Category Archives: North America

Snorkeling and Kayaking in the Florida Keys

In this week’s video we return to Key Largo, this time staying at John Pennekamp Cora Reef State Park, and we’re going to do some snorkeling and kayaking.

Snorkeling at Key Largo – Click for video
Campground

We stayed at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It exceeded our expectations except for the fact that the sites were perhaps a little too close together.

Dining

We arrived on Friday afternoon and went to Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill. Great place for sundowners, and we also had some delicious nachos. On Saturday we had lunch at Hobo’s Cafe.

Activities

The main event was a kayaking trip to the Coral Reef that was the absolute highlight of the whole trip. $29.95 per person. We also rented a dual kayak for $17

Key Largo & Islamorada

Click image for video

A while back we learned that one the first campgrounds we ever visited in Key Largo was closing down soon, so we decided to make a farewell trip to Point of View RV resort. The fact that it was half price during its last month of existence was quite enticing. This was also one of the newest campgrounds on the Keys so all the facilities were top notch.
This time we encountered a lot of traffic going to down to the Keys as it was Easter weekend. The campground, as it is normal in the summer, had a little bit of a party atmosphere. Part of the campground was already under construction; bungalows or whatever they are going to build.

Dinner

After a nice afternoon frolicking in the swimming pool, we go to Dennis Latin Cafe to order some Cuban coffee, and then dinner. We opted for Sundowners and it was a great choice. Nice ambience, live music, craft beer, and tasty seafood appetizers. We didn’t get much of a sunset but it was nice. As day turned into night we continued at the Pilot House for a nightcap.

Islamorada

On the next day we drove down to Islamorada to meet Paul and Lorena of The Motorhome Experiment YouTube channel. They were staying down at Curry Hammock State Park, so this was more or less the halfway point. We had a great time eating lunch at the Islamorada Fish a Company, and exchanging travel stories. While in Islamorada we also visit one of my old stomping grounds: the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar, now part on the Postcard Inn

That was our long weekend in a nutshell. Lots of relaxing by the pool and meeting new friends.

The main song in the video is “Key West (Cayo Hueso)

Video gear I use
Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000 Wi-Fi GPS 4K HD Video Camera Camcorder with Flat Surface & Helmet Mounts + 64GB Card + Battery + Case + Flex Tripod + Kit
If you buy on Amazon follow the link below. It cost you the same and I get a bit of commission for sending you over.

Music for all my videos is also available at Amazon Music.

Delray Beach and Boca Raton

A couple of weeks ago we decided to return to Delray Beach and Boca Raton to explore the area a little more.

RV repairs and updates

Right before this trip I decided to take advantage and do a couple of maintenance tasks I had been meaning to make. First was removing and eventually replacing one of the Winnebago decals which had become pretty badly cooked by the scorching south Florida sun and was starting to show its age. Second, the latch that holds the door open has started to disintegrate in Florida heat and should no longer work.

After that we departed for Delray Beach and stayed at the same RV park where we stayed last time: Del Raton RV Park. The name is a nice play on Delray and Boca Raton, as the Park stands very close to the city limits of both towns. I spent the day working on some videos, barbecuing some burgers, and catching some rays at the beach.

Boca Raton

In the afternoon we visited downtown Boca Raton, mainly an upscale shopping and dining center called Royal Palm Place.

It was a short, yet fun weekend and I hope you like our video of it.

Remember to shop at Amazon by following our link, it cost you nothing extra and we get gas money. It is a win-win situation. Thank you!


Video gear I use
Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000 Wi-Fi GPS 4K HD Video Camera Camcorder with Flat Surface & Helmet Mounts + 64GB Card + Battery + Case + Flex Tripod + Kit
If you buy on Amazon follow the link below. It cost you the same and I get a bit of commission for sending you over.

Music for all my videos is also available at Amazon Music.

Ultra Music Festival – Miami, Florida, USA

Ultra Music Festival

In this week’s video we are doing something a little bit different. We managed to get some tickets to Ultra, which is this huge electronic dance music festival that happens in Miami every year in March. EDM fans from all over the world come to listen to the biggest DJs playing the latest hits. There are nine different stages playing different varieties of electronic dance music.. The DJ stands up high, like a priest, as to the more hardcore fans this type of music is akin to a religion, and there is something to be said for the messages of love in in some of the lyrics. It is also a spectacular show of lights and sounds.
I am going to give you an introspective behind the scenes window into what the festival really looks like. It is not as crazy or even crowded as you are lead to believe by the images on TV, unless you want to go to the crowded areas.

Click on image for video
Ultra Background

Ultra Music Festival has its roots here in Miami dating back to 1999. It was names after Depeche Mode’s album “Ultra”. It originally took place at Collins Park in Miami Beach, but as the festival grew, they moved it Bayfront Park, in downtown Miami. In 2016 attendance was 165,000 fans.

Episode 2 – Champagne in Maine

Living the RV Dream with Traveling Robert – Episode 2 – Champagne in Maine

On this second installment of Living the RV Dream with a Traveling Robert we talk about Maine, andone of our listeners recommends Stephen Foster Culture Center State Park, in White Springs in northern Florida.

Interview with Rene Champagne
Rene at Moxie Falls, Jackman, Maine

Rene has been a viewer of my YouTube channel for many years, a YouTuber himself at Boondocking Mainahs. He travels with his wife in a Coleman travel trailer. Which he has retrofitted to allow for handicapped wheelchair access. Below you can see some pictures of his modifications.

Coleman camper modified for handicapped access
Camping in Maine

We also spoke about some of his favorite boondocking spots, one of them in Eustis, Maine, on the northwestern part of the state, near the Nash Creek

Nash Brook, Eustis, Maine

Peabody Mountain, Little Larry Road, in Bethel, Maine.

Black Nubble Mountain

We also talk about paid campgrounds. His favorite is Recompense Shores at Wolfe’s Neck Farm.

Recompence Shores Campground
Lobster Roll from Erica’s, in Hapswell, Maine

Knowing me, you know we had to talk about food, and the differences between Florida Lobster and Maine Lobster. Here’s a picture of his favorite lobster roll.

We also spoke about Maine’s most famous Acadia National Park. It has the first sunrise in the United States, with a view of Katahdin Mountain.

 

 

Crescent Beach State Park

The tune of the day is Music City, which I originally composed for the Nashville Portion of my Great American Road Trip 2016

For more information about the Great American Eclipse 2017 visit https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/

 

Miami Carnival: Calle Ocho

Calle Ocho, Spanish for Eighth Street, which is where the festival takes place, was founded in 1977 by a group of Cuban-Americans, and it closes the Miami Carnival festivities. It is nowadays organized and sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana and although it is a far cry from its heyday in the 80’s and 90’s it is still one of the largest street festivals in the world, with over one million people attending each year. The festival has broken many records, the most notable in 1988 when it made it to the Guinness Book of World Records by forming the world’s longest conga line with almost 120,000 people. Originally 24 blocks of SW 8th Street became a sea of people dancing, with food and drinks stalls, and 30 stages with live entertainment. In 2017 they only closed down 15 blocks of 8th street and there were only about 10 stages. It is still definitely something to see if you are visiting south Florida in early March. One thing to note if you are a visitor is to leave before sundown. Things can get a little rowdy and occasionally violent as some people get drunk and tend to misbehave. Otherwise enjoy this Pan-American  apotheosis of flavors and sounds.

The Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve


In this weeks video and blog post we are going back to the Everglades and Big Cypress National Preserve to do a couple of things we haven’t done before.

We are staying at Monument Lake which is one of the few places this time of the year with any site available. We’re visiting in February at the peak of snowbird season.

In the video and blog post I use Everglades and Big Cypress interchangeably because they are very similar ecosystems. Big Cypress my favorite of the two areas is, as the name suggests a lot more wooded. The first activity we attempt is to walk a short section of the Florida trail. In South Florida, besides alligators, pythons, panthers, great blue herons, and anhingas, the most abundant member of the animal kingdom is the mosquito. The mosquitos are relentless on the Florida trail. I was under the impression that the winter was the non mosquito season. I was obviously greatly misinformed. It has also been an unusually hot and humid winter.

After our epic fail at the Florida Trail, we decide to the next best thing, which is a loop road that goes pretty deep into the Big Cypress National Preserve. This is truly the highlight of the trip, and the highlight of the loop road is the Sweetwater Strand. In the strand, which is like a river crossing the swamp, we can see all kinds of different birds and the heavy vegetation provided by the taller Cypress tress, makes it feel a lot cooler than the rest of the area. We see all kinds of different birds, and plenty of gators, some of them perhaps too close for comfort.

On the next day we visit Shark Valley, which is one of the most popular and famous places on the Everglades National Park. The is a loop trail where you can ride a bicycle and if you are lazy like us, there is also a tram. The tram is noisy and uncomfortable, and very much overdue for an upgrade. There is an observation tower at the far end of the road. The views are fine, but I guess my expectations were so high that I end up a little underwhelmed. We plenty of wildlife as well. The tour is presented by an elderly couple, and it is full of anecdotes and valuable information.

The culinary highlight of the trip is Joanie’s Café, in which the swamp platter which includes gator bites and frog legs is a winner.

Stay tuned for another compilation video coming soon about the 3 or 4 mail things to do in The Everglades National Park, and the Big acupressure National Preserve.

Tampa, Florida | Traveling Robert

In this final installment of the Tampa Bay series we are going to visit Tampa proper over the course of three afternoons. We are attending the Florida Rv Supershow in the morning.

On the first day we stay in the car most of the time, just getting a little bit of the lay of the land. We drive on the street that claims to have the longest sidewalk in the world, Bayshore Boulevard. We also drive through Hyde Park, a historic district, home to the famous Bern’s Steakhouse. The southernmost point of our exploratory trip is Ballast Point Park, from where we get extraordinary views of downtown across the bay.

On our second day we have lunch at the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Florida. Also the oldest Spanish restaurant in the United States, and one of the largest in the wold. Its name is The Columbia. While we are in Ybor City we explore some of the historic sites and take a round trip on the TECO line street car to downtown.

On our third day, we eat at a trendy restaurant called Ulele, on the riverfront. We also explore downtown a little bit and the University of Tampa on the other side of the Hillsborough River. The Henry B. Plant Hall, is a historic building, formerly the legendary Tampa Bay Hotel. Nowadays it hosts the Henry B. Plant Museum as well as some of the University services.

Overall it was a great time. On our way out we bid farewell to one of Americas iconic roadside attractions, the Airstream ranch, which was demolished just a few days after our visit.

Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, and Clearwater Beach, Florida

This week we are visiting Tarpon Springs, a historic Greek community built by the sponge industry, Dunedin and its popular causeway, pleasant downtown and historic microbrewery, and Clearwater, one of the best beaches of the Sun Coast of Florida.

We begin our trip by driving to the northernmost point of Pinellas County, and the Sun Coast for that matter: Tarpon Springs. A great number of Greek immigrants arrived to the area during the 1890’s to work on the emerging sponge industry, thus today it has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the United States. It is known as the sponge capital of the world because of its beginnings.

In the historic downtown we encounter one of the main landmarks here: the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Completed in 1943, the cathedral replaced a church from 1907. It was built with marble from Greece, Czechoslovakian chandeliers and it has 23 stained glass windows.

Next we go to the historic sponge docks, to find something to eat.

The Sponge Docks is the area where the sponge industry originally began and helped build this Greek community. It is nowadays very commercialized and touristy with places like the Spongeorama. We eat at the famous Hellas Restaurant and Bakery, family owned since 1970.

Out next point of interest is Wall Springs Park. In the 1920 the park and the natural spring used to be a health spa known as Health Springs. There’s an observation tower and the park is overall a nice relaxing place with Spanish moss draped trees and a boardwalk, but there’s nothing really unique about it.

Next we continue towards the City of Dunedin. First we stop by the Dunedin Causeway, which takes you to Honeymoon Island State Park. It seems to be a nice place, where what seems to be mostly locals, come to relax, fish, paddleboard, or just chill by the beach.

In Dunedin propper we encounter the Pinellas Trail which goes through downtown, and goes all the way from Tarpon Springs to Saint Petersburg. The city stands out for its unobstructed views of the Intercoastal Waterway, which we’ll see soon enough, and for the absence of any chain stores or franchise restaurants. Everything seems to be local, which is a good thing. There’s also Florida’s oldest craft microbrewery, established in 1995. Yeah, way before craft beer was popular. It is called, appropriately enough, Dunedin Brewery.

Our final stop is Clearwater, which is supposed to be one of the finest beaches in Florida, so we’re dying to check it out. Too bad we forgot to bring our bathing suits. We are going to get there just in time for the sunset, and apparently they have some kind of sunset celebration like they do in Ft. Myers, and Key West. It is called Sunsets at Pier 60 Daily Festival. They do have street performers and friendly pelicans.

I hope you enjoy this week’s video and see you on the road!

Saint Petersburg, Florida

This weeks travel video is the second installment of the Tampa Bay series, which takes us to Saint Petersburg, Florida.

After exploring a short section of the Pinellas Trail, we drive to Downtown St. Pete, as it is locally known. We take a leisurely stroll on Demens Park, eyeing the numerous sailboats, and small aircraft flying from nearby Albert Whitted Airport, the birthplace of scheduled commercial flight. We can see downtown Tampa in the distance with the now demolished St. Pete Pier in the foreground.
The next stop is at the city nutmber one tourist attraction: The Salvador Dalí Museum. It holds the largest collection of Dalí works outside of Europe and outside of Spain, and also the second largest collection of Dalí’s master works, the very large canvas that took over a yes each to complete. There’s also a somewhat gimmicky but way cool virtual reality presentation in which you get to go inside some of Dalí’s more famous paintings.
The Museum left us hungry so we eat at the lively Central Avenue, where the is a plethora of choices. We end the day by cruising along the avenue, and driving by the Historic Roser Park district of the city.