One mistake that I feel we’ve made on this trip is that we tend to be in perpetual motion. We never stop longer than a week (or two with family), and often we stay at a place for shorter than that. The reason this happens is that we make plans to visit with friends and family along the trip, and find ourselves rushing to get to where ever it is that we are planning on meeting folks.
After our long stay in Orlando, then a lengthy cruise, then a long stay with cousins (first in Fort Lauderdale then in Key West) we find ourselves back in perpetual motion. Knowing we had a fairly lengthy drive from Key West to New Orleans and a week to get there, I tried to break up or drive with at least couple days stay where we could, and I tried to keep the drive down to five hours or shorter. However, after our first stop at Pine Island KOA (just a short distance from Fort Myers, Florida), we had to drive nearly 6 hours to reach our next stop in rural Perry, Florida. This meant we had to leave our Pine Island campground get a little earlier than usual. I really did not like spending such a short time at the Pine Island KOA. It was an excellent KOA, but it was packed. In addition to being packed this particular KOA was more of a retirement community with a lot of full time residents. There were countless activities arranged by the residents, but most of them were targeted at an audience a bit older than us.
The day of our departure we awoke to thunder, lightning and dumping rain. As I loaded the camper, moving items from the truck where we store them to the camper in back, it took no time before I was completely soaked. When we finally hit the road the weather got much worse. Heading up Interstate 75 we hit the worst rain and wind that I have seen on this trip. The posted minimum speed on Interstate 75 was 50 MPH, yet even in the left lane traffic was slowing down to 40 MPH as visibility was down to maybe 100 feet.
Eventually we reached Tampa, Florida and the weather started clearing up and before long the skies were clear and sunny. This morning I woke up to find news stories sent from my mother-in-law of a EF2 tornado that hit Cape Coral last night (the cape that sits between Fort Myers and Pine Island). I actually speak from experience when I say sleeping in a camper with nearby tornadoes is not fun, as this happened on our first ever trip out in the camper to the Olympic Peninsula. That night was a rough one as waterspouts were seen in the water just north of where we were camping. I guess the moral to the story is sometimes perpetual motion is not always a bad thing. Even though there are no reports that I could find of a tornado hitting Pine Island, I don’t think it would have been a fun night spent in a camper in those conditions. I just hope all of those folks staying at the Pine Island KOA are okay today.