Saturday, February 13, 2016

Florida 2016

Friday, February 12
We arrived at Sandy’s house in Florida today. We left home one week ago. Our first stop was Jamestown Settlement for Gene to work on the ships. He worked on ropes, which is his favorite job. After work he went down to the pier to look at the ships and found the yards all cock-billed (set at a sharp angle).

This is often done as a sign of mourning, but in that case they would be cock-billed in different directions. It turns out that they were set that way when the weather was forecast to be rain followed by cold. The idea was to make sure the yards drained to keep them from getting sheathed in ice. That evening, Angel and Terry, old friends from Reel Virginia visited for a while and then went out for dinner.
Next day (Sunday) was Jean’s birthday. We had a late breakfast in Williamsburg, then headed down to Hampton to find an art gallery that had one of Angel’s paintings.

We drove around Hampton and found a campground but didn’t like it. Took Jean out to Olive Garden for her birthday. Then finally settled in at the Newport News Park campground.
The next day (Monday) we visited with an old friend in Norfolk. She used to own a great beach cottage in the Outer Banks. Now she lives in a nice retirement home. She has a one-bedroom apartment with a terrace overlooking a large, grassy patio in the middle of the building. It has a pool and a gazebo. Pleasant, and shielded from the noise and bustle of Granby Street.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we rolled down US17, heading for Florida. This highway runs closer to the coast than I-95 and is much more pleasant. The land is low and flat. There are many rivers, some of which were over their banks due to recent rain. There is much swampy land, perhaps a little more due to the rains. This route has very few cities, you can drive for hours and not see a McDonalds. We didn’t get onto I-95 until well into Georgia.
Wednesday night we made it across the Florida line to a campground we have stayed at before. Gene de-winterized the rig, so we had hot and cold running water again. We still had about two days worth of Florida before we reached our destination. The first day we went through Jacksonville, then headed toward the coast to run down A1A. This is Florida’s coast road, but you only don’t see much actual coast except in the northern end (which is where we were). There the road often runs near the beach (no condos in the way of the view) and the towns are small. The biggest town we ran through was Daytona Beach. We expected the usual beach town mess, but were pleasantly surprised. The road is wide, with colored bricks at the intersections. There are stoplights at every corner, but they are synchronized, so we only had to stop once.
We stopped once to walk the beach at Crescent Beach. This is a wide, flat beach with very little gradient. It looks like there is almost no beach at high tide. Jean found several shells to collect, as well as a starfish. While looking at the starfish, a young couple stopped by and the woman said that it was still alive, so she tossed it out into the water.

Middle of the day, middle of the week, and cold, we had the beach almost to ourselves. We walked about a mile or so, and then continued our trip.
We spent Thursday night in a funky campground in Melbourne, less than 100 miles from our destination. At this point we were on Highway 1 and decided to stay on it, rather than go inland to I-95 (not our favorite road at any time). South of Melbourne and for much of the way it was in many ways similar to A1A. There are long stretches close to the water (Indian River) and the towns are, for the most part, small. A most pleasant drive. However, south of Fort Pierce, the traffic gets increasingly heavier. I guess that’s the price you pay for the relaxing and interesting drive before.
Arrived at Sandy’s house just after noon and got set up. We are going to try dry camping (no hookups) to see if we can make it work. The only question will be the nighttime temperatures. If we have to run the furnace very much it pulls down the battery too far. That happened in Jamestown, to the point where we had to replace the house batteries (mucho dinero).
We will be in Palm City for about a week, so will continue the story periodically and also tell you how the dry camping experiment worked.

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