Saturday, March 21, 2020

NOVEMBER 2019: Fort Clinch & Gamble Rogers

Published: March 21, 2020                         Previous Posts:
About:  November 2019                          October 2019: Winding Down in Virginia
                                                                       September 2019: Memorial for David

**Note: Now that the “Shelter in Place” orders have given me little to do but write blog posts, I will try to post more often and get caught up to the present.

On November 3rd, I left Virginia on my way to Florida once again to avoid the winter cold.  I’d made these reservations, most of them before David died and I continued to make more to fill out my winter as I seemed to be in a daze and on autopilot after his death.

Yoga mat as puzzle matEven though I now could take all the time I wanted to travel south, I followed our same routine of staying at two Walmarts between Virginia and Florida. 

We always needed to get there quickly between doctor’s appointments.  I guess I’m still in a fog.  I don’t seem to be able to think.  I’m just doing what I’ve always done whether I need to or should or not.

I arrived at the Roanoke Rapids, NC Walmart at 3:30 and with no one to talk to or take care of,  I set up my yoga mat as a puzzle mat.   I could have continued on south for another two hours but I just did what I was used to.  By myself, I was able to leave Virginia much earlier in the day than we ever managed and thus I arrived much earlier than I needed to.  But the stupid Fall Back thing will snatch an hour from me tonight.  

The temperature went down to 31 degrees.  Lucky me, I have solar, an inverter and an electric blanket.  So glad to be moving south.  Although this summer with temperatures repeatedly in the 90’s, I might have been glad for 31.   Nah….

My puzzle looked good enough to eat when I finished.



After another Walmart night in South Carolina, I arrived at Fort Clinch State Park on Wednesday November 6.  The skies were gray when I pulled into my site along the circle near the beach.



In addition to walking along the beach, during my stay, I hiked through the maritime forest with fungi all around me.

Definitely looks like a “magic” mushroom with its colors, doesn’t it?


The ground is covered with soft long pine needles.  I don’t make a sound when I walk.


This bright colored fungi among the greens and browns caught my eye from a distance.

Not sure why my camera toned down its color in the closeup.  I need to know as much about photography as Gaelyn and Laurel and Eric do.  But sadly I don’t.  I’m sure it has to do with the closer lighting and settings on the camera.


It was SO hot in Virginia but it became very rainy and windy when I moved south.  Hardly ideal beach weather. I’ve had to bring my slides in over night twice.  I was amazed to see surfers out in rough and cold seas.


IMG_20191109_184516694We’ve been to Fort Clinch several times but this visit was the fist time I was here over Veteran’s day and able to see their program on the history of the American Soldier. 

They had period songs for each war and a soldier came out with an authentic uniform and gun of that time.  They each fired their weapon.

It was quite sobering to see just how many wars this country has fought.  It seems there was one about every 25 years from before the founding of the country. 

The uniforms seemed exact and very interesting.  I’m not sure this Revolutionary Soldier has been doing his calisthenics.





The program was very patriotic and well done although I  took exception to their referring to the Seminole Wars as “peace keeping missions”.  I think it’s long past time for us to admit that they were efforts at genocide as we invaded the Native American’s land, abused the people, put them in concentration camps called reservations and destroyed their culture.


After 5 days at Fort Clinch I Move to my favorite and most RV damaging park Gamble Rogers for two weeks.  By most damaging I mean that because the park is right on the ocean, over the past 9 years Winnona has taken on a great deal of rust that I really must find a way to take care of.  Any suggestions much appreciated.  Who does that sort of work?

I’ve found that moving as a solo RVer is a much bigger deal than when one is part of a couple which is one reason why I try to stay as long as I can at each park.  Not only do I have to pack everything up and put everything away both inside and outside by myself but I have to move the car to a spot where I can put it on the RV and then walk back for the RV, move it there, hook up the car and then do the reverse when I get to where I am going.  It was so much easier for us both when David did the outside chores and put away then set up and I did the inside.

I love my ocean front site but it really is hard on Winnona.


It’s a hard view to resist from my picture window.


The full moon over the water the evening of the day I arrive welcomes me.

Later, it’s no less beautiful.  Who needs TV when this picture is in front of you?



One of the nice things about this park is being able to see the sunrise from your site and only having to walk to the other side of the park to see it set.  There are few other places where that’s possible outside of the Keys.  But, as I’ve said, there is a price to be paid.

It’s a mighty fine spot for breakfast.  Thanks to Pam for the tablecloth.  It’s my memory of the Memorial Gathering for David.

November dawn


birds arrive




Sunset the same day on the river side


While my first day was a beautiful one, subsequent days made me wish I was not on the ocean front as Winnona and I experience multiple days of winds so high that I have to bring the slides in.  My site has no vegetative protection and despite the jacks and tires, Winnona rocks in the 30-40 mph winds.  I am confined inside 4 days in a row due to rain and heavy winds. It’s a bit frightening.   And of course it is far too cloudy for sunrises or sunsets.  It’s even too windy and rainy to go out for many pictures of the angry ocean.


IMG_0348There were two events later in my stay that I enjoyed quite a bit more than the nail biting winds. 

The first was a presentation by a member of the staff of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in Jacksonville on Timucuan Pottery.  They brought replicas of museum pieces, described how they were made and gave us a chance to try our hand at the techniques.

The Timucuans carved designs into palm paddles and pressed them into the pottery before firing.


IMG_0356The Timucua were a group of Native Americans who lived in current-day southern Georgia and northern Florida. The Timucua all spoke dialects of the same language, although they were not united politically, living in different tribes with their own territory and dialects. They  practiced agriculture for much of their food, but also hunted and gathered. They are believed to have worshipped primarily the sun and the moon, but they had other gods of importance. When Europeans first arrived in Florida in the 1500s, the Timucua occupied over 19,000 square miles of land and their population was likely about 200,000. However, by 1800, there were no more Timucua left. They had been completely wiped out. It is one of the goals of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve to remember how the Timucua lived since there are no Timucua left to tell their own stories.   This is primarily the work of the archeologists including those presenting this program.

Some pottery was “hand pressed” and live plants were used for decorative impressions.



These are my pots.  I should have put my hand in the picture holding the smallest one so that you could see it is less than 3” in diameter.  One pot is hand pressed with shell impressions and the other is coiled.  Both are Timucuan techniques.  This was a very informative and fun program.  Hats off to the park

It continued to be windy as you can see by the spray in the waves at sunset.  Too windy to be on the beach. 

On another day I walked into town and visited the Flagler Beach Museum.


It’s a small museum but packed full of information beginning with the Native inhabitants and moving through the settlement of the area.   It was originally known as Ocean City.   I’ve forgotten at this point how it lost that name and took Henry Flagler, the railroad developer’s name.  The railroad did not come here.

For those who have been to Flagler Beach, it is hard to imagine that there was almost nothing here before 1915 when the first 3 houses were built.

Highway A1A is the “main drag” through Flagler Beach and looks much different than in this picture from the 1940’s.

How about the price for a room at the beach in 1953.

I spent a fun windy few hours in the museum.

I also took some new pictures of me and Winnona for this new blog. 

Because I was often unable to walk along the ocean due to the wind, I took an almost daily walk on the nature trail on the river side of the park.  A dead palm on the trail, carved by a now retired long term ranger, never failed to bring a smile to my face.

On my last day before moving on, I took this picture of the sunset afterglow colors.  This could well have been us.  David and I biked over for sunset and sat exactly here many many times.  I wonder if these people realize how very very lucky they are to be sharing this experience.  


Next stop, Manatee at Blue Springs.


  1. Wow, despite the wind you really do make the most of wherever you are! Keep going, dear, your adapting to your life as a solo rv traveler very impressively. - Mary

    1. Thank you Mary for your kind words and your comment.

  2. Sherry your blogs are so informative. I’m glad you are continuing. The word on the front of your motor home describes you well.BRAVE.....

    1. It's great to hear from you Betty. I'm glad you see me as Brave, I really don't feel that way. I'm more frightened than I have probably ever been in my entire life.

  3. The clay pots look great. The shell impressions work really well. It sounds as if it was a great session.

    1. It was really wonderful, so informative, and so much fun. I really enjoyed it and I'm glad I got to do it before this quarantine would have made it impossible.

    2. How is it really in the States? Here it is an odd mix of some people panicking and others going with the stiff upper lip thing! I live in a rural area in a small village, so away from the main areas of infection. We're social distancing but still managing to socialise a bit. We had afternoon tea round at our neighbours yesterday - each sat in a different part of the garden. This afternoon we had a dance session out on the street with music belting out from one of the houses and everyone spread out in the road dad dancing. It was a lot of fun! I am self employed so I now have no income, but we'll manage and have some fun too.

  4. One of the things I too miss traveling solo is help to set up and break down. But I got it down after a while as I'm sure you did too. Hate the wind. Love when a park presents programs. Also love your ocean view.

    1. Sounds like we are really on the same program of hates and loves. Seems to take me the entire day to pack up move and unpack, no matter how far the drive.

  5. Great information on where you have traveled and love that the RV Park had this class and had everyone make some pottery. Your pictures are wonderful.

    1. Thank you Jo. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post.

  6. As always, gorgeous pictures.

    1. Thanks Gypsy. It's good to see you in the comments.

  7. Those high winds on the water can really make it cold and miserable. It was much windier in the Keys than normal. You gotta love those sunrise views though and you got some beautiful ones. Karen Lueck

    1. Good to see you Karen. Hope you and Al are well. You must be or have been at your place in the Keys.

  8. Those to camppsites are such beautiful spots. I know how you have to be on your game to get them. Ashame the weather didn't cooperate:o(( However, as always, you find interesting things to share with your readers!!! As I have said amaze me!!! I just can't imagine moving the big rig and car by myself!!!

    1. Lucky you Nancy, you don't have to play that campsite lottery game anymore. It just gets harder and harder. I'm sure you could do this to Nancy. You are a very strongw and can do anything you really want to. I'm hoping as I go, it will get less stressful.

  9. Bummer about the rain and wind but I know how much you love that park. We are headed to the TX Gulf in light of the current situation. While there we will use Salt Away on the rig to help mitigate the affects of rust.

    1. Salt Away. I've never heard of it but will look it up. Thanks. Have you used it before and found that it works?

  10. I'm so glad you are moving on and making the most of the beautiful beaches and hiking trails. You are one strong lady and I admire your desires to make the most out of your days. Some people would just stop "living" after the loss of their spouse, but you are an inspiration with your ongoing travels and adventures. Thank you for continuing to write and take us along to see the finer things in nature and life.

    1. I am so glad to have your continuing friendship Paul. Life is difficult now and friends mean a great deal.

  11. Love the first day pictures! So sorry it was bad the entire stay afterwards. You made the best if it, of course. Thank you for this.

  12. How nice to have a remembrance of the memorial service in that tablecloth. As always, love the sunrise/sunset pics.

  13. I think of you doing all of the work yourself in traveling—planning, driving, setting up and taking down. It's an enormous effort, and I am in awe of your strength and courage. And of course, you miss David not only because he shared in all of the tasks, but because you miss his companionship. Take good care as you settle back into life at the farm during these crazy times. Oh...and I love the pot you made!

  14. Beautiful pictures! Like all these commenters, I am so impressed with your resilience despite how difficult it is, especially emotionally. It makes sense to stay in routine during times of huge adjustment. Very neat info on the native americans. I, too, love your little pots. And you! SWAK!

  15. Love the window picture but find camping on a beach without foliage can be windy and trying. Great pots.

  16. Right now you are doing things that are familiar and comforting, things you know, that you are confident doing. Soon you will take tiny steps toward new and not as comforting and familiar things. You will in deed be 'brave' and adventurous, seeking new sights and new experiences. You are a very tough, strong and determined lady. You are indeed a comfort to many who travel along with you and marvel at your love of life. Deb


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