November 22nd, 2015 to December 12th, 2015

Well after spending about 3 weeks combined on this trip, also taking into consideration previous trips to Myrtle Beach, we can confidently state South Carolina is one of our favorite states!  Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head, excellent folks and so many more places and people to still experience 🙂  We will be back, probably fairly often and for even longer periods.

Unfortunately, time to leave, however now we get to spend time with our oldest son, Brandon, in the Daytona Beach area of Florida.  We are very excited about this next leg of our adventure.

It was Sunday and a beautiful day for a 5 hour trip which was 267 miles through Georgia and down to Ormond Beach, Florida (which is actually part of Daytona Beach).  A little cloudy, but no rain and in the mid 60s for November.  We’ll take it.  We pulled into Sunshine Holiday Campground Daytona which is an Encore facility.  Circumstances however could have started better, the office was closed when we got there and they left an envelope on the door to tell us which site was assigned to us; when we went to the site, it did not have full hookups, which we wanted because we were staying for a couple weeks.  So, Colleen called Encore and it took a while to straighten out but they basically told us to find an open spot and work it out with the office the next day after the office opened.  The next day they ended up asking us to move to another spot with full hookups, right across the street from where we were; so it all worked out and having patience to get all setup is part of what needs to be expected with the lifestyle.  The campground owners and the facility, especially the pool area, ended up being very nice.

So anyways, after we setup the first night Brandon came over from his place which is about 15 minutes away; we went to dinner at Hoolligan’s which is like a sports bar/restaurant, we had some really good conversations over dinner and drinks.  Brandon has been living in Daytona for almost a year.

The campground had a pool, activities and lots of nice RVs.

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The view from my desk:

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Outside at the pool, a band played for a couple hours, very nice 🙂

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Played Bingo one night and Colleen and I both won a game each…

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It also had some very cool cars because the Daytona Speedway had their annual Turkey Trot this time of year.

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Our campground was located near the Daytona Beach Harley dealership, one of the biggest in the world.  Also located by our campground was a good BBQ place called Daytona Pig Stand; it was good BBQ but I was more impressed by the truck out back.

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We accomplished our goal by getting to Daytona Beach by Thanksgiving with Brandon.  Then what made it even more special was we were invited to enjoy Thanksgiving Day with our friends Melissa and Matt and their 5 boys at their new home in Jacksonville; they have a perfect home for their big family.    We have known Melissa since she was 12 years old and babysat our boys, now it is sooo great to see her with her own family, a great guy in Matt, and 5 absolutely special boys; watching her be a devoted Christian mom and wife has been a blessing to Colleen and I.  Also, added to the day was her mom and husband Anthony were there as well as part of Matt’s family, so all in all, there had to be a dozen folks.

Matt and Melissa are big Cowboy fans so like so many other homes, football was a big part of the day.   Matt and I watched the Eagles lose, we both took pleasure in that and then the Cowboys lost, which let’s just say I only took pleasure in.

We had so much fun though just being with their family and friends. It will be a Thanksgiving we will happily remember for many years.

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That weekend we went bar crawling with Brandon so he could show us around the Daytona Beach strip.  We hit about 3 bars the first night,  Bad Boys, Dirty Harry’s and Cruisin’ and ended up meeting a few of Brandon’s local friends that night.  One of Brandon’s friends hooked us up with tickets to the Turkey Trot the next day, we were excited.

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That night actually included dinner at a local Italian restaurant called Rossellini’s, it was an excellent meal!

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The next day, Brandon, Colleen and I went to the Turkey Trot at Daytona International Speedway; we all love cars, especially older cars, fast cars, and custom cars.  Well we definitely got our fill of all that plus more…Here are just some of the cars we saw:

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That night we continued our Bar Crawl by first going to a Tiki bar after a walk down the beach hitting another Tiki bar, then going to dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack on the beach with a few of Brandon’s friends.

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The warm breeze off the ocean, the moon beam off the ocean, and my beautiful partner in life!

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End of a fantastic weekend 🙂

Something that Brandon and I have always shared is our love for riding.  Brandon has a café racer type bike and I have always enjoyed more of the relax ride on the Harley’s.  We got to spend the entire weekend riding because one of Brandon’s friends was able to hook me up with a good deal on renting a Harley Davidson Street King for the weekend.

Lets just say we both made the most of it.

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The first day, we drove from Daytona Beach, down to Titusville, Florida where we stopped along the way a few times to take in the sites and to just relax.

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Into an establishment called Cracker Jack’s Island; very cool place.

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Brandon lead the next part of ride and brought me over a large bridge and out to the island where there were some state park turn offs which we did some hiking into the forest a bit.  We were hoping to see wildlife such as armadillos (no luck), but it was a great hike into the back woods of Northern Florida.

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Then we stopped at a bank parking lot that I want to say a pretty darn nice view each day.

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Then we headed back up to Daytona area where we met up with his buddy Jesse and took a ride all the back up to Ormond Beach.  Here is Jesse’s bike, a customized Harley sportster with a suicide shifter which he put together on his own.

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Our intention was to do something they called “the loop” which would have brought us along the coast back down to Daytona Beach.  Unfortunately, the loop was under construction, but is was all for the best because it was getting dark and the coast ride would have been in the dark with no views to enjoy.  All in all, I could not ask for a better day with my son just out doing something we both love with the weather cooperating at a warm 70 degrees in late November.  We will both always remember that day 🙂

When we were in the dealership where I rented the Harley I saw the exact bike I owned when I was 17 years old.  I rode that bike everywhere until one day I was driving down the Boulevard of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, where I grew up, and a drunk driver hit from behind doing 50 mph.  It catapulted me off the bike, I flipped over twice in the air hitting the top of my head on the pavement (ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET) and bounced me up into a windshield of a car coming the opposite way.  I remember seeing the face of the woman driving and her son in the passenger seat.  I did all I could to land in the middle of the windshield.  Luckily I did.  I had so much adrenaline, that I picked myself up out of the window, walked over to the car that hit me, opened the driver’s  door and the guy poured out of the car.  As soon as I saw that, I passed out and woke up in the hospital.  Sorry for that crazy story, but that is the memory that bike brought back.

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So anyways, back to current day life, knowing Brandon had a contract to work out of state for a couple weeks, we went to dinner at a place called Norwood’s Eatery and Treehouse Bar in New Smyrna Beach.  It was a unique place and had really good food.

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While Brandon was in South Carolina on contract work, Colleen and I took in a local treasure; Stetson Mansion, the world famous hats we all know about.  Mr. Stetson bought a home in Deland now known as the Stetson Mansiont it is worth an afternoon to tour.  We were fortunate enough to visit while the house was decorated for Christmas.

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I would go back to experience the normal tour, as this tour was more about the unbelievably beautifully decorate house of today instead of the history of the house itself.

While just enjoying a quiet afternoon at the campground preparing to leave the next day, a Golf Cart Christmas Parade starting driving by our site.  The folks on the carts were sure enjoying themselves and we enjoyed watching them.

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The sunset pretty much says it all about out time in Daytona Beach area, beautiful, peaceful, and great thing to enjoy.

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This is the end of out first trip.  Our 2nd trip starts tomorrow as we continue our journey to California to spend Christmas and a couple months in LA.