Florida Adventures, Part 1 of 2

I’m confident that I will have to put this in a two part series. Perhaps I’m rambling more since communication doesn’t happen that often while camping out in the boondocks. But I can’t make that claim on my trip to Florida. I hooked up with a lot of folks, starting with Billy from the very beginning of crossing the state line.

Incredibly beautiful grasshopper hopping around Florida!

Incredibly beautiful grasshopper hopping around Florida!

After a stay at Walmart, Billy and I parted ways. I went to Jacksonville while he went to New Smyrna. I spent the day at the library since I was in town before heading out to the beach. I had dinner complements of the Michael and Gisela at Applebees. (Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!)

Big Blue posing in front of St Augustine's Lighthouse!

Big Blue posing in front of St Augustine’s Lighthouse!

The next day I headed down the A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway (not many national parks in the SE, so these scenic routes and state parks are compensating!) I wound up at the oldest continuously occupied community in the United States. It has a bajillion historical structures including Castillo de San Marcos built by the Spaniards in the 1600’s. I stopped to see the oldest church in Florida (Cathedral of St. Augustines) from the 1500’s as well as a stop at the Fountain of Youth! (I’ll let you know if a couple of decades whether it works or not!)

Oldest church in the whole USA from the 1500's...St. Augustine's

Oldest church in the whole USA from the 1500’s…St. Augustine’s

Probably though, the most interesting thing, was watching a peacock thinking he was the most interesting thing…in the chrome bumper of a pickup truck. There he was, on the side street, walking back and forth in front of this parked truck. After watching him, it became quite clear that he was rather mesmerized with himself!! Gorgeous creature…I don’t blame him…I was too!

Finding himself fondly attached to his new friend...this peacock is fascinated by his reflection in the chrome bumper of this Chevy pickup!

Finding himself fondly attached to his new friend…this peacock is fascinated by his reflection in the chrome bumper of this Chevy pickup!

Along the way I made a stop at Fort Matanzas National Monument, the remains of a Spanish fort completed in 1742. I had wanted to stop by Marineland which was built as the world’s first oceanarium in the 1930s but was compelled by the washing machine and hot shower of Ivan and Nina Jeffery to make haste to Ocala National Forest.

Big Blue hanging out at Ocala National Forest just an hour north of Orlando, FL. Disney's grandparents are buried in a cemetery just a walk from here.

Big Blue hanging out at Ocala National Forest just an hour north of Orlando, FL. Disney’s grandparents are buried in a cemetery just a walk from here.

Oh what a delight it was to gut out my van and get everything sifted through and sorted and cleaned. I pitched some of the things that I now recognize I won’t be needing along the way. Oh clean clothes is such a benediction. My glorified zip lock bag works great at getting clothes cleaned, but it does absolutely nothing for getting clothes dry! My shirts and pants  that I got from Academy Sports dry quickly, but all the other clothing articles…days!

Emptying out Big Blue to give her a full detail, thanks to Ivan and Nina!

Emptying out Big Blue to give her a full detail, thanks to Ivan and Nina!

After two nights there the Adkins and I realized that we were within an hour from each other as they were in Orlando at La Portofino Bay Hotel.

I was spoiled by the Adkins in Orlando as I hung out with them at LaPortafino Bay Hotel!

I was spoiled by the Adkins in Orlando as I hung out with them at LaPortafino Bay Hotel!

So I drove down there Monday morning and spent the day with them at Island of Adventure and Universal Studios…wowzer, what a gift that was! I hadn’t gotten to say goodbye to them in Frisco, but boy did we have a great time in Orlando.

This was a very pleasant surprise to hook up with the Adkins and get to explore Universal Studios and Adventure Island with them!

This was a very pleasant surprise to hook up with the Adkins and get to explore Universal Studios and Adventure Island with them!

The food was fantastic too—Mythos for lunch, The Palm for dinner, and then the Hotel Buffet for breakfast. Oh that I was a squirrel and could tuck all the food away for a hungrier day!)

Suann and I hanging out at Island Adventure near the Lost City! What a fantastic time and way to see her and Larry...and I owe the gathering to facebook!

Suann and I hanging out at Island Adventure near the Lost City! What a fantastic time and way to see her and Larry…and I owe the gathering to facebook!

The morning we parted ways, things were getting very cold in Orlando and so I headed south until I got to the warmer climes of the Everglades! (some nights, too warm!)

I will have to share all that in another blog. The wildlife was incredible!

Oh what an adventure awaited me at the Everglades! Hopefully I'll be able to post some great pics from this portion of the trip this weekend!

Oh what an adventure awaited me at the Everglades! Hopefully I’ll be able to post some great pics from this portion of the trip this weekend!

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by JesusGeorgePaige on December 25, 2014 at 10:28 am

    “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
    Luke 2:9-11
    Merry Christmas!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Dan Lein on December 26, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Awesome Deb, these always make me smile. Loved the $5 hot dog, the little things are sooo satisfying when you need them. Hope to see you in Houston

    Reply

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