Visiting The Villages – December 2017

I have an aunt that moved to The Villages after retirement, and having reconnected with her recently and being in Florida already, we decided to visit her and The Villages for the first time.

It was a long day’s drive down from Destin, but other than an hour delay on the freeway due to an accident when we were almost there, the trip went smoothly. We stayed in the Wildwood RV Resort which was fine for two nights, although we’d probably explore other options the next time we’re in the area.

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A Break at Henderson Beach State Park – December 2017

After four days of cold driving, we finally reached the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, Henderson Beach State Park. Henderson Beach State Park is an oasis of (relative) quiet amidst the condos, big box stores and chain restaurants of Destin, Florida.

The weather was still cold … during our stay, lows were in the 30s and highs were mostly in the 50s. The upside: it’s still warmer than at home, and the camper’s beach was often empty and never had more than a few people on it. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed on any Florida beaches. So between the cool weather and needing to spend time elsewhere with the dog, we didn’t spend a lot of time on the beach each day.

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The Sprint South – December 2017

The downside of heading south in late December or January is the need to drive hard toward warmer weather. While our Excel is very well insulated, we can’t completely dewinterize until we’re far enough south that high temps are above freezing, and there is always the concern of snow and ice as well.

Our first year, in late January, we had decent weather by Memphis and fully dewinterized at that point. Last year, in late December, we had beautiful weather (high of 60) by the time we hit Arkansas. We figured in early December, we’d have warmish weather all the way south. The reality turned out to be temperatures that did not go above freezing the first two days and left us dodging snow in Alabama.

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Winter 2018 Plans

Winter 2018 will be different for us, as we’re having Christmas in Texas instead of the frozen tundra up north. That means instead of heading south after Christmas, we can head south as soon as the doctor okays Oma for travel. (Oma broke her ankle in October.)

Since the spring break crowds kept us from Florida last winter, our plan is to head south to Florida and visit┬ámy aunt in The Villages, then head west to Texas. We’re not going to have a lot of time in Florida, Alabama or Mississippi, but we’ll make a few stops along the way.

After Christmas in Houston, we’ll head west through Texas and New Mexico into Arizona. Our plan is to check out many state parks and several national parks and monuments that we haven’t seen before. Our turn-around point will be the Sedona area, which we’ve never visited. After Sedona, we’ll work our way back into Texas, camping with the grandkids near the Texas panhandle over spring break. We’ll finish our winter with two weeks on Galveston Island, where we can enjoy the beach and Gulf and visit the kids and grandkids before returning home.