This past weekend my roommate and I took Bertha (yes, she has a name) out for another truck camping excursion, this time down to Tampa, FL.
My birthday was last Wednesday, and this’ll be the third year in a row that I’ve celebrated by going to the Bay Area Renaissance Festival. I’ve been a big fan of renaissance festivals since I learned of their existence back in college. The last two years we stayed in cheap hotels at a cost of about $32 a night. Like with the Myrtle Beach trip, the costs this time ended up about the same since fuel is about twice as much for my truck as it is for the roomie’s Vibe.
It being my birthday means that I now have less than two years to meet my goal of going full-timing before I turn 30. Or 725 days, 1 hour, and 52 minutes to be exact at the time of this post. I have a counter pinned to my desktop, so that I’m always aware of how much more time I have.
Maybe now your wondering why I picked an exact date. Why did it have to be February 21st, 2013? Because when you set a specific date for a goal, it becomes much more real. Instead of thinking “Oh, I’ll get around to that someday” you think “Holy cow, 725 days to completely change the way I live my life, I better get working on this!” Always choose a date if you have a choice. Yes, it’ll generate some tension, but that’s good. That’s what will make you actually work on it and follow through.
Anyway, back to this past weekend. Here’s some picture proof of the weekend’s festivities.
That’s me having a go at a court dance on Sunday, can you find me? I’ll admit the black hoodie takes away from my costume, but it was chilly that morning. Do I know anything about renaissance era court dancing? Not at all, but part of my goal of enjoying the journey more involves more participation and less observing.
And here’s a better picture of my costume, which I spent more money on than any other three ‘normal’ outfits I own combined. I bought it right out of college, once I had started making money at my first ‘real’ job. Still wearing the hoodie in this pic so you can’t see the rather epic sleeves this thing has. They’re long and kind of curly. And kind of hard to explain without a picture.
So, a bit of information if you’re going to be truck camping or dry camping with an RV in Florida. Last time I went truck camping I stayed exclusively in Wal-Mart parking lots, since the noise level was lower than staying at a truck stop. But as it turns out, Wal-Marts down here typically don’t allow overnight parking. The reason why is a combination of the desirable winter climate and the high cost to stay in campgrounds. They were having issues with people staying not just overnight but long term during the winter months, and so decided not to allow it at all to save themselves the hassle.
So instead we ended up at a Flying J Friday night and a Travel America Saturday night.
They’re both located less than 15 minutes away from the festival, right across the road from one another actually. The Flying J had dubious signs posted up that made it sound like overnighting for non-commercial vehicles was frowned upon and there would be no patrols by law enforcement etc. which made us a little worried since we arrived at about 1am and everything seems creepy at that time of night.
The guy at the counter said it was okay for us to stay the night though, and there were plenty of other vehicles around. At about 4am my roommate woke up at just the right time to see a police car pull into the parking lot despite the posted notice and she was a bit nervous that we were going to get kicked out, but nothing happened.
This was the view from the back of the truck on night two. While the Flying J had a lot of other pickups and vans around, this parking lot was full of RVers, which made me happy. I could pretend that I was dry camping in the Casita among peers. While the roomie paid $12(!) for a shower, I stayed in the truck bed and imagined who might be staying in these RVs and where they were going. When she got back she said the shower was worth it. It was hotel quality, had nice towels, and was very clean, the staff apparently cleaned it out after each use.
This was the one downside of our parking spot at the Travel America. This was my view from the side window of the truck topper while laying down, even with our little black Velcro curtains in place. The green glow from the sign made for some dramatic mood lighting. Incidentally, this was the cheapest gas we saw while in Florida, granted we didn’t stop to check every place along the way. In our neck of South Carolina, the prices haven’t quite hit $3.50 yet.
As far as last week’s post goes, it looks like traveling somewhere this summer to work is out of the picture. It just wouldn’t be fair to leave my roomie to deal with the entire cost of rent before insurance through her job is fully covering her costs. That will happen sometime in August, but by that time summer’s over half over.
Instead, she has mentioned that she might consider staying with me in a Casita (if I managed to find the right one of course) at a RV park in the area until August. This opens up a whole new can of worms and would take a considerable deal of pondering. This topic could well take up a post all of it’s own, and if I decide to look into it closer it might at some point in the future.
What it comes down to is, I still don’t know what I’m doing. Oh well, life wouldn’t be as fun if I always knew what was coming up around the bend, right?
I’m going to end this with a gratuitous baby goat picture from last weekend. Most renaissance festivals have a small petting zoo, this is the first one I’ve been to that had baby goats. Just look at them! So cute.