Pensacola beach

It was very nice to be back in Holland with our children and to meet up with so many nice people. It has been a tradition for years that Robert bakes oliebollen and anyone who feels like it can come by and pick them up. This year in the Netherlands, the Oliepouce is a trend. An oliebol filled with pastry cream and topped with pink icing. Very fun to make and delicious to eat!

We think about our camper on a regular basis. Although it is in a secure storage facility in Houston, Texas, it is a long way from the Netherlands.

Oliebol en oliepouce
Oliebol and oliepouce
Camperstalling Houston
RV storage Houston
We're hitting the road again

It is so nice to see the camper again and be able to hit the road with it. We are very much looking forward to it! Fortunately, the camper starts immediately and Robert installs the fog light, which he repaired in the Netherlands. We choose to drive to sunny Florida first. We have a number of dates fixed for this year:

  1. Our niece Sharon is getting married to her beloved Majed
  2. Our son Mike & daughter-in-law Sanne are going to travel with us for five weeks. They will fly from Amsterdam to Calgary (Canada) and have mapped out a very nice route that will end in Las Vegas.
  3. Our visa is valid for 6 months and of course we have to take that into account as well

Sanne & Mike's route is different from ours  daughter Carmen & son-in-law Lorenzo. There are some parks that we have also visited with them, but everything is so beautiful that this is definitely another gift. 

Onze route
Our route
Surprising Florida

We are really surprised that Florida has so much beautiful nature. White beaches, turquoise sea and lots of entertainment was actually in our minds. There is all that too, but the Florida state parks, among others, have lots of greenery and mangrove forests that you can canoe in between. 

There are only a few places in winter where you can experience pleasant summer temperatures in America, and that includes Florida. Lots of Americans and also Canadians head out to Florida in the winter. These groups are called snowbirds. There are also many who have second homes here and also many who (have) moved here after retirement.

First, you see this reflected in the streetscape. Not only because of the many gray hairs...but especially because of the amenities. There are lots of bike lanes and walking paths (sidewalk), which you don't see in other American states. There are a lot of golf courses here and even more golf carts....The golf carts are allowed on the road here and there are also special road signs for the golf carts. We also hear that medical facilities and health insurance are much more geared to the elderly.

Finally, many cities/villages and shopping centers look more well-kept, this compared to cities/villages we have seen elsewhere in the country in recent months: Nice planters, well-kept roadside flower beds, modern stores, etc. It could also be because of the sun, that everything just looks more cheerful!

Plaatsje Nederland
Town of Nederland
Our route so far

Nadat we de camper hebben opgehaald, gaan we naar de eerste supermarkt voor onze boodschappen. Vervolgens rijden we naar de eerste boondocker host, waar we heel vriendelijk worden ontvangen. We kunnen bij Linda onze camper vullen met water, elektra hebben we niet nodig, dat wekken we met de stralende zon zelf op.

The first few weeks we travel every day/2 days about 3 hours a day. If we come across something nice along the way, there is always plenty of time to go there. We are traveling via Texas through Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi with destination Florida. We have traveled through South East America once before, with a rental motorhome. Therefore, we deliberately choose to skip some well-known attractions.

Route Houston naar Florida
Tip - Finding places to stay overnight
  1. The first tip is a membership for Boondockers Welcome! You are often in beautiful places and/or convenient locations and you meet such nice people! 
  2. Silver slipper casino offers a beautiful place on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You sign up for a free membership card and you can stay with 2 people (2 cards) - 2 nights
  3. The county parks are somewhat less well known, are often beautifully situated and very inexpensive. At EG Simmons county park we pay (as 55 plus) only $16 per night.
  4. We also regularly check iOverlander and search via Google
  5. We heard a lot of people talking about the Cracker barrel restaurant. You can spend one night for free in the parking lot. We have not tried this yet
  6. What most people know: overnight stays are allowed at most Walmart supermarkets. Again, we haven't tried this yet
Lovely People

As we have also written in many other blogs, the people are so incredibly nice. Besides the fact that we are still addressed every day about our Dutch camper, they also often ask if we are having fun here and if we are being treated well. They really care about that.

Boondocker hosts John & Linda live on a lake and make a nice happy hour campfire every day at 4 p.m., from other hosts we get lots of travel tips, we went out to dinner with Dutchman Paul and another Dutchman Mark in a German restaurant. We also stayed with people who bought a piece of land on a river fifty years ago where there were zero facilities and now have a beautiful house and offer all camper guests a nice place with water, electricity and a hot shower. And so we have many more stories!

Overnachtingsplekken 2024

We go to fill up and Robert sees all new pumps and new hoses. He knows that diesel always has a green button.....this button is black, but the price is $3.99 per gallon (3.78 liters). He starts to fill up, but 24 liters later the doubt strikes late. He goes inside to check and learns to his horror that it is not diesel. 

Immediately a lady starts calling garages, she turns out not to be from the gas station, but a tourist. Really so nice! A little later three men stop, one of whom offers to get a hose from the house and empty the tank. In no time he is back and gets to work.

A little later the gas station employee comes out and tells us that a customer, who had seen us, asked if we still needed help. He has a pump and in no time he too is helping. Eventually we manage to get 12 liters out. Both gentlemen have friends who repair diesel engines. We buy a cleaning and fill everything up with diesel and are back on the road.

We did not panic for a moment, can happen and we will see how we solve this further. What we experienced very consciously is that so many people immediately came to our aid: for many years we have felt so grateful every day: this is also an experience where we thank people and the universe out loud and within ourselves!

Matts RV review

Before we decided to ship our RV, Robert did a lot of research on buying an RV, caravan or fifth wheel in America. During that time, Robert discovered Matts RV review on Youtube. Matt has his own style of presentation and that appeals greatly to Robert. When we were at the motorhome show in Dusseldorf, we "ran into them."

We made a selfie and the agreement that we would be in touch upon arrival in Florida and we did. It's really nice to get to know Andrea and Matt more closely! They are super nice people who through hard work have built a very nice company, with a successful Youtube (228,000 followers), Instagram and Tiktok (1 million followers) account. Our camper is also under the microscope and soon to be featured on Youtube. It would be nice if they come to Europe/Netherlands again to show them some of our country.

Matts RV Review - Matt and Andrea Foxcroft
Matts RV Review - Matt and Andrea Foxcroft
Photos and videos

Below you can see some pictures of places where we stood: a lavender farm, Fort de Soto, Ocala National Forest, an animal shelter.

After much encouragement and explanation by Carmen & Lorenzo, we also had a Travelat50-tiktok account aangemaakt. We plaatsen hier regelmatig korte filmpjes van de plekken waar we geweest zijn: o.a. Honeymoon beach, Kissimmee, Tallahassy car museum en nog veel meer!

Picknick plek - Fort de Soto - USA
Picnic spot - Fort de Soto - USA
Animal shelter
Nederland - USA
Silver Springs State park

We rented a glass bottom kayak (transparent plastic canoe) at Silver Springs State park. Really great! We wrote a separate blog about this, otherwise this blog will be much too long ?

Travel across Canada and America with your own motorhome?

Are you also interested in traveling through Canada and America with your own RV? Read here what you need to take care of!