Today we have a 246 mile drive between Koreshan State Park near the Gulf of Mexico and Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area on the Atlantic Coast. We don’t do those sorts of drives unless we have absolutely no alternative so we’ll do half of it today and half tomorrow.
We’re driving through Central Florida on state routes. We see a lot of flat land with cows and some with orange trees. We go through a lot of little towns. It’s an OK drive but the best part is when I look ahead and see Elsie traveling down the highway in front of us.
If any of you grew up in the midwest you may have had Bordon’s Milk delivered to your door. Elsie was their mascot/logo. I haven’t seen her in years and it just made me laugh to see her following an orange truck through the town of Bartow Florida on this sunny March afternoon.
Did any of you have Elsie’s Bordon’s milk in the brown milk bottle??
Bottle picture courtesy of the internet. I guess that is Gail Bordon’s silhouette on the front.
We are headed for a Passport America Park to spend the night. I have some reservations about this when the directions tell me to turn right onto Bomber Road and then make a left onto South Rifle Range Road. What have I gotten us into here?
All turns out well at Lakeshore Palms Travel Park. As are many passport parks, this one has some age on it and is mostly snowbirds and permanent residents nestled in Florida’s lakes region by a very tiny lake. The man in the office is very nice and gives us a spot to put the dolly, a spot to put the car and our choice of 3 sites including one on the lake. Now that sounds wonderful but after looking it over, we decide that it isn’t worth the trouble it would be to get into it and level up just for one night. So we take the easiest spot, right in front of the office, $16.50 for full hook ups.
The jacks – even the disagreeable one - go down fine. Whether it will come back up is of course one of those “Who knows” things. We’ll find out tomorrow. Although I’m not much for surprises in the morning.
Once we are level and have water and electricity, we set out to walk around our new neighborhood.
I get a big kick out of this “play pen” type set up obviously for two dogs who have their own lounge chairs under the protection of the 5th wheel. We never did see the pampered pets but they must be fairly small judging by their beach chairs.
There is a dock if you’d like to do some fishing or launch for a trip around the edge of the lake.
The lake front site is still empty so we sit there and wait for the sun to set.
The site is sloped so backing in would have been a problem and this would have been our front view.
Here’s another view of what’s under the fifth wheel tongue.
As we sit, the sun on the grasses creates a wonderful backdrop for this moorhen. I think they may be calling them Common Gallinules now.
Coots are here eating whatever that is floating on top of the water. Sure doesn’t look yummy to me.
We can’t actually see the sun set since it is too far over to our right but we can see the colors in the sky and reflected in the water.
Time to call it a night. We have another 125 miles through central Florida again tomorrow.
Actually today’s drive was more on I-4 through Orlando – YUCK and then up I-95 which was a piece of cake compared to I-4 where all around the Disney World exits traffic was completely stopped or moving at 20 mph.
Finally we get off I-95 onto Florida route 100 and travel up and over the bridge above the Intercoastal Waterway and down into Flagler Beach where the road would drop you right into the Atlantic if you didn’t turn left or right on Highway A1A.
I’m thrilled to see my favorite body of water again with its real waves. This feels like the first time I have been near the Atlantic this year in spite of spending two months in the Keys. The Atlantic there isn’t the one I know.
Flagler Beach is a cute little beach town that hasn’t gotten overly commercialized. It’s one of my favorite places in Florida.
And then we see this. We had noticed a lot of motorcycles on I-4 but I hadn’t thought anything about it. It’s Saturday after all. But when we see this at several of the restaurant/bars on A1A going out of town, it dawns on me that it must be Daytona Bike Week and we are only about 40 miles north. The noise is music to a motorcyclists ears and painful to mine.
Serious note to self, PAY ATTENTION when booking in March. Stay away from the coast – bikers and spring breakers. Just stay away form the central Florida Coast and 50 miles inland.
A1A is a lovely highway in this area as it travels right along the waterfront.
We arrive at the park and after dropping off the dolly – some confusion there among the troops who don’t know as much about this as we do having been here multiple times – but it gets done and here we are in one of our favorite sites.
We’re right next to the walkway and here is where it leads.
A sight for longing eyes for sure. On the beach, the waves drown out the motorcycles – nearly.
Looking south, the beach is almost empty.
Same when I look North.
And there’s Winnona looking out to sea.
On my way back, I take a picture through the front window. The gang smiles back at me.
Here’s their view from inside and of course ours too. Can’t wait to get out on that beach.
Most of our first full day at Gamble Rogers we spend by the water. First there is Sunrise right outside my door. I go out at dawn to wait for the sunrise.
Pelicans are flying so close to the waves I don’t see how they don’t pulled right in.
The early morning shore patrol is busy scurring up and down.
Waves are rolling onto shore as the colors deepen in the clouds at the horizon.
The clouds at the horizon gather and when I zoom in they look like mountains the sun is rising behind.
And there it is peeking above the clouds. Looks like it is rising in a valley between two mountain ranges.
I return to Winnona where I discover the gang and David have a front row sunrise seat.
Here’s some more about the park. Gamble Rogers has two campgrounds, one on the Riverside and one here on the Ocean side. There are a total of 68 sites split evenly between the two. The riverside campground is across A1A from the Ocean side. It is tucked back in and it’s much quieter there without the traffic of A1A zooming right by the back of your rig as it does on the Ocean side. This week that would be a serious blessing with the Beach Week Motorcycles constantly zooming by at decibels I don’t care to think about. I estimate 97.8% of them are Harleys.
Each campground has water and electricity and a dump station. Each has a bathroom with showers and a laundry facility $1.50 to wash and to dry. On the ocean side there are two washers and one dryer. I haven’t checked the riverside but it is a much newer campground so there may be more machines.
There is a day use area on the ocean side and 4 walkways down to the ocean. Three are in the campground. The nature trail and the canoe/kayak put ins are on the river side as is the check in ranger station and the canoe and bike rentals.
Later in the morning we head down to the beach for a walk. Winnona looks quite settled in her new home. Of course she’s been here before so she knows the ropes.
It’s very windy today so few people are out and most are dressed as we are in long sleeves and long pants.
Looking South you can see the Flagler Beach Water Tower standing up in the sky.
There is quite a gathering of terns and gulls with heads tucked in their wings or standing stoicallly into the wind as comes from the north east.
I think that’s a juvenile Forester’s Tern in the back but for sure that’s a Ring Billed Gull in front.
The royal tern in the front with the orange bill always reminds me of Groucho Marx. Behind him is the black head of the laughing gull.
And then there are these two birds.
We are walking North and come to the only commercial building on the east side of A1A past the pier in th town of Flagler Beach. It is a restaurant/bar called High Tides at Snack Jack run by two women. This week motorcycles line the entire front of the building. We like this sign on the side.
These folks must be Canadian by the way they are dressed. Even they have their umbrella helping to block the wind.
We come upon a woman with a darling energetic chocolate spaniel of some sort I think.. Help me out here Pam V. She is trying to hold the rambunctious young dog and put up this wind shelter at the same time. It’s not working out for her and it’s clear it never will without some help..
I walk up and ask if I could hold her dog and suggest David help her set it up. They fight the wind for quite some time but eventually she and her cute doggie are inside and we continue on our way.
Time to take a chance, wind or not, and get my feet in the water which turns out to be surprising warm.
There are not many shells on the beach but I do find this piece of Coquina. This section of the Atlantic Coast is fairly well known for having this sedementary rock made up of shells and invertibrates. It was been used as building building stone in Florida for over 400 and forms the walls of St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos. I think it is lovely there in the sand and in the water.
After watching me walk in the water and say how warm it is, David gives it a try.
When I am taking pictures of him getting his feet wet I notice behind him an osprey dives into the water and out he comes with a fish. He’s too far away for me to get him at all until he comes up out of the water.
But then he flies by right in front of us. Wow!
Then another one.
Their holds on the fish seem slightly different between the two birds.
After the beach walk, which nets us 10,000 steps, we have lunch and spend the afternoon in sun. It’s just too windy to be on the beach but it’s really fine right here.
After dinner we bike over to the Riverside to catch the sunset over the boat basin.
I’m lucky enough to catch this group of pelicans flying through the orange skies. Wonder if the ones flying low in the waves at sunrise are from the same group.
Great way to end a wonderful day at the beach.