Early morning recon mission of the best spot to park the bus reveals this nice stretch at Lori Wilson Park. Long gradual slope to the beach means dramatic tide rise and fall, and easy castle building, and warm water right at the edge.

Ah, back at the beach. Ugh the challenge of parking at the beach. We called ahead to arrange a spot at Carver’s Cove RV park for the night, to satisfy our dump/fill/charge/full power requirements. Before bed, seated under the AC duct, with the free wireless, I mapped out some spots we would check out early the next morning, as we hoped to get Bussie in close to the beach for the day. We found a few beach accesses that were pricey, a few that were too tight for a bus, and then found Lori Walker park, which was adjacent to an off leash dog park, and had its own little boardwalk to the sandy beach. Great choice for an RV family.

Mid-morning we had a great surprise as Bruce, Brenda and their 2 girls- our neighbors from home- showed up after disembarking from their cruise in Port Canaveral and spent a couple of hours chatting. They seriously live across the street. Now, it gets stranger- 4 families from our neighborhood are in Florida at the same time. 

Looking like a carniverous killer tortoise, this one had actually just finished eating the fruit from a cactus plant. This guy measured about 14-16" across his shell. We looked like tourists gawking at ELK in our hometown. I was so excited I even stopped a lady and pointed the animal out to her. Finally I understood her disinterest AFTER I asked 'if she lived there'- then 'if she had seen one of these before?'- then I recognized the look as a look that may have crossed my face after being shown an elk for the 500th time by a tourist at the theater.

You’ll want to use the southern side of the park off of “I Dream of Jeannie Lane”. Now you remember why Cocoa Beach rang a bell that you couldn’t place? It was the town that Tony Nelson lived in from the 70’s TV series “I Dream of Jeannie”- yes they do have an I Dream of Jeannie festival every year. This is one of those towns that turned into more than we expected… After several hours at the beach, we hopped in the van to drive to Cocoa and visit a couple of buses I met online. Actually, I corresponded with the man that had been building the buses into his future plans for highway travel with his business. Over several months Steve had been keeping up with our travel blog and website as we criss-crossed the West, and had invited us to see his work if we ever made it to his town. I had emailed Steve the night we arrived, hoping to meet, and was sadly surprised to hear from Carol that Steve had passed away just 4 weeks ago (!). She was teary on the phone and obviously upset, but still offered a chance to take a look at what Steve had created (his buses). I felt committed to stopping in, and wanted to put a face to the buses and personally share our condolences with Carol. She was very kind, and proudly showed off the bright yellow buses to our group. Despite not knowing her at all, it was like walking up to an old friend when we arrived.

Carol and our family next to the little bus: a converted shuttle bus with workshop inside. The other bus is a 1980 MCI Crusader II. Both in great shape and painted very cool.

We didn’t stay long, but everyone appreciated making the stop. Dark rolls in FAST when the sun goes down- and we had left the bus 35 minutes away in a city park that was officially closed at dusk- so we hustled right back. After back ‘home’ and the night went on, just staying in this spot seemed more and more attractive. There was a free WiFi signal from the adjacent hotel, a picnic table outside our door, palm trees along the edge of the park and it was dark and quiet- so we did. Sometimes we feel perfectly OK with staying the night, but this didn’t feel perfect- and I stayed up late watching TV or trying to finish Double Cross (my latest book). Around midnight, the local police came into the park and rolled quietly up behind the other 2 parked cars that had romantic discussions going on.  As we’ve seen several times before, a bright spotlight from the police gets an immediate foot on the brake pedal, followed by ignition, and a quick departure as the driver tries to avoid the fearsome encounter with the authorities. The patrol car made another lap and came back to us, spotlighted the plates and moved on without even a knock or spotlight into the windows. This has happened before, so I’m not sure if it is the out of state plates or appearance of this bus/RV that is hard to decipher what it is? With the 12 passenger van parked close by they must know what we’re up to. We sure have appreciated the allowances we have received from Police to stay the night before moving on. I’d expect different treatment if we had the BBQ grille and awning set up, but we keep it clean, and hope we’re not offensive to the community neighbors. Now, having seen the night shift overlook our overnight attempt to stay I was able to tuck in and get a full 7 hours sleep. The park maintenance guy the next morning was a different story. He banged on the door around 830 as he was making his rounds, and demanded that we move the bus into the designated bus parking. ‘Bus parking’ is 2 spots adjacent to the dog park, that was being used by dog parkers since we arrived- and the rest of the lot was half empty, so we parked out of the way- but not correctly according to this man. I said we’d move, then he launched into a tirade about ‘HOW WE COULD DARE PARK OVERNIGHT?!’ ‘Didn’t we know that his superintendent would “freak” if he knew we were parked there?!’ ‘Didn’t we know the insurance wouldn’t cover us?!’ I offered to leave promptly and he said ‘NO MAN, I DIDN’T SAY YOU HAD TO BLAST, YOU JUST CAN’T STAY OVERNIGHT’ (Capital letters demonstrate how intensely he spoke). He jumped back onto his golf cart and pressed a Dudley-Dooright type of smile out as hard as he could, then relapsed to a pained frown and peeled out on the grass to move along to the next trash receptacle. I felt bad- our overnight stay had stressed this guy out, and he was working so hard to keep it clean- although we had no affect on the work he had to do, but he surely didn’t need any lawlessness under his watch. SO, we only stayed until dusk that night, then moved back to the RV Park.

Ruth parked next to us after dropping off a busload of high school girls at the beach (Trevor didn't stick around to chit chat for very long with me). Ruth is out of Cincinatti and has been driving for 8 years. She gets a days notice before she leaves for multi day, multi state trips.

Curiosity got the better of Trevor Lauren and Ethan- who all stayed to see what a time share sales pitch sounded like with Kelly and I.

That afternoon we had scored a deal on day passes for tomorrow at the Ron Jon Club Caribe Resort when we visited the Ron Jon Surf Shop. Why we haven’t clued into time share presentations before is beyond me: Our schedule is flexible, we’re able to travel to their location, and we like hotel stays. This one was for a family pass for the resort, which made us happy- water slide, pools, lazy river, mini golf…

Brenda generously loaned us their snorkels (from the cruise), and they were heavily used by Simon and Henry... In fact, I don't think they took them off all day at the Ron Jon pool. Here, they're searching the bottom of the 20" deep kids pool... for hours.

The presentation lasted about 2 hours, and was interesting, but it didn’t make much sense for us to buy. We said ‘No, thanks’, then enjoyed the pool. Having parked as directed in their employee lot, we were well located for a free night’s stay, out of the way under a line of palm trees. The next morning, we washed the bus, tackled a few hours of school, then set out for the West coast- on the gulf side. Our next scheduled stop is to meet friends from Ohio that are traveling to the gulf for their spring break- then to visit my brothers family in Daytona Beach next week. Once the weather starts to lighten up to the North we’re headed for Washington, New York and all points in between, and our feet are getting itchy to go.