November 8-17, 2022 Most Recent Posts:
Fort Clinch State Park Site 11 Virginia to Florida – Unexpected Tires
Fernandina Beach Florida October from Start to Finish
Walmart Parking Lot
Home Depot Parking Lot
Everything was dandy when I pulled into Fort Clinch site 11 and met my neighbors Shayne and Bev who travel in van which he has customized.
Everything was great for those 3 days I showed you in the previous post.
Where to go in November in Florida when everything is booked up totally? Luckily I had Shayne and Bev.
Shayne was watching NOAA and said they weren’t going far away until he could tell where the hurricane was going lest we drive in to it. Seemed smart to me so I followed them to the Yulee Walmart parking lot. It was amazing that the Yulee Walmart allowed over night stays. But Bev check it out and said they did. My experience in the past has been that no Walmarts in Florida do. That night, I took them out for dinner at Chandlers adjacent to Walmart. But no pictures unfortunately.
We played Uno to while away the time. Boy do I look sketchy or maybe just tired for having to pack it all up again and hook up again and be out by 3pm. They, of course, look great.
Shayne had been watching the hurricane and felt while the winds might hit 30mph, we could safely stay here on Wednesday, the day of the storm. So we did. The hurricane hit and the winds were strong. Winnona was swaying. But by the next day it was over. We had weathered the storm.
In the early morning Shayne and Bev’s van was rammed from behind by another RV that had somehow gotten out of control. A seriously sketchy story. Shayne had just gotten major repairs done to it from an accident which put both of them in the hospital when a teenage driver ran a red light. This was back in February and Bev is still wearing a boot and Shayne still has severe headaches. I worry for the alignment of her back, hip and knees and for the inability of the doctors to discover what is causing his headaches. Most of you know I have first hand experience of the after affects of wearing a boot.
The damage was to the bumper and rear door which now would not close. Shayne managed a temporary fix until he could locate parts. He’s like David in his ability to fix anything.
On Thursday, some Walmart Personnel came around and told us all we could only stay 24 hours so we would have to leave “tomorrow”. Obviously they didn’t know we’d already been here 3 nights thankfully. Fort Clinch says it isn’t opening back up until Sunday even though the Hurricane happened to us on Wednesday. I guess the park thinks it will take 3 full days to clean up.
In preparation to move, We drove around in their van looking at every other large parking lot. Only Home Depot didn’t have “No Overnight Parking” signs. I called the manager who at first said no they don’t allow it but I persuaded him to allow one night. So we went there in the early evening. They of course in a panel van have no trouble stealth parking but there is no way to hide Winnona.
There van had been hit a second time and I was having trouble with my solar set up and having to use the generator.
More games kept our minds off these new troubles.
While we were in the Home Depot shopping center, Bev and I both got haircuts at great clips. We had some
junk comfort food at the Sonic behind us and played yet more games. We’re all pretty tired of living in parking lots.
Shayne and Bev have been watching the Fort Clinch website and saw that although the park had said it wasn’t reopening until Sunday, they were allowing “walk ins” for Saturday but they had not contacted either of us to say we would be permitted to return to sites already paid for. We were NOT happy campers.
They could so they called me and I came over. When I got there the ranger at the gate just let me go right to my site and charged me nothing. Not sure what happened to the policy between when Shayne and Bev got to the park and when I arrived. So now they have to hassle with getting a refund for this night and for the others they had already booked. As of this date (12/18/22) I have seen no refund to my credit card for those 5 days which were now over a month ago.
These pictures above and below show the park from both directions when we first returned on Saturday. We were the only ones in the ocean campground. I’m very glad to have electricity and be able to put the slides out.
But by 5pm, the word was out and the campground looked like this.
At this point we only have 5 days of our 14 day reservations left. Time for more beach. First thing Saturday was to see the sunrise. The clouds made it non spectacular but still….. It’s sunrise over the water which was still a tad rough.
At first only a very very faint pink at the horizon and then a bit higher until the sun got high enough for its heat to dissipate the clouds a bit at the horizon.
This is about as good as it got before it went behind the clouds for good.
After a water side hike there were trails to hike. On this day, I did both loops.
Spanish moss is always a symbol of Florida to me. It grew on the trees which lined the streets of Ocala Florida in the late 50’s when as a small child I would visit my great aunt Carrie. At that time many of the residential streets were still sand. I remember it all so clearly. Among my earliest memories of childhood not defined by photographs.
Guess the gators live in the green Willow Pond. I was ready to give way but unfortunately none showed up wanting to cross.
Every day I was back on the beach with the birds and the rock jetty.
There were several lovely days in which I could sit outside and read. Somehow having only 5 days left made me skip my big mat and antigravity chair. I’d gotten them out and put them away once and that was enough.
The Fernandina Beach city limits run from south on A1A along the ocean, up to route 200 which turns into Center Street where the downtown area is located and dead ends into the Amelia River. From water to water. The city has a lot of beach front property.
One day I wandered down to Seaside Park on A1A and saw the folks who love to drive their cars on the beach a custom and permissive law I don’t like.
I parked in the adjacent parking lot and it was no distance at all to the water so I don’t understand this need to take one’s car and park it on the sand. The environmental damage just isn’t worth whatever “fun” it is to some folks. Or is it just a matter of principle? “It’s always been this way so it always should be.” It’s my right” “I don’t want anybody telling me what to do”.
This was late in the day. I have no idea how many cars were here in peak beach time.
A picture of the beach walking beyond the cars. What do you think?
NOT FUN. But it had to be done and I was very glad when I’d sorted it all, recycled much of it, shredded what had personal information on it and filed the rest.
Clearly it was all over the place in various piles as I sorted. I hope you are better than I at not procrastinating this stuff.
One afternoon when I went out to catch the sunset over the campground, I caught a couple of surfers. I wondered if they had been out earlier in the week when the waves were bigger. But it was fun to see them trying to decide which waves to catch and then walk back out.
There are few places where one can see the sun rise and set over the water. Fort Clinch isn’t one of them but the clouds often put on a fine display if you stand with your back to the water looking toward the campground.
Nearly every day here, I walk the beach and the trails. I don’t often see much wildlife other than birds. On this visit, I haven’t seen the deer I know are here. Haven’t seen the gator but I did see this armadillo on one of my walks on the trails. I’m not sure why they make me laugh.
This photo is typical of the scrub forests of Florida that I have come to love.
My favorite of the Florida trees are not the famous palm trees that say “tropical climate” but the Live Oaks that grow tall and shady with Spanish Moss.
This was the largest tree on the trail I walked nearly every day. Every time I passed by, I hugged its trunk and wished it “long life and perfect health”.
It was on my last trail walk when I decided we needed our pictures together. There was no on to take it and no where to put my camera so this selfie will have to do. You can sort of see how big it is. And what look like the holes of yellow bellied sapsucker investigations just to my right.
Shayne, Bev and I closed out our two weeks as neighbors at Fort Clinch, Walmart and Home Depot with a breakfast together at the Beach Diner. These are wonderful people with whom I have happily kept in touch and hope to see many times down the road.
Thank you two for all your help – really for everything!
And Bev, I know you are reading. Time to comment.
I should make it to December next. I’m actually almost caught up. Yipeee!