The wheels on the bus went round and round…
…all along I-10! We made the cross-country trek from Florida to California in a mere 10 days thanks to the fearless green landship. We really weren’t racing, just look at our website name. It’s just that we had high hopes of seeing much more of the country – next time. We wore shorts and tank tops on the 90 degree days and the next day drug out our scarves and winter jackets for some 30 degree days. Luckily we have the space to pack it all in. Cross country trips can be fun, but when you’re trying to put on miles in a limited amount of time and traveling with 2 pets who don’t want to be left behind, you really need to do some pre-planning…Did I mention we’re driving a renovated 80 passenger bus??? So, we searched applications like Hipcamp, Harvest Host, Allstays and relied on some side research to come up with quite the eclectic array of stops along the way.
Here were some of our favorite stops:
The Columbia Restaurant, Ybor historic district, Tampa, FL
A proper celebration was in order to commemorate our homecoming and what better way than at The Columbia, Florida’s oldest restaurant. From the tiled courtyard dining area to the white linen tablecloths to extensive menu options, we were in for a cultural and culinary treat. The restaurant extends across an entire city block and boasts 15 different dining rooms plus an old speakeasy. If you’re going to spend money on food and ambiance, this was definitely the place to do it!
Flamingo Gardens, Davie, FL
While waiting on household goods to arrive, we took a side trip to the Flamingo Gardens Botanical Gardens and Wildlife Sanctuary. What we particularly liked about this was that the ecosystem represented what one might find in the everglades of south Florida. It was chill and affordable, and every rescued animal had a unique story. We found that we were in familiar surroundings with similar landscape to that of Panama and Costa Rica. The show stealers, however, were the peacocks. It is mating season after all, and these boys didn’t hold back on any aspect of flamboyance. They are truly gorgeous (and loud), even if they aren’t native to the park.
Snow White Sanctuary Campground and Insane Sausages, Vinton, LA
I don’t want this place to be missed on the list, so please check out my last post “Westward Ho! And a rejuvenating goat farm”
Honeybadger RV Park, Fort Stockton, TX
This place gets notable mention as we ended up here for a good reason. I selected it initially as a one-night stopover for its convenient location right off the I-10, but it became a longer term stay due to our misadventures. As we pulled into the lot, our windshield that had spiderwebbed enroute, decided to extend to a full circumferential crack on the driver’s side. We were now officially out of commission. Naomi, the owner of the RV park immediately referred us to West Texas Windshields for a repair. Their mobile team came out and told us we’d need to wait a day, but that we could come to the shop for a custom piece of glass to be cut. We were less than thrilled as we anticipated the cost, but settled in nonetheless at the super cheap, friendly, and convenient Honeybadger RV Park. Meanwhile, Quincy had an eyelid lesion that had now become infected, and I wasn’t feeling confident in my ability to treat her with what I had in my arsenal of meds. Lo and behold, one block away was a vet office. I walked into the Animal Medical Clinic and got a same day appointment with the vet, Dr. Fish to get her eye lesion not only treated but removed with no major anesthetic required! So kind! The next day, we drove the bus to the glass shop and within just over an hour, we had a crystal clear, new windshield for a steal of a price. The universe provides – thank you, we needed this one! Can’t say enough about how much we appreciate the expedient gracious service of both West Texas Windshields and the Animal Medical Clinic in Fort Stockton. Off and running again!
Adobe Deli, Deming, NM
Chad told me about a “must do” in Deming, New Mexico and so I skeptically researched his selection. The Adobe Deli is the former Lewis Flats school house now converted into a steakhouse and bar…but wait…it’s also haunted! Ghost Adventures has even filmed an episode here (season 20 ep.4) which I’m glad I didn’t watch before I decided to spend the night! A minor qualification for a visit by us is that we can park the big green landship and the best part about the middle of nowhere is, there’s plenty of space! Chad called ahead and they said no problem to parking overnight – sweet! We arrived late afternoon and went in to enjoy some New Mexico egg rolls (got my green chile fix), sample their incredible French onion soup, and of course enjoy a pint at the bar – we weren’t driving!
The restaurant was packed on a Saturday night, so we were glad we made a reservation. We enjoyed an incredible dinner later that evening (like we needed any more food). As far as the haunting goes, I awoke to the distant sound of a little girl laughing just after midnight and didn’t sleep well after that. Real or imagined…who knows – watch Ghost Adventures for some history on the area and you be the judge!
Birds and Barrels Vineyard, Wilcox, AZ
The best part about having a self-sustaining skoolie is that you can park in beautiful places like this. We went from the brown sand of the desert to lush agricultural land in Wilcox, Arizona covered with wildflowers. On Harvest Host, you may stay the night for free provided you visit their tasting room and make a donation….no problem! The minute after we parked, the girls unfolded their chairs and went to opposite ends of the beautiful poppy field located just outside the vineyard to read and sketch. I think we were all feeling the impact of close quarters at this point in the journey…good thing there’s wine here! The wines were excellent! A surprising Tempranillo topped our list – or maybe no surprise as it seems to thrive in the warmer climates. After an evening Quincy walk/Geocache we settled in for the night with the field to ourselves and anticipated the next leg to our home state, Cali.
We made our longest push on the final day to get to Twentynine Palms where we would register the bus for the following year. A week later we took a much more forgiving vehicle to San Diego which officially marked the completion of our own unique version of “The Pan-American Great Loop” we started in 2019. Boat, cars, minivans, truck, bus, plane- however we traveled we truly enjoyed ourselves and the memories made with our family along the way. We’re not done, perhaps just resting our weary heads for a bit as we plot our next course in life. Besides, we still have a lot of writing to catch up on from the past year!
On this leg of our travels we were fortunate to avoid major storms along the way, especially given the turbulent weather this year has brought, and we are grateful for the tenacity of the incredible skoolie that could. We can also report that wildflowers are truly in bloom everywhere from Texas to Cali, truck stops are super cool, and we’re happy to be in one spot for a bit.
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Fantastic. I loved this, it looks so much fun. The bus is awesome, and what a stylish way to complete your ‘Pan American Great Loop’.
While you’re in Cali….why don’t you come visit?