A&A Life Updates | Where Have We Been?!
End of Week #124 - #144
Birch Coulee Battlefield, Morton MN > Cahokia RV Parque, Cahokia IL > Two Rivers Campground, Nashville TN > Atlanta South RV, Atlanta GA > CreekFire RV, Savannah GA > Compass RV, St. Augustine FL > Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Hobe Sound FL > Hart-T-Tree Farms Retail Lot, Coral Springs FL > Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Hobe Sound FL > John Prince Park, Lake Worth FL > Resort at Canopy Oaks, Lake Wales, FL > Moochdocking at Tim + Kimber's, Venice FL > Tillis Hill State Forest, Inverness FL > Suwanee River Rendezvous, Mayo FL
Miles traveled since my last post = 2,463 miles
Total miles traveled to date = 18,465 with trailer
Maybe it's today's New Moon in Pisces, maybe it's the upcoming change of seasons as we head into Spring, or maybe it's because we are on the road again... but I finally have a new blog post for you! And a new game plan to help ensure I don't fall off the face of the planet for another 6-9 months.
So let's get to it, shall we!
Where Have A&A Been?!
It might seem like we have been MIA for a really long time, which is totally my fault, however in the grand scheme of things we have really only had a few major things going on these past several months...
After the Beet Harvest
Once we completed our stay in southern Minnesota this past fall 2021, we had to start hightailing it down to Florida to sell Christmas Trees. Because the Beet Harvest was delayed, and thus ran long in the season, we had just a few weeks to make our way several thousand miles south. This includes a one week stay we had booked in Savannah, GA, for Halloween and Adam's birthday that we were not willing to part with or reschedule.
Making our way south to Georgia we ended up doing some of the absolute longest travel days we could ever have imagined, and it's still a bit of a shocker and a surprise that we got through them okay. Amidst all of the driving and traveling, we were still able to stop at the St. Louis Arch, spend some time in Nashville, and then spend a wonderful week again enjoying one of our favorite cities - Savannah.
From there we made a few more stops in Florida, and finally checked the wonderful east coast city of St. Augustine off of the list. We tried to go here last year on our way down for Christmas Trees, but ultimately had to evacuate our campsite because of the impeding hurricane/tropical storm that was coming our way. I'm so glad we finally go to enjoy this beautiful place and charming city!
Camp Christmas Tree
Our second year with Hart-T-Tree Farms in south Florida was a great success! We were stationed at a new lot this year, in Coral Springs, and we knew it was going to be a great challenge for us compared to where we were last year. This lot sees a lot greater volume and is located on a much busier intersection. We also ended up being the first lot to open and were immediately hit by a wave of people ready to buy their tree, well before it was even Thanksgiving!
Somehow Adam and I were able to magically jungle the responsibility of a lot twice as busy as ours was last year, all while I still worked a full-time remote day job too! We had twice as many staff working for us this year, which was both a lot to manage and a blessing in disguise for the magnitude of trees we were dealing with. And we only had to fire like 2 people this season, ha!
It turned out to be the most amazing season we could have ever asked for, and we actually finished as the top selling lot out of all of the 15 or so locations this year. We sold every last tree we had, all the way down to the skinny dry one we had left at the end. Our last day for the season ended up being Tuesday, December 21st, perfectly aligned with the Winter Solstice.
We are already looking forward to the next season, and to be reunited with our Christmas Tree family. This past season was even more awesome because we had referred a few different nomad couples we knew to come and join us, and I think they may have enjoyed it just as much as we do!
I feel like I should also mention that this holiday season was especially tough, not only because of our two job situation and high volume lot, but also because in December I suddenly and tragically lost my aunt Karen to alcohol addiction. It was a very difficult time for me to be away from my family and figuring out how to process my own thoughts and feelings.
Venice, FL with family
Shortly after the holidays, and into the new year 2022, we headed to our next great adventure in moochdocking with my extended family in southwest Florida, on the gulf coast. My great aunt and uncle, Tim and Kimber, were kind enough to invite us to park on the side of their house in Venice, FL, and stay as long as we wanted.
We ended up staying with them for 7 weeks, enjoying all that we could of the beach, the sunshine, and the company of amazing family. I will admit that we did a lot of eating out, and eating well at that, but we surely enjoyed ourselves! And we did a lot of exploring too! We already can't wait to come back again next year and see what kind of shenanigans we can all get ourselves into.
On our way to Venice we celebrated our 100th campsite on the road!
Other Life Updates
Amanda's arm surgery
You may not have heard, but three weeks ago I had surgery on my left arm, with local anesthesia, while we were staying in Venice, FL. On Tuesday, February 1st, while I was working out after work, I discovered a lump on my left forearm, halfway between my elbow and my wrist. I just happened to brush my right hand across that area, and started obsessing over what it could be and how on earth it got there!
Thankfully, my great aunt and uncle were able to recommend a small clinic for me to go to, where they knew the doctor and the staff. I went in for an initial appointment and it was established that the best way to analyze what this mystery blob was would be to take it out. We scheduled surgery for the following week, on Wednesday, February 9th. I was already having a lot of anxiety at this point, and I just wanted to get it out of me. This doctor was willing to give me a really good out of pocket deal (since my current medical insurance is in the state of Minnesota), and it felt like the right thing to do.
The surgery itself was actually more painful than I anticipated, as it was discovered that the blog was deeper than thought, and attached to my muscles. It came out in pieces and took about 30 minutes for the doctor to finish scraping it all out. I also had to be given more anesthesia during the procedure because I started to feel too much, ugh! It couldn't have been done soon enough.
I impatiently had to wait a whole additional week, until Wednesday, February 16th, to find out the results from pathology during my appointment to remove my four stitches. I am grateful to the stars above that it came back benign, but I still have a lot of angst about this and what it really was. It did not come back as a typical lipoma and is still a bit of a mystery...
Regardless, I have been healing well, and will end up with a pretty gnarly scar on my arm!
A weekend in the U.S. Virgin Islands
In honor of celebrating 1,000 days as nomads, and to make the best of a long weekend in February, Adam and I had been trying to plan an adventure for a few months. Originally, we were going to drive down to the Keys and take the sea plane out to Dry Tortuga National Park, however we kind of screwed that booking up and forgot to book a place to stay in Key West until it was too late. Nothing ended up being available for less than like $700 per night, and we decided it was going to be best to pivot into something different.
Since my great aunt and uncle so graciously were going to RV and Bengal cat sit for us, we decided to do something a little different, and board a plane for the first time since December 2018 - pre RV life! We drove ourselves back across the state of Florida, to the Fort Lauderdale airport, and departed for the US Virgin Islands! Adam found us a killer deal on Expedia, a deal that he used to entice me to want to get away to a Caribbean island - and let's just say that it worked!
We spent 3 nights on the island of St. Thomas, and immediately fell in love. The vibe, the energy, the weather, the WATER, island life - all of it. Incredible! We rented a car and drove around the whole thing one day, we took a ferry to the amazing St. John one day, and we explored Water Island off the coast of St. Thomas another day. The entire experience was far too short, and extremely magical in every way. To say that Adam is already plotting how we will live there one day would be an understatement.
More to come on this adventure!
On the road again
Last Saturday, February 26th, we hit the road again, to start on our 5 week adventure taking us back out west. Our first 'major' stop will be Camp Verde, Arizona, where we spent about 2 months at the beginning of 2020 - just before covid hit. This area is our favorite place in Arizona, as it's the geographical center of the state, and so close to one of our favorite cities ever - Sedona!
We are currently in the 'armpit' of Florida and will be moving onto the panhandle later this weekend. Instead of taking the direct route through the middle of Texas, we will be detouring up through Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. We haven't RV'd in these states and wanted to take this opportunity to cross off some new stops.
Our reservation in Camp Verde begins on Friday, April 1st, four weeks from this upcoming Friday. And I can't wait to return to the desert, the dry heat, and the red rocks!
You may have recently seen on Facebook, that we just snorkeled with manatees last weekend on our way north. This was one of my bucket list activities for Florida!
Okay, I'm not going to prematurely make any promises on how often I will be posting moving forward, but I will say that it is my plan to be back on a at least semi-consistent schedule. My initial goal is every other week, but if that ends up equaling out to 1-2 times a month, than I will be happy.
Once you fall off the writing horse, it is a lot harder than expected to jump back on it - especially when we have like 10x more going on these days than we did even a year ago. But regardless, I am going to make an honest effort to stay on track, and not fall off that horse again!
P.S. I'm truly sorry, but I was only able to get ONE photo to load on the site with our service at our campsite. It took me over 20 minutes for that one photo, so I'm sure you can understand why I didn't pursue more! :)
I have recently become affiliated with Amazon, through the set up of my own storefront page. Here I am able to list and link all of the items I have purchased through Amazon and would recommend for various needs. I have lists set up for fulltime RVing, camping in general, traveling with cats, health and wellness, and even curly hair! Plus, as an added bonus, I will make a small commission on any items purchased through my link.
If you want to check out more of my storefront page, here is the link: Spark Fire Swan's Amazon
I will continue to add items as time goes on, as we are always finding something new on there that becomes quite useful to our lifestyle or for our feline friends. As a rule of thumb, I only ever link things we have actually purchased, kept, and use on a frequent basis!