March 2004


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Our site at Mayport Naval Station afforded us a great view of the ships entering and leaving the intracoastal waterways.

Some of our recent stops – Jacksonville, FL, where we spent a week at the military campground at Mayport Naval Station.  We couldn’t believe our luck to have gotten a waterfront site, overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.  We watched military and civilian ships cruise by, as well as dolphins playing.  Our neighbor, a retired Navy man, helped educate us on the different vessels that would float by, including a sub and a prototype naval catamaran.  The beach, on the Atlantic side, was within walking distance and allowed dogs, so Shelley got lots of exercise.  Watching the intracoastal traffic was plenty entertaining but we did spend a pleasant afternoon at the Jacksonville Zoo.  One of the highlights was the baby rhinoceros that Mama Rhino allowed us to see.

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The oldest wood school house in the nation at St. Augustine.

We spent a day in St. Augustine, taking a trolley tour to familiarize ourselves with the nearby attractions.  We then headed out on foot and strolled the grounds of Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the oldest masonry fort that ‘was the northernmost outpost of Spain’s vast New World empire.’  Also on our walk was a trip to see a 4-bedroom home carved out of a huge redwood log, lying on its side, found at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.  We toured San Sebastian Winery and learned about Florida wines, enjoying the wine tasting at the end of our ‘lesson.’  And as we headed out of the city, we stopped for a tour and free samples at the Whetstone Chocolate Factory.   Life is rough – wine and chocolate!

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Camped Out in Rincon, Georgia.

Next stop:  Lucille’s sister’s home in Rincon, GA, near Savannah.  Yvette and Pat graciously allowed us to park in their front yard.  We set out our pink flamingos and lawn chairs and looked forward to evening happy hours when they came home from work.  One evening, we enjoyed a low country boil with Pat and his family.  Another evening, Yvette’s church had an Irish potluck dinner.  The highlight of the evening was a performance by a local children’s dance troupe demonstrating several Irish dances.  It was fascinating to watch their feet fly and the concentration on even the youngest ones’ faces.   Yvette took time off to act as personal tour guide, showing us parts of historic downtown Savannah.  She arranged for us to find parking within walking distance of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Savannah.  Interestingly enough, Savannah hosts the nation’s 2nd largest parade – Chicago being the first.  The spectators are as much fun to watch as the parade marchers.   The Savannah River doesn’t run green during that time but all the fountains in the squares do – what a neat sight and a beautiful time to see the city with the trees and shrubs blooming.

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The fountains run green for the nation's 2nd largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in Savannah, Georgia.

While in the area, we visited the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, losing track of all the alligators we spotted.  The museum in historic Ebenezer told the story of the 300 Salzbergers that left Europe because of religious persecution and settled near the banks of the Savannah River.  Brother-in-law Pat is 8th generation from the original settlers and added some personal history.  Springfield has an interesting Old Jail History Museum, with a variety of items on display, general history as well as jail-related items.  Fort Pulaski National Monument, near Tybee Island, was remarkably well preserved.  Union-rifled cannon broke through what was thought to be an impenetrable wall, changing not only defense strategy but also the mindset that the fort was invincible.

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The Army Corps of Engineer Campground on Lake Lanier.

This last week was spent at a Corps of Engineer Campground on Lake Lanier, outside of Atlanta, GA.  We lucked out and got one of the prime spots overlooking the lake, with a view of the water on three sides.  Fellow Escapees and new friends Art and Roxanne shared a campfire and happy hour with us.  The highlight of our visit was seeing our great-nephew, five-week-old Aidan, and his parents Brian and Christy.  We also enjoyed visiting with friends Carol and Steve.  While in the area, we visited Buford Dam, which controls Lake Lanier; Chattahoochee National Recreation Area, comprised of about 14 parks in Atlanta suburbs; the Gold Museum and historic square in Dahlonega, where we learned about the gold rush that preceded California’s.    

We’re now back at our old stomping grounds.  We pulled into the RV park at the Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL on Tuesday, March 30th. While here we’ll be meeting w/our CPA (oh joy!) and taking care of a few medical needs, plus we hope to see all our friends.  Our first day in Huntsville has been cold, damp and rainy – we’re wondering if we should have stayed in Florida a little bit longer!  But it has been beautiful following spring, as the trees are starting to bloom and green out.

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