They should charge for this kind of Walmart RV parking! Very comfortable spot, free. Well, unless you consider how much our family spent in this store. Hey, I wonder if this 'free parking in our lot' thing is a trick?

Our first night we picked a Beals lot that ran parallel to the highway to overnight in. I have decided that we need better exposure to the public to increase the visibility of the website(s) and perhaps stimulate TalkingTruck sales. Where we park makes a big difference in who we get to meet and therefore what our experience is in any community. Today this would turn out to be a good move considering what great things this community has to offer that would go by unnoticed by an uninformed traveler. The bus was noticed and we received a half dozen emails from locals that had suggestions on what to do in their neck of the woods.

The first night we noticed several vehicles stop by and tune in the bus radio while we were paying attention. Turns out that several more did the same thing and we didn’t see it, but they emailed later to admit that they had tuned in and had ideas to share. We love this kind of icebreaker (the text on the side of the bus)- it tells folks our story and admits that we like to meet others, providing a common ground for a discussion before they say ‘Hello’.

That evenings gentle sunset had turned into a weather emergency that we became aware of after a full nights' rest:

I awakened to cloudy skies and turned on the TV, and CB weather channel to get the low down on what was in store for the day, and heard something we hadn’t prepared for. Coming from the mountains of Colorado, we don’t have tornadoes, we don’t have thunderstorms that last more than 15 or 20 minutes, we don’t have flooding and we generally don’t have to worry about severe weather beyond snowfall, which occurs gradually. Where do you go if there’s a tornado watch (conditions are right) or severe thunderstorm warning (has been spotted in the area and is imminent) in a bus? As the automated weather radio voice went through the cautions: get away from windows, get inside a sturdy building, do not travel… we realized that in the bus, we were going against every warning, so we moved about ½ mile to the most solid block construction building we had seen- and there’s one in every town: Walmart. Not only do we buy Horizon milk there- we’re using it for shelter, too. Kelly sounded the alert and had everyone up and in some clothing by the time I pulled into the lot a couple of minutes later and we browsed for about 40 minutes, until the severe weather warning was lifted. Not many people out in that weather, and not many kids, and not many kids in their half dressed, messy hair pajamas. It was surreal looking. Comfortable though- couldn’t hear the wind or the rain, unlike when it had hit the bus like a bucket of water thrown sideways at us. We left with a couple of breakfast items, and a new weather alert radio- which will automatically come on and alert us for any weather warnings in the future as we travel the East coast during spring storm season. The weather lifted later that morning to reveal the nice people and began to introduce us to the great things about this community.

Wendy's mom had a convertible, and indulged the kids' request to show them how it worked. She also showed them how it felt to ride with the wind in your hair. For the last 2 weeks they have noticed every convertible that has passed, and have been guessing how they work.

We visited this town because Kelly’s high school friends Wendy and her family were visiting her mother for spring break from Ohio- so we jumped on the opportunity to see them over a couple of days of activities. We spent one afternoon at Whispering Pines Park, and strolled across Cooter Pond.

A meandering boardwalk just a few feet from the menagerie of wild Florida is a real treat at Cooter Pond in Inverness, FL. Park at the Sheriff's Dept and head for the waters edge.

Cooter Pond is a free city park, adjacent to the Sheriff’s office downtown, and is a don’t miss if you’re close. Gators, Gar fish, lots of turtles, snakes and all from the safety of a raised boardwalk. We held over an extra day or two, visited the Homosassa Springs State Park- saw our first manatees, and met some local folks.

The things that look like massive smooth rocks under the surface of the water are manatees. Up to 3,000 pounds of gentle plant eating giants. Like overweight mermaids- with beards. Awesome.

In one case, a lady that had emailed several times finally came by so we could talk face to face. She was so kind to provide a list of things to do with kids, money saving coupons and even offered to share her paracord bracelets that she makes, with the kids.  Rosie ended up coming by to chat and we had a very enjoyable discussion about how she ended up in this area, how she was involved in the community, where she came from and generally just got to know her. We shared about our travels and then she opened up a tote she had brought along to measure wrist sizes for her custom made bracelets. Sturdy, professionally woven and full of color and pattern options we picked out a few and she offered them to us. She also shared some postcards that featured her photographs and provided some final tips for visiting the area.

Rosie and John stopped in to say hello, provide local info and gave everybody a cool paracord bracelet. She makes them, and sells them or donates them to local charities (like a traveling family). She's a nice lady- and makes a professional quality product. She didn't ask for a plug for the bracelets, but they're very cool.

Rosie's Paracord bracelets (any color or size)
E-mail her at

Rosie really represented the community very well; as did a few others that we met and chatted with. A home school mom and her mother stopped by as they were headed to a pow-wow in a neighboring community- they wanted to make sure we knew about it. We already had plans and started across the state to the East coast, to my brothers home in Daytona Beach.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park had this opportunity in their visitor center. Not sure if it was ever alive, or a really good concrete one. Simon was a good sport (and glad to be back in the air conditioned building- man that boy can sweat)