Southern Trip: The Great Outdoors


In December we completed a loop from Michigan to North Carolina, to Savannah Georgia, to Titusville Florida, to Ft. Myers Florida, to Lexington Kentucky, and back to Michigan. All told, a 4,000 mile trip where we connected with relatives, friends, family, interesting alternative communities, and some great winter nature. Most interesting was our time experiencing a particular flavor of Florida-life, The Great Outdoors.

When you think of the Great Outdoors, you might not be thinking of a giant RV/Golfing resort. Thanks to friends, we had the opportunity to stay at and learn about The Great Outdoors (TGO) in Titusville, next door to Cape Canaveral.

TGO is 1600 units of housing organized into mini-communities by RV class and building type. Sociologists would say this is a window into modern social stratification and sorting. One section of the development is dedicated to just those who own Class A RVs: giant vehicles as big as Greyhound buses. These homes can cost more than a million dollars, and some have not one, but two giant RV garages, as well as multiple car garages and multiple golfcart garages.

Florida five stars (2 of 3)

Another section – the “executive suites”– is restricted to owners who sleep in their RVs. These units can have a kitchen and a living room – or anything else – but not a bedroom. Still other sections are restricted to owners who do not have an RV at all. Many rules apply inside this development, including prohibitions on motorcycles in some sections. There are virtually no children; we learned that there were maybe 6 children in the entire community. In so many ways, TGO is a self-contained community with its own recreation, social life, amenities, and norms.

Of course, there is another kind of great outdoors in the South, and our trip bumped into a vast array of wildlife and botany virtually everywhere we went. Bald eagles perched on roofs, alligators wandering through through the parking lots, amarillos, snakes, and countless other features of a distinctively southern ecology all around. The diversity of the South was on display everywhere from congested urban settings to dispersed swampland.






3 thoughts on “Southern Trip: The Great Outdoors

  1. I was glad to happen upon this Eddie! Thoughtful commentary on the “built” environment. I recall your stories of your family trips in the classic VW van! Not what you’re driving apparently.


  2. Glad to see you “smell the roses” – carpe diem! Hope to follow in your tire treads in the not too distant future – still learning from you, three decades later. Safe travels.


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