The People Are The Best Part Of The Journey
Have you ever heard the song that goes something like this - “make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold”?
Let's just say... we are missing our “gold’ friends something terrible.
It’s one thing when you miss your friends when they are in the same town, or even a couple hour car ride away, but to show up places and not know people - or it's too far away for people to drive - feels like a whole different kind of missing.
We are, however, very fortunate in the fact that it’s not hard for us to make friends.
Building new relationships is a huge value of ours and we own it like it's another job... where the pay is the genuine friendships. (cha-ching!)
On our first leg of the trip, we were able to stop in Florence, SC and catch up with a dear childhood friend, Shannon, and her family…remember those “GOLD” friends? We’ve been friends since I (Stace) was 14. GFF’s - Gold friends forever!
Then we hit the Outer Banks where we befriended a gal called, “hey bartender!“…and, turns out, she was the only friend we needed after the drive we had to the Outer Banks (refer back to https://omegear.com/blogs/adventure/a-trip-to-the-arcade).
Next stop…MEE-AH-MEE (that’s “Miami” for those of you who may not know Jamacian, mon!), and man oh man did we hit the jackpot!
Our hearts got refueled as we were able to spend a good amount of time with Alex, a dear friend from Charleston, at the SOBEWFF and then with other dear friends from the Keys - Allen, Megan, Stephen, and Stephanie.
We’re finding that it’s always nice to have a little bit of home - or those who feel like home - show up when in a strange place for the first time.
At SOBEWFF, one of our highlights was meeting Monica and Hasan, a lovely couple from NYC/Miami.
Another huge highlight was meeting Steve, our booth neighbor from Mezzacorona. Pretty sure he’ll be a lifelong friend.
Then we got to connect with other fantastically contagious booth neighbors, Jen and Grant - owners of 22&Co and Poké In The Rear in Key West. These places are both a must visit! When you go, tell them Jules and Stace from OME Gear sent you.
Aspa, our new nail gal from Greece/Miami, shared with us the best local South Beach eating joints and watering holes - Sushi Garage…best sushi happy hour ever! It’s from 5 to 8 but you better get there early. And Lucali…their wood fired pizza… holy yummmm. And lastly, while feasting on cheap sushi and sipping on chilled martini’s, we sat at the bar next to the lovely Diana and struck up a new friendship.
After a whirlwind trip to Miami, we headed to Tampa/Clearwater area.
Just when we thought Miami was a friend-honey-hole, we had no idea what the Tampa/St Pete/Clearwater area had in store.
Our very first night we settled into our new address and posted our location on an RV FB group we are a part of. We kid you not, within minutes, we got a comment on our post with a pic of our sweet Olive hiding in the trees. It was Anthony and Ashley from the group who happened to be in our same campground. How's that for a small world! We didn’t have a chance to hang out with them but got to have passing conversations…sweet family!
The next night we met up with our new friend who is now #framily, Ronnie Green. If you get a chance, go listen to his podcast episode on Do It Nature and look for us on his fishing show, A Fishing Story, in January. We were also super fortunate to enjoy dinner with his beautiful wife and two of his cousins, Rito and Mark, aka “Cornbread”. It truly was a night filled with new framily, good food, and lots of laughs!
On Saturday morning, while sitting in our Wanderrs, enjoying our coffee outside of our sweet Olive, a gentleman walked up and asked in a jolly voice, “What is this company you have on your RV?” Of course, we jumped at the opportunity to tell him about OME Gear and demo the Wanderr. He instantly said he wanted one for his wife…WOO HOO…sold!!
But, so much more than a sale, this was just the beginning of a new friendship with David and Dana. They were our first “official” RV friends!!!
The next day we randomly ran into them at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the water. We like to think that us running into them was a God Wink because, well, I think He knew we needed one that day.
You see, they just so happened to ride up in a boat and the captain asked us to join them for the day…HELL YEAH!!
So now with our four new friends we broke bread, sipped on mimosas and bloody's, and set off to let the wind blow through our hair while cutting through the blue waters on the Gulf Coast.
We cannot continue without giving a big shout out to Bret (Captain) and Lisa, the owners of Silverking Brewing Co., who are good people and make really great beer.
If you’re ever in the Tarpon Springs, FL area, stop in and grab a brewsky and tell Bret that Jules and Stace sent you!
Later that evening, we all, including Dana’s sister, Lynn, gathered at the campground for a wonderful dinner prepared by Chef David sided by a ton of belly aching laughs.
Isn’t laughter always the best medicine?
On Memorial Day, we took a trip down to Indian Rock and met some old friends/Aiken neighbors, Toni and Bill, for lunch at the original Crabby Bill’s. This place is iconic and has been around since 1983.
After lunch, we actually sat and talked to one the owners, and gem of a human, Pauly. Pauly is the grandson of the late Crabby Bill, and son of the late Ellie Jenkins who was a dear friend. If you ever find yourself at Crabby Bill’s and Pauly is around tell him that Jules and Stace sent you!!
Our second to the last night in the Tampa area was super special.
We met four friends who we knew from Charleston out for dinner, cocktails, and a nice walk on the pier in St. Pete. Yes, you read that right…four of our friends, who we knew from Charleston, all now live in St. Pete! And get this…they didn’t even know each other. Big shout out to Ash, Steph, Frankie and Jessie…love you gals and guys!
What an incredible ending to our first leg of this journey!
Our treasure chest is full of both old and new friends.
We are now in the 30A area (the Florida highway connecting Panama City and Destin) thru June 25th, so if you are close (or have people we should meet!), please reach out so we can connect!!
This road, for us, is all about the people.
But really though, isn’t that ultimately what all of life is about?
Make new friends, but keep the old. Some are silver, and others are gold.
Stace + Jules 💚
p.s. as a reminder, if you comment here, we can't respond back, but know that we read and love them all! We love hearing from you. 🙌
Still looking for the “Elusive Ladies of 30A”?! Clecked 4 more RV , CAMP SITES in the 30A area this weekend ….. NO … OLIVE, STACE, or JULES !!!!
Enjoyed reading your travelogue so far. Would love to see you all, but with Uncle Fred’s dementia, I am limited in what we can do. Since you all aren’t too far from FWB, would you be able to come for lunch or dinner some time. God bless.
I love reading your newsletters! Glad you are meeting such nice people along your way and making lifetime memories, as well as new friends. God go with you.
Where is “Olive”?!?! I drove through Grayton Beach State Park yesterday (5:00 – 05:30 p.m. and around the campsites. There were some EMPTY slots, but no Olive or Jules and Stace. I then stopped by the BOTE Store ( 32 E County Highway 30A ), and chatted with the two sales girls (both very knowledgeable) , and explained your ‘Ambitious Journey’ . They are very anxious to meet Y’all, and introduce you to BOTE. When you stop by, have them show you the Aero Rackham, (I have an older model, and the Inflatable LONO (I have last summer’s model, without the NEW pedal / propeller drive. If you would like to use mine for the rest of your stay , let me know. I can get them, … paddles, \Electric and manual pumps, PFD ( I even have 2 for dogs), cooler, leash, …. and some other ‘goodies’. Email me to let me know when FRI or this weekend would be OK. p.s. OH, OH ….. I’ve come up with a 6th ‘use’ for the “Wanderr”, but its “TOP SECRET”, and I’ll have to reveal it in person!!!!
You are making some amazing new friends! Can’t wait to visit you on this journey! You are missed!
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