Reboot Road Trip

Part of the fun of a big road trip is the planning.  Right now, this is our living room floor.  The silver tape marks the size of the 2010 F150 XLT Crew-Cab, with a 5 1/2 ft bed and metal sliding top that limits the heights of the stowed items to 20 inches when closed.  Florida has always been a fly don’t drive, carry-on only routine.  When we decided to drive in order to transport the ebikes to the motorhome, we thought, “I guess we will have plenty of room for our two pieces of luggage.”  Rule #1: the amount of stuff you think you need expands to fit the space available.

Our past RV trips (as chronicled in archives) were never more than 10 days in the coach.  This will be 33 days in parks plus 20 in getting there and getting home.  We have big ideas about spacious skies and amber waves of grain.  But before we hit the purple mountains majesty, we’ll test out our RV living legs, starting at the Florida sea.

We’re rolling in a borrowed 2003 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 34W that gets about 7 miles to the gallon (See post July 27, 2016: Jammed). This vintage beauty was acquired by Sheri’s parents when they retired in 2007 and explored much of the East Coast, racking up 20,000 miles, but still looking fresh and running like new.  After watching multiple seasons of Going RV on GAC, and understanding terms like Depreciation and Impulse, we’re applying Methodical Madness to see what it’s like to trade 2500 square feet of urban living for 250 square feet in government-run campgrounds.

We both retired from our corporate and government jobs a little over a week ago, but had been planning this Life Reboot for about a year. Some say we’re too young, what will we do? But after reading articles about mini-retirement and this one about dying at your desk, we decided to crunch the numbers and go for it. Trade predictability for freedom, ladders for bridges, drama for romance.

So here we are, ready to embark. Starting in Bradenton, FL on the gulf coast, we’ll drive 166 miles to Sebastian Inlet State Park, where in 7 days we’ll try to catch, clean and cook a fish while exploring Pelican Island and Region J Section 21 of the Florida Paddling Trails.

Don’t mind the ABCs. We haven’t quite figured out Google Map-Making.
Up the coast 160 miles is Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine, where in 7 days we’ll connect with grown kids beginning their life in Florida, get our beach tennis on and see sold-out Slightly Stoopid at the St. Augustine Ampitheater.
Leaving the white sands behind, we’ll drive 300 miles to our lakeside plot at  Mistletoe State Park in Appling, GA for Bass, Birding and Biking before the 180 mile trek for a rugged adventure in South Mountains State Park about 70 miles outside of Asheville, NC, which started the much debated question, To Tow or Not to Tow …  We wanted to see Asheville, how would we get there?
On prior trips we chose 2 wheels over 4, biking our way through Tybee, Hilton Head and Charleston

to name a few.  Our vehicles could not be flat-towed and we weren’t crazy about the idea of buying a car to accommodate.  We’re not as fit as we once were (a generous characterization) but activity is a big word in our life reboot project.  Recalling the times we rented electric bikes in British Columbia, Eric started researching and found the Specialized Como 3.0.  These new ebikes only work when you work.  But, with the assist of a small electric motor you can go from zero to 28 mph with 30 lbs. of luggage feeling like you are 20 years younger and on a race bike.  If you resist the urge to receive maximum assist all the time, you can  pedal 50+ miles without a problem.  The hills flatten out.  The straight-aways are transversed at near highway speeds.  We don’t think that we’ll pedal to Asheville, but we will find out how the Arrow feels about the mountains.  We plan to find a Walmart to park the Arrow in for the day, then dismount the bikes for around-town exploring.

The return to Bradenton consists of three short stays, starting 200 miles south at Fort Yargo State Park, then 220 miles to Reed Bingham and 145 more to Manatee Springs State Park before the final 170 miles to close the 1,541 mile loop.  In financial terms, it’s about $700 in gas and $1,200 in park fees.
As the commercial goes; Experience: Priceless!

2 thoughts on “Reboot Road Trip

  1. Hi Guys! Happy Trails, Bon Voyage, Ciao, ……… So excited to follow along with this new adventure!
    Can't wait to track your bike miles too and I'm totally surprised that the park fees are almost double the gas fees. Love and Hugs!

  2. Yes, even state parks, which run $18 to $40 per night and are less expensive than private parks, add up. And, in truth, we are not driving all that much, so the 7 mpg is not killing us. Hopefully gas prices will come back down when we head to Alaska.

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