On a whim we decided to venture up to these wonderfully named islands. They evoke bahama like feeling while still be connected by bridge. And the ride in certainly does not disappoint. The way up to the Islands we stopped on a few beaches at Fort Meyers to do some kiteboarding. A storm was moving in and the wind was great. I held my ground and was up on the water for an hour or two.
Side note, we had been looking for a Goodwill to add a few nick-nacks to our kitchen. As we were cruising on the beautiful and very slow road through Captiva, Annie spotted a store. We quickly swooped into the store and found what we needed. It was quite an unusual store. Imagine a neighborhood Goodwill in an old historic house.
We hemmed and hawed through the slow road and eventually made it to the end. Upon initial inspection we did not find much more that a bunch of uninviting do-not-park-here signs. Then we stumbled upon the Mucky Duck. As it turns out Annie’s friend had recommended that we visit this place. So we got an appetizer, a drink, and a parking spot on the beach. In our parking spot we whipped up some burgers in the van while we watched the sun set over the gulf.
A nice parking spot on the beach
We left Michigan with only a temporary license plate. The true license plate was overnighted to us in Asheville as soon as it was ready. Unfortunately, it was shipped to the wrong address. Instead of being shipped to a UPS Store, it ended up getting shipped to a bank. We frantically drove all through the area trying to figure out what had happened to it. We were getting more and more nervous. It wasn’t until we had retraced our steps that we discovered that it was sent to a bank. We mounted the license plate safely to the back of the car and finally we were able to relax. We headed out on a sprint to the south to dip below the frost line.
On the drive south, I called a few Roadtrek dealers to see if they could service our broken heater. The first one told us they could not even look at it till February 3. I tried to calmly discuss with the service agent that we were living in our RV and that was not going to work for us. She calmly let me know that most people in Florida were living in their RV’s. After a few more tries we hit gold with another service dealer three hours away from where we wanted to be. They told us to stop by anytime and they would take a look at it so we headed to Port Saint Lucie. I drove from Asheville till after midnight that evening trying to get as close to the dealer as we could. Once I started to loose energy I pulled over in the next rest stop and we went to bed in about two minutes. That was cool.
Technition working on the heater unit
The next morning we showed up and their technician fixed the heater in an hour and a half. I wont bore you with the details but it should be set for a while now, and if it breaks again I will know how to fix it. This allowed us fill up our water tanks for the first time. We were so eager to get water running in the van. Warm showers and full meals could now be easily achieved in our home.
We then jetted across to the gulf coast to visit with Bruce and Sue Osterink. They invited us to stay in their guest house in Bonita Springs. We gladly took them up on their offer and had a wonderful time catching up with them. They told us of some fun things to do in the area and we went out exploring. Naples, then Fort Meyers beach, Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Check out some more photos here.
The distillery in full steam
We left Michigan to get out of the cold, but the second night of our trip was cold once again. After spending our first evening with the Cunnigan’s in Elizabethtown and after touring the Maker’s Mark Distillery in beautiful rural Kentucky, we journeyed further south to Mammoth Cave National Park looking to see some caves. Unfortunately we arrived too late for a cave tour so we decided to stay the night. The main campgrounds were closed for the season, but free backcountry sites were still available to anyone willing to brave the woods. That sounded like free parking to us so rather than camp in the cold woods, we choose the van.
As we wound our way back into the sticks towards our campsite, we were supprised to see a sign saying “Road Ends in Water”. Sure enough, the road stopped right in a river. After a moment of confusion, we saw a tiny river ferry on cables, just big enough for two cars or a van, making it’s way across the river to us. The boatman waved us forward and we gleefully drove onto the ferry and crossed the cold water of the Green River with big smiles. We love boats you see. And even on the most rickety of boats we would gladly have taken a ride.
Itsy bitsy little ferry
Shortly after, we reached our site’s parking lot way back in the woods all to ourselves. We went on a short hilly bike ride, made some dinner, and headed to our new bed for the first time. We turned out the lights and my heart dropped. While we had turned on the heater while we were making our bed, the heat still hadn’t kicked on. Instead, the heater’s control panel was blinking with a big ominous red light. We tried everything we knew to do with no luck. Usually in the Commonwealth of Kentucky the average temperature is above freezing, but due to the unusual polar vortex, the whole day sat below freezing. Our first night in the van dipped down to 19 degrees. Glad we brought the warmer comforter!
We did get a great cave tour the next day