Thursday, July 2nd, 2020 (Read why we chose van life here.)
Never did I think that the trip to buy the van would be so "adventurous."
Right after I was approved for the financing, I grabbed plane tickets to fly out to Florida the next day. I was also able to find a ride to the airport on short notice. I didn't want to drive my own vehicle (a 2002 Toyota 4Runner that drives like a tank!) to the airport an hour and a half away because that would mean the hassle of getting it back home once we returned with the van.
It was a Thursday and I had to slip into a half-day filled with back-to-back meetings. I replied to my 'congratulations' email from the loan coordinator and let her know we'd be traveling all day tomorrow (Friday) and we'd see them on Saturday to sign papers and take possession. I figured they would be busy with 4th of July special sales and didn't want to get squeezed out in the bustle of the day.
By the time I got out of my meetings, the dealership on the other side of the country was closed due to the 3 hour time difference, but I had an email: "We are a commercial dealership so we aren't open on weekends. We open Monday at 8 am."
Ugh, I didn't even notice they were a commercial dealership. I had simply followed the Car Fax link to their site." (Que panic.) Eek! Is this a sign?! Should I nix the whole idea? Cancel the flights, reply to email with 'Well, never mind then'? Ahhhhhhh! What am I doing?!?!?!
Ok, Melinda, use your coping skills. I mean, you are a therapist for goodness' sake.
"Stay calm. Life isn't perfect. Things happen. Even with a weekend adventure this deal is better than anything you've seen in California. Just go with it. You've never been to Florida. Explore! You wouldn't want to go all the way there and not explore, would you?"
Deep breath... moving forward.... plans in tact.
July 3, 2020 Friday morning...
Our driver had to make the round trip to the airport and get back to work, so we got to the airport at 9:08 am even though our flight left at 12:40. Even with long security lines, we were still very early. We used our wait time to search for a last-minute hotel deal and buy tickets to Sea World. Social distancing required a reservation to Sea World, but the reservation website would only give me an error message. I ended up waiting on hold for an hour and 16 minutes while watching the first half of Hamilton with Kate.
We had left our driveway at 7:38 am, so by the time we began boarding at 12:20, it already felt like quite a day. I hung up my still-on-hold call with Sea World when the plane was ready to take off. Our layover in Chicago was too short to attempt another call.
We landed in Orlando at 10:45pm and got our luggage. Sea World was of course closed, so there was no way to know if we were going to get in the next day or not.
The hotel rep who had helped me book my flight told me that there are always plenty of taxis always waiting at the airport. There were none. I called to get one. He said it would be at least an hour wait. I figured a rental car would be quicker.
The company I usually use was closed and another company was out of vehicles, so I went to Avis. I've already had a bad experience with them in the past, so I wasn't excited. But, I was desperate.
Well, the idea of a rental car being quicker was wrong. It was a two and a half hour circus to get a car. I have not the patience to go into the details about that now. It was ugly. I'll just say that I won't be using Avis again.
We finally arrived at our hotel room at almost 3:00 am on Saturday morning. I was informed that breakfast is grab and go from 6 - 8 am. (hahaha 8 am... nope, we'll be sleeping this day off. )
Single mom and kiddo set out on a nomad, van life, roadschooling lifestyle. Watch the beginner diy van conversion, first time homeschooling, first time build, first time on the road experiences, newbie family van life adventures unfold.
We will share van life travels and tips to encourage other people to get out and explore the open road.