to rise and couples sometimes just should not be in the same car together. We realized that there was nowhere, economically, for us to stay and tried to make our way back toward the interstate. Hubby wanted to try to cut through over to I-75. I was sitting with my tablet on my lap, with maps pulled up telling him, “We are going to be in this freaking truck longer that what we want if you continue to go that way.” Stubborn and hardheaded are just a few words that come to mind to express what I was thinking of him. I sure do love this ole goat, but he sure is strong willed!
We ended up going through a little bit of the Apalachicola National Forrest to get us into the right direction. Cousin was back behind us complaining “Im hungry!” Oh no, here we go again. Then my munchkin started to chime in “Im hungry too!” Oh woe is me!! We are on a road, with no stores, no parking areas – NO NOTHING – and we have two hungry kids on our hands. It almost sounded like they were trying to make a song out of it behind us. They were so on-key with one another and the melody was really nice. Of course, being hungry also, we just did not want to hear it. There is nothing worse than not being able to stop and get something to eat when you are hungry.
I was the designated map reader. Hubby kept asking, “Do we turn anytime soon?” No Einstein we don’t. My objective was to try to get us to an area that would have a grocery or something. I turned the satellite image on my maps on and blew up the picture so that I could look and see if anything was coming up. Finally, about 15 miles away, I see some sort of buildings that we may be able to just park at and grab a quick bite. See, that is the wonderful thing about traveling with a camper – we have a kitchen! I tell hubby that I see where there may be parking ahead. WOOO HOOOO! We now have something to look forward to other than just farm land and Forrest. The kids are ecstatic and we continue right along. One of the things that we saw early on was an “RV Resort” which had absolutely nothing there. There were hook-ups and an office, but not one RV was there. It was like a ghost rv resort. I told hubby that I did not really understand why someone would have one way out in the middle of nothing with farm land all around. It looked like it was maybe about 20-30 sites at the most.
Made it! YES! Oh snap – how we gonna get our camper in there? The building that I saw on google maps was a post office. Yes, a post office. There was no-one there and it looked as if they were already closed. There were trees all around it and it would have been a tight fit to go through the entrance and exit areas. Hubby said, “Baby, I get a big ole truck – we will go through the grass on the side and park in the parking lot.” Well ohhhhkay then, drive your big ole truck and lets get this done. Oh my gosh, he is really going through the grass and under the big oak trees. I hear scraping against the top, but not bad. Yeah, they don’t cut those tree limbs for clearance of campers!
We get into the back area of the parking lot and pile out of the truck. We leave the door open as the 4 of us – and Leo – sit down and have a sandwich. Good planning mom! Thankfully we had sandwich fixings in the fridge and I could feed the hungry monster in each of us. It was kinda funny though. A few people pulled up to go in and check their mail or mail something and gave us weird looks as we are sitting inside chomping on turkey and cheese. We would just wave as they drove by us.
Now that our bellies are full, we load back up and take off. Of course, it was a REALLY late lunch and hubby is now asking me about where we are going to sleep at. Out comes the book again. I find a place, plug in the address and tell him that it is about 3 more hours away. I call and make the reservation. We spent about $45 for the night and probably would have been better off at the beach and not wasting a whole lotta gas. But we saw parts of Florida that none of us had ever seen before. We could say that we were definitely on an adventure.
So, where did we end up? We decided to stay in Madison, FL at Jellystone Park. When I called and made the reservations, I asked if there was a grocery near them. No. How about Walmart? No. Anything. Well yeah, a Winn Dixie is about 10 miles from us. Great! It seems like this trip is turning into a huge eating adventure! I put in the address for Winn Dixie and we eventually make our way back to I-10. What! Wait a minute, were we not on I-10 before we took our little detour? Seriously, if we had stayed on I-10, instead of getting off, we would have saved ourselves about two hours of driving.
We pulled into Madison at night. Went over to Winn Dixie and I popped in while hubby stayed in the truck with Leo and the kids. I was able to buy dinner, breakfast, snacks and a few movies to tide us over for a while. We head out to Jellystone. Of course, we get there and the office is closed. They have all of our information waiting for us with a map and the lot number. The first thing you see as you go in is a huge waterslide. This place looks like so much fun. Also, as you enter the property, there are a few places for great photo opportunities. Cousin was asking if she could have her picture made in some of these spots. Of course you can! So, we find our spot. Thank you Jesus – it is a pull-through again. We get there and leave the truck and camper hooked again. I mean, why even try to unhook it if we are staying less than a full day? It just doesn’t make sense. We were faced, yet again, with hooking up at night with a flashlight and starving kids.
The difference this night is that the neighbor came out to smoke and stare as we got everything turned on. I don’t know, maybe it is just how I was raised or just the way I am, I would have said something. This guy didn’t even speak – just stared. Creepy to me. I would have asked how everyone was, if they needed help or another light – something. After getting everything where it is supposed to be outside, we come in and make our hot dogs and turn on one of the cheap older movies I purchased. Cousin ended up falling asleep really quick. Son fell asleep not long after she did. That left me, hubby and Leo. The three of us piled up into the bed and just laid there. I have no idea what time we fell asleep. But I remember telling hubby that I was really surprised at Jellystone. For such a well-named campground, I was really disappointed with the fact that we could hear the traffic from the interstate. Sleep came before we knew it.
We got up the next morning and cousin and I headed off to the bath house. This was another area that I was a little disappointed too. I have camped at Fort Wilderness at Disney. Their comfort stations are the bomb. I really did not expect Jellystone to live up to Disney’s criteria of a bath house. There were 4 all at one area for people. Cousin opened the door and I could see it was just a nice size bathroom. I told her that I would wait for her while she went in since she didn’t have shampoo, etc with her. We traded off with the shampoo and she walked back to the camper while I was in there. I couldn’t lock the flipping door. Moving quickly, I got out of there as soon as I could. One thing I was able to notice is that most of the camping areas were empty. I know that this is not a huge time to camp, but I just thought there would have been more camping going on. By the way, this little adventure of bringing the camper to FL started in October.
I am sure that Jellystone is a wonderful campground. I just did not get the whole warm-fuzzy from them. Could be because we only stayed for the one night and it was not even a full 24 hours at that. Would I go again? Yes, if I have a few days to spend. We were not able to take advantage of anything that was offered at the park. http://www.campjellystone.com/park/3-madison-i-10-exit-258/ One thing that we missed out on was that Yogi supposedly comes to each camping site and says hello every day. We did not get to meet Yogi.
We get the two boys and the dog, load up in the truck and go to the front for check-out. I am running around like a chicken with its head chopped off as I try to take pictures of the kids in front of Yogi, a welcome sign and a car after I check out. We are back on the road and so tired of looking at the inside of this truck. I feel like it has beat me up on all sides. The dog is getting a little cranky too. Like I said, he is not a great traveler.
We make the turn for I-75. Are we finally going to make it home in the Tampa area? Stay tuned and thanks for reading my adventure.
The Perpetual Campers