Thursday, January 23, 2020

1/20 - Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, Daytona Beach, FL

Today was such a nice day I would head north, past Daytona Beach, to the Ponce Inlet lighthouse.  I have been here before, but it has been about five years, so time to go back and enjoy the day.  It's only about 30 miles away, but the shortest route is through Daytona Beach, so it takes about an hour to get there.  

The road along the ocean is pretty scenic at first. 

But then you hit the city, and things slow down. 

Glad I am not staying along this area in one of these high-rise hotels.  

And here it is--the third tallest lighthouse in the United States!  

After wandering around the gift shop, I head to the lighthouse for the climb up 203 steps. I have climbed the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, which is 20 feet taller, so this one should not be too bad.

Makes me dizzy just looking up. 

I like that they wait until you are halfway up to tell you about the keeper who died climbing the stairs!!

One stop before the top is the service room. 

It was a beautiful day--at least at ground level.  The nice breeze at the bottom turned out to be about 65 MPH wind at the top, which kept blowing off people's hats and glasses.  I took off my glasses and put them in my pocket!  

But what a view!! 

Looking down at the lighthouse service buildings and the several homes of the keepers. 

 Looking southeast at the inlet and Atlantic Ocean.

This is the parking lot behind the lighthouse where I am parked.  You can see my motorhome sticking out in the middle.  Mostly, however, this lot is really intended for boaters.

Looking up at the light.  Unlike a lot of retired lighthouses, this one still has a functioning lens, although it is powered by electricity instead of kerosene as it was originally.  

And looking down at the bottom of the stairs. 

I've been to several lighthouses throughout the U.S. but this is the only one that has a lens museum. 

There are two big Fresnel lenses in this building.  The smaller of the two is the original lens from the Ponce lighthouse.  There is another original lens currently in the lighthouse, but it was not possible to take a photo.  

The original Ponce lens is the smaller one to the right.  The really big one to the left came from the lighthouse at Cape Canaveral.  It is huge and there is a door at the bottom where the lighthouse keepers could go inside to clean the lens.

Some of the other lenses on display.

And another view of the Cape Canaveral lens.

This photo may seem out of place, and it is, but it has some relevance because it is the hotel I stayed at with four college roommates and my cousin way back in 1964!!  It has been added onto, but it is still the same place, with a yellow paint job instead of the original green color.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

1/15 Flagler Beach, FL

I really like this small town on the Atlantic Ocean.  When they built the A!A highway along Florida's Atlantic coast, they put it very close to the ocean--close enough that you cannot build anything on the side of the road near the water. This has resulted in a terrific view as you drive along the highway, and it also means there are none of the high-rise hotels and condos that are common in the rest of Florida.  It also means that "downtown" Flagler Beach is right on the ocean!  

This view is looking south, but Flagler Beach is the other direction. 

It is only 3 miles from Gamble Rogers SP to the town of Flagler Beach, so it is an easy bike ride.  However, there is no shoulder along the highway, so I have to ride on the sidewalk.   

Once I get about a mile down, I can cut into the back roads and ride to town just a block from the ocean, but out of the strong wind and off the bumpy sidewalk.

I wonder why a town that has so many hurricanes still has overhead electrical lines.  Wouldn't it make more sense to bury them??

Just at the Highway 100 bridge that crosses the inland waterway to the mainland, there is this small park area where you can launch a boat or picnic. 

A lot of nice-looking homes along the inland waterway.  

I rode through town and past the busiest areas.  This photo shows me heading back towards the main area where the pier is located. 

You are not allowed to walk on the area between the roadway and the beach because it acts as a hurricane barrier so you see a lot of little stairways. 

I took most of these photos on a very busy Sunday, so lots of traffic in town at the only major intersection. 

This is the park in the center of town where they used to have a very popular farmer's market.  Apparently, the town council raised the rates to farmers so high, almost all stopped coming so the market is now dead.  What a shame!  

Heading back home to the campground. 

One "improvement" to the town is this center strip along the highway south of town.  I was told it was built to control flooding from heavy rainfalls that in the past has caused traffic problems.  The center contains a drain and grates to control the flooding.  It is NOT fun to drive my motorhome along this section!!  And of course, with no shoulder, I am back to riding on the bumpy sidewalk and irritating walkers along the way.

Whew!  Glad the construction is not in this section.
 Unfortunately, my camera battery went dead, so no more photos this day.

Friday, January 17, 2020

1/14 Gamble Rogers State Park, Flagler Beach, FL

I've been very lazy about posting for several reasons.  First, around the holidays, I spent time with an elderly aunt and uncle in memory care in Florida and then flew to Ohio and to California to visit my sons and their families, including my grandchildren.  I don't post things about family, so that was ten days I was off-line, so to speak.

For the last ten days, I have been at this state park, north of Daytona Beach and south of Flagler Beach, Florida.  The weather has been perfect, and I have been busy catching up on organizing, getting my financials in shape, and overall, just doing minor maintenance and cleaning of my motorhome.  The new semester has also started, so that has kept me busy.

On a positive note, I have a terrific campsite with an excellent view of the Atlantic Ocean, so I can sit and do work while watching the ocean.  I've taken a couple of beach walks and ridden my bike into and around Flagler Beach, which has also been nice.

I'm going to break the photos I have taken over the past week or so into two postings:  the first is the campground and the second is on Flagler Beach.  Gamble Rogers State Park is one of only two oceanfront state parks in Florida, so it is very difficult to get a site here.  It is also a small campground and only half of the sites are large enough for an RV 30' long or longer. I tried for several days when reservations opened up on a rolling basis before I got a site, but the effort was worth it. 

The campground is older and somewhat cramped.  It also has a major highway running right next to it, plus sites and the roadway are just sand.  However, as they say, it is location, location, location.  


This is my oceanfront camping site:  Most of the sites have so much greenery between them and the beach that you cannot see much.  Four of them, like this one, have good views. 

The beach is accessed by a boardwalk and ramps so as to protect the narrow dune area. 

Ocean was relatively calm this day, so lots of people on the beach. 

I think this is a willet. 

Something on my lens. Need to clean it more often, but you can see here how steep this beach is. 

Part of a large flock of brown pelicans flying by.  I love the way they glide.

This is a sanderling.

The perfect hole in this and many other shells is made by a shark eye, a predatory sea snail that eats bivalves.  It kills them by drilling a hole into the part of the shell where the muscle holds the two parts together.  Then it sticks its mouth part into the shell and eats it. 

Fishing boat in the distance.  Nets are lowered and raised by the large arms on either side of the boat. 

This is a piping plover, identified by the dark "necklace" it seems to be wearing.

And this creature is a surfer, except it was not very successful because the waves were small on this day.
I did not see any of these this day.