Today is the fourth of eighteen days in which I am tooling around Florida in my vintage 1969 Shasta Camper. I am gone precisely for eighteen days because my daughter is also gone for eighteen days, on a field trip with her school. This makes it easier for my husband, who is sticking it out at home in the snow and wind. Also I figure eighteen days is a nice long stretch of time. My plan is to absorb the beauty and warmth of Florida so I can come back to the studio with lots of great material.
For the first seven days Whitney, my dear friend and ultimate travel planner, has joined me. She is also a lucky charm, because whenever Whitney is around, things just work out perfectly. What a great friend to have, right? It’s nice to have such an effective lucky charm when you are anxious about hauling and backing up your camper (which is above and beyond the normal level of travel anxiety). Also it is worth nothing that it’s high season in Florida. We planned our trip rather late, and so we’ve had to move the camper to a new site every day. I’m getting lots of practice with my lucky charm.
Our first night we arrived at Little Talbot Island State Park after dark, which was not a problem (lucky charm). We were camping very close to a tidal creek and things were splashing around and crying out. I think alligators were snacking on great blue herons throughout the night. We were also greeted by the eerie howls of thirty (or maybe three, who knows?) coyotes. It was nice to be in such wilderness within a five minute bike ride to the Atlantic Ocean.
Speaking of biking, there were some great bike trails in this constellation of state parks–Big Talbot Island State Park and Little Talbot Island State Park adjoin each other, and there are some other parks that we didn’t get to visit, all in close proximity. There is also a nuclear power plant, just to balance things out and keep the anxiety flowing. This photo is of a path along The Bluffs in Big Talbot Island State Park, just north of Jacksonville. The late afternoon sun is streaming through the forest. It’s pretty amazing. Also, the ocean is just to the left of the frame. Sorry you can’t see it. It was beautiful.
After two nights at Little Talbot Island, we left for Blue Spring State Park in the interior of Florida, which is where I am now. It was quite the adventure getting here. We drove through St. Augustine and Whitney really wanted to stop and walk around. Lucky charm or not, where the hell am I going to park a camper in the oldest city in America? I wouldn’t let her get out of the car, but we did discover that Anastasia State Park is right in St. Augustine, so we already have another adventure in the wings.
St. Augustine also has an alligator farm in which you can zipline over alligators. Just so you know.
Stay tuned! Tomorrow I’ll share my Blue Spring adventures. Whitney and I will be in a canoe all day. We know where a Sandhill Crane nest is. And maybe we will get up close to a manatee or two.