It’s 2:00 PM on a sunny afternoon in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The van was just discharged from the mechanic with a clean-ish bill of health; how healthy can Darla really be at her age and use (that’s the name we’re trying out right now)? But the people of the Dodge dealership think that she will get us across the country without any issues. So we’re off. Let #vanlife begin.
Cocoa Beach to Lee, Florida
Today’s #vanlife journey took us 269 miles and about four hours. We were so excited to be traveling again. About half of the trip was spent talking about our excitement, goals, and expectations. The other half was spent listening to music and singing along. Today’s playlist included Blink 182’s California, a Google Play radio station of popular karaoke songs, and finally an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience. We were pretty proud of our harmonizing skills while singing along with Blink 182.
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The drive through central Florida is exactly what we were used to. There were signs for beach resorts and Disney World everywhere. We got stopped by five toll booths, all within 15 minutes of each other, and got charged a total of $9.25. Once we got farther north, however, the scenery took a bit of a change. There were lots of small towns and farm land. It reminded me a little bit of home. I liked it.
Home Field Advantage Homestead
It is possible to overnight for FREE at a variety of truck stops, gas stations, and large commercial buildings like Walmart. As it was our first overnight in the van, we decided to book a camp site. I booked using Hipcamp.com. It is like AirBnB, but for camping. We ended up about 15 minutes off of the freeway on an adorable farm. The stay included a tour of the farm, free wifi, loaded fire rings, hot showers, flush toilet, and a couple of sinks with soap! It was an ideal place to crash for our very first #vanlife overnight.
Our overnight was a learning experience. The average August temperature in Florida is 82°F / 28°C with 74% humidity. Needless to say, the temperature in the van was NOT comfortable. We opened the windows and enjoyed the cross breeze they provided, but then found ourselves in a rage from the needling buzz of mosquitoes. The mozzies in the USA don’t often carry disease, but they are still obnoxious as f*ck and Florida is home to A LOT of bugs. Our other idea was to turn on the car and AC to cool everything down every few hours. That didn’t work either. It would take almost five minutes to cool the van down entirely and then it would only last for about an hour.
Our goal for #vanlife prep was to only buy what we know we need. We need a fan, more water, and bug repellent. Every day is a learning experience. I just hope our next lesson won’t be as uncomfortable. Tomorrow, we are waking up early to drive to Atlanta, Georgia.