Day 18, 19 & 20 – Severe Weather & Orlando

Ocala National Forest

While we were in Savannah there was some severe weather, but there was much more forecasted for the rest of the night. When we left Savannah we had a free campsite in mind that had running water. We weren’t sure what it would hold in store for us though since the last free site that we looked for was full, but the weather wasn’t holding up well so we decided to go for it. We stayed at the Clayhole Swamp in Brunswick, Georgia. It was easy to find the park, but finding the camping area wasn’t easy.

To find the site we had to drive about a mile to get to an information kiosk that was supposed to tell us where the camping was. We also found out at that kiosk that there was hunting in the park, so we did not want to camp in the wrong spot… And while we had a map, the map had street names and everything, but nothing on the road was marked. And it was dark, everything was extremely inaccurate. But we did eventually find our way! When we pulled in there was one other truck there, they had a tent set up and all their lights were out. They were the only other people there, and somehow this made us really nervous. Then of course, it started to rain. We set up our tent and we were drenched.

By the time we were done setting up our tent it had started thundering and lightning a bunch more, there was barely any service. We visited the bathrooms to check it out, and we made the executive decisions not to use them unless we absolutely had to. At that point we decided against cooking with the grill and made some bagels. We listened to some music trying to get over that feeling of anxiousness and finally fell asleep. We woke up to thunder and lightning again the next morning. When I got up our neighbors were also awake, so I decided it was best to use the bathroom rather than out in the rain. While I was in there the rain came down really heavy. I had to run back to the tent. We sat in there for about a half hour before we decided that it wasn’t going to stop raining and just to pack up the inside and when the rain slowed we would tear the tent down and pack everything into the car. I didn’t end up taking any photos at this site because of how much it was raining.

On our way out of Brunswick we stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts to try and use their wifi to update the blog, it didn’t work out. Then we made our way down to Barnes & Noble in Jacksonville, FL and their wifi wasn’t working well enough to upload any photos. So we decided to go straight to our next free campsite in the Ocala National Forest.

Our way down it was raining on and off so we figured the site wouldn’t be too packed… plus there was the whole tornado watch thing but when we parked our car there were two other cars there, but everybody was swimming. They seemed like they were locals and they got out of there relatively fast. We got our camp set up (second time in the daylight!), made dinner and it started raining. We had pretty good timing with this one.

It rained for a while that night, we played Connect Four and colored in my coloring books for quite a bit. We had basically no service and it got dark super early since the storm rolled in so quickly so we had to make due with what we had, but we had fun! Besides the storm we thought the campsite was awesome, there was a swimming hole, and there were only three individual sites, so if anybody else had joined us we wouldn’t be able to see them because they were separated. There were no bathrooms or electricity, but it didn’t matter. I’d almost rather no bathrooms than the bathrooms that we had at the swamp that I didn’t want to use.

On our way in the day before we had to pass a tree that had fallen down, there was just enough room to pass it on one side, I had to get out and hold some of the branches back so it wouldn’t scratch my car but it worked out. While there really weren’t any high winds during the storm that night we weren’t sure if anything had fallen so our fingers were crossed that we’d be able to get out! We got to the same tree that was down the day before and there was a second one down. Thankfully there was enough more than enough room to get through to the exit and everything worked out, but we sure were nervous when we saw it at first.

Ocala National Park

After we exited the park, we were off to Orlando to visit Universal Studios! Neither of us had ever been but we were really excited. We had a great day riding tons of roller coasters and experiencing the magic of Harry Potter. The 3-D rides were our favorite, I don’t think I’ve ever been on anything like these rides. While it was pretty expensive to get into the park we had a great day so I don’t think we regretted spending the money. Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley were enough to make it worth it for me, I think.

After Universal Studios closed we headed to West Palm Beach where Elliot’s grandpa is staying right now, so we had a bed to sleep in and a shower to use! I don’t think either of us have been more excited to use either. I fell asleep pretty much as I hit the pillow. It was a great day, but very exhausting!

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3 thoughts on “Day 18, 19 & 20 – Severe Weather & Orlando

  1. Oh my goodness! I am exhausted from your camping experiences! Great photos Ashley. So glad you now have a bed and a shower. Xoxo

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