We officially started our return trip back to the NW, estimating it will take us about 7 weeks. The decision on when to leave Florida was postponed 4 times, as we were originally scheduled to leave Feb. 21st, then March 7th, then March 21st, and finally April 1st. As Traci mentioned before, there is this little thing called “Keys Disease” and we both came down with a severe case. But the hardest part of it all has been the days since we left, several times a day asking each other can we go back, should we just turn around now?? We both knew we would eventually have to return home, but the hangover from that place still stings and we have already been gone for a week. I keep thinking of a line I read in another blog we follow, and it said something like “where else in the world can you drive to a tropical island” and that best describes the Keys. I know for sure, we will be back!
With our extended time in the Keys, we are now making up for lost time, with some longer driving days scheduled for a while. We have had days of 250-380 miles, a lot longer than we would like. We did two nights in Arcadia, FL, two nights in Cedar Key, FL, a night in Eastpoint, FL, and a night in Hattiesburg, MS (our 5-month stay in Florida finally came to an end). We have already filled up diesel twice within 6 days and prior to that it had been Nov. 23 as our last fuel stop. Fortunately, fuel prices are still under $3/gallon. We are going to hit Shreveport, LA, then Dallas, TX for a couple days, a stay or two in western Texas and time in Colorado to see friends, before we get to our next area of exploration. We are focused on getting to New Mexico, an area we did not spend much time in yet, as well as Wyoming and Montana, so we will slow down a bit before we arrive home in late May. Click here for an update on our general itinerary.
It has been a challenge locating places to stay along our journey this past week, as many of the parks on our travels have already been booked up full. We are hearing that a lot of people, like ourselves, who stayed south for a bit longer due to the extended winter in the NE. Nobody wants to go home to snow; so many are taking their time to drive north, making it a bit more difficult for us to find accommodations.
Another thing we have noticed, at least for the first few stops, was how much different the ocean and Gulf of Mexico has looked. When we were in the Keys, especially Marathon, the water was picturesque blue. But as we have moved north, the colors have become grey and in some cases brown with the brackish waters of the coastal areas we have stayed. Did I mention we really miss the Keys!? Also, now that we have turned north a bit, we have come to the realization we will not see an ocean for at least a couple months, as we journey through the country back home.
I know the tone of this post sounds like “poor us” and that is not it at all. We have been so taken aback by how much we enjoyed this last portion of our trip, it really has been like a long hangover, and it is not getting much easier to get over it. I would have never thought I could move from the NW, but that door may have opened following this portion of our journey. But for now, we are making our way NW, and we will keep you updated as to our adventures along the way.