Road Work Play

Full Time RV Living Blog

We Boondocked Key West

Key West Beach

We couldn’t stay in Florida for a second winter and not go to the keys. Campgrounds in Key West are way more pricey than we pay, so we dropped the camper and took advantage of our van dwelling experience. We heard overnighting in Key West was difficult, and it’s true, but we managed to make it happen.

In a word, Key West is awesome. The people are super friendly, the environment is relaxed and fun, it’s beautiful, and we had a great, great time.

We first arrived in the evening, and parked in a parking area near the fishing pier.

We scootered around a bit, checked out Southernmost Point and, after a bit of magic, found a location to park for the night.

In the morning, we were awaken by the sounds of the Gypsy Chickens that inhabit the island, crowing and clucking about. A local told us chickens were originally fought on the island and, when the fighting stopped, the owners loved their chickens too much to put them down. Instead, the chickens were realeased and are now protected inhabitants of the island.

Key West Gypsy Chicken

Key West Gypsy Chicken

We spent the first couple of days checking out the standard tourist attractions, including Duval Street, the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square, and two of the Botanical Gardens – one of which has never seen a frost.

Of course, we had to drive around and see if some of the Roadside America sites could be found. While the first few seemed no longer available, we did encounter a few neat things.

The rest of our days were spent trying to fit in some relaxing, walking along the docks, and enjoying the local culture.

When it was time to go, we made our way back through the Keys, making a few stops along the way.

We’re thinking of going back again next year; what’s your favorite spot – what did we miss that we really need to see?

Our First Fully Working & Traveling Van Camping Trip

This time we were out for about three weeks before we decided to head back to Virginia and take a trip with my parents. This trip was all about working, and less about playing. It was our test run – can we really work on the road and be successful as planned. The result? Awesomeness.

We successfully found and processed more inventory on this three week trip than we would in two months sitting stagnant. And, we had the added bonus of seeing lots of cool sites, and visiting again with Laurie’s friend in PA. Enough babbling, on with the trip…

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Building a Simple Removable Bed in Our Cargo Van

Removable bed built in our cargo van

We quickly learned that our original crates and queen air mattress setup was not going to work. The mattress took up too much space, and the crates were not large enough for a majority of the items we were ending up purchasing. We still wanted a simple solution that was easily removable, and this is what we made.

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Our Maryland & D.C. Van Camping Trip

Bridge

With the new bed modifications in our E-350, we were ready to set out on our next van camping adventure. This time, we were going north up interstate 95 to the D.C. area, from there we were not sure.

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Our First Van Camping Trip

With our E350 as ready as it could be, we were ready to start out on our first van camping adventure. If you’re interested in what we learned we should set up better next time, that will be a different post.

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Making Our E350 a Camper Van

We chose our van based on it’s ability to both pull and carry weight. It is not, however, a thing of beauty in the rear interior. But, that’s what we wanted. When we were ready to start van camping, it was time to take all of that glorious, unrefined space and make it usable.

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