We decided to become residents of Florida since we already have family living there and will be exploring Florida for several weeks before heading out west. The first step involved traveling to the Escapees Sumter Oaks RV Park in Bushnell, Florida so we could establish domicile and register our truck and Airstream trailer there. We ended up staying at this park for several extra days while waiting to see where Hurricane Michael was going to make landfall along the gulf coast. Bonnie had made reservations for us at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park which was this fantastic beach front state park for fun and sun located along the panhandle of Florida. Bonnie loves the ocean and Hurricane Florence had previously canceled our trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Sadly, news reports soon confirmed that St. Joseph Peninsula State Park took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael and was severely damaged by the storm surge and wind. It cut the peninsula into several pieces.
Luckily, we were safe and sound in Bushnell and received very little rain or high winds from the hurricane. We spent the additional time exploring the fringe of a cypress tree forest located next to the RV park. It provided a large wildlife habitat that was full of birds, otters, fish, and an elusive alligator (which we never saw). We went out for daily walks and enjoyed watching a family of otters play while wading birds hunted for fish. We even pulled out our brand new folding “Gorilla” ladder and spent the better part of a day washing our Airstream travel trailer. Many RV parks will not allow you to wash your camper so we were fortunate that Sumter Oaks RV Park allowed us to wash our rig there.
One morning while in Bushnell, I received a phone call from Bob Dunn who is an uncle I had lost contact with and hadn’t seen in almost 30 years. He had retired to Melbourne Beach on the east coast of Florida and invited us to visit him and park our Airstream at an RV site he owned. Bonnie and I have had the pleasure of reconnecting with many cousins, aunts, uncles, and other family members during this trip and now we were going to visit my long, lost uncle at Melbourne Beach !!! Uncle Bob and his lovely wife, JoJo, live in a very nice RV resort community named Outdoor Resorts Melbourne Beach. This place had three pools, tennis courts, clubhouse, a fishing pier, a boat dock, and private beach access – truly an RV “resort”.
Bonnie was very excited because she was going to take long walks along the beach and finally swim in the ocean. However, the day we arrived there was an algae bloom, called “Red Tide”, that has plagued both coasts of Florida for almost a year and it was hitting Melbourne Beach (Ugh!). This particular algae gives off a toxic gas that not only kills fish but also irritates your lungs and eyes when exposed to it. We both had itchy throats as we approached the beach. Local authorities recommended that people stay out of the water to avoid possible illness from “Red Tide” toxins so no ocean swimming for Bonnie and I at beautiful Melbourne Beach. Most scientists and environmentalists believe that “Red Tide” is caused by the constant flow of polluted water from Lake Okeechobee into canals that discharge along both coasts of Florida. “Red Tide” is a big environmental and economic problem for the State of Florida. Large fish kills due to “Red Tide” have been reported in several Florida coastal regions which resulted in beach closures while dead fish and wildlife is removed. Many people visit Florida to play in the surf and sand but cannot enjoy it when “Red Tide” hits a beach community and impacts its economy. Let’s hope the State of Florida takes much needed steps to solve the “Red Tide” environmental problem or else there will be more years like this one in the future…
As mentioned, we were still able to walk along Melbourne Beach with minor throat irritation but could not swim in the ocean. We also met a lovely young woman, named Corinne, who confirmed the “Red Tide” problem and informed us that plastic gets washed into the ocean during frequent thunderstorms. She said that a lot of plastic gets dropped in nearby parking lots or spills from dumpsters and eventually ends up in the ocean. Corinne is an avid environmentalist who actively worked with local businesses to ensure they picked up trash around the buildings they occupy. This type of activity is good for how a business is viewed in the community, good for local residents who rely on a beach economy, and good for tourists (like us) who want to enjoy the beach and spend money there. We really enjoyed talking with Corinne because she inspired us with her passion about the health of the Melbourne Beach community in which she and her family lived. She runs her own business locating jewelry for people that have lost it in the sand or ocean. She has a 100% recovery rate finding jewelry or keys lost in the sand! Here is a link to her business: Salty Side Metal Detecting On one morning beach walk, we decided to pick up trash after seeing an elderly woman picking up plastic on the beach the day before (we can do it if she can). I must say we were shocked by how much plastic trash we picked up during an hour long walk along the beach…
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Uncle Bob and repeatedly thanked him and his wife for their generous offer of a full hookup RV site with many other benefits. Uncle Bob will rent out his RV site to anyone who meets certain resort guidelines so feel free to contact me if you are interested in visiting this really warm and sunny place. Check out these wonderful views from Outdoor Resorts at Melbourne Beach …
Before leaving Outdoor Resorts at Melbourne Beach, we decided to take a day trip and visit the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). I am sure glad we made the trip because KSC is a great place to see a comprehensive history of the space program and how it benefits us all. We saw lots of BIG rockets including the Saturn V rocket booster and the now retired Atlantis space shuttle. We experienced the simulated launch of an Apollo space program rocket from mission control where the actual equipment from that time period was used for maximum realism. We took a tour bus ride and viewed the launch pads for Space X (founded by Elon Musk of Tesla fame) and Blue Origin (founded by Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame). I highly recommend that you visit KSC if you or anyone in your family has an interest in what our country has accomplished through space exploration. Here is a small taste of what you can experience in one afternoon but there is much more to see…
Can’t say enough about your records of your great adventure – the narrative and the work of the fantastic photography. Love you two, Dad
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Love you too! Glad we got to see you.
I could have talked to you two for hours longer, but I don’t think red tide would have let us lol. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog posts, thank you for the mention, I look forward to the next 🙂
Thank you for inspiring us to be more aware of the “plastic problem” and become active in the natural environment in which we all live. Best of luck with continued success with your business !!!
Lovely photos. Great seeing you, Safe travels.
It was great to spend some time together while we were in Florida.
Nice pictures,, yes all that waste from the fast convenience life. All the fast food places and all the coffee places..like starbucks. Lattes and big macs are choking the earth. Hope you continue with the fun and sunrises. Love,Bromonator
Thanks for following along with us on this trip, brother !!! ;0)