The day had finally arrived. I was on my very last day of post planning for school and was just waiting for the call to go home. I was hoping that this would be an early release, or at least that I would be told “you really don’t have to be here anymore”, and I would just be a dust cloud outline and already home. Unfortunately, this was the first in a very long string of events that pushed us to the brink of that one dreaded question full time families ask themselves…”What the hell did we get ourselves into?!?!?!”. It was turning 4:00 by the time I pulled into the RV Park and after a few difficulties in packing, getting the tow dolly hooked up and loaded with Toady, and making sure everything was secure we finally headed out of Valdosta at 6:00.
We gassed up Floki and headed south to Orlando. For some added spice to the pot, the gas gauge does not work and we were unsure how big our fuel tank was, so we are making a best guess on exactly how far to go before we stop to put some more in the tank. We figured Gainesville, Fl. to be a fair and safe bet so after cruising down the highway, worried that every noise was something falling apart or falling off, we pulled off what appeared to be a good exit. We figured out very quickly that the station we were trying to get to was going to be a tight fit for Floki and Toady to fit into and then pull out of after fueling. Definitely a lesson learned, although not one we really would learn because we end up doing the same thing later in our travels. To make the exit, I had to pull Floki all the way through and blocked most of the path to the exit. This fact did not stop other motorists from attempting to literally squeeze through and make it to the driveway out. One fine gentleman, uttered some not so nice words my way. Yes, I should probably not have been there in that station and yes I was totally blocking most of the driving area, but hey…I am new to this and learning as I go. Gas ordeal complete, we slowly and gingerly pull out of the gas station and get back on the road south.
Darkness now sets around us, which is one thing I absolutely did not want to do…drive and arrive in the dark. Darkness, however, is where we are and what we are driving in the rest of the trip there. We arrive in the area and finally make our way to the Thousand Trails Park. Tired, hot, and just plain ole worn out from a long day, we pull in to find the park office closed and no after hours check in available. I was already unhappy about the leaving late and driving in the dark and knowing I would have to set up in the dark, but now we were literally locked out of the park because we needed a key code to open the gate to get in to find a site for the night. There are not many words to describe my mood and feelings at that time, and the ones that do exist are not real nice to say or type. Needless to say, I was just ready to put it in park and call it a night until the office opened in the morning. Thankfully, as we were sitting at the gate key pad staring at the numbers like a dog looking at an empty food bowl, a car pulled in behind us and let us in with their code. Our relief, however, was short lived, since we still had no idea where to go or what to do. This was the first time any of us had been to this park and, as it turns out, the park is massive. Its pitch black and here we are creeping through in an old 1988 RV with a blue cab and a mustache on the front trying to locate an empty somewhat level spot to call home for a few days. Finally, we find one and somehow get pulled in enough to stop and get hooked up to the basics before falling over and calling it a night.
There are many ways to perk yourself up after a long and arduous day on the road; I am here to tell you that there is no better way than a good night sleep, a cup of coffee, and a glorious shower to wash away the grime and funk of the previous day. Our first travel and set up was in the books and we felt good about accomplishing something we had talked about for so long. We were officially on the road and a whole new chapter of our life was beginning.