Here I am almost 3 weeks behind AGAIN. How does this happen?
On Monday November 20th, after all the rigamarole of closing up and cleaning the jacks and taking off the water and dumping the tanks and all the rest of it, I drove 89 miles south from one beach to another. Neither campground is right on the ocean the parks are and I’ve actually gotten smart enough to understand the amount of rust that can harm your vehicles from being parked by salt water year after year. Both campgrounds are walking distance to the ocean and that’s great for me.
ARRIVING AT ANASTASIA
I was backing into my site at Anastasia State Park from the very narrow, one way campground road when a truck pulled up trying to go out the campground loop. Of course he could not get by me and when I got out to check and make sure I’d pulled Winnona up far enough to cut into the campsite, I walked back to ask if he would spot me since he had to wait anyway. He said sure and when he got out, he said he was a former tractor trailer driver and would I like him to just put it in there for me. “YOU BET”.
And he did and it turned out he had the site right across from me but only for one more night sadly. They were Julia and Stephen from Tampa with their two daughters and I’m sorry I didn’t get to know them.
As you can see from the picture, Stephen didn’t even put the seat back for his 6’ frame. Look at his knees. People are so nice.
Notice just in front of the car are the tree roots painted orange by the park service so you don’t drive over them. These are BIG roots and they end up being under your mat which makes putting chairs out difficult. But if you park further back you have to use an extension cord to get to the electric box which is toward the front of the site so it’s a no win situation.
Still I’ll take it to share this space with this magnificent being.
On the relatively short drive down here the roads were not any rougher than usual and not as rough as many other times. I never drive over 55 or 60 regardless of what the limit is and what everyone else is doing, so I guess the closet bar braces, which are stupidly plastic, had just had enough after nearly 20 years and cracked.
Here’s what I found when I opened the door after arriving.
FYI, they often hide the vital cargo carrying weights and other information on the back wall of the closet. That’s what the sheet is hanging there.
I’d just arrived and had no energy to deal with this problem so I closed the door and vowed to tackle it tomorrow. Instead I walked out to the beach.
Anastasia has one of the longest boardwalks protecting their dunes that I’ve seen.
So long I could not get it all in one picture or even two.
I absolutely love being able to walk out to the beach any time I like.
Another wonderful thing about this park is how much of the ocean front it has protected. It is a very very long, very very wide beach.
The next day with more energy, I set out to find the replacement part for the closet which of course proved impossible. I did find a similar thing that was metal this time but the holes from the broken plastic one didn’t match up with the new one and amazingly I could not find a drill among David’s tools. It must be here but I tired of looking for it before I found it. I tried but could not just screw the new screws into the wall. I don’t have the strength.
So, I called the ranger station to see if I could borrow a drill. John answered the phone and said he was actually in my loop and could come by in a few minutes and take a look. Which he did and then he came back with a Lithium Ion drill and a ratchet screw driver and made short work of the problem.
David always said the right tool makes the job easy. So now I know what two tools I want for Christmas. Hope Santa is listening.
Closet repair accomplished.
This morning I got a text from Jason. He’s my Fort Clinch dead battery rescuer. He invited me to share their Thanksgiving and even though I had already bought everything to make my own traditional fare, I was happy to accept their generosity. They are only about an hour away just outside Jacksonville.
This picture above is of Jason’s mother Terry and Rocky in their “Florida room”. With sweaters it was warm enough to sit out there without the heaters that Jason sets up for colder weather.
The food was delicious and I really must ask Karen, Jason’s wife on the right, for the recipes for both the green beans and the sweet potatoes.
On the left is Terry Jason’s mother and Bill Karen’s father. On the right are Jason, Karen and their daughters Kiley and Jenna. What a simply wonderful group of people.
After dinner there was football on TV of course but only Bill and Rocky seemed to be watching. Rocky was such a hoot!
Anastasia State Park is right next to the St Augustine Amphitheater and a great Saturday Farmer’s Market which I walk over to every both Saturday mornings that I am here.
This organic farm had everything you’d heard and not heard of.
Like Roselle Hibiscus Calyces $5.99 a quart or 2 for $10 right out in front on this table. Have you ever heard of them?
Apparently in Australia you can find them made into jam and tea. It’s also used as a sauce to replace cranberry at the holidays and as a syrup over pancakes. They say the flavor is “similar to cranberry but less bitter with lemon undertones”. (undertones?? sheesh)
I also read that the most well known and popular way to use roselle hibiscus is as a drink called Rosa de Jamaica, a Christmas tradition in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean and in Mexican Restaurants in the US where it is known just as Jamaica.
Let me know if you’ve ever heard of it or tried any of these.
In addition to that, they also sold a number of interesting mushrooms I’d never seen before. $12 a box or $20 for two.
And sugar cane. Have you ever bought a cane of sugar cane? $5 each or 3 for $13. What do you do with it??
After all that fun I went over to “The Front Porch” which is connected to the market. The band that plays is made up of a lot of apparently local folks who get together often and jam and are always here on Saturdays. Or at least I’ve seen them here multiple times. They call themselves the Free Rangers and accept donations. Not sure who gets the money as there are quite a few of them with instruments varying depending on the day though there are a few “regulars”
I don’t know what happens in this outdoor space during the week but you can bring food and drinks up and listen on Saturdays. Lots more fun.
Later in the day I sat in my passengers chair with my front window view and looked through the walking brochure that luckily I kept from previous years. They no longer publish it and that’s a serious bummer since it is a set of 5 historical walking tours throughout St. Augustine. It is excellent.
Every single day I am thankful to be retired and able to do these things during the week rather than being restricted to week-ends.
The planning paid off my last week here first with a walking tour of St. George Street which is the cobblestone walking “mall”. The street is one of the oldest, if not the oldest in the city and gives you an idea of how narrow all the streets in the Old Town Section are. Obviously one way for those that allow cars which St. George does not..
The next day, I started my St George Street walking tour at the gateway built by the Spanish in 1739, with a moat of course, as the only access to the city on the north side.
St Augustine is the oldest continually occupied European settlement in North America having been founded in September of 1565 by Pedro Menendez. It seems to have been constantly under siege.
Englishman Sir Francis Drake burned the village in 1586. The English burned it again in 1702. The English were only able to take the city when they defeated Spain in the 7 years war in Europe in 1763. Then all of Florida was ceded to English control.
But all those years of effort, England only ruled for 21 years. As part of the negotiations for ending the American Revolution in 1783, Florida was returned to the Spanish. In 1821 it became an American Territory. I found this flip flop of ownership very interesting and am glad I didn’t live here during any of it.
The oldest Wooden School house is the oldest surviving wood frame building in St Augustine and is made of cedar and cypress. For an admission charge you can see an old classroom with life size figures of the professor and pupils along with rare school books, slates and slate pencils and old maps. Might be very interesting if you have children but I passed. Housing for the “master” was upstairs. Not sure who the woman looking out the window is supposed to be. Guess I could have learned that if I had taken the tour.
The picture below will give an idea of how narrow this street is. It’s hard to imagine even carts could go down it going both directions.
The buildings are so close that they are nearly connected and many are or at least their walled outdoor areas are. A double door cart opening into the grounds for protection is common. The houses look walled.
Notice the couple looking up and across the street.
Can you see what they are looking at? It’s on the balcony of the Benet House build by Estaban Benet in 1804. His great great grandsons, Stephen Vincent Benet and William Rose Benet, were both Pulitzer Prize winners.
Though most of the architecture on St George Street is Spanish, this tavern is an example of buildings from the 21 years of English Rule when it was originally built. It has been reconstructed.
At the end of the walking blocks of St George Street is the Cathedral Basilica St Augustine. Its information says it is the oldest Catholic Parish within the present day United States. It dates from the September 8, 1565 celebration of a Mass by Pedro Menendez and his men.
Obviously the Basilica is still a very active parish.
Over my last few days days here I did several other walking tours AND the Nights of Lights tour which is wonderful. That will be my last post from St. Augustine before I moved to my current location at Gamble Rogers State Park in Flagler Beach.