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The Happy Wanderers

Our adventures.

February 2006 Travel Log

2/28/06: Summerdale, AL: A couple days ago, we left Mayport, FL, and started heading west again. We're heading to southern Texas to look around for the next month. We stopped for the night in Tallahassee at the Camping World store. From our visit there last month, we knew they had free electric hookups. Just a friendly place to stop for the night, but the store did get a few more of our dollars. A few days ago, we heard from an old Air Force buddy, John Reese. We found out he's stationed at Hurlburt Field. We spent over 2 months at this Air Force Base a couple months ago working for the holidays and didn't know he was there. So we stopped there again for the night and enjoyed an afternoon of catching up. John's been real successful in the USAF, but he works hard and long hours. This morning, we only drove about 90 miles to the Rainbow Plantation Escapee RV park near Summerdale, AL. It's a nice RV park with VERY large sites here. Since the night's are getting cold (low 40's), we're glad to have electric hookups to run our heater and electric blanket.

2/24/06: Mayport, FL: We found out there is a Busch Beer plant in Jacksonville, so we couldn't pass up a chance for another factory tour and free beer. The tour was okay, but not the greatest. We did enjoy learning more about the history of the Busch company. Unlike other factory tours that give either a small sample, or none at all, Busch provides a couple of large glasses of various beers to sample. Even the pretzels were included! Otherwise, rainy weather and chores kept us close to home. Except today, we made a day St. Augustine, FL.trip to "The Nation's Oldest Town". We visited St. Augustine, FL, which was established in 1565. This makes it the oldest permanent European settlement in the continental United States. Nearby is Fort Mose, which claims to be the first African American community in the U.S.A. St. Augustine is very much a tourist town, where everything costs. There is a ton of history here, but it'll cost you to see most of it. We used our National Parks Pass to spend most of the day visiting the Castillo de San Marcos, which was built starting in 1672. We found the construction of this historic fort to be fascinating. TheSpanish cannon from the 1600's. walls were constructed of "Coquina", which is a unique sedimentary rock consisting of billions of shell fragments. This stone absorbed cannon shells, instead of breaking off into pieces. Although the fort is over 300 years old, over 90% of the fort is original. The Castillo de San Marcos was built and manned by the Spanish, then tuned over (not captured) to the British in 1763. Renamed Fort St. Mark, it was returned to Spain in 1783 when the United States was recognized. In 1821, Spain cedes the fort to the United States, which later called it Fort Marion.

On a Spanish Mortar.Castillo de San Marcos.Castillo de San Marcos.

2/21/06: Mayport, FL: We've kept ourselves busy these last few days. We still have a short list of places to see in the area, so we've decided to stay another 5 nights. The campground still doesn't have any hookup sites available, but we're doing just fine in the dry area. A few days ago we learned some other Lake George Escape co-workers from 2005 are in this area. They saw us while we were driving (they saw the "Happy-Wanderers" on our rig). We met Gary and Carol Smith at a small flea market near where they're staying. We didn't look around much at the "stuff", as we mostly sat and visited for a few hours since Gary is recovering from a quadruple heart by-pass three weeks ago.

Battle of Olustee, FLBattle of Olustee, FLOne of the main reasons we came to the Jacksonville area was to watch the 142nd anniversary reenactment of the Civil War Battle of Olustee. We spent Sunday browsing the encampments and watching this wonderful reenactment. The battle of Olustee was the largest Civil War battle in Florida. On February 20, 1864 more than 10,000 cavalry, infantry, and artillery troops fought here. The battle ended at dusk when the Union troops retreated in defeat and 2,807 men lay dead or wounded. The Civil War ended 14 months later. Over 2,000 volunteers participated in the reenactment, including over 20 cannons. It was a good show, complete with pyrotechnics. When the cannons shot, the ground exploded down range, with trees flying.

Yesterday, we made a long day trip to Savannah, Georgia, which is about 140 miles away. We toured old Savannah, which is full of history. But the highlightThe Lady and Sons waiting line.Jelly Roll ringing the dinner bell. of the trip (at least for Connie) was having lunch at "The Lady and Sons" restaurant. This is Paula Dean's restaurant, who is one of the featured cooks teaching on The Food Network. This place is BUSY! The don't technically take reservations, but you can arrive in person and put your name on "the list". We arrived at 9:30am and were able to get our name on "the list" for the opening at 11:0am. We arrived 30 minutes early, as did another 100 people. Being in the first group to enter for the day, we were treated to watch "Jelly Roll" (head cook) ring the dinner bell. Great meal, okay service, and okay prices.

2/18/06: Mayport, FL: We arrived here at the Navy base outside of Jacksonville, FL a couple days ago. Without reservations, we Shipping past us in Mayport, FL.got a front row full-hookup site, at least for the first 2 nights. Our site overlooked the channel coming into theSubmarine at Mayport, FL bay. We watched Navy ships coming and going, and even saw a submarine leaving the base. But yesterday, we had to move into dry camping. All hookup sites were taken or reserved for the holiday weekend. We're now in the back corner, but we have it all to ourselves. We've got quite a few plans for places to visit this week. Looks like we'll stay here another week. We've had our main digital camera for a few years now. It was a Sony that wrote directly onto CD's. We liked it, as it has a good zoom. But lately, it's been refusing to write to the discs. It's very frustrating to wait minutes for it to load, if it even loads. We finally had enough and bought a new Nikon digital SLR D50 camera. It's great! We're also waiting for the delivery of a telephoto lense we purchased through the Internet. Can't wait to see what creative photos we can get now.

2/14/06: Patrick AFB, FL: Happy Valentine's Day! What are you doing today? This campground seems to have activities every week. We purposely stayed here for their Valentines Day celebrations. This afternoon, there's a small party in the park next door. Bingo, prizes, and snacks are provided. A couple of the campers have also planned a celebration this evening. They're hosting a "sock hop" at the same park, with a potluck and weenie roast. Probably not the most romantic evening, but it should be fun.

The weather has been a bit cold with strong winds and some rain. We spent a couple days close to home reading and playing games. We met with friends Chris and Bob Nelson from last summer's workamping, who are working near here for the winter. We had a great lunch with them. I doubt the restaurant appreciates us hanging around for a few hours.

Yesterday, the weather cleared up (but still chilly) allowing us to visit the Merritt Island Wildlife Preserve, and the Canaveral National Seashore.Armidillo We enjoyed Merritt Island Wildlife Preserve. It was free, and had plenty of wildlife viewing. In addition to some hiking trails (too chilly for us), there's a 7-mile driving loop. We had a pleasant day getting out and walking some short nature trails and seeing more wildlife. We thought it was Bald Eaglefunny, in that we were out looking for Florida wildlife. Connie has been wanting to get a good photo of a Spoonbill bird, and wanting to see Dolphins and Flamingo's in the wild in Florida. We heard people rarely see Flamingo's, but dolphins are everywhere. So on our day long nature drive, what do we see? Bald Eagles, Armadillos, and Raccoons, but no Dolphins or Flamingo's. We also did see the usual abundance of Ibis, Storks, Egrets, Herons, etc and a long-distance photo of a Rosette Spoonbill. It was another good picnic day trip. Since Canaveral National Seashore was fairly close and we had our Spoonbillnew National Parks Pass, we decided to see what was over there as well. We weren't too impressed. Normal admission is $3 a person and the park is a nice long seashore with a couple archeological sites, and a couple rebuilt houses from the early 1920's. Perhaps boaters would enjoy it more, since one side of the park is on the Indian River and the large Mosquito Lagoon (sounds appealing), and the other side is the Atlantic ocean. A good place to visit during the summer and to spend a day at the beach, but nothing thrilling to spend a few hours at on a chilly, windy day. We were glad we used the park pass.

2/9/06: Patrick AFB, FL: We used to be VERY avid and active in geocaching. We started geocaching about 5 years ago, but haven't been very active this past year. If you don't know what this fun, high-tech hide and seek game is, check out the formal geocaching website. Our last cache find was a little over a year ago. Today, we got out of our slump and decided to go find a few caches near here. So we spent the day cache hunting in sunny, yet cool weather. It felt good to be on the hunt again.

Many times, I get email and the sender and I state "maybe we'll meet on the road somewhere". We've learned this is very true, asThe Happy-Wanderers we're always meeting old and new friends while we travel. We're pretty easy to spot on the road or in a campground. Our yellow Jeep stands out, but we also have large lettering on the front and back of our motorhome for "The Happy-Wanderers". So if you see us in your travels, be sure to honk and wave, or stop by our campsite and introduce yourselves. We love meeting new people.

2/7/06: Patrick AFB, FL: This past week has been relaxing, and fun. We had a couple days of rain and stayed home reading and playing games. But the other days have been days of exploring. Patrick AFB is the support base for Cape Canaveral, which is right down the street. We came here, aware there was going to be a Delta IV rocket launch yesterday. Well, it's was postponed since Boeing (who makes most of the Delta rocket) is on strike. Soon after we arrived, we signed up for a tour of Cape Canaveral with the USAF. The only way to see Cape Canaveral up close is on a tour. But our tour was cancelled 45 minutes prior to leaving due to the rain.

We also drove up to Kennedy Space Center, about 40 miles away, to check it out. We didn't research it any, and was surprised to see there's a $32+ admission. I assumed (I know!) that it would be free, or very inexpensive being a government facility. We learned the visitor center and tours are commercially ran, hence the high tourist prices. We didn't stay and returned to Patrick AFB, knowing we can get discount tour tickets from the base. Hah! There was only a $5 savings on the most expensive tour. We did return to the Kennedy Space Center another day and paid their $32 per person admission. We had a wonderful day looking at the exhibits, touring the facilities, and watching a couple great 3D IMAX movies. We spent over 6 hours at the center and ran out of time. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see about 1/4 of the movies and exhibits.

Saturn V Rocket used for the Apollo Moon missions.LC-39B Space Shuttle Launch Facility.International Space Station facility.Saturn V Rocket and Apollo Lunar Landing Module.The

On another day, we read about the Loggerhead Marine life Center near Palm Beach, FL. Being another beautiful day, we headed out. Palm Beach was a little Loggerhead Turtle in the hospital.further drive than we expected, but we found the Marine life Center. Their main goal is take care of the Loggerhead Turtle, which nests on the coast. The center has a rehab center for turtles. They treat 50 - 60 sick or injured turtles a year and return them to the sea. They also feed thousands of hatch-lings annually. During our visit, there were almost a dozen of these huge sea turtles in the nursery. It was a little sobering to see the decline in local nests. In 2005, there were only 1/3 Loggerhead Turtle nests than there were just 6 years ago.

When we arrived at Patrick AFB campground, we were placed in the overflow area without hookups. However, we were moved to partial hookupsSunrise from the Atlantic Ocean. (water and electric) today. We're enjoying the area and weather so much, we're going to stay another week. This campground is real friendly and sponsors various events. We've already attended a free donut and drink morning and a free fish fry/potluck sponsored by the staff. Next week, they're hosting a Valentine's Day Sock Hop. Growing up in California, Connie wanted to see the sunrise from the Atlantic Ocean. Mark off another "do in my lifetime" item.

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March 2006 Travel Log
January 2006 Travel Log
 

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Wednesday, 16 October 2019