After leaving Savannah and Christmas Day behind, we headed to Faver-Dykes State Park, near St. Augustine, Florida. Despite my resolution to look forward with optimism, I was still feeling a bit sad and nostalgic about holidays past. I subscribe to convention, and nothing could have been further from long-established traditions this year.
No home, leaving my loved ones, and the reality that all of my belongings were in storage kind of hit me between the eyes as were were rolling Southward. Yet, my mood seemed to improve as the temperature crept upwards. I prefer flip-flops to snow boots.
Faver-Dykes is a gem of a State Park. The campground is small but the individual sites are well laid out and very private. The trails are wide, and well-marked. The atmosphere is subtropical, with large, live oak, and an abundance of both Spanish Moss and Saw Palmetto providing ambiance. The ground was covered in fine sand. Gypsy likes to roll in fine sand. Fine sand likes to find its way into every tread on the bottom of our shoes. Sweeping the RV became an hourly task, and even that was no match for the relentless dirt.
Our kids gave us multiple board games for Christmas this year. We chose to test-drive them at Faver-Dykes. Although it is perfectly acceptable to play 365 games of Scrabble per year without needing intervention, the kids were obviously concerned about our apparent addiction to the game. Introducing new games is their attempt to keep us from requiring a Scrabble-12-step-program. Although we have not tossed Scrabble aside, we thoroughly enjoy playing A Little Wordy, Sequence, Blokus and Word on The Street.
Saint Augustine Beach was wildly crowded when we ventured into town. With Covid still looming large, we opted to skip some of the congested areas. This meant we would have to cross a busy street to escape the throngs of beachgoers. The crosswalks are equipped with orange flags, intended to alert motorists to pedestrians. We noted that, even with orange flags flapping, not all motorists are conscientious. Still, we managed to cross and enjoy a cold beer and a tasty lunch at the dog-friendly Café 11 before returning to our house on wheels.
Next stop: Collier-Seminole State Park near Naples, Florida. Immediately after setting up, we discovered that our neighbors were old acquaintances from our marina days in Baltimore. Small world! We took advantage of their campfire and caught up a bit. We were enjoying our social time, but it was my husband’s birthday, so we retreated to our site, grilled a couple of steaks and enjoyed a quiet birthday dinner.
The campsites at Collier Seminole are “tight” but there was adequate room at the rear of the motorhome to erect a screen room, which is necessary. The bugs are brutal at dawn and dusk. The park offers trails, boat ramps, and bike paths. The rangers are extremely knowledgeable and kind. We took advantage of a guided hike on New Years morning. Henry, our guide, did an amazing job of introducing us to the flora and fauna in the area. It was somewhat unsettling to be hiking through areas that are inhabited by bear, bobcats, panthers, alligators and rattle snakes but Henry assured us, that (aside from rattle snakes) we were unlikely to encounter these creatures.
What’s worse than snakes and panthers and bears? Learning how to use the portable, sewage tote tank, that’s what!
Marco Island is a hop, skip and a jump down the road. It is a beautiful place. We were fortunate to be able to meet up with friends to enjoy an afternoon of fun and frivolity, 1st at Stan’s Idle Hour for lunch, then to 2-Shea’s Salty Dog to watch the Raven’s go down in defeat. It was an ugly season. Hoping for a great pick in the draft and a healthy team in 2022.
Plenty more to do near Naples since this is a 2-week stop, and a fishing trip is in the planning stages. Not much opportunity to blog, since WiFi is virtually non-existent in the area….
BUT, Stay tuned…