It’s Like Comparing Peaches and Oranges! – Georgia and Florida

By Remy ( Photos by Liz )

With the Harlem Globetrotters ear worm of a theme song playing in our heads we plunged into the Deep South (the Southern South?). We had already encountered live oak in our travels through the Carolinas, but in Georgia they are king. These trees, which grow wider than they are tall, able to withstand hurricane winds and whose wood was too heavy and tough to work for shipbuilding, define the urban space in Savannah. This was one of the first planned cities in North America, and it shows. Dozens of plazas and squares dot the old town, all of them full of these majestic tress which are festooned with Spanish moss. We set ourselves up in Forsyth Park, which is the main park area in the old part of town. There we met other nomads and connected with old friends in a beautiful site that allowed us to explore the town extensively on our bikes.

This is where our BBQ exploration began in earnest. Not a bad experience for our first attempt, but things would only get better!
The riverfront of Savannah at night. A developer has refurbished the old power generation station, which is a neat, old, turn-of-the-last-century brick edifice, into a very hip arts/restaurant/entertainment space that is a lot of fun to hang out at. And of course, there is a paddle wheeler boat that gives tours of the harbour.
Another nomad that we met where we were parked at the park. There seems to be a high proportion of single women that are choosing this lifestyle. Letia built out her van herself while living in a third-storey apartment in San Diego. She would cut materials in her place then run them downstairs to install in the van which she had to park on the street – impressive! Made me feel like a prima don with the exceptional arrangement I had had in Calgary.
Another nomad, Tafia, who has been living on the road for the past six years, four of those out of the back of this Honda Element (prior to that he had a backpack and hitch hiked and rode the rails around the USA). He is a talented musician and supports himself by busking.
Those squares and trees I talked about – here they are! And in case you’re wondering, my position on the bike is not as painful as it looks.
This is a very common and popular way to tour the city of Savannah. Unless, like me, it would turn you into a wheezy, snotty mess.
Our friends Margie, Shannon and Sequoia (pictured here in mid-air with Liz) made a significant detour to come join us for a couple of days in Savannah. Sequoia was very excited to see us again, and we enjoyed seeing their family after having first met them in Newfoundland and then again in Nova Scotia. They had worried that a serious plumbing issue in their van might derail their odyssey a couple of months into their year-long plan, but they sorted it out and headed south (at the urging of Liz) to join us in missing out on a Canadian winter.
The public washrooms at Forsyth Park – no kidding! We know you all wonder about this aspect of the lifestyle, and the situation is not always this nice, but sometimes you luck out! There was even a city police officer assigned to monitor the entrance.
It turns out that both Liz and Sequoia had independently developed an interested in hooking rugs during our time in the Maritimes. Each had bogged down a bit in their respective projects, but the discovery of this mutual interest re-ignited their motivations and great progress was made on both works. This was right before we were scheduled (funny word to use, given that we actually don’t have one!) to leave Savannah while “The Ladies”, as Liz has dubbed them, were going to stay another day or two in the area. Sequoia was sad to see us go and was plotting some means of chaining our two vans together to prevent the separation.
A surprise reunion at Tybee Beach, just outside of Savannah. By the time we had completed our administration (groceries, propane, water, dumping the toilet, etc.) it did not make sense to hit the road so we joined “The Ladies” on Tybee Island to celebrate American Thanksgiving. This was kept secret from Sequoia until we walked up to them on the beach with a bag of her favourite popcorn. Her reaction knocked Liz a bit off-balance.
Fun photo on Tybee Beach!
The dolphins of Tybee Island watching us watching them. They were cavorting so close to the beach that it would have made me think twice about going for a swim.
Can you believe what a great photographer Liz is! This was sunset near Fort Pulaski, where we met “The Ladies” for the night and shared the Thanksgiving dinner that they had been preparing all day in their Insta-Pot.
The magic of the wide-angle lens! Serving up dinner in our van, looking like a unit in a boutique Manhattan hotel.
Proof that we can sit five people in the van, comfortably, and serve up a multi-course meal! (Objects in this image are closer than they appear)
Another stop on the BBQ tour of the South, this roadside stand on Tybee Island was much more authentic and tasty than our first effort. It is good to have a purpose in life! Yesterday all we had was a porpoise.

We had developed a taste for the beach life again in the Peach State which we wished to cultivate further so we continued down the coast into Florida. We learned that the relationship with the beach down here is fraught, as we began to encounter houses built up on stilts to counter the effect of storm-driven surges in water levels. It would appear that Florida is so flat that if you stand on an orange crate you can probably see both coasts. It was neat to take the coastal highway, which follows the string of barrier islands that line the Atlantic coast of the state.

What had been a dirty bird is transformed into a clean eagle after a workout on the beach and a bracing outdoor shower! It is always a treat to find public outdoor plumbing.
We were contacted by some more new nomad friends, Chris and Doug, whom we had also initially met in Newfoundland. They were in Florida already, visiting parents, and when they found out we were nearby offered to meet with us and show us the manatees! We immediately changed our plan (which is generally hazy to begin with) and continued further south to meet them at Blue Springs State Park which is a wintering site for these strange beasts. The springs produce water that is warm enough for these gentle giants to survive, and when we visited there were over four hundred of them basking in the water.
With Chris and Doug at Blue Springs. They were just preparing for their annual snowbird trip to Colombia but took time out of their schedule to meet us and introduce us to the amazing manatees. It was also an opportunity for Doug, an IPA aficionado, to try out a new microbrewery nearby.
A humorous intersection in Deland, Florida. We could use more such street signs around the world!
It can’t always be a beach or a Forsyth Park! Our little van life tribe set up at a Walmart parking lot in Deland where we had shared dinner and drinks the night before. check out our little garden between our vans!
Not sure why Georgia peaches got such big billing in this Florida fruit stand – maybe they count as exotic here. We sampled a few different kinds of the many varieties of citrus that are produced in this state.
Another amazing place to stay in Florida’s state capital, Tallahassee: Lafayette Heritage Trail Park. That is me and Liz doing some yoga in the amphitheatre. I just hope it didn’t amplify the old-man noises that I make when recovering from upward facing dog.
Our first time on the Gulf of Mexico! This has to be the most beautiful beach we have ever seen – crystal clear water and white sand as fine as talcum powder! Unfortunately, it is mostly privately owned and difficult to find public access to the beach. This doesn’t seem right.

We have reached what will be our southernmost point in the US, and for all that I have talked about having no schedule, now we actually do! We have a concert date in Memphis, Tennessee, and while we are loath to head back north, we are also excited to go see Chris Stapleton play live! We will get to see much more of the South along the way, too, which is an exciting prospect – we like it down here!

~Rémy~

Published by tompkinsontheroad

Married mother of two awesome boys who is now living full time in a self converted Camper van and seeing more of the world. We gave up something super special to live our dream of living a free and simple life on the road exploring new places and taking joy in the discovery of the extraordinary

5 thoughts on “It’s Like Comparing Peaches and Oranges! – Georgia and Florida

  1. I get so excited when I see a new nomadnrad blog – you’re my favourite email! We’ve had a very mild November and December up here, but a little snowfall today – wouldn’t really be Canada without one every once in a while. Stay safe and if you get around Plant City, Florida, check out the strawberries. They are firm, white inside, but very tasty. Plant City also has a Strawberry festival that has been known to host some good shows.
    Stay safe. Lynne xx

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  2. So wonderful to be able to meet up with you in Florida and introduce you to our favorite gentle giants, the Manatees! Happy travels and See you down the road!

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  3. Loved reading your post and seeing all your pictures ! We are back to restrictions again due to the Omicron Covid – sure hope they don’t close the border again!
    Stay safe my friends and enjoy your travels ! 😘
    Lucy and Joe Lehmann

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