After returning back to Melbourne from our family cruise, we had a small family holiday celebration – and then viola, it was time to pack it up and end our first blissful extended stationary stay in the bus.
While in Melbourne we stayed at Lucky Clover Mobile Home & RV, which is about 1/2 mile from the Atlantic Ocean. And ironically, the park is just about the same distance from the house I owned before I joined Chris on the road. It was really fantastic to be still for so long in close walking distance to shopping and dining, and around things familiar. And it was obviously just absolutely fantastic to be nearby my folks, and enjoy a lot of casual quality time.
As the fall progressed, things were looking good to start making plans for where next. We wanted to attend the Arcadia Bus Rally again and reconnect with our bus community. However, the rally is held over New Years Eve, and this year – a bunch of our friends within the NuRVer’s community were converging on Cedar Key.
There was no doubt in our mind where we wanted to be to bring in the new year.
So we made the decision to head to Arcadia as an early arrival and leave early. The routing also allowed us to make a quick stop in to see Chris’s folks in their winter home in Spring Hill.
The Arcadia Bus Rally
This rally is one of the largest and longest running in the country – and for any bus nut, it’s not to be missed. There were nearly 100 coaches in attendance – from vintage to modern. From homebuilt conversions to professionally done high end. Oh, and there were a few ‘sticks and staple’ RVs there too.
We livestreamed a video walk through of all of the early arrival buses – so if you need your bus porn fix, here ya go:
On Saturday we volunteered to host a Technology & Mobility Q&A session, which was well attended. Lots of questions about internet on the road, lithium ion batteries and tablet computers. As we had ample bandwidth, we also livestreamed the session and it’s also now available as an archive if you have an hour to spare.
The highlight of the rally for us was definitely hanging out with some really fabulous people.
We decided to dry camp while there, which was quite a change of pace after living for 3 months with 50amp service and unlimited water. We did fairly well, except for the water pump burning out on us. Thankfully, there was a drop in replacement spare on a fellow attendee’s swap table for $5. Thank you serendipity for providing!
And we are ever so thankful for the lithium ion battery bank, which allowed us to keep warm with our only heat source (besides snuggling the cat) – an electric space heater. It got pretty darn chilly. We’re finding the bus is well insulated. Even with getting down into the upper 30s, we’re able to keep warm by just running the space heater a bit before bed, and then a bit in the morning to break the chill. All and all, we ended up only needing run the generator for an hour or so each day to keep the battery banks charged up.
We left the bus rally on Sunday morning, a bit sad to leave it behind as it was just ramping up. But also very excited to get to Cedar Key. We made a very quick stop in Spring Hill for a combination lunch & holiday gift exchange with Chris’ folks and a grocery stock up.
Last March, we stopped in Cedar Key for an informal NuRVer meet-up, and absolutely fell in love with the area. First, Cedar Key is not in ‘the Keys’ – this is about 2.5 hours north of the Tampa area, and west of Gainesville. It’s a small community with amazing sunrise and sunsets (not that we’re often up for sunrises, mind you.)
Cedar Key is a place that we’ll always have on our list of places to return to often.
But when more and more of our friends started making plans to be here this winter, our excitement built. By the time we arrived on the 30th, already our RVing friends Bill & Debby of Kasson’s Wildride, Maria & Brian of The Roaming Pint, Sam & Tracy of ZenNomads, Jay of Slider Magazine, Porky & Lucy of Porkchop Express, Clarke & Elaine of WhatsNewell had arrived. Soon after Forrest & Mary arrived too.
In addition to all the awesome RVers, our friends Ann & Elliott flew their plane down from near Savannah to join up with the group once again, and backpacking nomads Shaun & Erica of OverYonderlust drove in from Austin. And of course, Pat & Cindy of Every Mile’s a Memory were here to greet us all at the Low Key Tiki Bar!
It’s a phenomenal number of amazing fellow nomadic spirits who converged here to bring in the New Year together. Some folks have headed on, some of us are staying around a few more weeks and we’ve heard others are considering stopping by as well (yes – poke poke – route this way if you can!). Very new to the road friends Pace & Kyeli of Edgewalker Academy just joined the convergence too.
And if the planned rendezvouses weren’t enough…
Almost as soon as we backed into our waterfront spot, we had a Facebook comment awaiting us from some folks also parked here at Sunset Isles RV Park who recognized us. Turns out Mary & Bryan are long time readers who want to eventually hit the road full time. Without knowing it, they had driven right into the perfect meet-up!
And then Dennis & Sue of Wandering Our Way pulled in the next evening who are also readers who didn’t know we’d be here. Ironically, into the same spot Melissa & Bryan had just vacated (spot 11 is now designated the ‘Technomadia Fan Site’). We thoroughly enjoyed meeting both.
There is something about Cedar Key that just attracts awesome people, and it is a little mind boggling to be spotted by two readers in just 4 days!
Since we pulled in a week ago, we’ve already had a most awesome New Years Eve gathering around the fire, time at the Low Key Tiki Bar next door and lots of casual chill time with friends. But mostly, we have had our heads down in a bunch of administrative paperwork as we juggle some unexpected business stuff.
On Friday evening, Chris and I hosted a ‘Salsa Off’ – in which members of the NuCrew made homemade salsas and guacamoles for a fierce competition. It was really just an excuse for us all to get together, enjoy some amazing munchies, enjoy the sunset and kick off into a long evening of hanging around the fire. All of the salsas were winners, and in the end – we all won because we got to share in yum and friendship.
Convergences like this, of fellow like minds living in neighborhood together is exactly the sort of community we crave more of. As we’re all working on the road, there’s a built in understanding that while we’re in paradise – none of us are on vacation. Despite our rough landing into the new year business wise, we could not be happier.
It’s good to be back in Cedar Key Bliss.