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Wild Florida & New Reads

Winter in Florida is a time to catch up on work, meet old friends and see new things. This year has been no exception and we have spent the past few weeks rolling around the wilds of the state soaking up the sunshine and seeing what we can see.

It has been a lovely round of travel in Florida and we ventured further south than we ever have before. We explored the Tampa RV show and ended up near Clewiston a town we almost took a job there many years ago. Our days on the road and in the wilds of Florida made me think about how we roll and I thought I'd go over how different people like to experience the RV life.

For the 'every-day-hero' and me we like the wild, wide-open

spaces of this country. When we first started our journey a year and a half ago we had specific goals and have learned to live that lifestyle. For us, we enjoy boondocking, dry-camping, or off-grid living. During this run through Florida we have been exclusively unplugged. we. At the RV show, we stayed in the parking areas using the power of the sun to recharge our batteries and when we moved further south we went to a wildlife area with no hookups as well. Although we had some wet gray days and had to recharge using our generator a few times we have not been without power even once.

However, there are many other ways to experience RV living. Winter in Florida is Snow-bird season. The time when those who can escape the biting cold of the north to join others to bask in the warmth the southern climate affords. Many snow-birds have permanent trailers, RVs or park models in a variety of parks throughout Florida. Thes pars tend to be for long-

term winter use with monthly fees and community-style activities. They spend their days playing games, visiting, and noshing on fun treats. Returning year after year means that most of these folks have long time relationships and friendships that they look forward to enjoying again while winter blows itself out far away. These communities have much to offer and can be great fun if you are looking for an environment with like-minded folks. For RV owners many of them leave around Christmas time and make their way to their second homes and 'families'.

Another way of RV living is to move from park to park 'chasing 70'. This means that as you travel you are always looking for that optimal temperature of 70 degrees. There are many

different parks across the nation and many packages where you can get discounts for full hook up spaces. To be honest being 'plugged-in' is a nice treat some times. It makes living in the RV even more like living in a house. You don't have to consider power usage, water conservation, or which brand of heat you might need. When hooked up at an RV park you turn on the water and it is there, or never worry about flipping a switch to recharge your computer, phone, or tablet. Many RVers never spend a night dry camping. Instead, amenities they book a new site day after day and enjoy the ammenities many parks provide. I'll be honest, we usually stop at an RV park every two to three weeks so that we can catch up on laundry, but for us, it is not the norm. This year we had a chance to visit with some of our friends who brought their RV to Florida for a few months. They enjoy the long term fun of a park and we were able to join in the activities. Our friend said that it is like being a kid again and just like childhood he gets to go out and play with his friends. I couldn't agree more. Even though I work, all the time, my husband and I have been able to experience the things we loved so much growing up; the great outdoors. Perhaps this way of Rving comes with a little more work than others but

much of it is free and a little thought and ingenuity make it comfortable. One expample of this extra though has to do with my love of hot tea. I have an electric tea kettle in the RV but it pulls about 2% of our stored power each time I use it. This means that I do not want to boil the kettle often. This week we purchased my new best friend, a thermos. When you boondock almost exclusively you are limited by your stored resources. You have to think about how much water and energy you use every day. For us, our big rig has big tanks so that isn't too bad but eventually you need to refill. To me, it isn't truly hard to do these things, but it does require a little more than some want to deal with.

Although there are many ways to RV our preference is for the wilds of this great nation. We see so much nature, meet people who remain close to the land, and drink deeply of the fresh air. Whatever way people choose to hit the road, there is no right or wrong way, it is all simply set for the way you like to roll. Our way is #rollingandwriting. I don't know what 2020 will bring for us exactly. Change is in the air, but I know that I will be thankful for this chance to experience the natural world around me.

Oh and don't forget the beagles. Where we are now is big hunting country and the beagles are around. I know many people would find it annoying when the hunters turn up each

weekend where we are with their noisy dogs but I love it. I laughed so hard at these puppies being fierce this weekend. This crazy life means you will never know what you'll come across but it is always worth it.

Not every day on the road is sunshine and roses. There is a great deal of work that goes on every single day. I've knocked out two new books already this year and am looking forward to many more. There are travel stresses, and moments of irritation, but then you stop and watch the sunset, or gaze across the wildlands to see a deer grazing and peace settles once more.

If you haven't had a chance to check out my two new books I hope you'll do so now.

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