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Virtually there


We have left Florida in search of something. Trouble is, we don’t know what. I was hoping that we’d figure it out as we drove, and so far that theory is working. There’s nothing like the threat of having to park by the side of the road overnight to inspire those gray cells that make the plans.

The first brainstorm was to swing by Green Cove Springs, where our “virtual address” is located. We are now, and permanently at 411 Walnut Street in Green Cove Springs. So we towed the Airstream downtown and parked it on this brick paved street to see where we live now.

Except that it doesn’t exist. Somewhere behind the orange car in the photo was 411, but now only 409 and 415 can be found. The left pane of glass of the storefront is where 411 should be. In white vinyl letters on this window appears a message, telling all who come by and gape (as we were doing) that St Brendan’s Isle, our mail forwarding service, is now located 2.7 miles up the highway.

So as it turns out, our virtual address is more virtual than we thought. We pulled the Airstream the requisite 2.7 miles and parked it at the Winn-Dixie next door to a featureless steel office building, where St Brendan’s Isle now processes all the mail of their customers.


So we met three of the staff, and they met us, and they showed us our virtual home. It’s a box with the number 4468, amid the hundreds of other little boxes in the room, but it contained something particularly special for me: advance copies of the Summer 2008 issue of Airstream Life. (Copies went in the mail this week to all subscribers as well.)

This may seem to be a minor event, but it felt sort of important to me. We’ve put faces with the names, which is always nice when you work across cyberspace with people. We’ve made an appearance. We may never get to Green Cove Springs again, but at least now we know what it looks like, and somehow that feels good. It was always a tiny bit uncomfortable having an address in a place we’ve never been.

Having accomplished that first step of our east coast tour, we started thinking about where to head next. (These brainstorming sessions were held over walkie-talkie, since Eleanor was driving behind me with Emma in the Honda.) All of the beachfront sites are booked solid this weekend, and we didn’t want to fight crowds. We also realized that boondocking or overnight parking outside of campgrounds would be much more comfortable once we got further north. Florida is running 90 degrees every day now, and the southeast in general is experiencing the usual humidity. So we decided to put some miles behind us in order to get into some cooler weather sooner, and open up our options.

Tonight we are parked at a Cracker Barrel in Georgia, just for convenience. Keeping the speed down to 60 MPH all the way boosted our fuel economy by more than 10%, but with that and all the stops, we ended up driving until 7 pm. Hopefully this will be our only such stop on this leg of the trip. We are planning to spend the bulk of the trip in state and national park sites. I’ll lay out that plan over the next few days as it unfolds.

One Response to “Virtually there”

  1. Roger Says:

    I took your idea of driving slower and put it in practice on our Mexico trip. As I posted in my blog, on our way down we got over 15mpg and averaged 13.5 on the entire trip.