*I want to preface this entry by saying that this was the first, and last, trip we got to take with our precious and beloved dog, Otto. He was getting up in age and had been struggling with health issues for quite some time. He passed away a few weeks after this trip. No matter the circumstances, you’re never quite ready for when that moment comes. We rescued Otto from a no-kill shelter in Texas while we were in college and he was our rock through many life changes. A large part of why we bought this RV was because of Otto, we wanted to be with him as much as possible and have things in tow that make his life easier like his stroller to help him get around. We still struggle with his loss almost every day but are so thankful for the happiness and distraction that Chewy brings. We are so lucky to have another amazing rescue pup in our lives that we get to shower with love…and now lots of travel!
Onto lighter topics…we had a combination of total fear and utter excitement after buying our Winnebago Travato. It’s liberating to feel like you’ve taken a big step towards something you’ve always wanted to do, but the responsibility and knowledge that come with it are a little daunting. To help from being overwhelmed, Tony and I planned our first weekend trip to a city nearby that we love visiting – St. Petersburg, FL. They have cheap day parking ($3 for the day) and free overnight parking!
We pulled into our usual parking lot Saturday morning, got Chewy ready to go and Otto in his stroller, and spent the day walking around. Some of our favorite things to do in St. Pete include:
- Strolling the huge Saturday Farmer’s Market (it only runs from October through May)
- Walking the boutique shops along Beach Drive
- Eating at Locale Market for lunch and Sweet Divas for dessert
- Walking the art/antique shops further down Central Avenue North
- Watching the sailboats
- Attending any outdoor festivals that always seem to be going on
- Visit the Dali Museum or Museum of Fine Arts
That night was our first night spent in the van. We were very excited to get settled in and wind down for the evening making dinner and watching some TV. Sleeping was…interesting…that night. In terms of van temperature, we were fine. We parallel parked in a quiet spot and had the window by the bed open for some cross breeze. However, we had Otto sleeping between us on the bed so I could keep an eye on him overnight…meaning that, while Otto had ample space, I pressed myself up against the wall and was in-and-out of sleep all night. Classic Dog-Mom move. We also had a bit of a giggle in the middle of the night when we were woken by the sound of a drunk guy yelling at his friends on the phone across the street. Apparently they separated at some point and he was quite upset that he couldn’t find any street signs to relay his location back to them.
The next morning we pulled back into our $3/day parking with a wonderful view and had our first breakfast in the van. We read a couple of the manuals to get answers on questions that came up and let the pups enjoy some time watching birds out the screen door. Did I mention that I had already broken something at this point? While using the dinette table in the down position (which makes it more like a couch) it broke away from the wall! Although I was quite miffed about this at first Tony chalked it up to us breaking it in and we figured our warranty would cover it.
Overall, not a bad first weekend! Pups were content and we were slowly feeling more comfortable using the control panel and different settings.
Hope you all take some time to visit St. Pete in the future, it is really great!