Sunday, January 3, 2010


After bidding a fond adieu to the good people at Koinonia, we traversed the easy 135 miles from Americus, Georgia to Tallahassee, Florida.

Due to the magic of Facebook, we were invited to visit old friends from Western Massachusetts who live here in Tallahassee, but we were warned that there may not be an amenable place to park for the night in their neighborhood. So, wanting to avoid campground fees, we entered Tallahassee with the goal of finding a free place to park.

Driving down a busy city street, we both spied an Elks Lodge where a group of people appeared to be having a barbecue. We also noticed that there were a few RVs parked in a small lot adjacent to the lodge. Feeling gutsy, we made a u-turn and pulled into their parking lot, dragging Tina with us as we walked up and interrupted their party.

There were actually seven older people sitting around an outdoor portable fireplace drinking wine and beer and smoking cigarettes. They were members of the local Elks Lodge, and we explained that we were looking for a place to park for the night. They were interested in our plight---and very taken with Tina---but they informed us that we would only be allowed to "boondock" in their parking lot if we were Elks. And when Mary mentioned that her father was a member of the Kiwanis, several of them frowned and apologetically turned us away (and held us responsible for the cold weather that we had apparently imported from New England).

Remembering that many Wal-Marts allow RV'ers to park for free overnight, we called five Tallahassee Wal-Mart stores, and four informed us that overnight parking in their lots was allowed. Although we boycott Wal-Mart, this is an option that we keep in our back pocket for emergencies.

Making our way to our friends' neighborhood, we left the rig adjacent to the lovely "Optimist Park" near their home, and we spent several hours meditating, soaking up the sun, watching a group of men practice Tai Chi, and chatting with a young father and his toddler who wandered by. Tina is a great conversation catalyst---especially with people who have young children.

We left our rig on the street adjacent to the park, and spent a wonderful evening with our friends and their adorable 3-year-old son, reminiscing about Western Massachusetts and mutual friends and acquaintances.

Returning to our rig, we began to prepare for sleep, naively assuming that since there were no signs to the contrary, we could park overnight and be on our way in the morning. Not ten minutes after turning on our lights, a police cruiser pulled up behind us and a knock at the door was heard. A very friendly officer listened as we explained our situation, took down our names and the names of our friends, and suggested that we move our rig to the parking lot of "Optimist Park" where he felt we would be safer.

We thanked the cordial officer, moved the rig forthwith, and settled down for a peaceful night's sleep here in the Indian Head neighborhood of Tallahassee. Our arrival to Florida has been graced with generous friends, a "balmy" night with temperatures above freezing, and a local police who are supportive of our attempt to save $36 in unnecessary camping fees or a trip to the dreaded last-resort Wal-Mart parking lot.

Welcome to the Sunshine State!


  1. hola feliz ano 2010 que todo siga maravilloso para ustedes
    estoy de vacaciones y vine donde mi amiga Elda y sus ninitas
    Estamos mirando vuestro blog muy bonito!!
    saludos de la parte de elda

  2. Amiga! Gracias por leer nuestro blog y compartiendolo con Elda!

    Esperamos que disfrutaste mucho de tus vacaciones y te deseamos un ano nuevo maravilloso!