Nancy loved shelling on Amelia Island in Florida.
     Our Jacksonville, Florida adventure was dedicated to daily medical appointments for Nancy.  Jacksonville has a lot of great doctor's and 2 excellent hospitals (The Mayo Clinic & Baptist Hospital) so Nancy was very comfortable with the doctors, the medical advice and the strategy to resolve her issues.  With our spare time we availed ourselves to the delights of Jacksonville.  Jacksonville is a nice city with all the fun traffic, but they have a nice riverfront downtown area and a lot of activities.  Also, Jacksonville's proximity to the ocean makes this a great place to hang out.
To add a little excitement to our Jacksonville visit, this guy decided to
drive around me to get to his campsite instead of backing in.  6 hours and 3 tow
trucks later he was finally extricated. 

     We always love "farmer's markets" and Jacksonville has a cool one which combines all the usual farm offerings with an artist market.
This seemed like an unusual venue for the farmer's/artist's
market directly under the I-95 bridge near downtown Jacksonville.
About 50 people attended the market's yoga practice under the
bridge looking across the St. Johns River at Jacksonville.

     Also, we were fortunate to have Jim and Nanc Tidball join us for a day at the Elks lodge.  Jim and Nanc were one of the first couples that we befriended on-the-road and it was great catching up with them.  We even found a wonderful place for dinner at Julington Fish Camp directly on the St. Johns River.

Jim & Nanc Tidball joined us for a great
evening at the Julington Fish Camp.

     After Jacksonville we hit the campground lottery and found a 9 night cancellation of a campsite at Fort Clinch State Park on Amelia Island in Florida.  Our experience at this park and on the island was fantastic.  Despite its proximity to Jacksonville, the island has none of those obnoxious high-rise hotels which seem to deface most Florida beaches and, with the exception of a couple of festival weekends, traffic is minimal.  The island has beautiful beaches, as well as, a cute historic downtown named Fernandina Beach (pronounched "Fern'-an-deena") which features a lot of great restaurants, shops and a strong artist influence.  Nancy fell in love with the place and even thought she would like to live there someday.  We even looked at at several houses while we were there.  Fortunately, we hope to continue with our traveling adventures for the next few years, so we really weren't in a position to consider any large purchases.

Fort Clinch State Park is the home of a beautifully
restored pre-Civil War fort.

     Amelia Island was a great place to bike and even had a few fun mountain bike trails.  One day while mountain biking in the state park, I jumped off my bike to take a stroll on a hiking-only trail.  After 15 minutes of hiking along a beautiful creek I ran across a sign warning me of alligators in the area.  No sooner had I finished reading the sign when I heard the loud crash of an animal darting though the heavy palmetto growth, then I heard the splash of a large creature entering the murky swamp not more than a few feet away from me.  'Nuff said, I was out of there in a flash without even bothering to check out the cause of the disturbance as the noise was way to close for comfort and I was disinclined to do the tango with the friendly alligator population.
One of the beautiful dune formations in Fort Clinch State Park.

This algae filled swamp was the home of the alligator which
scared the crap out of me on my hike.

I was reading this warning sign when
I had my close encounter.

The live oak trees and Spanish moss created a gorgeous tunnel
for our 3 mile drive to our campsite in Fort Clinch.
     All to soon our 9 nights were up and we had to depart, but...SCORE...we hit the campground lottery again with a 5 night cancellation at Gamble Rogers State Park in Flagler Beach, Florida.  This is one of our favorite state parks in Florida.  Our site sat on a dune overlooking the ocean waves rolling onto a  beautiful beach.  And BONUS, our site was less than 1 tenth of a mile from a great oceanfront bar and grill.  For us this place is perfection.
The view out our front window at Gamble Rogers State Park.

This was the deck overlooking the ocean next to our campsite
at Gamble Rogers.  Since nobody else used the deck while we were
there, it seemed as if it was ours.
High Tides at Snack Jack.
The oceanfront bar and grill next to Gamble Rogers State Park.

     While at Gamble Rogers the ocean rip tides were still heavily influenced by the passing hurricanes, so I cautiously bobbed in the heavy surf.  The ocean was a little violent and Nancy was getting a little nervous, so she finally waved me to shore where she promptly told me that she would try to save me if I was drowning!  Great news!!!  I took that as a hint to get out.  I love the ocean.
Flagler Beach at Gamble Rogers State Park.

     The beach at Gamble Rogers was full of beautiful shore birds--great egrets, snowy egrets, willets, sandlerlings, great blue herons and ospreys.  One day we saw a large wave trash a low flying osprey.  The bird got smashed by a breaking wave but managed to work its way out and shake itself off while soaring a little higher above the waves.  We next saw a small sanderling get swamped by a wave to the point were the receding water resulted in the bird sinking into the sand and becoming trapped.  Fortunately, the next wave loosened the bird's sandy trap and it scurried off continually pecking at the sand in search of dinner.  Our day was topped off with a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral right over our heads.
Boring photo right?  This the rocket launch we watched from our
campsite at Gamble Rogers State Park.  The little white dot
in the center of the photo is the rocket which appeared to be
flaming red to the naked eye. 

Another launch shot.

A few days after the launch we were eating dinner at Rusty's
Restaurant in Port Canaveral where we witnessed one of the rocket's stages  
being towed to Kennedy Space Center.  It doesn't look like much
but it certainly made our evening out quite memorable.
     "All good things must come to an end" and our time to get off the road is now upon us.  It turns out that Nancy needs both hips replaced which means that she will have to go through 2 separate surgeries and recoveries.  The first surgery is set for December 7 so we needed to find a place to recuperate.  Fortunately, 3 years ago we purchased a concrete slab in The Great Outdoors RV Resort (TGO) in Titusville, Florida.  Originally we purchased the property with the intent to live there after leaving the road, but now it is serving as an interim refuge while we resolve Nancy's medical issues.  TGO is a gorgeous resort with every amenity--golf, pickleball, tennis, a nature center, 2 restaurants, arts and crafts, pools, etc.  We have a beautiful site which is set amongst numerous palm trees and features a view of a small pond in our backyard.  There a tons of activities here and I am taking advantage of the nature hikes and learning pickleball while Nancy is immersing herself in the art community.  Although this isn't our usual choice for a place to stay, in our current situation TGO turns out to be almost perfect.
Our site at TGO.
It is only 100' from the pool and hot tub.

     It looks like we will be in TGO until the end of April, so we will have plenty of time to plan next summer's adventure.  If everything goes well we will be heading to the Atlantic Provinces in Canada.  Hopefully, we will enter New Brunswick around June 1 and head up to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador then return to Maine around October 1.  So, at least, we have more travels to look forward to.
     Since we will be stuck in one place for a while, I will put this blog on the shelf until our travels resume.  Believe it or not, the blog just passed 20,000 hits.  BTW-the MAPS section of this blog will show all our travels in 2017.

Our next great adventure!



  1. Great reading your adventures since we saw you at Betty's in April. Jim had both his hips replaced 10 years ago and he has been doing great ever since. Will be keeping Nancy in our prayers for successful hip surgeries.

  2. Enjoyed reading up on you guys! Wish Nan a speedy recovery from the pending surgeries. I look forward to following your travels up into Canada and hope we can rendezvous at some point during your trip as we hope to be there in August.

    Also, we will be in Florida (flying) in February, but won't likely be in your area. Happy Holidays!

  3. There are definitely worse places to be stationary for a few months. Hope all goes well with a quick recovery. We will be thinking of you guys!

  4. Of course your adventures are a pleasure to vicariously be a part of but I think the best news is that Nancy has a medical strategy that she is comfortable with so we can keep on truckin'. Speedy recovery! My dad has done it 3 times (because one hip needed to be replaced after 20+ years) and it really gave him his life back.

    I can't wait to hear about the tiny adventure coming your way soon! Acacia looks beautiful- very happy for your family. Love to you both <3


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