Sunday 1 March 2009

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Awake: 6:48am Temp 63 sleep 7+13 cloudy, later rain overnight @ Cocoa, FL.

After coffee & cleaning the dew from the rear (2) slides, we leave the Son Rise Palms RV Park @ 8:44am, following I-95 north. Patches of blue sky as we merrily roll along are always welcome, but we are fully aware of St. Augustine's forecast for rain later this morning & thus the earlier start for a rather short drive.

After (70) some miles, a little drizzle shows on our windshield; my plan was to pull into the next rest stop, about (20) miles further north, have breakfast & sit out the storm, thus avoiding getting our house messed up. Darn! We were short by a mere (5) miles; the sky opened up with heavy rain, wind & some mystified mist from those tractor trailer tires. We did follow through with the rest stop however, ate breakfast & waited out the remainder of the fast moving storm.

We arrived about an hr later (12:20pm) @ the Indian Forest Campground in St. Augustine, FL.
Today's travel: 114 miles 2+32 time 18 gal used 6.5 mpg 44 mph avg speed.

Since we are less than (5) miles to downtown, we make haste hooking up & extending (2) slides for now so we can go into town & see some of the sights before dark. Just before walking out the door, I thought I'd better check our e-mail. In doing so, I found an e-mail from my ole buddy from Brookhaven Laboratory, Ed; he & his wife, Mary Ann will be leaving April 1st & they give an address nearby here in St. Augustine.

I make a quick call. Ed answers & realizes we are parked not far from where they are staying. "Can you visit us today?" he asks. "We can be there within (30) min," I tell him.

Ed & Mary Ann have been wintering in St. Augustine for (14) straight yrs now; some of the yrs, their kids join them, but not this winter. Kathy had not seen Ed or Mary Ann since 1977; just by chance, Ed had visited me in Nicktown last September for about (30) min.

We spent the rest of the day with Ed & Mary Ann; touring 1st the rented condo, then a drive down to the beach for a quick look-see. They allow driving on the beach with a 4-wheel drive vehicle & so we did.
Then Ed suggests that we should see Anastasia State Park where we might be able to park our motorhome; upon entering the state park, the ranger told us up front that the campsites were not big rig friendly, but we cruised around some of the campsites anyway & sure enough, she was right. We did exit the Ford Explorer for a little exercise while walking the boardwalk to see the beach again with good waves coming off the Atlantic Ocean. The wind was cool & powerful so not much time was spent admiring the scenery.

From here, Ed takes us further north on Anastasia Island, past the famous St. Augustine Lighthouse & over the bridge of the Lions, which crosses over the Matanzas River. Built in 1927, the bascule drawbridge opens to allow the passage of commercial and recreational boats & has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982. Ed drives over the temporary bridge the city built while the historic Bridge of the Lions is being completely restored.

Now in the downtown area of St. Augustine, we see the Castillo de san Marcos Fort on our right; it took twenty-three years to build, being completed in 1695. This fort is on our list to tour....on a warmer day.

Ed continues motoring until reaching the Mission of Nombre de Dios where we do some more walking around; the Mission origins go far back to the founding of the City of St. Augustine, America's oldest city. It was on these grounds that Fr. Lopez would celebrate the first parish Mass & the Spanish settlers would begin the devotion to Our Lady of La Leche (Blessed Virgin nursing the infant Jesus) that continues into the present.

Further walking brings us to the Great Cross. This massive structure, made of stainless steel and rising two hundred & eight feet above the marshes of the Matanzas River, stands as a sentinel over the Mission and a "Beacon of Faith" for all who pass this way.

Back in the car, we continue touring & drive past the Flagler Memorial Church that Flagler had built; then we see the Flagler College, which when 1st built, served as an upscale Gilded winter luxury hotel built in1888. There is much to see in the downtown area but for now, Ed decides to show us the church he & Mary Ann frequent, so we head south on the A1A S.R. to Saint Anastasia Church.

Now this is my idea of how a church should be designed; it is not only beautiful with many stained glass windows but also designed so that the altar & tabernacle are the focal point.

From here, Ed motors a short distance to have dinner @ the "Salt Water Cowboy's" Café. Very rustic & with a fish camp setting; K & I each have a crab stuffed Tilapia fish dinner, but we should have shared a meal as their portions were large.

After dinner, Ed is curious about close campgrounds so we make (2) stops & check availability & cost. The 1st had no vacancy until next week & was twice the price we are now paying; the 2nd could only handle RVs up to (40) ft.

Then Ed & Mary Ann return us to their rented condo where we thank them profusely for the grand tour, good talk & call it a night. Future rendezvous plans are yet to be determined.

Late movie: "Rocking Horse Winner" with Valerie Hobson, John Howard Davies, John Mills, Ronald Squire, Hugh Sinclair, etc. Truly unique, fascinating drama based on D.H. Lawrence story; small boy has knack for picking racetrack winners but complications set in before long. 1949. Different & fascinating.

Lights out: 11:57pm

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This page contains a single entry by George Monte Kirsch published on March 4, 2009 2:37 PM.

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