About Us

The Open Road Project exists to spread kindness and meet the needs of strangers. We travel in a 1979 GMC Vanguard named Lily. These are our stories.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Get to know the locals

Here at the Open Road Project we are all about dispelling the myth that young people are sluggards, lazy, and sleep in till noon. So on Monday morning, we got up at the crack of dawn and went to the beach for some sunrise shelling.

Sanibel Island is the shell capital of the universe, and offers so many varieties of shells that no person could ever hope to collect them all. It was a beautiful sunrise, and we got the best selection of the shells deposited by the cool Florida night tide.

After a quick breakfast, we waited for our 10:00 am pickup from a friend who has been coming to the island since before Lily even hit the production line.

When someone gives you the "Sanibel Insiders List of Things To Do," and then also offers to take you on a tour of the island - you just say yes.

Driving around in the bed of a pickup truck is fun any day of the week, but cruising around the island this way was especially satisfying. Sanibel has a fascinating history, and I would encourage you to do a 5 minute Google search to learn more if you are into good stories.

Cruisin' Florida style
Back in the late 60's Sanibel was set to become the next "Miami beach," with plans for over 90,000 hotel/condo/high rise units. The locals, wanting to preserve the natural beauty and diverse wildlife on the island, ended up voting to secede from Lee County so that they could govern themselves, and take control back from the developers. Today the island is built as much as it will ever be, and no buildings are higher than 3 storeys. Also, two-thirds of the island is comprised of wildlife refuges. For a group of six who believe in a Creator, this island has been an amazing place to marvel at the beauty that surrounds us.

On our tour, we also learned about an inspiring man named Jay "Ding" Darling when we visited the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. He was a cartoonist with a passion for raising awareness of conservation issues. He was good friends with Franklin Roosevelt during the time the National Wildlife Foundation was created. His political cartoons won him a number of awards during a time when there many American animal species were rapidly disappearing. Our tour of the refuge compelled us to think about the complex conservation and environmental issues of the present.

This rifle held over three pounds of ammo, and would decimate 80-100 birds per shot
Getting educated
After our tour, we went out for an amazing lunch at a popular local spot called Doc Ford's. Doc Ford is a character in a book series based on a guy who lives on the island of Sanibel. Calvin has been captivated by one Doc Ford page-turner this week.

Whenever we travel on the open road, we find the best stories come from time spent with locals. Our tour was a perfect example of this!

Thanks for reading,

Jeremy and friends

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