St Augustine, Florida was the perfect place for a mid-journey rest. We stayed at a KOA just south of the city, close enough to the beach for a lovely morning walk in the sunshine.
We headed into the city for lunch at GAS restaurant, a slow food establishment owned by an enterprising young woman. We enjoyed exceptional food and tottered out sated to see the sights. After a solid month of clouds in Ohio, the simple presence of sun put us all in good spirits. We walked the bridge over the bay and paused to watch shore birds and a ship under full sail.
We walked alllll over the beautiful city, enjoying the Spanish architecture and lush gardens. Thoroughly pooped, we took a cab back to the campsite for the night.
The next morning was D-day: driving day! My stomach felt all lurchy as my Dad drove us north, nervous with the thought that my time to learn was coming up! Just like in school, I took the tactic of stalling to go last! Nat took over the wheel at the Florida/Georgia border. After major mirror and seat adjustments (which are still not quite right–we simply need longer legs!), Nat hit the highway. And we did not die! He did a smashing job, even driving all by himself up front while Dad and I had lunch.
Gulp! My turn! And again, we did not die! I was surprised at how quickly I got used to using just the side mirrors, and how well she handled. We stopped in Statesville, NC, for the best damn barbeque I’ve ever had (Carolina BBQ) and stayed at a wet and dreary KOA that was decidedly un-level.
The last day of driving was exhilarating and exhausting. We left the rain and started up into the mountains. It was stunning up there: bright and sunny, the trees shimmering with snow, and the valleys below misty and dream-like. It was very hard to alternate driving styles for going up and down the big grades. Chug, chug, chug, followed by WHOOOOOO! It felt oh-so-good to finally arrive at our RV’s homebase, my mom and dad’s house. I successfully shot the snowy rapids into the driveway, missed the ditch, and pulled to a stop. I may have cried, just a bit, because I felt so excited at our future prospects that are finally starting to feel real.