We flew to St. Thomas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, leaving our shiny home for one week at the long term airport parking lot…yikes! Before our departure, we triple-checked this option. I had heard of others leaving their trailers in RV parks while they were away but that was a rather expensive option…especially in Florida in the winter when the parks are full and the prices are high. On the Sunday before our departure, we did a trial run. Having never been to the Fort Lauderdale airport with an Airstream in tow, we wanted to scope out the parking lot. Would we fit? Was it crowded? Was it safe? We tested the parking situation and we almost fit into two spots (we stuck out a little on either end but did not block the parking lot rows). The parking attendant suggested with talk to the economy parking office employees. So we did and they approved of us parking in two spaces, even if we didn’t fit just right in those spaces. On Monday, we nervously left our home in the airport parking lot (with a note in the window of the truck explaining that we received permission from the main office to take up two spaces.) Yes, we were a bit paranoid.
Upon our return, I am happy to report that our humble abode remained in its spot, appearing unharmed. Chris noted that this is the first time he had ever taken an airport shuttle directly to his home. Nice! And, even better…they only charged us for one vehicle. Perhaps this was a mistake–we did not question nor argue the price. In the end, we paid $7.50 per day for parking our Airstream. Not too shabby!
Going against my previous vow (again), I made reservations at Markham Park Campground in Sunrise, Florida so we would have a definitive place to go upon our arrival. For once, making reservations worked out really well. I confess, however, that we did check the campground before we left for St. Thomas to make sure it would suit our internet needs. The campground is located in a huge county park that has 86 RV/tent sites and occupies 666 acres of land at the edge of the Everglades and Alligator Alley. The sites are huge and the facilities are clean. We were both impressed with the park campsites but even more impressed with the really nice dog park within walking distance of the campground.
I spent my days enjoying the wonderful Florida warm weather, taking the dogs to the dog park, catching up on my social media (since I had missed an entire week!), and doing a lot of laundry at the local laundromat. Each night, Chris and I would take the dogs to the park just before dark to let them have one last run. Buddy successfully marked every tree, fence post, and bench in the park while AJ had his fair share of human interaction (Seriously…he has no interest in the dogs…only the owners). We met some nice people and, sadly, some not-so-nice people and the dogs appeared quite content for the week.
As I mentioned before, the park is huge. And, I, being the idiot that I am, neglected to fully explore the park. I seemed to keep busy doing other things during the week. What I should have done, however, was study the campground/park map to see what other features, aside from the spectacular dog park, were offered in the area. Like I said, it was an incredibly beautiful, sunny week…in fact, I was almost too hot at times. As we departed the park on Saturday, I glanced down at a piece of paper sitting on the floor of the truck. It was the campground map. I picked it up to add it to our recycling pile and noticed the words “Swimming Pool.” Apparently the park has a really nice swimming pool, that includes a mist pool, snack bar, showers and restrooms. Doh! Double Doh! You have no idea how embarrassed and sad I am that I missed this. Note to self: Lani, you are an idiot. Read the campground map next time.
Nonetheless, we had a great week and I am convinced that I absolutely do not miss winter. Snowbirds: an intelligent group of people.
Finally, I’d like to share a story unrelated to Airstream travel but one that made our week even more wonderful. Chris’ sister, Jen, and her husband, Tim, have been in the process of adopting two little boys from Haiti for two years. In the days following the tragic earthquake, Tim traveled to Haiti to see what he could do to bring his boys home. After an exhausting week that included sitting for days at the Embassy, assisting with surgeries in his “spare” time (don’t worry…he’s a paramedic!), and experiencing the many terrifying aftershocks, Tim was able to get the boys’ papers processed as well as the papers of 14 other orphans whose families were eagerly awaiting their arrival in the United States.
On Saturday, all 16 children arrived safely in the United States and were united with their families. Chris and I had the pleasure of meeting our new nephews, Sammy and Gino and it was an absolutely joyous moment. For more information on their story, check out their blog at www.hisblogherblog.blogspot.com. Also, check out www.haiti-relief.org to donate to Heartline Ministries, an organization that runs the orphanage and is also currently operating a medical clinic, assisting those injured in the earthquake. Additionally, I attach a video provided by Tampa’s ABC Action News of Sammy and Gino’s homecoming. Enjoy!