Thursday, May 28, 2020

Tossed Out of Kathryn Abbey Hanna

Written:  May 28, 2020                                                             Recent Posts:
About: March 2020                                     March 2020:  Anastasia and Its Market
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park      Late February 2020: My Last Kayaking Adventures
Jacksonville Florida and North

IMG_20200310_161826416_HDROn Tuesday, the drive from St. Augustine to Jacksonville Beach is an easy one and I find the park with no trouble.  It appears to be in a maritime forest beside the beach.  I wish I had taken some pictures of the park’s entrance and the road leading to the campground but my mind is too occupied.

I’m a bit apprehensive about Kathryn Abbey Hanna as I’ve done some research and found many comments about how tight the sites are and narrow the roads.

The carefully taken picture above of my site makes it look spacious but the ones below show the true situation.

There are a lot of sites here and the colors tell you the size of rigs they will accept.  Rose is up to 35’ and yellow is up to 40’.  Winnona is 35 feet so I tried to book  yellow to give me wiggle room but I didn’t book in time and had to take site 121 which was purple.  If you look closely you can see it 5 sites down in row 6 from the left relatively near the lake.  


Here’s the view looking toward the lake.


And here’s looking the other direction down toward the rest of the campground.


The view out  my front window is at least not another campsite straight on though it doesn’t match up to Gamble’s front window view.

From March 10 (1)

Out my side window is my nearest neighbor.

From March 10 (2)

I spent most of my first day getting to Kathryn Abbey Hanna and setting up in the campsite.  On Wednesday, Day 2 of my stay, I walked all around checking out the trails, the lake for kayaking, the Atlantic Shore.

I determined I’d have to get out my kayak cart to get the kayak up to the lake but it wasn’t too far from my site so that shouldn’t be hard.  With two weeks here, I’ll lock it up like this canoe so I can come and go especially in the early morning.


I walked up and down all the campground roads checking out where the closest bathroom was, the campground host and the size and set up of other sites.


Leaving the campground I find swamps, streams, and boardwalks on the way to the beach.



Like  Anastasia, KAH has a long boardwalk to the beach.


It’s a really nice wide and long beach with no commercial interruptions.  It’s so interesting to look at the different kinds of sand on the beaches along the Florida East Coast.  This is much heavier sand than at Anastasia.



IMG_3435On Wednesday, day 3, the detailers came and went.  They were supposed to be here at 8:30 and didn’t come until 10:30 which should have let me know what I was in for.  They said they could do nothing about the gray spots and charged me $150 to wash the entire rig but only wax the painted parts which is about 1/3 or less of the rig.  I was pretty irritated and felt quite taken advantage of.

NOW WHAT??  IMG_20200309_131927826It was the gray spots I wanted them to take care of.  I had sent them pictures of the problem.  The same problems pictured in my last post.   I’m at a loss to know what to do now.  I’ve sure been taken for a ride on this.

To relax, I spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach.

It wasn’t quite warm enough for me to want to be in the water but some people seemed to like it fine.


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I guess the proof that I’m getting old is that I’m embarrassed for this woman.   She did make me laugh though and after the beginning of my day I was very thankful for that.


On day 4, Thursday, I went out for breakfast which was to prove to be the last restaurant meal I have eaten in 2020.  But it was delicious.  Had I known it was to be my last meal out I would have enjoyed it even more.


When I arrived back at the campground mid morning, there was a note on my door saying the campground would be closed as of 5:0o today.

OH RIGHT!  And where am I supposed to go? Finding a campground in Florida in March, Spring Break month, is nearly impossible even 11 months in advance let alone a day in advance and on a Friday.  They must be kidding.

IMG_20200320_092322836I had made other reservations after these two weeks for  my trip north to Virginia.   On the way to Virginia my reservations would allow me to go to some of David’s favorite places to scatter his ashes; to Cumberland Island in Georgia and Congaree National Park in South Carolina.   But now I have a 10 day hole before those reservations and no way to fill it.  

I’d planned to be in Virginia for 6 weeks in late April and May then make my way north to the Finger Lakes and then Maine for the summer.

I get a reprieve from leaving for today, Friday, and leave on Saturday March 14, 10 days early. They say I’ll get a complete refund.  I am out of the campground by 2 pm pretty much one of the very last people in this large campground to go.  I stop at Walmart in St. Mary’s Georgia where I  try to change my upcoming reservations to fill in this 10 day gap but have absolutely no luck.  I can’t get prequels at either place I’m booked into already. 

IMG_20200320_093652286_HDRThe next day I try to find other places to fill in these ten days but that proves impossible too so I finally give up and cancel everything and Walmart it back three days to Virginia where it is 33 degrees at night and I feel like I’ve done time travel back to winter.  What a mess this whole pandemic is making out of my and everyone’s life.

Back in Charlottesville the quarantine is in full swing.  I can’t go anywhere or see anyone.  I feel like I’m in an alternate universe.  I’m still making reservations for next winter while I’ve just cancelled all my remaining March and April reservations.

Four days after arriving back and on the Spring Equinox I take a hike at the Ivy Creek Nature Center to mark this special day.  The two pictures above are from that hike.   The trees are bare.  That makes it possible for me to take a picture of the creek from above but it’s been 10 years since I’ve done these hikes when the woods hasn’t been full of green.

This sure doesn’t look anything like spring.


But still it’s wonderful to be out in nature walking on a board walk  through a seasonal wetland even if it’s pretty dried up just now.  There is still the creek and river.


One thing I love about full time RVing is being out in nature every day.  3 nights in a Walmart parking lot and several days trying to get things organized here have put me in a blue mood.

These waters and the lack of greenery are so different from where I was just a week ago.  I never make such a mad dash north in the spring knowing what I’ll find in Virginia.


Still just being back out in the natural world improves my spirits.



The rhododendron is green but no blooms for a while yet.  Normally I’m not back here until mid to late April.




I’ve come out relatively early in the morning and see almost no one on the trails but when I get back to the parking lot around 11, it is totally full and on a week day.  I’m shocked!  But I’ve forgotten that no one is working any more and the lock down is relatively new.

They’ve cancelled my normal March fun activity, the ACC Basketball Tournament and NCAA Championships so the rest of the month finds me getting groceries and trying to figure out how to adjust to this new normal.  I don’t take any more pictures other than this one in the grocery store parking lot.

I wonder if they just got this plate or if they had a premonition.

Wed - Seen in Kroger Parking lot

So much for March 2020.  I have fewer pictures and even less to say about April.  But that’s coming up next.

Monday, May 25, 2020

March 2020: Anastasia and Its Market

Posted: May 25, 2020                                        Previous Posts:
About: March 1-10, 2020          Late February 2020: My Last Kayaking Adventures
Gamble Rogers                                        Mid February 2020:  The Knap In
Anastasia State Park,
Kathryn Abbey Hanna County Park Jacksonville, FL

IMG_3244 (2)

March arrives and I’m still at Gamble Rogers enjoying ocean front sunrises.

Each sunrise is a little bit different.  Sometimes the shrimp boats are out with their lights.




IMG_3270On the 4th I move just 33 miles up the road to Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine.

Here the campground is a bit of a distance from the beach but it’s a good daily walk for me though some people bike or drive their cars.

I usually choose a site in the smaller and older circle of campsites but I wasn’t able to get one there this time.  I’m quite happy with the easy to back into and large site I’ve picked.

Every day I walk over to the beach with my chair, a towel, a book and water.  I’m weaning myself away from the ocean a bit at a time before going inland and north.  There are several entrances to the beach, this one has a long boardwalk to protect the dunes.


I step off the boardwalk onto powdery white sand.


Unlike Gamble Rogers, the beach here is much wider and goes on for miles without any commercial activity. 


I turned my chair around for a minute to take this picture with the ocean in the background.

IMG_3292 (2)

Lots of shells here.

IMG_3310One of the things I do while here is to get some contacts for having Winnona detailed at my next stop which is not a state park.  State Parks do not allow washing of rigs.   I am becoming more and more worried about these gray spots on Winnona.  They started perhaps 18 months ago in the midst of David’s decline and though I have washed the rig since, I have had  no luck in getting them out.  They have really increased since that time.  If any of you have solutions for this PLEASE let me know.  I’m ready to try anything.   Having her painted just isn’t in my budget but she’s beginning to look shabby at least to me.



Another thing I need is a haircut.  Those are a bit tricky to get on the road although you’d think for the many times I’ve been in these Florida State Parks I would have discovered some place that can do a good job with fast growing thick hair.


One afternoon I make sweet potato fries in the microwave, no oil but light and crunchy.  They are fantastic.  What a glutton I am, I eat two entire potatoes worth.


IMG_3327Anastasia State Park abuts the St Augustine Amphitheater which makes it easy to walk over for Saturday night concerts, which politely end at 10:00, and also easy to walk over to the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market which runs from 8:30am to 12:30. 

I always try to make sure my reservation includes at least one Saturday just for this.  Seriously easy grocery shopping.  As you can see it’s packed.

The vendors set up on tables, in vans, trucks, buses, and trailers selling produce, baked goods, seafood, take away foods, arts and crafts, clothing.  Just about anything you can imagine.





About midway along the parking lot road used for the market is the entrance to the Amphitheater and in its courtyard there is always music and folks who bring their chairs to listen.  Free concerts with your shopping.  How fine is that?


On my way back out to the market I spotted this fella’s hat and loved it.  He was happy to allow me a picture though I didn’t ask him to move to eliminate the shadow on his face.  I think hats like this one and some others I can think of would be great for the  incumbent’s opponent.  How about make American Kind Again?  Or maybe even Make America Smart Again.


One of my favorite stands sells African foods.  This is the back of their trailer.


At the front, it’s doing a great business.


IMG_3349Every vegetable stand seems to call my name.  Now that I’m cooking only for one it is very easy for me to buy more produce than I can eat before it goes bad.  Never a problem when David was here.  He could pack it away.  I sure miss him, every day and every where.

Doesn’t it look fresh and delicious?


There are plenty of other things to choose from once you’ve picked up your produce.


I managed to get this picture when no one was at The Shrimp Guys who bring their shrimp right in off the shrimp boats I see off shore.


Orchids anyone?


Or something from The Honey Truck?


Perhaps local probiotics?  pickles, krauts of all kinds including beet, hummus.


And of course for lovers of “the evil brew” as my friend Paul Dahl and I refer to it,  there is gourmet coffee.  One of David’s favorite vans, the Grower’s Alliance provides just what he loved, bakery and coffee.


Today my favorite booth is this printmaker’s.   She does beautiful work and I can watch her working there at the table off to the left.


She draws the design and then cuts it into the printer mats.  Very detailed and all hand done. 



Today this one really catches my fancy but I’m no longer acquiring things, even things as special and wonderful as this.

I do read this article about her and her work.  She is quite an artist.  Her name is Nicola Barsaleau.   You can find a link to her website with more information about her and her work, here.



In some markets I have attended, much of the produce seems to be coming from wholesalers, like those selling the Florida Oranges here today.  But the majority seem to be small individual growers.  I really prefer to patronize them having been one myself in my earlier life though I only sold our eggs and excess organic produce to friends and co-workers.


I spent several hours at the market and every time I walked by this stand there was a line.  I should have tried some to see why it is so popular.


I love the trucks – honey and blooms.


I’ve had a great morning and controlled my purchases thankfully.

I have two more days before I’m heading out.  I’ve only booked Anastasia for 5 days.  I’m amazed I could get the week-end.  I have a routine for set up and take down that I do each time I move which includes checking all 10 tires with my TPMS.  Today it shows that some are low so I get out the compressor and give them a little boost.   It takes much longer to do everything when there is only one person doing it.  And it’s not nearly as much fun.

My last stop before leaving Florida is a park new to me, the Jacksonville City park Kathryn Abbey Hanna which others have told me is a great place.  So I’ve booked two weeks there in order to get Winnona’s exterior taken care of and check out their beach and the area.   That’s next post.