Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Gamble on the River Side

November 18-November 25, 2022                               Most Recent Posts:
Gamble Rogers State Park site 49            Evacuation with GREAT Friends
Flagler Beach, Florida                          Virginia To Florida – Unexpected Tires

On the 18th I had to say goodbye to Shayne, Bev and Fort Clinch.   I headed down to Gamble Rogers State Park, one of my favorite Florida parks.  It’s a favorite not only because of its history (see link) but also because of its namesake Gamble Rogers, a local hero in more than one way.  They’ve created this website where you can learn about him, hear his music and stories.  The park website will explain why the park was renamed in his honor.

  I’ve been at that park every year since I began RVing other than the covid year 2020 and the vandalism year 2021.   And every year I’ve had a beach front site that I posted many pictures of.  The ocean was right outside my front window.  I could sit in my front room and watch the waves roll in.  It was fabulous.  Although it is also responsible for most of Winnona’s rust problems.

But this year, for the first time there was too much competition and  I wasn’t able to get a site on the ocean side so I am on the River Side.  What river?  I’m not sure.  On one map it’s labeled as the Halifax River and on another it’s called the Matanzas River.

20221118_173011  Because there is an Ocean side campground and a River side campground you can watch the sun come up over the ocean and go down over the river basin with just a short walk from one side of Highway A1A to the other.    But don’t get too excited.  Getting reservation, since the great covid explosion for RVers,  is nearly impossible.   My site on this side is fine,  though it and all of this campground, is new and there are few trees and no privacy.

20221119_112606There is a lovely wooded trail on the riverside which I walked every morning over to the beach side.  The first time I walked over I was shocked to find that all of the stairs down to the ocean in the beach campground and the public access were closed due to damage. 

Gamble Rogers has a very short amount of beach front but there is a stretch of public beach which connects with North Peninsula State Park which has public beach access as well.   I walked through the ocean front campground and out the locked back gate to the first set of stairs I could sneak down to the beach.   This is some of what I found.

The park’s main beach access – closed.   As is the access from inside the campground.


Many of the palm trees holding the dunes were destroyed


The dunes were being rebuilt.  I guess if they go further south they can pick up the sand that washes away from up here and bring it back.


Most of the public and private beach access stairs were unusable and dangerous.


I took this picture of the stairs I went down by slipping under the board blocking it off and carefully going over the two missing boards at the bottom of the steps.


I wasn’t the only one using those stairs.  You can see clearly what they are trying to rebuild here.   I’m really not sure how many more hurricanes they can protect Highway A1A from.   This view is looking south.


Going north on the beach there is a darling tiny 3 room motel which I’d always hoped Carrie and her family might come to one Christmas and stay on the beach.  It is directly next door to the Ocean Front Campground.  I didn’t see anyone working to do repairs.  It made me very sad.  It was darling and every year I showed pictures of it on our original blog.



The restaurant Snack Jacks is just beyond it a short distance and every year I had at least one meal there by simply walking down the campground steps, up the beach and up the now missing Snack Jack steps to their outdoor seating.   Luckily their main inside seating building was only slightly damaged but the outdoor dining was totally destroyed.


When I walked out to the A1A side, I could see they have started repairs.



It was a gray and drizzly day on Sunday when Shayne and Bev talked me into driving down to meet them at the Ormond Beach Seafood Festival.  Not that I wasn’t thrilled to see them but a seafood festival in the rain???   I turned out to be glad they were going since it was the push I needed.   On my own I would not have known about it or thought to go in this weather.

But it was great.  At the entrance was the pirates booth but they were always talking to each other with their backs to us.  I was cold and hungry so I didn’t stop, maybe they were too.


The booths along the walk in all were non profit organizations connected with water quality, water animals and environmental concerns.


I met up with Shayne and Bev who had already check out the food booths.  The smells were fantastic


I came back here several times trying to decide between these nice big plump crab cakes or a lobster roll.


It drizzled and the air was saturated.  I’m sure that’s what kept away the huge crowds that I’m sure this festival usually draws.    Nice for us.


First off Bev bought some cactus chili which she shared with Shayne.

Shayne bought his gator bites sandwich here.


He said it was YUM!  He also had some fish tacos and something else henow  says he can’t remember.   No wonder, this was a month ago.


Bev opted for a gyro and a corn cake.  I settled on the lobster roll with slaw.  And they did it right – hot lobster!!  not cold.  Luckily I remembered to get a picture of it after I’d eaten about half.   It was all great food. 


After filling up at the festival, Shayne wanted to stop by the Hershey’s ice cream parlor.  Neither Bev nor I had any objection though I think we were both stuffed.  Still, there’s always room for ice cream.   It melts – right?  

If I recall we both got 2 scoops.  But the bargain of the day was 5 scoops for $5.95 which is what Shayne got.  This picture was taken only seconds before the top scoops fell into his hand.  He caught them and didn’t lose any of them.  And the manager got him a cup.  Well done!!


Every day I walked through the wooded path on the river side over to the beach.  It became a ritual that I looked forward to.


The beach was pretty empty but the waves were always wonderful as I walked along the shore.  It’s certainly a great place to get your exercise.



My second daily ritual was to walk from Winnona to the dock on the riverside to see the sun set over the mangroves every early evening.  There wasn’t always a visible sunset but it was always beautiful.


Next post I’ll finish off my two weeks at  Gamble Rogers and officially be into December.  Just in time to wish you all the Happiest of Holidays!


  1. Sad to see all the damage at GRSP. I tried to get a late summer/early fall res there on our way west but failed miserably. I never plan far in advance so we will unlikely ever get to stay there again.

    1. You are much braver than I do not make your reservations so far in advance. Game of Rogers has had a lot of destruction in the last 5 or 6 years.

  2. The way the hurricanes pull so much beach away after each storm, you'll soon be enjoying ocean front views in Iowa! :cD

    That seafood festival certainly did it right, I'm amazed at the size of those crab cakes. Hopefully they hold the festival no more than once a year to enable the crab population to recover. Not to mention the 5 scoop ice cream cone. Holy Moses, that must have taken half the cow's milk in Florida to produce it!

    1. Those were great looking crab cakes and even though the lobster roll was delicious I really wished I could have won into the crab cakes.

  3. What a delight to meet up with your friends for the seafood festival. Too bad it rained. Yum Hershey ice cream! From our old stomping grounds. Unfortunate you couldn't get ocean front site, but a new view could be nice! Oh, and happy winter solstice!

    1. Happy Winter Solstice to you as well Laurie. It seems strange to celebrate this Winter holiday in Florida.

  4. Before I knew you, I spent so many 2-3 week periods each January in Flagler Beach. Part of me wants to revisit, but part of me doesn't want to see it this way. That area has had a rough few years.

    1. You are so right Sharon it has been a rough few years. It seems every time I come here part of A1A has been washed away by something. But I still come back. In a such a sweet place. Wish we could meet here at some point.

    2. Maybe we will or somewhere else in Florida. I'll email you soon!

    3. Maybe we will or somewhere else in Florida. I'll email you soon.

  5. It’s irksome that guys like Shayne can eat five scoops of ice cream, and all the while maintain their svelte physique.

    The only way I would be able to do that is to have just let those top scoops fall to the floor and forget about them! LOL.

    Too bad about that little beachside motel. It’s easy to see it had to be a fun, popular place to stay in its heyday.

    If it doesn’t reopen, cherish the memories…..

    1. If they don't reopen no one else will be allowed to tear it down and build something else. Flagler Beach has adopted rules that there is no more building on the ocean front if what is built there now is destroyed.

  6. Really sad to see all the damage. Buildings can be rebuilt but the carnage Mother Nature has suffered is so hard to view. Sorry you weren't able to get your beach front view.
    Happy Holidays to you!

    1. Happy holidays to you too anonymous. My next post will Include some of the damage to the homes in Flagler Beach which is also very sad.

  7. I thought exactly like Jody. How does he eat like that and stay slim?! I guess it's a seldom treat or good genes!! Sad to see the weather damage. Climate change isn't helping that. Love your rituals. The ocean is beautiful as ever. See you tomorrow!!!

    1. How does he eat it all? With his mouth of course and he had no trouble at all. No matter what the water and wind do to the land the ocean remains beautiful. See you in a few hours.😊

  8. So fortunate that only the stairs and a few palms were damaged and the park was able to remain open. Even a river side site is better than none at all! The festival looks great, even in the rain. Especially when enjoying it with good friends. Gator bites are my favorite!! Beautiful beach and afternoon skies.

    1. The state parks were all closed for Ian and most for Nicole as well. I am just very lucky that Gamble Rogers was able to open back up before my reservation. I doubt I'll stay on the ocean side again. It's just too hard on the rig.

  9. I'm sure you missed that ocean view site, but at least you're there. Poor ravaged coastline. A bonus to remeet with Bev and Shane and attend a festival.

    1. I do miss the ocean view but we should not have subjected the rig to so much salt. Now I have too much rust.

  10. Replies
    1. I imagine that is what everyone really likes about the ocean.

  11. I'm so glad you were able to get back into the park...and honestly, the river side is so much better for the longevity of your rig! But I understand about wanting those expansive oceanfront views. I'm having a hard time letting go of our home here on the bay, knowing we will never again have views like this. The seafood offerings at the festival look fantastic! So fun that you've made new friends in your travels. Wishing you a joyous holiday with your family!

    1. You are so right Laurel just as I was saying to Jodee. It's wonderful to have met Shayne and Bev. We are planning to meet up again at Fort Clinch next winter.

  12. Yay! You got a lobster roll which I know is your favorite! Sad to see the stairs destroyed and even worse to see the dunes with huge chunks washed away. The dunes in Duck have had that happen too. The waves make me miss the beach and summer. Shayne and Bev look nothing like the way I had pictured them. Nice to have friends that you meet at different parks. xxxooo

    1. It was such a hard decision between the lobster roll and the large crab cakes. Wish I'd known about the festival the day before. I'd have come twice and had both. 😊

  13. It was so sad departing from you, so glad we got to reconnect a couple of times already. Such a joy to spend time with you!! The seafood festival was pretty cool, too bad it was a little drizzly and chilly for you and Bev. The ice cream, wow, there was so much of it, lol


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