After a short but sweet stay near Destin, FL at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, we hopped back into Roberta for the 5-hour drive to The Big Easy, New Orleans, LA, a place neither of us had ever been.
New Orleans (or NOLA if you’re from the area) is located at the mouth of the mighty Mississippi river, and is the heart and soul of the state of Louisiana. NOLA is a place that has a true culture unlike anyplace else, rooted from a time before the U.S. was completely formed. It’s been controlled and influenced by Native American tribes, Spanish & French conquerors, as well as African cultures and traditions, giving it a unique place in American history, and affecting it’s vibe, food, architecture, and overall character still to this day. There’s one word that describes everything listed above: Creole. That word is synonymous with Louisiana, affectionately known as the Creole state.
With so many unique and interesting places in the state of Florida, narrowing down the best road trip stops can be tough. With only 51 days to get across the country and back, we didn’t have the luxury to explore them all. From the incredible and diverse Florida Keys, the Everglades swampland, to the Gold Coast and Miami area, the Panhandle as a road trip destination can get lost in the shuffle. But midway between where we were (Jacksonville) and where we wanted to go (New Orleans) sits some of the most picturesque coastline in all the lower 48. And that was the next stop on our trip. It made the most sense for us to cut the almost 9 hour drive in half, and find a seaside park in the Panhandle to crash for the night before we headed into the Big Easy. Read More
I love lists. There’s no 2 ways about it. If it weren’t for lists, I’d probably walk around running into walls half the time. They help me get things done and keep things organized. Morgan and I had a HUGE running list of stuff we needed for this trip, and we still forgot a few things, but not nearly as many as we would have without double and triple checking our RV prep list.
But on a trip of this scale, you can’t prepare for everything. Sometimes you just have to learn as you go. With that in mind, here’s a list of some of the things you learn when driving across the country in an RV for the first time with your spouse.
They say home is where the heart is. If that’s in fact true, then I would easily classify Ponte Vedra, FL, a beach community just south of Jacksonville, as part of my home. I lived there part of the summer between my Junior and Senior year of college for an internship with my aunt Kathy’s company, Raymond James Financial. In addition, Kathy and my uncle Matt (my dad’s brother), and my first cousin Stevie live there, and have for some time. Given that Morgan and I are on the road for almost 2 months exploring the U.S., I had to make sure we paid them a visit. Morgan had never been, and I was not only looking forward to seeing my family, but also giving her the opportunity to see where a portion of my extended family spends their lives. We left Savannah in the early afternoon for the short 2-½ hour drive to the Jacksonville area.
After leaving Charleston, I wasn’t sure what to expect regarding our next destination: Savannah, Georgia. Rumors preceded it… “Savannah is a blue-collar Charleston” “It’s the Jewel of Georgia”, “The St. Patty’s Day celebration is one of the best in the South”, and things of the sort. Sometimes I don’t like to know anything about a city until I get there in order to have an unbiased opinion. Some things that I might love, others may not enjoy, and vice versa. It’s always best to learn about things for yourself, and then form an opinion, regardless of the topic or thing in question. But I couldn’t help it – What was stuck in my head was “Blue-collar Charleston.” And I didn’t know how I felt about that. Charleston was so incredibly beautiful. I didn’t think Savannah could top it. I should have taken my own advice, because like many times before on our journey, my preconceived notion was mostly wrong, and a little bit dead on, but not in the way I would have expected.