February 1: I don’t know how, but the morning went by at home “gardenia” at the mc donald’s parking lot, we found a couple of free hunting campsites on the net so we set out to find them, in the middle of the woods, very high pine trees, we saw a road, a couple of trailers and tents, and jim and robin introduced themselves welcoming us, a 65-year-old retired couple who traveled in a Harley Davidson and had been staying there for 3 months (in summer they travel south) and then they go back north, both of them very hippies and very friendly, we parked nearby and met other hunters who come here for the deer hunting season, with their dogs and a group of 10 friends who had come to spend the weekend together with the superbowl final included on Sunday, very nice people, we had fun talking to all of them, had a beer and then back to sleep, about 5am we could hear the hunters starting to get their dogs ready to go hunting, etc
Sunday 2: we woke up rather late and with our ‘mate’ already ‘saddled’ as we say (or set up) we sat by the fire with our new friends, who gave us a tip, about a free hot shower about 7 miles from there in another camping, where we went and had lunch by a beautiful lake and took a very good shower!! Hot water and all, in that place we could only sleep in a tent, so I said ok, I have a tent, but the campground host insisted that we had to sleep in the tent no matter what, so I said, ok, we set up the tent but we sleep in the car, but mechi wouldn’t approve, a while later a cop drove by and we asked him about mass schedules and from his driver’s seat, and his police-computer he checked online and told us time and address!! The same as back home in argentina! Hah! We stayed there spending the afternoon in the camping and drove to town for mass, a very nice mass at a university campus, very friendly and jolly atmosphere, after mass there was a super big screen, pizza and superbowl in a hall adjacent to the church, we went there with every intention to stay, but everybody was way too young and we felt a bit out of our element! We finally left, I swear if it hadn’t been for the language I would’ve stayed and rowed against the current like a champion, but I have a very hard time rowing in English!! We went back to the hippie camping where they had set up a projector, so we stayed there having beer and watching the super bowl, a huge gringo-style party with big shows, nice experience.
Monday 3: in the morning, lots of ‘mate’ and talk with our new friends, and by midday we set out again, we had a great time, met different people and maybe a little bit weird but they were all very nice. We kept on driving and got to Chieftown, and as we didn’t want to pay the entrance to the manatee state park because it was late, we stayed the night at walmart after some getting some groceries.
Tuesday 4: we left by mid morning towards the park, so we could stay there 2 days, a very nice park with a kind of spring lagoons, warm, welllll so they said, fresh water, less than a lake but incredibly clear, the park was beautiful, full of trees, bugs, friendly deer that came very close, we grilled some chorizos and stayed for the night, we spent an amazing afternoon, we swam in those natural springs and then we finally enjoyed the ‘camping way of life’, a nice tea-time with ‘chipa’ (cheese scons) that we cooked in the same fire after the barbecue, lots of reading till late, hot shower and a nice sleep, truly we have a great time at the state parks, very comfortable, safe, full of nature, squirrels, raccoons and other strange animals everywhere
Wednesday 5: we woke up, it rained for a while, we had breakfast, deer came very close, we had them by gardenia, we had to leave our campsite, so we went to the picnic area, and here we are, we walked, mechi took a lot of pictures, the day went by and then back to walmart!! Tomorrow we start heading towards Orlando, on Friday we are meeting Alonso, kathya and Andres there. We stayed for a while talking to a gringo couple who had a very nice motorhome, time went by and it was already 6pm when we drove to walmart, and feeling like home again, we cooked and went to sleep.
Thursday 6: taking our time, we set out to Orlando!! We took alternative routes to avoid the main freeway, but we ran into a lot of traffic and street lights anyway, it took us about 4 hours to travel 120 miles, we looked for some place to sleep, and luckily found a..walmart again to sleep, safe and sound
Friday 7: we stayed home reading till late and drove around looking for someplace to spend some time, we ended up at a mc donalds with free wifi, we read a lot, then we drove to the condo where we were meeting our friends, just as we got there they gave us a call saying they were late, so they gave us the password to get in, very nice place!! Maybe it was better that they didn’t get to see us as dirty as we were hahaha, so we took the most advantage of time and had a nice hot shower and did some laundry!! We ate something and waited for them, they arrived about 1am, meeting them again was very moving! We thought they would be very tired, but they were extremely happy so we had a glass of wine and went to bed, to a beautiful room with a big bed!
Saturday 8: we woke up, had a delicious breakfast with eggs that Alonso cooked for all honoring mechi for her birthday, chatted for a while, and about noon, as they had to do some shopping we went with them, walked around, had lunch at a very gringo restaurand, kind of a sports restaurant, we had a great time, then back to the condo, where mechi and I kneaded home made pizza to celebrate again
Sunday 9: we went to universal studios! Incredible! We started with a HULK roller coaster, only for courageous! It was very hard, we came out of it quite dizzy, but as it had costed us a lot of money, we were determined to leave having ridden every one of them! We ran about like kids all day long, we ate something even though it was a bit expensive, but we had a great time, Alonso was a little bit scared about roller coasters, but with andresito we rode them all!! We went back home very tired, Alonso cooked a delicious meat on the griddle. We prepared a couple of margharitas and then we went to the outdoor Jacuzzi, grrreat
Monday 10: we took the day off… and we drove around downtown orlando, more shopping and driving around…
Tuesday 11: magic kingdom, amazing!!!! We rode 5 times the Space mountain roller coaster!! We stayed till late to see the fireworks and all that stuff, we had a great time
Wednesday 12: farewell day, always a tough day, lots of hugs and we set off towards Miami, the longest trip in our history with gardenia, almost 400km to get to my good friend’s house, clara olivera, we took alternative roads to avoid freeways, we traveled swiftly, in a good, cool day and gardenia behaved very well, we even stopped to take a nap for a while and we got there by 530pm, to clara’s house, only a week after she had moved to this house in coconut grove, a very nice reunion!! They have 3 cute kids, fati, costi and valentine. Deluxe for us, a very nice house!
Thursday 13 to Sunday 16: we spent 4 spectacular days at Clarich’s house, she pampered us a lot!! We were there for a historic date, the arrival of their 2 new puppies, enjoyed delicious food, good wine and very nice talks! She and Constancio took us out for dinner and did everything they could to make sure we had a great time! They were extremely generous, we had “bizcochitos de grasa” (savoury biscuits) don satur, and lots of other delicious stuff from home we really miss, it was like being at “home” for a couple of days. We played with the kids, and grew fond of all of them, we met some of their friends, all of them argentinians who live in Miami, there is a big argentinian community, and they are all very happy, they live well, and have good jobs. Friday night we had dinner at Sole’s house, a friend from mechi who she hadn’t seen for about 10 years… she and her husband wenceslao have 4 kids and he is very “campechano” (nice country guy)!! He had 4 guitars and a bass-drum, he made asado in an electric grill!!! it was very funny to see a creole traditional argentine cooking in such a modern appliance, their kids were very well mannered, absolutely cute, it was supposed to be a short visit but we turned up staying for 5 hours, we had a great time!! We caught up with them in a short while. On Sunday, we woke up and by mid morning said goodbye to clari, constancio and the kids, they said we would get together in Canada, so we’ll see if they can come, we grew fond of all of them, how hard it is to leave!!!! We drove to Miami beach in order to visit some friends who we couldn’t find in the end, and the continued to dolo’s house, another friend from mechi from the farm, they also haven’t seen each other for more than 6 years!!! She’s married to Mike, a very nice gringo, he’s a lovely guy, he plays all the time with his daughter sophi, who is 8 years old and very pretty, and she resembles him a lot.. she’s very gringa, she almost doesn’t speak Spanish, they were expecting us at about 2pm with an asado/barbeque but we got there about 3, shame on us… they took it very well, they are really easy-going, the house is divine, in a nice residential neighborhood in Deerfield beach, it was super tidy… after a couple of beers, they confessed they had especially tidied up for this special day!! Mike made a tipical bbq!!! Incredible homemade hamburgers and excellent chicken!! And beer!! Our plan was to keep on driving, but the good vibe was difficult to leave behind, so they wouldn’t let us leave!! We kept on drinking, and they showed us to our room!! Dolo is a real argentinian, she curses and all, she’s great!! At night I watched the winter Olympics with mike.. more beer and a nice sleep in a real bed
Monday 17: we woke up getting ready to leave, took a good hot shower, we never know when we’ll have another one… had a delicious breakfast with pancakes, got water for the tank, mate ready and before we left, mike called saying he was coming back at noon from work, meanwhile, sophi and her nextdoor friends washed gardenia, this house looks like the “town house”, it was full of kids all day long! Then we bought oil for our cars with mike and changed our own oils. Mike cooked some delicious homemade pizzas in the grill, we had some wine and a nice chat with maria, another neighbor, and yes… again the day went by, the incredible thing is that we seem to be lifelong friends! We are now as thick as thieves!, shame on us, this time they didn’t invite us, we invited ourselves in and now here we are, having a great time and staying one night more.
Tuesday 18: after a good coffee we drove to the beach with dolo and sophi who was allowed to skip school due to the occasion, about 15 min from their house, we got to a great beach, the sea was little bit cold but still warm, it’s just that we are getting a bit picky after lots of Caribbean sea. We came back by midday and finally had to leave, set out north, we would’ve stayed one more day, they were really so nice, we had such fun, but we are always wondering where’s the limit haha, so we left, but as we were driving, we were thinking we could’ve stayed one more day! Haha, but it would’ve been too much, we went for a barbeque and ended up staying up for 2 nights!! We then drew around Palm Beach, very nice, fancy and luxurious with not many access to the beach, we took I-95 but after a while we saw a Minimum 50 sign, it was too much for us, so we got off and took US1, which is almost paralel but goes through towns, very nice highway, beautiful landscapes and beaches, we slept at a walmart before Daytona in Melbourne.
Wednesday 19: we woke up, drove across daytona, it was frenzy because next Sunday is raceday so everything gets filled up quickly, lots of Harley davidsons, very enjoyable ambience, we kept on till we got to a park where we so crocodiles and made a few stops in different beaches, always by the coast in A1A as far as St Augustine, a beautiful place, on the way we saw a VW kombi bus and stopped at that beach parking, where we met Brenda and Scott in their yellow T2. Then we found a barnes & noble so we made good use of time, internet and books, I even bought a book to improve my English, so I can practice, it got late and then right into walmart for the night, there were many motorhomes, the funny thing is we already know walmarts by heart.!
Thursday 20: we woke up a bit late, it is amazing that we can linger in bed in such a small place!! We finally got up at 9, I studied a bit in the morning and when mechi woke up we went to the beach for a couple of hours, then we had a shower in the public cold showers at the parking lot, we dressed up nicely and went to the historic downtown, but before we stopped by the state park to take a look and go the following day,, on the way to see the campsites we used the dump station for our small potty, and as we finally wouldn’t stay that night they wanted to charge us 10$! No way! And we said we would come back the next day to stay, but they see everythingggg, huh, after driving around for a while we were able to park and walked around, it was very nice, full of pubs, restaurants and small shops, we walked a lot and came back late to walmart to sleep
Friday 21: rainy day, it wasn’t worth it to go to the state park so we went again to Barnes & noble around midday, wifi, reading, …. Mechi read a whole book, we were there for about 8 hours and then back to out walmart.
Saturday 22: we woke up and started driving along the coast, very nice view!! We spotted very nice beaches, we even had to take a ferry to Amelia island, very nice parks, a little bit expensive so we decided to sleep again at walmart and the following the day enjoy a state park, we looked for a testimony, how hard it is… it is so hard to get people to open up, they are pretty closed, after mass at 530 we ended up talking to someone from the church who sent us to see a nun who lived just around the block, we knocked at her door to find out when would she be able to talk to us, and in a very polite manner she kind of shut the door in our face, incredible, it had never happened to us being shut out that way, mechi was very sad and disappointed, I was pretty mad as well, buttttt…. There’s always something good in everything, so we came back to the church and saw there was a Mass in Spanish at 7, so we stayed as well and asked them all over again in Spanish, they were all latins, we talked to some of them, but they said that kind of job is usually done by the government.. so nothing for us. We attended a very nice mass in Spanish, came out of it renewed, and kwent back to walmart where we met a german couple who have been travelling for 10 months around Canada and usa, very nice people, he was 70 and looked like 55, no lie! Right away they invited us to their camper van to have some wine, beer and keep on sharing information, we had a great time, we exchanged lots of info and they insisted on and on that we should cross to Europe! Great people, we went to bed pretty late and we counted 8 campers sleeping at this walmart!
Sunday 23: by the time we got up, the germans had already left and there were only 2 campers left, we were among the las tones, we went to the state park, it was cloudy so we walked around until they would have a free spot to camp, but it started to rain heavily, we really needed a hot shower, and we weighed: $30 camping with rain vs. Hotel $40.. mmm, we drove 20 miles to kingsland, leaving Fernandina beach behind with our desire to enjoy the beach but the weather was very bad, so we checked in at a hotel, tv, mechi dyed her hair and cut mine, 2 hot showers each just in case and now enjoying a nice cold beer together, mechi gave me a new haircut, almost bald!!!!!
Monday 24: it had rained all night long, so we stayed at the hotel till noon, and then back to the streets, we drove to simons island, very nice place, big houses, and a very nice beach, everything stylish, but we needed a good place to use a grill and make a barbecue in a beach access or parking lot, and we found it! I made an asado (barbeque), not very good but asado at last, the good thing is that we found chinchulines! (guts or entrails), anyway, the cow’s thin intestine, it was amazing! I saw them at walmart and got them instantly!, they turned out very good! Then we sat for a short while on the beach but it was quite chilly, then we drove to walmart in Brunswick for a good sleep.
Tuesday 25: after a nice sleep and a yummy breakfast, we started our way to Savannah, something incredible happened here, we had stopped at a walmart to download emails when carlos saw us, an argentinian truckdriver who came here about 11 years ago and has already got his own company with 3 super big trucks, we stayed talking with him for a long time over mate, a great guy, and before leaving he gave us all the cash he had in his wallet.. we didn’t want to accept it but he wouldn’t let us.. he gave us almost $40… an exceptional person, we agreed on meeting someday on the roads, he is a real example of sacrifice, he came from a very small town in Buenos aires, and without knowing any English, he managed to build up his company and a nice family, a great example, here you can do anything if you work hard, he said to us. Let’s hope we’ll meet again!!!! After talking with him for almost 3 hours, we kept on driving, always on alternative roads until we got to savannah’s visitor center about 5pm, where we paid only $5 and we were able to sleep in its parking lot, which was only 5 blocks from the historic downtown!! We left gardenia and took a stroll in downtown, there is a very nice boardwalk by the river, full of bars and restaurants, a city filled with parks and nice old houses, then we came back to gardenia to sleep, it was a little bit cold outside but ok inside with our double sleeping bag
Wednesday 26: at dusk it was already raining and freezing, we stayed til11am in gardenia, had breakfast, I practised my english with my new book while mechi crocheted and by 11am we went to barnes & noble, to read some more and walk around the mall, we came back around 8pm, had some pasta and again to sleep at the visitor center parking lot, there was no one around but we slept very well
Thursday 27: the sun came out finally!! We took another stroll around beautiful savannah, stopped by the cathedral just in time for mass and tried again to ask about a testimony, but nothing… then we went to a kind of social centre but no luck again…we decided to change our strategy and contact them by internet because we are getting nowhere!! We walked around savannah’s beautiful parks enjoying the view of the amazing houses tieh their majestic staircases, all of them beautiful, we eat some sándwiches we had taken at a park, and even some boiled eggs, hahah, and about 4pm we came back and set out again northbound, we looked for a walmart and slept again
Friday 28: we stopped by publix to use wifi and found a very cheap hotel only 20 miles away, $30 we couldn’t go on one more day without a shower, it was a record, 4 days!! Yuck! We got there by noon, very nice hotel, and here we have been all afternoon investigating where to ask for testimonies, mechi in internet, i watched lots of movies and now it is dark and i am updating this log book! Now it’s updated!!