|Scamper parked in yet another glamorous Walmart parking lot.|
That’s how we ended up in Grande Isle. Neither of us had heard about it before, but Scott saw this Louisiana barrier island on the map and suggested we head down there before going to New Orleans. All we knew about Grande Isle was that it was on the Gulf of Mexico. Seriously, that was it. Does that seem strange to you? We did a quick internet search on the cell phone, saw there was a state park there, headed on down and snagged ourselves a campsite. Easy peasy.
Our laid back approach had been serving us well. Then we got to Florida. That’s when things began to go pear shaped. Turns out Florida and laid back don’t go together. Which is surprising because you see all these pictures of happy people lounging around on the beach looking completely laid back. Do you know why they’re so laid back? They planned and booked everything 17 years in advance. These snowbirds are a a completely different species from us. We’re more like dodo birds these days. Soon to be extinct if we stay in Florida much longer.
We realized something had to give the other day when we spent all day on the road to nowhere. After two nights in Walmart parking lots (one too many in a row), we decided to head down to Babcock-Webb Preserve near Punta Gorda in southwestern Florida. Along the way, we stopped in Arcadia and had lunch in the city park. After a quick drive through the town, we decided that, although it was a nice enough town, we had probably seen enough. So we continued down to the preserve. We read on their website that you can camp there seven days a week during hunting season. When you click on the link to read more about hunting, it says that all of February is raccoon and possum season. We were all set – we had finally found a place that was first come, first serve and cheap ($3 per person). Hurrah!
Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? It was. We picked up one of the pamphlets when we got there with the regulations and it said that you can’t camp there during the week. So we called to clarify. Turns out their website needs to be updated. With no place else to stay, we called around to all of the Walmarts in the area to see if we could overnight in their parking lots. Nope. Not a one. They would love for us to stay there, but local regulations prohibit it. And by “local regulations”, I think they mean that all of the big RV parks in the area have ganged up and successfully lobbied to keep people form parking for free at Walmart instead of paying big bucks to stay with them. Even though it’s still pretty hard to find a place at an RV park unless you booked 17 years ago.
So guess what we ended up having to do? Drive back up to Arcadia and spend the night at their Walmart. Turns out there was more to see in Arcadia, like the Walmart parking plot. A zillion miles and pretty much a full tank of gas just to find a place to stay for the night.
Now we spend all of our time online and on the phone trying to find places to stay. It’s pretty darn frustrating. And even when we do find a place to stay, they want a lot more money then we would like to spend. We were so hopeful that we could decrease our average per night camping cost, but it looks like that’s won’t be happening anytime soon. So frustrating to own your own tiny home on wheels but can’t actually find a place to live in it.
Will we stay in Florida or head on out? Stay tuned.
We took the road to nowhere on 3 February 2015.
Want to follow along with our eccentric travel adventures?
If you're interested in following along, you can like us on Facebook, follow us via Google+ or add us to your Bloglovin' or Feedly feeds. We're also on Pinterest and Instagram. You can also sign up to get our posts via email - just submit your email address in the box on the right hand side of our blog page.
We would love to hear what you think - so please leave us a comment below or feel free to email us!