South Florida, St. Augustine, Hilton Head, Savannah, Charleston,

Days 20-22: May 7th – 9th, 2015

It’s hard to believe we’ve almost been on the road for a month. We’ve had days filled with history and adventure, we’ve passed milestones we planned the trip around, we’ve overcome new challenges we weren’t expecting and a few we were. During these few days in Florida, we got to relax and be with our family. It is one of our favorite aspects about the trip. We’ve always felt slightly unlucky that we had no family to grow up with in Minnesota, but now we feel extremely lucky to have family dotting the country that are willing to host us and make time and room for us as we volunteer around the U.S. We spent these days with our cousins, their children, our aunt and uncle, and playing Scrabble with our Grandmother.

Being with family is not only a wonderful gift, but also an appreciated respite for us as we make our way from city to city. We are so appreciative to be able to do laundry and feel at ease and off duty. We planned these few days with our father’s side of family to be without volunteering so that we could maximize our quality time with everyone. It was rejuvenating to have some down time.

On our way to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, we stopped in St. Augustine, which is home to the oldest street in America. We were enamored with this little pirate town that had many little shops, restaurants, and historical markers. We found a beautiful hidden garden we wished was our backyard. We wandered by the oldest wood school house in the U.S., an old water mill, and many tabby walls, which are Spanish walls constructed with oyster shells and scraps to create concrete.

Days 23-25: May 10th – 12th, 2015

In Hilton Head we biked to the beach on paths decorated with Spanish Moss and other great and aged trees. There were horses, alligators, and many birds along the way. We swam in salt-water pools near the beach and in the ocean where jellyfish lay strewn about the shore. The children we were with were fearless about the creatures on the sand, we were a bit more skeptical of our safety. This species of jellyfish felt like thick rubber when picked up, and they were big.

While calling Hilton Head our temporary home, we made a day trip to Savannah. We decided to splurge for an Old Town Trolley Tour since it was such a beautiful day and we really weren’t sure what to see in Savannah. As soon as we boarded the trolley, a dark cloud overcast the sun and thunder boomed above us. We looked at each other and laughed loud enough that the few other passengers glanced over. It was a hop-on hop-off tour, so we hopped off in the rain near Paula Deen’s The Lady & Sons for lunch. It was a wait, but well worth it. The only thing of which we didn’t immediately want seconds of was the dessert, which worked out since we were uncomfortably full by the time we hopped back on the trolley. Savannah is also a very cool place with a lot of history, and had we had more time we would have gotten to see and hear more about it.

During these days in Florida and Hilton Head, we celebrated our dad’s birthday, Mothers’ Day, and our sister’s death anniversary. In the next two weeks there would be two more death anniversaries of close friends. As these days pass, we think of how our lives have changed so much over the years, especially the last few, and how we are so thankful we were able to take this trip with the support and encouragement of so many people.

The next day we headed for Atlanta by way of Charleston, but not before one of the dogs escaped the confines of the house and we had to chase him around the neighborhood. One of the neighbors caught him, and relieved us by saying this was not his first time helping to catch this dog. On the drive to Charleston there was more rural American history than we had yet seen. Old, run down homes, barns, stores, towns. It was very cool to see and we took lots of pictures (that didn't turn out well), but there was something very sad about it too. What were the stories of these places? Where are the landowners and their descendants now? What happened? The economy? The Depression? How are things so easily abandoned and left to ruin?

In Charleston we parked near the very expansive City Market. We were in another southern city with lots of unique history and culture that we didn’t get to spend nearly enough time in. We went by Rainbow Row, the Old Slave Mart, Doc Street Theater, and had lunch in a building from the 1880’s. The excitement wasn’t over for the day when we left Charleston. In the midst of blogging, updating social media, and continuing to plan and coordinate on our drive to Atlanta, we were making a video of things from our sponsors and a bird nearly hit the windshield. We burst out laughing, partly out of being startled and partly because of the juxtaposition of music and video we were making while this bird almost met its end. We posted the video anyway. We laughed for a long time and kept replaying the video. We were heading to a place of our childhood and switching sides of the family.

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