Mark and Wendy’s Excellent Adventure: We will miss being vagabonds

Editor’s note: Mark Bradford is contributing occasional posts from his diary on traveling the country with his wife Wendy while they rent out their Mishawaka home for six months.

Day 134 of our 190-day Sojourn

November 6, 2023 —  Vilano Beach, Florida

In four more days, the traveling vagabond part of our journey ends and we start living in our southern home base at Wendy’s mom’s house, which is often vacant.

It will be a change. No more wondering where the bathroom is in the middle of the night. Corky the dog will be able to settle into her routine and have her regular poop route, and I won’t have to use MapQuest to find a breakfast spot. We will now have two vehicles available to us and I suspect that Wendy will spend several days visiting family and friends without me counting the minutes until we can leave.

We are truly enjoying our time on Vilano Beach and recommend this narrow strip of land to anyone. In particular, at nearly any point on the island, you can watch a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, and then walk a couple hundred yards to the other side of the island to watch the sunset 12 hours later over a beautiful bay.

The drive from Vilano Beach to Saint Augustine is less than five minutes and getting around St. Augustine is very simple, once you accept that everywhere you park, you will have to pay a meter. ($10.00 for four hours). 

Saint Augustine itself, and the connecting St. Augustine Island, provides every type of vacationer (except mountain climbers) something to do. There is a street (St. George) that is exactly like New Orleans without the weird stuff. Across the bay is a beautiful beach state part. A few miles more and we wandered through a swamp park and a few miles south of that, we discovered a BBQ spot built in a beautiful old park. 

Food is out of this world.  Tonight we ate at Caps on the Water, which literally was built around the trees. It is out in the middle of nowhere, but on Sunday night, the place was packed and we had our first expensive meal consisting of one plate of sea bass, hot bread, and a standard salad (oh yeah, Wendy had her usual alcoholic drink).  By contrast, this morning we ate at Margies Café for breakfast, a little hole in the wall on the Atlantic beach where the food was (in my own words) slightly dangerous. Both places were delightful.

So the little surprises that have accompanied our true vagabonding are things we will miss. For instance, discovering that Augusta National Golf Course is bordered by a series of low cost services was a surprise. So was watching the sun go down on a mountaintop in Maine. So was discovering a rooftop bar in Denver where the weather was beautiful. That is the thing we will miss the most.

But, we are not complaining. We know we are blessed and we know that living in Florida in December and January will be way more fun that battling the lake effect snow that we have become accustomed to.

So, our last stop has been a wonderful stop. Sixteen days on a beach island. Who could complain about that?