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  • Writer's pictureWe Live Here Now

Highway to (Tate’s) Hell

Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE our snazzy RV GPS. But every once in a while, it’s nice to live life on the road without the modern day luxuries: to put away the phones, bust out the maps, and sing along with the radio.

Thursday was once such day. We pulled out the National Geographic Atlas, and drove up Florida’s Forgotten Coast. We picked out some trails for the afternoon and a campsite for the night. And then we got cocky. We’ll just take the scenic route, we said. It’ll be an adventure.

And it was. That’s how we ended up in Tate’s Hell State Forrest, over 200,000 acres of swampland in Florida: A place that supposedly got it’s name because a long time ago a man named Tate entered and got lost. Days later, he emerged snake bitten and ragged, with only enough life in him to say “My name is Tate, and I just came from Hell.”

Luckily, our stay went a little better. It might have taken us about 3 hours to do a drive that should have taken 15 minutes. But we found our way eventually. And as usual, we made new friends in the process. This time, they were a retired police detective and an environmental engineer with two dogs. We shared a campfire, chatting and drinking wine.

Even when things go wrong on the road, they somehow seem to turn out right. Last week, everything being booked up for Thanksgiving meant camping out and feasting on the beach. On Friday, a check engine light in Betty meant rerouting for the weekend to a gorgeous state park. And last night, when a lazy, rainy day turned into crazy storms with flash flood warnings and tornado watches, we realized we could just drive away to safety. Plus, we ended up spending a surprisingly awesome afternoon in Mobile, AL, which is apparently a haven of great food, beer, and art.

People keep asking us what our plans are, and we’ve realized we can’t really answer. We’re constantly reconfiguring, adapting, and discovering new opportunities for adventure. But that’s become one of the very best parts of this journey.

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