A Travellerspoint blog

Days 19, 20 - Savannah to Key Largo

California Oranges in Florida grocery stores, Highway 27 down the center of Florida

sunny 74 °F

We arrived in Key Largo, Florida about 6:30pm, after an all day drive from Ocala. In total we covered 595 miles in 2 days. The driving was all done on secondary highways and it was a very pleasant, although long, drive.

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We stopped for lunch at Belle Glade, Florida and were gob-smacked to discover in the local grocery store...California Oranges. We had just driven through 150 miles of orange groves, but they needed to bring oranges all the way from California...go figure!

After 18 straight mornings of waking up cold and having coffee inside the boler, with the heater on, this morning we are outside, in tropical temperatures. It is a balmy 72 degrees here in Key Largo, and the humidity is high. So far there are no bugs. Our campsite at the Key Largo Kampground:

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While on the road we saw this oddity:

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This is a 1992 Airstream motorhome. They only made them for a few years. The owner said he was very pleased to own such a vehicle and that it was a pleasure to travel in. Our friends Gorge and Kartmen will like this.

Today we begin our 7 nights of camping at Bahai Honda State Park, just 37 miles from Key West and the end of the 125 mile long Keys highway. We had to book this campground 11 months ago and it was the basis for the starting day of our trip. It has been snowing and a generally unpleasant back home in Nova Scotia and we are glad to be on the road. Happy Easter, y'all!

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 05:32 Comments (3)

Day 18 - Tybee Island, maintenance day

Things we learned in the first 18 days, Oil Change, Laundry, Neat Lighthouse, Fish Taco,

sunny 81 °F

We had a lighter day planned for today and that is what we had. We had a few chores to take care of in preparation for our jaunt down to the Florida Keys for our March 27 reservation at Bahai Honda State Park. We decided to spend an extra day here to take in some more Georgia sights, than to try to camp along the crowded eastern shore of Florida. We didn't think we could do justice to a short stay in such a busy place...we'll come back some other time.

The other day in Charleston Jenny did a face plant along the sidewalk. She banged up her knee and elbow. This morning the bruise showed up on the elbow:

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So today we went to Tybee Island, essentially the beach town for Savannah. They are filming the new 'Baywatch' movie there this week so much of the main beach is closed. Lovely place, lots of summer homes and a spectacular 12 mile long beach. Beautiful, hot sunny day. We toured the lighthouse.

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178 steps to the top where the view was worth the climb:

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Jenny on the way down the stairs:

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Lunch was fish tacos at the restaurant at the beach:

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We stopped at a Jiffy Lube for an oil change on the Torrent on the way back to the campground, refilled our propane tank for the Coleman Stove and then did up two loads of laundry at the campground laundry. We are now prepared for the launch south tomorrow. We plan to have a quick stop at the Okeefenokee Swamp, right at the border of Georgia and Florida and then motel it tomorrow night in Ocala Florida.

While we've been travelling the backroads of America to get this far questions have come up:

Some states have purple stripes painted on rural hydro poles and trees along the road. Why? Well, it is a way to post your property "No Hunting" Instead of nailing a sign to a tree, therby ruining it for sale to a lumber mill, you simply paint a 1 foot wide stripe on the trees to tell people to stay out.

School buses here have white roofs. Why? Well, it was found that buses with white roofs are as much as 15 degrees cooler in the hot months and students who are cool are not as difficult to handle.

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Other things: There are lots of advertisements for guns, gun shows and even a shooting range:

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An ad in the Saturday newspaper from Charleston was for a company named Gander Mountain. The first three pages are for handguns, ranging from a low of a Ruger LCP Semi-Auto .380 cal, for $229.99 to a high of a Kimber Custom two-tone .45 cal. for $749.99. A 250 round mega pack of ammunition ranged from $74.99 to $119.99 depending on caliber. We are going to be very nice to people as we travel...just saying! :)

That brings us up to date. There will be no blog entries until we get set up at Bahai Honda State Park in about three days time. Thanks for hanging along with us so far. The best is yet to come!

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 14:42 Comments (0)

Day 17 - Savannah Georgia walk about

Fried Green Tomatoes, Shrimp and Grits, old buildings, many town squares

sunny 78 °F

Savannah, hey, you want to take a tour. They are everywhere. It is very reminiscent of Victoria, my old stomping ground.

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We had decided in advance that we would make up our own walking tour. Jenny researched what we could see in a 5-6 hour walkabout and that is precisely what we did. On a lovely spring day, temperature in the 60's to start but slated to hit the high 70's by afternoon we started our walk. The city has 20 town squares of varying size throughout the core, and over the course of the day we hit 14 of them, pretty good.

Some pretty fantastic fountains in the squares and parks as well:

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The city is very old, but that does not necessarily mean the houses are super attractive. From what we understand, back in the 1950's, most of downtown was in great disrepair and many houses were torn down to make way for new development. Then tourism became a goal and there was considerable support for renovating and renewing many of the remaining houses. The resurrection looks very nice and there is a serious bit of the history of the US here in Savannah.

Some examples of houses:

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We walked through the shopping district which boasts all of the same stores you would find in an boutique type shopping district and through their city market as well. River Street, along the aptly named Savannah River is a lively mix of bars, restaurants and touristy businesses. Jenny bought a new sun hat

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We stopped for lunch and a beer on River Street at Fiddler's Crab House and shared a plate of fried green tomatoes and a plate of the southern favourite of shrimp and grits. Jenny had a wit beer and I had an Amber ale, both locally produced in Atlanta. Following our lunch and a walk along the river shore we climbed back up into the main part of town for the last bit of our walkabout.

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We explored the Colonial Port Cemetery, which boasts the grave of many early American settlers. Well, Jenny explored the cemetery and I made like a dead person on a bench.

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We returned to the car and called it a day. During our walk we used a gps watch which gave our distance traveled at just over 6 miles. We are planning stops for the next phase of our trip. We have a reservation at a Florida State Park in the Keys beginning Sunday and plan to do two motel nights from here to there down the centre of Florida, with stops in Ocala and Belle Glade before making the final jaunt to the Keys.

Tomorrow we will head out to the coast and explore Tybee Island, near Savannah.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 16:25 Comments (1)

Day 16 - Charleston to Savannah, Georgia

Short driving day, pre-tour of Savannah, Dragon's Milk

sunny 68 °F

It was a good short day on the road, just about 3 hours to travel 120 miles farther south into Georgia. We'd found another R/V park just outside Savannah to stop at for another 3 day block of time. Once again the drive was accomplished without the use of the Interstate system. A bit more time consuming but a so much better way to consume time!

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We would normally be staying in State Parks, which have far more natural things to do, like hiking, etc. but we wanted to see a couple of these larger cities with some history on our way south so it seemed more appropriate to use R/V parks, as we will be out touring most of the day. Once we get to the Florida Keys, and for much of the trip after that, we will be doing state parks and forest service parks, as well as doing a lot more hiking. It hasn't helped that it has been cold most evenings, so we need electricity to run our little heater.

Savannah has a great history to explore and we started this afternoon by going to the Visitor Center to get some information and then took a walk around to orient ourselves to the city so tomorrow's grand tour will be easier to get started. This place is full of tour companies that will fullfil your every tour dream for $20+ per person. Our dream to do our own walking tour so Jenny is poring over the maps and guides this evening and we will have our free tour planned for tomorrow.

On our excursion today we did come across the statue of Johnny Mercer, a local songwriter and musician, most famous for the song "Moon River". We took pictures with the famous Mr. Mercer:

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While grocery shopping we did find a favourite beer. New Holland Brewery's 'Dragon's Milk', a porter style beer, 11% alcohol, aged in Bourbon Kegs. A couple of those and we will be off to dreamland. It is actually a wonder that I can compose this blog entry. Good night :)

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 16:19 Comments (1)

Day 15 - Magnolia Plantation and Gardens - Charleston SC

Azaleas, Camelias, and alligators, oh my!

sunny 59 °F

After a cold night in the boler, with the heater on most of the night, we enjoyed a slower start to the day, a couple of coffees to get the blood flowing before heading off to visit one of the oldest plantation properties in South Carolina. The Magnolia Plantation dates back to the 1670's and has been continuously owned by the same family. Their riches stripped by the Civil War they sold 1500 of their original 2000 acres and rebuilt the mansion on the foundation of the one burned at the end of the war. Eventually they opened the house and gardens to the public as a way of maintaining the property.

Fueled by up to 50 slaves, the plantation on the banks of the Ashley River had produced Carolina golden rice for almost 200 years prior to the war. Once slavery was abolished and 3/4 of the property sold off there was little left of a productive farm. But the gardens are spectacular and the lakes and ponds abound with wildlife. Visit per year number in the millions.

Our cost for the visit was $22 per person, but that only included the entrance fee plus a wildlife tour. If you want the full experience, the cost balloons to $47 per person. We started with the wildlife tour.

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Egrets, turtles, alligators, and other bird species too numerous to mention cover the ponds and nest in the trees. The wildlife tour lasts the better part of an hour and gives you a 4 mile long tour of the property. Ours was in the cold morning and while it was great to get an overview, we headed straight for the cafe when it was done to get a coffee to warm up. The cafe was a pleasant surprise. We figured with a captive audience that prices would be through the roof, but it was very reasonable. Lunch can be had for a around $8 a person. We also got to try something a little different...deep fried peanuts. You can eat the shell. A pretty good snack, and much better than our earlier experience with boiled peanuts.

The plantation house is pretty impressive, but we passed on the 30 minute guided tour of the interior, cost $8:

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Instead we walked through the gardens past the slave houses and through the marshes and alongside the ponds and lakes. Jenny took numerous pictures of the camelias, orchids and azaleas in bloom. By the slave houses was a particularly impressive oak tree, covered with Spanish Moss

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After almost 5 hours we were ready to head back to the R/V park. The one we are staying at is pretty good. Oak Plantation Campground is about 7 miles from downtown Charleston and has at least a couple of hundred sites. Cost, with our Sam's Club discount is about $32 a night. We purchased some local shrimp for supper, did our laundry and settled in for the night.

On our way back to the Campground we passed the local Chevrolet dealer...Rick Hendrick...fans of Nascar will recognize the name. There were 7 separate dealerships, all with the same name, right beside each other. Whatever vehicle you want, foreign or domestic, this guy sells them all. This is the US flag on the Chev dealership:

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We are headed south tomorrow, with a 2 or 3 day stop in Georgia planned.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 03:58 Comments (1)

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