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Palm Coast Tuesday, Jul. 28, 2020 1 year ago

Escape route: Palm Coast family turns to RV to beat the COVID blues

The Mahons had to cancel a vacation to Ireland but are finding ways to spend quality time together.
by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

Joy Mahon is a scheduler. Between herself, her two daughters and her husband, the family has always had a packed schedule — until social distancing and isolation became the new way of life.

“It was a lot for me, emotionally, to shut down,” she said.

The family got creative around the house: They bought lawn darts, then bows and arrows for the backyard. They planted flowers. They have lived at the water's edge for three years and only since the pandemic did they finally buy fishing poles.

They also had to find a new vacation.

“We were supposed to go to Ireland, and that got blown out of the water,” Mahon said.

In the past, they had rented a recreational vehicle to visit Mount Rushmore and loved it. The girls learned how to shuffle cards and play dice games. So, they used their Ireland money to put a down payment on a used RV, which sat in their driveway on July 24 as they prepared for the next trip.

“It’s good for the family,” said Joy’s husband, Ryan. “It gets us out of the house and doing activities together. We used to go to the store; now we got to Florida parks.”

“Anything we can do to be together and have fun,” Joy Mahon said. “I don’t want the kids to feel crowded, contained. I want them to understand enough about what’s going on to have a healthy appreciation, but I don’t want there to be fear.”

Avery, 7, climbed up for a giraffe's eye view. Photos by Brian McMillan

The younger daughter, 7-year-old Avery, apparently has no fear. During the interview, she climbed up the ladder on the back of the RV for a giraffe’s-eye view. (For her birthday, she also got rock-climbing pegs that have been screwed into a tree trunk in the backyard.)

Sydney, 10, said she has had mixed reactions to the forced isolation.

“Depends on my mood,” she said. “Sometimes when I want to go out and socialize, I get moody. But sometimes I like being trapped in my room.”

“It was a lot for me, emotionally, to shut down."


Ryan Mahon, according to Joy, is more introverted and hasn't been bothered as much by the isolation.

Ryan Mahon works as a team leader for systems engineering at Baptist Health in Jacksonville; Joy Mahon is the senior director of benefits for NASCAR, in Daytona Beach. They both have transitioned fine in working from home — mostly.

“Ryan may not like having me as an office mate,” she said with a laugh.

“She’s loud,” Ryan Mahon said.


Brian McMillan has been editor of the Palm Coast Observer since it began in 2010. He was named the Journalist of the Year for weekly newspapers in North America by the Local Media Association in 2012. He lives in Palm Coast with his wife and five children. Email...

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