Fresh Condo, New Friends: Another Month in Mexico

We’ve just finished our second month in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico at the Playa Bonita RV park while waiting for our condo to be renovated. What a month it’s been!

February was punctuated by visits from dear friends. First we had a great weekend with Michelle and Owen May. The four of us have spent a lot of time together in Puerto Peñasco over the years, so we searched for new experiences this time, in honor of Owen’s birthday. We hit at least four new restaurants, Jessy’s, Grapes & Barley, La Negrita, and Ole Mole.

We played pickleball and visited Fernando at the Tequila Factory. Sunsets on the beach too!

One Saturday we met up two of Steve’s former colleagues. Cheryl and Janie are so much fun! They even invited me to join them at Sip and Paint the next evening.

We had a great visit with “The Toms,” our long-time friends and now Prescott neighbors. While we missed dear Nancy terribly, we honored her by visiting some of her favorite haunts and toasting her memory more than a few times.

Dave and Peggy Armstrong, our fun neighbors from Prescott, made a quick trip down. So far they’ve visited us three times while we’ve been RVing: Montana, Alaska, and Mexico. Despite a cool and windy weekend we had a great time showing them our favorite places. They hadn’t been to Rocky Point for 40 years so there was a lot to show off and, they even got to meet our long-time friend Betty at Regina’s Mexican Cocina.

In between visitors, we enjoyed time with new friends we met at the RV park, including one more session of Sip and Paint. Even Bob got in on some action that night!

One of the downsides of RV travel is making friends only to move on down the road. We’ll miss Ian, Bev & McDuff; Ken, Caren & Lulu; and Karen, Mike & Bo; and so many others we hung out with. Dinners out, sunset happy hours, and a lot of time standing around swapping stories!

I’ll especially miss my “boyfriend” McDuff, the most fun poodle I’ve ever gotten to play with! Sorry, Bev, for destroying so many of McDuff’s toys!

From these photos, you’d think all we did was eat while we were in Puerto Peñasco. Well, that might have been true, but in the midst of all the fun, we spent time most days at the condo, following the renovation process.

While construction was to be done before we left, it wasn’t meant to be. When we departed the tile work and painting was mostly done and final details still needed to be taken care of. We are confident (fingers crossed) that it will be done and ready for renters by next weekend! Here are a few shots from the day we left.

We had to hit the road. We’re currently headed east to Austin for 10 days of music, comedy, and learning at SXSW. If you aren’t familiar with one of the largest tech/music and more festivals on Earth, you can learn more here. We promise to post updates when we get there.

And the fun continues…

Asheville and the Biltmore Estate

We’d heard Asheville was cool and the rumors were true. We made our way from Savannah, through South Carolina, and on to Asheville.  On the way we made a quick stop at Conagree National Park. Located just outside of Columbia, this relatively small park features the largest contiguous expanse of old growth hardwood forest left in the United States. A lot of cool stuff grows here!

We did a quick walk on the raised boardwalk to get a feel for the landscape but the rain cut our time a bit short. Luckily, though, the bugs weren’t as bad as they could have been. We got another stamp in the NPS Passport book!

On to Asheville we traveled with two purposes: the Asheville Marathon and the Biltmore Estate. In between we checked out the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs right through Asheville. Considered “America’s Favorite Drive,” the road runs 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We did about 20 miles and enjoyed the views. Maybe we’ll do the entire thing on a future trip.

Saturday brought the big event: Steve’s 34th marathon in his 24th state. We enjoyed the warm Asheville hospitality and the finish line festivities at one of Asheville’s many breweries.

Steve finished the race in just over four hours and finished second in his age group. 

Sunday took us to the famed Biltmore Estate, built by George W. Vanderbilt in 1895. Over the course of the day we explored the grounds, the house, the winery, and the farm. Even the dogs enjoyed the property.

The 250-room chateau is considered America’s largest home with 16th century tapestries, 10,000 volume library, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, and an indoor bowling alley. 

The 8,000-acre property was home to the Biltmore Dairy and now the Biltmore Winery. We enjoyed the complimentary wine tasting and then Bob joined us for a glass at the wine bar afterwards.

We only scratched the surface of this incredible place and it was certainly a nice day exploring one of the most incredible estates in the US.

We’re now on to new adventures as we close out our six month road trip. Stay tuned for at least one more blog before we’re home!

Moving Northward in Florida State Parks ++

Since finishing our time in the Ft Lauderdale area we’ve been slowly working our way northward and beginning to think about the final portion of this six-month journey.

We left Ft Lauderdale and traveled to the northern part of Florida over two days. Overnight we stopped at a very cool Harvest Host, Organicaworld, where they are growing hemp that is being converted to “hempcrete” to build houses. They also had a cool farm store, a mean brisket, and some very friendly donkeys.

Our next stop was a visit to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, a unique property just south of Gainesville. Paynes Prairie is the only place in Florida where wild-roaming horses and bison can be found. We didn’t find them, but we enjoyed the paved 16-mile Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail, which runs through the park. 

Florida is so different from our home in Arizona. You can see from the photos that the Spanish Moss is prevalent and the forest is thick. Yes, we’ve run into bugs once in awhile but nothing a little bug spray won’t take care of.

From there we headed to the coast and to one of our favorite Florida cities: St Augustine. We stayed in this area for about 10 days last year and were lucky enough to score a seven day reservation this year at Anastasia State Park, which is located in the middle of the action. We were even warmly greeted by a local critter when we pulled in.

From our heavily wooded, secluded site, we could easily bike into town, kayak the nearby waterways, and walk to the Saturday Farmers Market.

We toured the famous lighthouse and took in the sweeping views. Overall though, we weren’t very touristy…just enjoyed the nice weather and beautiful area.

We continued the laid back vibe during our four days at the Jekyll Island Campground. We visited here last year as well and wanted to explore a little more. We rode our bikes around the island and visited the local museum to learn about the impact of the Rockefellers, Morgans, and Vanderbilts on the island in the early 1900s.

One day we took in the local art festival. I even had a chance to learn to weave.

Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate during our final days there but we kept busy in the trailer with reading, taking in a night of Bingo, and news-watching. The inclement weather also made for some spectacular sunsets.

We’re now in Savannah for a few days to take in the country’s second largest St Patrick’s Day festivities. We will actually be on our way west on the big day, but the fountains are dyed green and the party has started. 

Over the past few weeks, we’ve kind of shifted into traveler mode, rather than tourist mode. It just means we aren’t trying to see everything and do everything possible. Traveling in the RV gives us the option to slow down, soak in the places, and go at our own pace. That’s the mode we’ve been in recently…and it’s kind of nice!