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Wednesday, March 26. 2014
After Kingsley’s death the Fort george Island plantation was sold to his nephews. They and their descendants continued to operate it until about 1900 when the island began to revert to forest.
The post office, the court house, one of the oldest churches in Florida, a really cool bar that looked like it came right out of the 1800’s all were right on Center St. At one end was the train station and the harbor on Front Street. So at Front and Center we had a nice lunch.
It is amazing to watch them come down the winding river getting bigger by the minute and the go out to sea.
Monday, March 24, 2014 (somebody’s birthday)
At one end is the Government Center. A Catholic curch on one side and an Episcopal church on the opposite side and at the other end, the market. All the bases covered. No Lutherans anywhere to be seen.
The leaves are falling everywhere. It is just like Fall and at the same time everything is covered by a layer of green Sringtime pollen. We had an early dinner at Barnacle Bill’s, shrimp. It was sort of like eating with Forrest Gumps shrimp cooking buddy, shrimp every conceivable way. We had the shrimp. I had some cheesy grits as well. Pretty tasty.
We followed the Atlantic coast line back to the far northern end of the island to Anastasia State Park. A friendly ranger gave a short term visitor pass so we could check out the campground. We were going to stay here but it was full. No wonder. It is a nice park, nice campsites and right near the ocean beaches. Across the road from the park is the St Augustine Light Station. We went on the walking tour (for a small fee, of course).
The interior was deluxe Southern Victorian.
There were also displays about the shrimp boat building business and the shrimping industry. St Augustine played a major role in the development of both. More displays were about hunting for ahip wreaks off the coast and recovery and the restoration of artifacts. There were classes going on about the craft of building wooden boats. A simple sail boat and a nice looking row boat were in progress. Very nice. As a woodworker it has always been something I would like to do.
A few other tubs floating around as well.
Two giant mobile transporter platforms moved the Saturn V rockets and the Moon Mission vehicles to the launch pad. Only a few years later they carried the space shuttles out to the same launch pads.
There are two launch pads like this that were used for the Space Shuttles. There were more than 30 launch pads all up and down the Cape. As the Space Age unfolded and the Space Race heated up there ware launches from the Cape every 10-14 days. When the shuttles were launched more than 1/2 million gallons of water was flooded through the flame diverters in just a few seconds to keep them from melting. It was mostly steam from this water that you saw during a launch billowing out from the launch pad. This launch pad is being rebuilt for the new Space Launch System, a rocket bigger than anything before. The second launch pad is being rebuilt as well.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis is the main attraction now. After it landed ending the final shuttle mission and the end of the shuttle program after more than 30 years it was towed to the partially completed display building, raised into position and then the building was finished around it.
My dad led the program at Honeywell in the 70’s to develop the shuttle main engine controls. Lots of meaning here for me. Pretty amazing!
Then we went to the beach. There were 12 beach access points with parking. They averaged about a half mile apart. These were the access points to the beach on the south 1/4 end of the shore. About 1/2 was accessible from the north. There was a big section with no access by car in the middle, just walking on the beach.
This beach literally goes on for miles. We were only about a mile from one of the shuttle launch pads. Lots of folks fishing.
We walked way down the beach and back. More than 10,000 steps. Wore down the bottom of our bare feet. Mid 80’s today, strong southerly breeze. It was very nice.
Roger and Susan
The streets are all cobblestone and tree lined. Mostly small shops and eateries. A Panera Bread was on this corner. The museum a half block down the street on the left. A nice looking church where Susan’s cousin attends was a block down on the right.
So a nice stroll around the park and downtown and then back to the coach and off towards Titusville.
And right across from us is the KSC Visitor’s Center that wee will visit on Thursday. The Space Shuttle Atlantis the on display there. A two hour bus ride through the entire launch complex, iMax movies, the Astronaut Hall of Fame and more is all part of the rather pricey admission price (although it is about 1/2 the cost of goint to Disney World). The big orange and white thing is the space shuttle main fuel tank and the solid rocket boosters standing next to the Visitor’s Center. It is at least five miles away.
A long, straight causeway over the bay and then a very long 40 some mile drive towards Perry, FL. It is through flat forest land. Straight as an arrow. Borring! A completely unremarkable overnight in Perry. But some amazing leftovers for breakfast.
We were headed for a county park in Orage County where Orlando is. We are at Kelly County Park and the north side of Apopka. What a nice park, 50 amp electric service, water, dump station, 26 site, about 6 other campers here. Oak, pine and palm trees, go figure. Hiking trails, a pool, a spring fed river that you can swim or tube in.
Friday was another pretty nice day. Although it was a cool 44° overnight the sky was clear and the sun warmed things up in a hurry. We hit just over 14,000 steps on our step counters yesterday so we were a bit slow getting going. When we did we walked up to the intersction of Highway 30-A and the county road to the west of us. Lots of shops there and a really pretty nice old fashioned hardware store. Unlike the one we visited in Panama City Beach this one was very well stocked and staffed. I had to return a nut and bolt I bought earlier this week because it was the wrong size. The new one I got turned out to be the right size but not the fine thread that I needed. I give up. It just goes into the container of nuts, bolts, washers, screws, pins, retaining clips and everything else that has no home. It is nice to be prepared but most of the time I don’t have what I really need so I improvise which is just as good as being prepared.
It is not dark yet and the moon is out and almost full. In between the pines it was pretty impressive. I thought these were Southern Yellow Pines. What else would one think a pine tree in the south was? They are not. They are called Slash Pines. They have sort of a rounded over top, long needles and produce enormous amounts of sap when they are slashed with several V shaped cuts up the trunk. A metal funnel like thing is nailed at the bottom of the cut area where buckets are hung. Is is sort of like maple sap collection to make syrup. The sap or pitch is collected and boiled, distilled and condensed to make various grades of turpentine. We visited an old (no longer used) turpentine distillery. It looked pretty much like you would have expected a big whiskey still to look like.
Wednesday began mostly cloudy after the rain the night before. It started breaking up soon after breakfast. The winds were strong and gusty from the south. And that pushed up the surf.
It is only 35 miles from St Andrew’s State Park to Grayton Beach State Park and a much different experience.
After breakfast we rode our bikes over to the main beach access from the park and walked down the beach for a mile or two and then back. The sun was warm, the sand white, the Gulf waters calm and slightly green. Boats, sailboats, parasailers, airplanes, people (very tanned seniors), jetskis and spring breakers. We were gone for about 4 hours. A very nice day.