The Sunshine State

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Last night, I was reminiscing over our trip–looking through photos, and rereading all the journal entries I had written during our days on the road. It is therapeutic–this taking myself back and reliving all the incredible moments that made up those days. It inspired me to finally get around to writing the posts of each place we visited, and I thought with it being Monday and all, the sunshine state would be a good place to start.

11334281_1098542503494432_2471743982320391269_oFlorida was a particularly beautiful state, and it was the first bit of relaxation and toes-in-the sand we really got to experience.

Speaking of toes in the sand, after all the rain we encountered in the early weeks of our trip, we were dying for salty hair and tan lines. This lead us on detour down to Seaside Beach. It took us two hours off of our planned route, but it was well worth the extra mileage. We 11201913_1118686971479985_3020908183258890975_nmay have been a bit biased since it was our first beach of the trip, but it was one of the most beautiful we had ever visited. The sand was so white and so soft, and the ocean was warm and bright blue–inviting us in. Although our time there was short-lived, it was one of our favorites. That night we packed it in for a few hours at a rest-stop along our route. In the morning we discovered (by way of googling for another rest-stop) that overnight roadside sleeping in Florida is illegal. Oops. Needless to say we camped for the remainder of our time in the state.

11659267_1118687058146643_3000549274939066809_nFrom there we made our way to Homestead. Though we had been warned about “wet-season” (which is May-November), we decided to spend a night in Everglades National Park. For those who don’t know, wet-season equals bugs. Everywhere. Gnats by morning, flies by day, and mosquitoes by night, all of which are not shy about biting! The park was great, but we sure were glad to leave only twelve hours after arriving. On our way back out of the park we passed a palm tree farm, and a few businesses with old cars out front. I couldn’t help but feel like we were traveling back to a simpler time in life. Here we were driving down this single lane road lined with palm trees with the windows down, the breeze coming in, and music on the radio. It was so unreal, and felt like our own little slice of the good old days.

Continuing south, we headed to Key West and found 10400012_1118687228146626_8195942185748513335_nourselves in awe the entire 113 miles down US 1. It was an incredibly skinny highway with nothing but vibrant blue water on each side spanning for miles and miles. Once we arrived we were able to find camping on the beach. We were met with more rain the following day, but that didn’t stop us from exploring and having a fruity drink in the sand. We rented bikes and toured the island, ate conch fritters and key lime pie, and even fed wild chickens (which are very prevalent in the area). For our last night on the island, we watched the sunset from the White Street Fishing Pier, seeing shark and sting rays swimming below.

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Overall, our time in Florida was full of salty hair and exploration–both of the state and ourselves. I am still so amazed at how vividly I can remember the way the air smelled, the way the pebbles felt on my feet, and the way my heart swelled when I watch Mitchell’s excitement over seeing those sharks. It’s almost as if I can close my eyes and feel all those feelings all over again–my hair wet and tangled over my shoulders, the buzz of the traffic as we sat and ate, and the way the cool water felt when it waved up over my stomach as I inched my way in.

Isn’t crazy? How your memories work, pulling you right back to that very moment and place in time? I am so excited to relive all of these adventures as I share them with you.

Until next time. And by that, I mean see you on Wednesday with a new post.

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