Heading To Vote
Heading to vote, visiting family on the way
Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian
After our brief but enjoyable stay in Annapolis, we headed to Florida to vote. We also promised Trip's mom, Carolyn, and Al that we would care for her pup while they went on a Viking cruise in Germany, and the timing of it all worked out great. While in Annapolis we made a reservation for a storage unit in Punta Gorda, FL to keep the RV while we were at their house. We had a month to get there and decided to take our time.
First stop, Solomons Island Navy Recreation Campground. Our sailing years on the Chesapeake Bay took us to Solomons Island nearly every year and we wanted to see it again. The military FamCamp did not disappoint. It was walkable to Solomons and our favorite places. Of course we had to sit on the deck of Lighthouse restaurant for lunch!
Next, Pocahontas State Park outside of Richmond, VA. What a beautiful spot! We took advantage of the hiking trails and beautiful weather. Carolyn happened to be at her home in Richmond at the time, and she came out with Trip's brother, Erich, and our niece, Brynn. They brought dinner and we were able to eat outside around the campfire.
Next we decided to choose an area to take some time to stay put for a couple of weeks to do some exploring. Our pick was Virginia Beach - the weather was still nice enough to enjoy the beach and boardwalk and seemed a great place to ride bikes and explore.
We stayed at Sea Mist RV Campground at the Dam Neck Navy Annex - right next to the ocean, and only a 20 min bike ride to the boardwalk. The ocean views were spectacular, and going to sleep with the sound of waves crashing soothed our souls. Sound up in this video.
We rode our bikes to Fort Story, the Virginia Beach Aquarium, and to the beach boardwalk several times to explore - watched the surfing competition and the jet ski competition, watched for dolphins that are apparently "always around" (we didn't even see ONE!) and
many walks on the beach - Pam had a fascination with the sand crabs. See this video
We had been traveling quite a bit in recent weeks, and our two week stay allowed us to catch up on some household chores. See Trip's deeper dive here.
After Virginia Beach, we wanted to visit Trip's aunt and uncle near Hilton Head, SC. RV camping spots in that area are very pricey, and Barbara and Alan were kind and gracious to welcome us into their home for a couple of nights. Their community allows RV storage nearby, so we packed a bag and stayed with them. They were wonderful hosts, and the food, accommodations, and conversation was just what we needed. Unfortunately we were so busy, we forgot to get a picture! Needless to say, we give this hotel a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating - highly recommended, will return!
The last stop on this leg of our journey was Punta Gorda, FL. As mentioned, we had made a reservation to store our RV, and while in Virginia Beach decided we should call to confirm since Hurricane Ian had passed through a couple of weeks prior. We are glad we called. Not only did they have damage and were not accepting vehicles to store, they didn't even have a record of our reservation. Fortunately, Pam's sister, Janet, had just purchased a home about an hour away from Punta Gorda and was kind enough to allow us to park in her long driveway for the 2 weeks we would be away.
Our travel to southwest Florida was too long a drive for one day, so we decided to overnight for free at a Cracker Barrel (are you laughing at this? We did at first too, but they are safe and easy, plus they have a darned good breakfast) and spent the next day at Epcot Center. Despite the heat and surprisingly large crowds for a Tuesday, we had a great time "walking around the world" at Epcot. We left late in the day and stayed the night a few miles down the road at a Harvest Host - this time a brewery - quiet, safe, and the beer tasted great after our long day of Disney Magic.
We were able to vote early and visit with Carolyn and Al for a few days before getting them to the airport for their cruise. We took several long walks around the area and observed the devastation of Hurricane Ian, particularly at the marina. The week was full of pickle ball, long walks, neighborhood dinners, and making new friends. When Carolyn and Al came home, we spent a couple of days at Janet's house before hitting the road once again.