Friday, November 24, 2023

Virginia to Florida and Rain at Fort Clinch

November 4- November 17, 2023                                        Most Recent Posts:
On the Road and                  Finding Ruby’s Replacement and Fall in the Foothills
Fort Clinch State Park                                                            My Favorite Visitors
Fernandina Beach, Florida

I was supposed to leave Virginia on November 4 to arrive at Fort Clinch State Park in North Eastern Florida on November 6th and spend 14 days there.  But I wasn’t able to get everything done until the 8th.

Not a bad spot on the edge of the Walmart parking lot in Roanoke Rapids NC   PXL_20231108_221802003

I spent two nights on the way down at Camp Walmarts in North and South Carolina They thankfully turned out to uneventful.

I am very grateful to Walmart for their generosity and always save some of my Winnona purchases for each of the two stores at which I stop on my way down and back from Florida.

David and I did the coastal route several times stopping in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia and taking several weeks slowly going south but that’s a harder route for me and this year especially I needed something familiar and easy.

I had a great deal of trouble last year making reservations for this winter and it isn’t what I wish it was.  It’s Friday November 8th when I pull in to Fort Clinch State Park on the corner of St. Mary’s and Atlantic.   The St Mary’s River and the Atlantic Ocean that is.

But, all is not well.  When I unhitch the car, it won’t start.  SIGH!   Something in the brake controller set up possibly?  I impose upon a sweet neighbor who brings his jump box, jumps the car and I pull it into the campsite and leave it running for a half an hour gritting my teeth as I do it.   But now what?  Will it start in the morning.  Can’t believe I didn’t take his picture – thank you Jason!

PXL_20231110_211605650Fort Clinch has two campgrounds, one within walking distance of the Ocean which I am in and one in the maritime forest and near the river.  I was not happy to have to book Site 16 but it was all that would fit both Winnona and my time frame when I made the reservation.   But time proved me wrong and this wide open site had no tree nuts or roof staining leaves falling on its roof.  It was wide open and easy to access and the internet and phone worked well.   The only problem was no shade ZERO NONE in the afternoon at the site BUT as you shall see, that was a minor problem.  Notice dark clouds the afternoon I arrived.

I must do a short digression to highlight something that has made me VERY happy.   You may (or may not) remember the problem I was having with the front window curtains.   They had problems when David died but it got much worse.  They were coming off their rod and looked terrible. 

I had googled the problem to death when finally someone in either the Winnebago Brave group or another to which I belong told me they had found the “tape” that was sewn onto the curtains and had the clips that ran along the rod on it.

I got the tape and my friend Laurie found me a great dry cleaners in Charlottesville who cleaned the curtains, took off the old tape and put on the new.

VOILA!!!  I am just thrilled. 

Who knew getting this problem solved could make me so happy.

No gaps, no problems opening or closing.

New drapes

The day after I arrive, I’m up for Sunrise over the Atlantic and a trip to the Fernandina Beach Farmer’s Market.  But the car doesn’t start and I have to ask my neighbor Jason to jump it again.  This time I taje it to Advance Auto expecting to have to replace the battery but they say it’s perfectly fine and sell me my own Lithium Ion battery starter instead of a new battery.  SIGH.

After their test, it starts right up and I have no more trouble with it not even after I tow it again when I leave Fort Clinch.  Of course that’s because I now have an expensive jump box. 

It’s easy to be out at dawn now that they have turned the time back.


Others are out with me.


The first signs of sunlight are full of color behind the clouds at the horizon.



And a new day has begun.  I could do this every morning but it’s not to be.   This is the only sunrise I saw in all my the 10 days left of my reservation.



The Fernandina Beach Farmer’s market is small and sweet but it has all the essentials including

Wonderful baked goods of all kinds.  I can’t believe I did not take pictures of the too many I bought including cinnamon swirl bread.


and the main attraction for me, fresh local vegetables.


But that’s it for good weather.  Starting Sunday, the next days are cold and windy with rain every day.  It’s cloudy so no sunrise visible.  I drive to the grocery, make a pot of Bean Barley soup to warm up the rig and me.   Highs in the low  60’s with 18 and 20 mph winds every day.   I take care of what feels like mountains of business including booking a ticket from Tampa to Baltimore to visit Carrie for Christmas.   Would I have gone through all the papers and done all the filing that had built up if the weather hadn’t been horrible?  Probably not so I guess I’m grateful that I was forced to stay inside at least in that regard. 

I read and read and did puzzles for 5 days of wind and rain.  How I appreciate Winnona’s size.  I was stir crazy enough.  Can’t imagine being trapped inside a small RV for hours over several days.

20231113_125011Thankfully on some days it didn’t rain constantly and I did some short dashes out to walk a nearby trail though the rain caught me at the end.

I’m always so surprised to see cactus in Florida as I always think of it as a dry desert southwest plant but clearly it has a broad range.

Because the trails are sand, the water does not puddle.


The rains filled the wetlands.


These next two sightings made me laugh.  What do they look like to you??



Walking through the Spanish Moss draped trees is a bit spooky even during the day..


One or two other  days I was able to dash out to see the littered shore from rough overnight rains and wind.




High tide.



No real walking along the shore even if the rain break was long enough.




Though not at the height of the rain storms I did take a video of the river and one of the ocean.  You can watch them with the highlighted links.  Hope they give you the feel of being here.

Finally on Friday, two days before I have to leave, the rains let up in the afternoon late.  I knew things were probably ok when I saw this gopher tortoise along the boardwalk to the beach.  He too was looking for sunshine I imagine.


Last of the big surfs through the sea oats.


I love my puzzle board that closes up and can be stored away WITH the puzzle in progress.


I read 3 books and completed 2 puzzles.   I will be glad to be able to go outside for most of the day tomorrow.



My last two days here were very full now that the sun had come out.  The darling town of Fernandina Beach and a paddle on Eagan Creek are coming up next.


  1. Nice views of the sunrise.

    1. Thanks Lynne. I so appreciate your comments. Hope you're keeping warm up there. Can I make an appointment to get together with you in April since I missed you this fall?

  2. So glad they fixed the problem with the car, even if it was more than a battery :( Another happy moment getting those curtains fixed! Love the sunrise pics as always ❤️

    1. Still not sure what the problem was Laurie. It's been working fine since that first time.

  3. Boo on all that rain! There's not much beach there unless it was high tide. Lots of grass and debris. Still, seeing and hearing the ocean is a treat. Love the gopher tortoise! I'll be anxious to see Fernando Beach- the town. xxxooo

    1. Oh yes that was high tide the beach is actually very wide I thought I had a picture of it the day before the rain started. So glad you liked the videos. So sorry Blogger made you anonymous and I don't know who you are.

  4. I admire how you've overcome all the challenges Murphy and his gremlins throw at you and you go on and enjoy your RV travels. You're one tough cookie!

    And I can forgive you for not taking a picture of that cinnamon swirl bread, I would have finsihed it off before I could snap a photo of it. ;c)

    1. Thanks for the compliment Paul. I am the perfect example of the phrase I get by with a little help from my friends. Sorry about the cinnamon swirl picture. Just drop on down a little more South and you can get one for yourself. That Journey would fit right in here.

  5. Sherry, you got some very nice shots even with the bad weather. Very sorry about the car issue. You need the car gods to be on your side for awhile. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Since I have had no more trouble since that first wouldn't start episode I am hoping the car gods are on my side. Can we make a date for lunch in April?

  6. Beautiful sunrise pictures! So strange about the car. Maybe it was just tired after the long ride down from VA. Rain, rain go away. Glad you got things done at least to include coming to see me soon! :)

    1. I love your thought that the car was just tired since it's not used to being towed. You might be up in the air right now headed back home from your Thanksgiving trip. Hope all is well

  7. I have spent a lot of nights at Camp Walmart on my cross county trips. Never had any problems. Your sunrise pictures are beautiful. Love the sound of the ocean. Hope you have a wonderful winter in Florida. Doris from Pa

    1. Doris thanks so much for your comment and for signing it since blogger is so irritating. Really glad you enjoyed the ocean sounds.

  8. I feel so behind at the moment. I read this blog when you first posted it and said, "Later". oops. We visited Fort Clinch the last time we were in Florida in 2019 and as I read your post I was wearing the turtle tee shirt I got there that I love. It is a lovely place. I love your site as well, open skies are for me, I am burned out on too much tree cover. Give me the beach or the mountains or the desert, but either way give me SKY! And of course rain. Without it I wouldn't get any of the detail stuff done. Which goes back to why I haven't comment until now. Rain is coming and we are frantically trying to get up Christmas outside decor, and raking and hauling leaves. Rain tomorrow so today is the last day to get it done. Hugs to you and enjoy your Florida time.

    1. I do that so often, read a blog and don't have time to comment and almost forget. Thanks for remembering. I would love to have sent the rain to you. Enough already!!

  9. Glad you got your new car and everything going again!! Sorry about the dead battery but you may find the lithium jumper very useful in the future (does it have a flashlight and/or a power output?). Sunset and sunrise pics were beautiful... As were pics of the ocean (which we miss!!)

    1. So great to hear from you Roger. Hope things are warm in Texas. Not as warm in Florida as I'd like but better than Virginia. Glad you enjoyed the pictures. Love to you and all the family

  10. Wow, five solid days of rain and wind?! That's four days too many to be cooped up inside, haha. But you made the most of it and got stuff done! Glad the weather cleared up for you, and most of all, I'm glad you got everything sorted out with your new vehicle so that you could keep your winter plans in Florida. Hope we get to see you! :-)

    1. Thanks Laurel. Can't tell you how glad I was for this too large for me RV with all those days of rain in a row. Not that it didn't lighten up at points so I could run out but there was always the danger of getting caught. Definitely hope to see you. When are you coming to Florida? Looking at your temperatures, I think you should already be here. LOL!!

  11. Glad you made it to FL. Happy birthday ❣️


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