We're sitting here at an RV campground in Key West, with the weather a balmy 61 degrees and the wind blowing gusts of 28 mph. Yesterday was the nicest day we've had, sunny and about 68. Mostly we've been freezing our tails off, with lows in the 30s and 40s. I know that that sounds warm compared with what you've been getting, but not so good for camping. We just put our longies away a couple of days ago.
We were lucky dodging a couple of huge snow storms on our way down here. We visited Angie's brother in Charlottesville, VA, getting there just after the 20 inches of snow from one storm had been cleared away, and escaping just before the next big nor'easter hit. Heading over to Atlanta, we stayed with our new friend, Mark Hendrickson, who's throwing over his present office job to devote his life to his real love, writing. He shared some of his short stories with us, and he has real talent, plus some life experiences which give him plenty of fodder for invention. (Mark is the brother of Marla, who is married to jazz pianist Tad Weed. What a lot of talent in that family!) The three of us managed to crash the engagement party of our niece Kim, who's had quite a few adventures in her own life, and her fiance Chip. They've known each other for eight years, and as Chip says, it was a a crooked road to the engagement, and all their friends got there before he did.
We were disappointed to find that we couldn't camp in any of the public campgrounds in the Keys. They are booked up to eleven months in advance--no more walk-ins. It's getting so you can't be nomads anymore, at least in the popular locations. We found the same thing in southern Utah. Last year they kept a small percentage of spaces open for transients, but this year they are going 100 % reservation in the national parks. At least in the west you can camp on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land if you are self sufficient, but it ain't that way in the Keys. We miss our gypsy adventures in Mexico, where you can go just about anywhere and find someplace to camp.
Our best camping experience so far was on Anastasia Island off St. Augustine. It was cold, but sunny, and the white sand beaches are beautiful. Angie got a couple of really nice images there. Otherwise, we haven't been able to do much of the kind of photography we hoped to do. Savannah was nice, too, but the weather wasn't conducive to photography--gray skies and lots of wind.
Coming through West Palm Beach we reconnected with our old friends Jack and Donna Jacobs, who lived on their sailboat Horizon in the Bahamas for 17 years. They got some of their first sailing experience with Jim on the Escapade, and we spent a lot of time with them at Man-of-War Cay when we were on our year long sailing trip 25 years ago. They gave up their boat, a beautiful wood Alden yawl, about 10 years ago, and now ride out the hurricanes in relative safety in their small house near the intra-coastal waterway.
Today we'll spend the day in Key West, which has become an absolute zoo, and not much like we remembered it from our separate experiences many years ago. And then we're off to the Everglades, where we hope to resume our picture making. From there we'll work our way around the Gulf Coast to New Orleans and southern Louisiana, visiting more friends along the way.
Update! See the photos that go with this blog here: http://www.fotogypsies.com/GulfCoast1/
Love to you all,