Florida Part 2: Key Largo, Lakeland and north into Georgia

The sign at the front desk said ask about our cinnamon rolls so I did. We had pulled into the campground in Metter, Ga. right about the time for the office to close. I assumed that best case scenario, the cinnamon rolls would be warmed up the next morning for breakfast. But the lady at the campground front desk said that if I was interested, they could have them delivered to our camper. The baker would just need 45 minutes to deliver them to the camper — and it would be $6 for three of them. Fresh, hot cinnamon rolls delivered to the camper in 45 minutes for $6? Sign me up!

img_2209I placed my order, but still thought this was too good to be true. Tucked among the South Georgia pines, this dark, dirt-road campground was within site a truck stop and nothing else for quite a ways. Was cinnamon roll a code word for something? Had I just ordered a drug deal? Was a woman named Cinnamon about to show up at my camper?

Sure enough, about an hour later, a sweet woman in a Mennonite bonnet showed up with a plate of steaming cinnamon rolls. They were excellent. As it turns out, we’ve been doing this all wrong. Instead of looking for campsites with nice views, good hiking and level sites, we should have been looking for campgrounds that offer cinnamon roll delivery. Live and learn I suppose. Here goes

Florida Part II: Key Largo

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From the Everglades, we didn’t really have time to get all the way to Key West, but we did make it to Key Largo. The result was that we had the Beach Boys song in our heads for about a week before and a week after the stop.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park has nice beaches and Key Largo didn’t seem over developed like much of South Florida. In truth, I wished we had gotten a weekend in Key Largo. We spent four nights in the Everglades and two nights in Key Largo and if I could do it over again, I would flip that. The park had glass bottom boat tours and snorkeling trips, but we had spent our boat tour money for the week in the Everglades so we decided to skip those. Plus, after being out of touch in the Everglades, I needed to catch up on work. Most of my time in Key Largo was spent at a pizza place that offered wi-fi or at the public library, which also offered wi-fi.

One the way out of Key Largo, we had to stop at a pet quarantine check because some nasty bug called the screw worm had been infecting dogs farther down in the Keys. There were no reports of it on Key Largo or any of the northern Keys, but they were still checking all dogs before heading to the mainland. It wasn’t much of a check point, but it was still a new thing for us.

In all, I would consider Key Largo and the Keys in general as one of the big “unfinished” parts of our trip.

Lakeland

From Key Largo, we bolted back north to Lakeland, Florida to see some good friends of ours. Jess had been friends since freshman year of college with Briana, and our families have gotten together several times over the years. They introduced us to an excellent pizza place in Lakeland, Braden discovered his first comic book store and we explored several local parks.

Lakeland was also home of the most redneck Christmas lights we’ve seen at a campsite yet:

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Then, there was Legoland. I was a big Lego fan as a kid and I think I was as excited as Braden to see the park. It had some great rides and attractions and was amazingly un-crowded and easy for a Florida theme park. Braden bravely rode every ride he was tall enough for, including a pretty respectable roller coaster. I wasn’t sure how he was doing until the ride stopped and he asked to ride it all again. Jess and I could have spent hours just walking through the Lego replicas of Las Vegas, New York, Washington D.C. and other places. We especially liked all of the details on the RVs in the infield of the Daytona 500 Lego track.

At lunch, we were all buying our overpriced theme park food when I noticed a red button on the counter. I asked the cashier what it did and he said I should push it. I did and suddenly red lights and a siren was going off. I had won either my meal free or a free kids ice cream. Seeing as how the ice cream was $4 and my burger was $13, I went with the free meal. The guy said every so often the button pusher wins something. It was a good reminder to always be curious. Even at a theme park lunch stop.

img_2175Back at Hommassa Springs, I had made one of my biggest mistakes of the trip. After leaving I had left the emergency brake in the Honda engaged as we drove off. Though we stopped and fixed it just a few miles down the road when we noticed the rear tire temperature heating up, the brakes didn’t feel right ever since. We had barely driven the car in the Everglades or Key Largo and had planned to take it to the shop in Lakeland. When we did, Pep Boys said we had worn out the rear brake shoes and blown two wheel cylinders. That was an unpleasant way to spend a couple hundred dollars, but it could have been worse. Now, we always triple check the brake.

Into Georgia

From Lakeland, we stopped in Christmas, Florida to mail our Christmas cards. For a small post office without much of a town around it, it was a busy place in Mid-December. Most people we mailed the cards to probably never noticed the postmark, but if one or two Version 2people thought it was cool then that makes it worth it.

We crossed the state line and rolled into St. Mary’s, Ga. Our campground was right near the Kingsland Submarine base where my cousin Amanda and her husband are stationed. He was out at sea, but we got to visit with Amanda and her new baby. Braden was very excited to learn that he had a new cousin he had never met, and even more excited to meet her.

From St. Mary’s we went up to Metter, Ga. where I had meetings set up with a couple of telephone companies who I hoped could use some marketing help from our company. The meetings went well, but the most exciting part of our time in Metter was the cinnamon roll delivery service.

Metter is only a couple of hours from Jess’s hometown in Wrens, so we headed north again.

It reminded me of the last time we’d been through there which I forgot to post about. On our November trip to Wrens, we had our scariest driving moment yet. I was trucking along in the RV just outside of Waynesboro, Ga. (The Bird Dog Capital of the World) at about 40 mph coming up to a small intersection where the cross street stopped, but the main highway didn’t. I saw a lady in a Mennonite bonnet (probably not the cinnamon roll baker) driving a 15-passenger van pull up to the stop sign, make eye contact with me and then hit the gas to roll into the intersection. I slammed on the brakes and hit the horn. The dogs water bowl and other assorted items in the RV went flying forward. When the woman realized what she had done, she slammed on her brakes — still in the middle of the intersection. The RV slowed almost to a stop a few feet from her and I went around. She was still in the intersection with her head in her hands when we rolled away for the last 10 miles to Wrens. It was a scary moment that could have ended much worse. We’ve been very lucky on this trip and I hope things continue that way. Thanks to all of you who have been praying for our safe travels because on that day, we needed it!

4 thoughts on “Florida Part 2: Key Largo, Lakeland and north into Georgia

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us. I truly enjoy every detail and I’m left feeling as though I’ve had some part of the places that you visit. .

    Like

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