Saturday, March 30, 2013

3/29 Orlando Bill Frederick Park

This is a nice, little city park with an RV campground, with full or partial hookups.  I am here for a few days while I visit Universal Studios.  Believe it or not, this campground is within the city limits of Orlando and only three miles from Universal Studios and possibly five miles from DisneyWorld.

Took a walk to the lake and took some pictures of the lake and picnic shelters.

It surprises me that city and even county parks have RV campgrounds.  I stayed in a county-owned park a few weeks ago in Palm Beach County, and some of my favorite campsites are in the Maricopa County Regional Parks around Phoenix. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

3/25 More Fernandina Beach Photos

Was sitting in my recliner at dusk one day, when a pair of deer walked by in the dunes just in front of me.  I was able to get a couple of photos, and this was the best.

And here is what she was looking at:
This was a naval supply ship of some sort from the nearby submarine base. There are a lot of ships coming and going into this deep-water port, including submarines, but I did not see any of these.  Here are a couple more ships I was able to take photos of.  One is another naval supply ship and the other some sort of container ship.

I drove into the town of Fernandina Beach today to walk around and take a trolly tour.  Here is the little town that is mostly filled with tourist things.

It has a nice little port area:

And some of the local residents:

I'm off for Orlando in a couple of days.  Need to do my last load of laundry and some house cleaning, plus get my grades in for the semester.  I really hate to leave this beach area, but at least after Orlando, I'll be headed north along the Atlantic coast, so will see more beach on the way.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

3/21 Fernandina Beach Pier

This is a really long pier--2,400 feet long.  It is narrow and was built right next to the breakwall that protects the south side of Cumberland Sound.  The breakwall goes out easily another 2,400 feet, but is not very high. 

Lots of birds sitting on the portions of the breakwall all along the length of the pier and on the beach alongside it.  These are cormorants and pelicans.
And here is what it looks like facing the beach.  The beach campground is just north of this pier, but hard to see.

I will have to come back another day and explore the beach and flocks of birds that hang around.  I talked to a handful of people fishing and apparently all they were catching were small sharks which they had to throw back in.

3/19 Fort Clinch

This fort was built for the seminole wars and construction continued right up until the Civil War.  The Union soldiers did not consider it a high priority fort, so they left.  Then the Confederate soldiers took up residence for a few years, but left when it was clear the Union soldiers were returning because the war was ending.  It was still unfinished and had only a few of the guns it had been promised.  Part of the fort were supposed to be three stories tall, and that was never finished either.

The day I was there, there was no admission charge because the Ritz Carlton Hotel was setting up for some big event.  There were rental trucks outside unloading tables, chairs, and other catering equipment.
The fun part was watching the pickup truck hauling a trailer full of equipment that was having trouble making it through the long, narrow entrance.  Ever back up a trailer when you have only 5 inches on each side and you are in a tunnel?

I gave up and went for a walk around the fort.  Nice, pleasant place for a fort. At least here, becasue of the constant wind, there would be no mosquitos as there would have been in most places in Florida during the summer.

By the time I got back, they had somehow made it. Here is what the inside looked like, partially set up.

And some of the guns from the battlements:

Some of the soldiers quarters were open.

FYI: Forts stay in pretty good condition when there are never any shots fired against them and the only times the cannon were fired was in practice!  Even the federal government gave up on this fort and sold it after WWII.  Soon after, the state bought it from the buyer and turned it into a state park.  It has been maintained as it was in 1864. 

I will probably go back here later in the week when there is not so much commotion and the fort is not full of tents! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

3/18 Fernandina Beach

This is a very small campground nestled in the sand dunes along Fernandina Beach in northern Florida on Amelia Island.  I was going to back into my site, but then decided that I would rather look at the dunes than the restroom, so I turned around and hooked up facing the scrub and dunes.

The best part is that there are no motorcycles here and we are almost two miles from any roads!  Just to our north is Cumberland Sound, which is a major shipping channel inland.  There are long breakwalls on either side of this channel.  To the south of the campground, is the southern breakwall and pier.

About 300 feet from the campground over a wooden boardwalk is the Florida edge of Cumberland Sound to the left and the pier and the Atlantic to the right, maybe 600 feet.  The beach is beautiful, especially at low tide, and very deserted. 

Here are some photos from my first beachwalk. The first one faces toward the sound and Georgia.  The second shows the pier in the distance.  Nothing like having such a beautiful beach to yourself!  Love it.

Tomorrow I will ride my bike to the civil war fort in the park, but one of these days I will take a very long walk towards the pier and the homes beyond. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

3/16 More Flowers and Birds

Here are three dune/beach flowers and one I cannot identify.  The first is called coral bean.
The next one is called indian blanket:

And I believe this is a primrose:

I have no idea what this one is. The plant is maybe 4" tall with tiny white flowers:

And here is a small flock of beach birds.  It is funny that you almost always see these three kinds in a mixed flock.

And I do love these willets.  They seem to be very solitary birds:

3/15 Flagler Beach Town & Pier

I rode my bike the two miles down AIA to the small town of Flagler Beach.  I discovered that it was not as windy if I went inland a couple of streets and rode down the residential area. 

I had wanted for some time to walk our on the pier, so I did.  Nice day with a lot of fishermen.

The really nice thing about this little town, other than it not having any huge hotels or high-rise condos, is the Friday and Saturday Farmer's market.  You have to get here before noon, however, as they start closing up shop soon afterwards.  A lot of stuff gets sold out, anyway, after then.

Nice ride along the ocean to home because the wind was now at my back!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

3/11 Little Bird Video

 I am going to try to post a video I took of some little birds in the surf. What I liked about these four were how they did everything together and how fast their little legs moved!

Monday, March 11, 2013

3/10 Washington Oaks State Park

Drove down about 20 miles north of my campground just to explore and bumped into this state park.  It was the home of a wealthy couple who build a small vacation home here in the 30s along the inland waterway and built up beautiful gardens.  It was left to the State of Florida and has been maintained as it was then, as part of the bequest.  Beautiful place.

This first photo shows the original Highway A1A.  Love those live oaks!  Their branches are so spreading and they look gorgeous hung with air plants and Spanish moss.

The rose garden is not quite yet in bloom.

And here, along what was originally the home's dock area, and what is now a fishing area for the public, was a great blue heron doing what fishing birds do here in Florida--waiting patiently in the right place for a handout.

I then drove back across the main highway to the area of the state park that was along the ocean.  Neat rocks to crawl on while the surf pounded them.

 And finally, here is me:

All in all, it was a great day.  Temps were up to 73, it was sunny, and the winds were bracing and fresh!  Can't beat that for early March, even in Florida.