Ah, the comforting sight of yet another sandy, warm beach. The only differences are that this time we’re in the far eastern side of the United States instead of the western side and that it’s 80 degrees and sunny in October. It’s not the climate to which we’re accustomed but beggars can’t be choosers and this doesn’t exactly fill us with complaints. After two weeks in North Carolina, we left the ideal vacation weather of Oak Island behind us and strolled directly into the ideal vacation weather of Melbourne instead.
We got to Savannah, GA before the van endured its second breakdown of our journey, barring the minor electrical issues from the North Carolina Outer Banks. I had detected some funniness when the van was shifting and Brooke and I pulled off the highway to check things out. We heard some serious squeaking in the rear end that had just started. After some research and a few phone calls (Thanks, Mitch!), we were confident that it was the rear u-joint that was failing and tried to find a transmission/driveline place to replace it for us. Unfortunately, Savannah on a Sunday didn’t leave us any options except a Firestone. They were able to repair it by that evening but our luck didn’t hold out because it failed a second time later that evening at 70mph, an event I continue to describe as “shit-inducing.” We burned 2/3 of our AAA towing trips to get us to a place to sleep and then back to Firestone the following day where the fixed it for good.
After Savannah, Brooke and I slept outside Jacksonville and then got to Melbourne the following day. We spent the first couple of nights in the van during some seasonally appropriate but still lethally humid subtropical rains. We couldn’t open up the windows for fear of getting everything soaked so we were forced to simply share our tiny fan and deal with the heat. I was especially excited to get to Melbourne because it’s where most of my coworkers are. I’m very fortunate to have a job I can do online that allows me to travel but spending some time in the office with everybody face-to-face is just as satisfying. Having worked with them for a year and a half and only actually met them for a week in December ’16 didn’t have any impact on how friendly and accommodating all my thoroughly awesome and kickass coworkers are. My job is so kickass, in fact, that after a few days of being in Melbourne, they got an AirBnB for Brooke and I to stay at until we left Florida. While not explicitly necessary to our survival, we were extremely grateful for such a comfortable place to stay. We were slightly ahead of schedule so we’d be in town for about three weeks before our next departure and we took full advantage of our comfy digs and spare time.
During our stay, I quickly adjusted to waking up and going to the office to work each day instead of the van or a coffee shop. Brooke dropped me off there and then worked on her commissioned pieces while I was away. In the evenings, we’d go for walks on the beach (no joke!), take photos, eat ALL the food, and generally explore and have a good time. We had intended to take a weekend trip to the Everglades but it was unsurprisingly pouring wet there which we weren’t fully prepared for. Instead, we settled for the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve in Melbourne where we saw some cute and quirky turtles but unfortunately no alligators.
At the behest of one of my supervisors, Brooke and I got dinner one night at a popular and insanely good restaurant, Too Cool Cafe. Despite the strong recommendation and good reviews, I set my expectations low because the place is practically connected to a car wash. I have never been so wrong. Too Cool Cafe sent my taste buds into orbit and they have not yet reentered the atmosphere. It was that good.
Outside of that, we enjoyed a regular work schedule and the time we could spend relaxing together, particularly getting caught up on Stranger Things. We also got to prepare for The Mini-Trip which Brooke will educate you about in the next post. We’re happy and energized and ready to continue our travels. Until then, everything is fine.