My annual Florida escape (part one)

Every year I head for Florida for two or three weeks, yes, partly because of the weather, but mainly to visit my son Tom and daughter-in-law Nicole and their two playful and affectionate dogs. I often plan my visit to coincide with baseball spring training season, but this time I headed south for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

With the unseasonably warm temperatures in mid-December, I anticipated the trip down would be a breeze. (Maybe that's the wrong choice of words.) But not only was it warm, it was wet. So, three of my four travel days were rainy and foggy. The rivers I crossed and the lakes I saw were high on their banks but I took very few photos. And my adventures, besides navigating the weather and heavy traffic, were few, as I needed to get to my son and daughter-in-law's on Christmas Eve day.


Fog and rain at Carlyle Lake IL. (Day #1)
Fog and rain in downtown Atlanta GA. (Day #2)
My lodging of choice is often a cabin at a KOA or other campground. I've been staying in these cute little cabins for several years, and they are generally clean, basic (no frills), and modestly priced ($30-$60 per night). You have to provide your own bed linens and towels. Occasionally you'll get one with a TV or a microwave. The one below came complete with a small river in front of it the night I arrived.

A pleasant morning after the previous night's deluge soon turned into another day of fog and rain.
One of my favorite campgrounds--Nashville's Music City KOA.

Campgrounds are interesting in general, I find. Maybe that's because you're not so isolated from the other individuals staying there, as you are in a hotel or motel. Or maybe that's because we free spirits stay there! There wasn't much action or interaction, however, on the trip south, because of the constant rain. I stayed at campgrounds at Nashville TN and Forsyth GA the first two nights, and the campground "streets" had turned into creeks. By the third night, at a KOA in Wildwood FL, I had finally run out of the rain but that campground was overrun with small lizards, who hung out on the screen door and slithered under the cabin door. 
Wildwood FL KOA decorated for the holidays.
Little green anoles hung out (literally) on my cabin screen door.
My fourth day of travel was finally dry and sunny! The turnpike begins near Wildwood, and I took that down to the Fort Lauderdale area, arriving at Tom and Nicole's in plenty of time for Christmas cheer and a warm welcome.


Welcome to Florida--and a dry, sunny day at last. (Day #4)
Palm trees sway in a gentle breeze at one of the turnpike service areas.