Tailgate Party In Gainesville, Margaritaville Cafe & More Fun Concerts & Adventures
This is a series of articles on an island-themed road trip from Texas to Key West with stops along the way for concerts and fun, making for a true travel adventure.
PARKING LOT PARTY, GAINESVILLE, FL
Since the drive from Gulf Shores to Kissimmee was longer than we like to travel in one day it was a perfect opportunity to find a large parking long to circle the wagons (okay, motorhomes) and have a tailgate party.
Thom Shepherd (two Gold records) and Coley McCabe (Platinum record) caught up to the Karavan and joined us for this party which was held in a far corner of the Bass Pro Shop parking lot.
All the artists took turns singing songs, many of which were well enough known for everyone to sing along. They also sang some songs that they’ve not only has not been recorded, but has not been performed in public prior to this day.
It was a good day to reflect on the amazing Karavan events to this point and talk about the remainder of this rolling party. It was a great evening with pizza, beer, and music.
FLIP FLOP STOCK, KISSIMMEE FL
Artists performing: Drop Dead Dangerous, Thom Shepherd and Coley McCabe, Bill Cockrell, Kristine Jackson, Donny Brewer and James Sunny Jim White
The Karavan rolled out of Gainesville early and made the south turn toward Key West for our next stop in Kissimmee, FL. This event was held at Bill Cockrell’s home, which is on five acres near enough to Disney World to hear the fireworks!
When we arrived, it looked like a choreographed dance as the RVs from 30 to 44 feet jockeyed for parking. Just to put a little wrench in the play, Southern Drawl Band had left its 45-foot tour bus on the property. Unbelievably not one RV got stuck in the yard!
Once the stage was readied for the show the music started! Joel Block and Donald James kicked off the party. Following them was Cockrell, not only the day’s host, but a great musician. He was joined by Kristine Jackson.
Following them came Thom Shepherd and Coley McCabe. This duo is one of the best on the trop rock circuit. They play off each other quite well. Some songs are touching while others are funny. They played one of their newer songs. “Shotgun,” about a couple that always has each other’s backs. Shotgun refers to riding in the seat next to the other, which of course they do frequently as the travel around the country.
MARGARITAVILLE CAFE, ORLANDO, FL
Visiting Radio Margaritaville, DJ J.D. Spradlin
Myself and Donny Brewer took one for the team by being the designated drivers of the two 15 passenger vans for the trip over to Universal Studios City Walk for an afternoon at Margaritaville Café.
We were able to visit with our friend, and Margaritaville DJ J.D. Spradlin, as he broadcast live from his Parrot Perch inside the café. He had Donny Brewer up to discuss the Karavan and play a couple of songs live on Radio Margaritaville. Although Donny and I could not drink due to our DD status, that did not stop the rest of the group from enjoying exotic flavored margaritas.
Looking around the restaurant you could tell the rest of the patrons were wondering to themselves who the hell are these people and why are they disrupting my nice quite meal!?
CASINO NIGHT, MIAMI, FL
We departed our makeshift RV park at Cockrell’s house around 10 a.m. Somehow we got all the RVs out without one getting stuck or hitting a tree of fence, although it was touch-and-go there for a few minutes.
We made the trip from Kissimmee to Miccosukee Resort and Gaming for a casino night. Those that enjoyed gambling were able to donate some money to the casino. Those that didn’t gamble went inside for a nice meal.
Following time in the casino we regrouped for some adult beverage and visiting in the casino parking lot.
The good news is there was no reports of anyone having to sign over their RV to the casino due to massive losses. The bad news is there was also no reports of anyone heading to the local Prevost dealer to pick up a new fancy bus due to winnings, either.
WE MADE IT! ONTO MEETING OF THE MINDS, KEY WEST
We arrived safely in Key West shortly after noon. I’ll be writing a separate blog regarding Meeting of the Minds week. Stay “tuned” for that one!
ABOUT KARAVAN TO THE KEYS
Karavan to the Keys is a unique event. While there are dozens, if not hundreds of RV rallies that take place most are groups of similar RV brands or types.
Karavan to the Keys is different because regardless of the brand, size, or year of your RV, or even if you don’t have an RV and want to follow along in your car, you are welcome to join us. We bond over music and good times. It’s similar to a tailgate party at a football game but instead of preparing to watch a game, we have musicians playing music and we sing along with them.
It began as an accident as we realized we had a group of folks heading the same direction, at the same time, for the same event, and we had the same love for trop rock music. There are many that follow along vicariously on social media and declare that they will join us the next year. Many of them fulfill that promise and do it. We are growing each year.
The best part of Karavan to the Keys is simple to identify; it is the lifelong friends we make over the 10-12 day period. Actually, we become more than friends and each year, we add to our incredible Karavan family.
KARAVAN TO THE KEYS MILES TRAVELED, ARTISTS & SHOWS
1,678 miles, over 100 participants, 25 musicians, 11 days, 7 shows, 5 states, 1 unforgettable event!
Meeting of the Minds 2018. A trop rock music festival on the island of Key West!