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Still Coughing at St. George Island

Wednesday March 1 to Tuesday March 7, 2017                                      Most Recent Posts:
St. George Island State Park                                            An Unexpected Extended Stay at Gracious Rainbow Springs
St. George Island Florida                                                                            Finishing Off Disney





Moving to St. George (1)

Our prolonged stay at Rainbow Springs State Park included canceling our plan to stay 5 days near St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge and the first 3 days of our two week reservation at St. George State Park.  We were simply too sick to move.

Luckily David was well enough to do the 229 mile long drive that not being able to keep those reservations mid way at St. Mark’s reservations required.


Moving to St. George (5)

After what seemed like forever driving on two lane highways through little towns like Perry and Sopchoppy, we finally rounded the bend on Florida Route 98 and were traveling along the gulf wondering how these houses on this tiny strip of land between the water and the road survive high winds let alone the hurricanes that have hit these shores.   At points it appears that there is no land between the road and the gulf. 



The 28 mile long St. George Island is located off the north Florida Coast 10 miles from the sweet town of Apalachicola.  The impressive 4 mile bridge was built in 2002 to replace two bridges deemed unsafe.  It’s always exciting to reach this point in the drive and know we will soon be on the island.

Moving to St. George (18)


There are several stop signs on the island’s main road but no traffic lights.  The speed limit is 25 and 35 miles an hour so it takes a bit of time to drive 8 miles from the lighthouse to the state park entrance and the 4 additional miles to the campground.

Moving to St. George (26)


When you are on St. George you are away from “goods and services”.  There is no grocery store and one gas station.  No high rises and miles of beautiful beach.  The beach is, however, lined with cottages from one end of the island to the state park entrance.  The park entrance is on the east end of the island.  The west end of the island is known as the St George Plantation. Its over 1,200 acres with 24/7 security and accessible only to owners and their rental designees. It is quite a bit wider than the park’s eastern 2023 acre portion of the island although the widest point on the island is less than two miles.


Moving to St. George (28)



Moving to St. George (30)




The campground is one large oval loop with two bathhouses and a cut through.  There are 60 sites which can take rigs from 26’ to 43’.   There is no laundry but the water and electric at the sites are excellent and we were able to have good verizon service both data and phone.  We checked the TV stations one night and could pull in several including PBS.  I was actually quite surprised at all of this on a barrier island not near any big city.  Tallahassee is 90 miles away.  Lest this seem too much like paradise, I must also say that unlike our previous months in Florida we have found mosquitoes here.  They are mostly out in the late afternoon but I was unable to do any hiking on this stay here so I can’t say that for sure.






David has mostly recovered.  I’m still coughing, still too tired to do much.  It has been windy and chilly during our first week here so my being incapacitated hasn’t been the only thing to keep us from days on the beach, kayaking, and biking.  It’s just too windy.



I have managed on some days to walk down to the windy gulf shore and back.  It’s a lovely walk of about a half mile round trip which with this crud still owning my body seems as much as I can do.

Luckily our site is one of the closest to the water and the walk takes me down the campground road and past two ponds which always seem to have a gathering of Great Blue Herons.  One day there were 4.  On another day a beautiful blue winged teal in breeding plumage flew in and skidded to a stop on the water as I was watching while taking a break to get my breath.




How many Great Blue Herons do you see?



It’s possible they are pairs.  I saw a pair on the other pond flying in with nesting materials.





In all the days of our stay here I only saw the teal once.



The walk over the dunes to the beach has a wonderful sand mat all the way.  I think it aids in keeping people off the vegetation Mother Nature intends to hold the dunes in place.


St. George Island State Park is 9 miles of undeveloped beaches and dunes, surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and St George Sound, part of the Apalachicola Bay.

The dunes here in the park are some of the most natural you will see anywhere.  It is wonderful to see the beach in such a pristine condition without having been bent and flattened to the will of man. 






The pristine beach is gorgeous even if it is too cold and windy to pull up a chair and get out a book.








How often do you see a beach as beautiful as this totally deserted?



Well, deserted except for this willet.



On the way back to Winnona, I again stop at the pond and see a kingfisher zoom across.  I follow him into a pine tree and am able to get what are for me, a rare shots.





Same bird, different hairdo.


Back at the rig, I am tired and decide to sit out in my anti-gravity chair.  When I open the door to go out, I’m greeted by a red bellied woodpecker in the gravel.  I grab my camera.  He’s still there.





But when I come out, he flies up on a nearby pie tree and gives me a look.



I see lots of interesting things between reading and napping including a neighbor taking her “children” for a walk.  That’s a dog in the carriage and a cockatoo in the cage.  You see all kinds of things in Florida State Parks.



On my walk to the beach the next day there is what I suppose is a juvenile Double Crested Cormorant on the bank and in the water.  Like the teal, I only saw him this one time.  I guess he was a drop in.




Down by the shore,  it’s still too windy and chilly for staying but I decide I’ll put a foot in to see how cold the water is.  The water is warmer than the air.  Wish it would warm up just a bit, I could go swimming in this water.   David is with me of course, he takes these pictures.






On another day I walk the other direction toward the end of the campground where between site 28 and the playground is the path to the little Interpretive Center.  It’s much less windy in the wooded campground and thus warmer.




I’m not sure what they actually use this building for.  Perhaps they have more activities in the summer when I’m sure this entire island is really hoppin’.   But they do have a small lending library on a two self bookcase on the wall.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading while I’m unable to do much else so I check out what’s on the shelves.  Mostly thrillers and chic lit.  I pick up a couple of “read em’ in one day” titles to try out.



Behind the center the path goes on to a beach on the sound side of the island.  At some points on the park road you can see both the gulf and the sound they are so close to each other.

The park occupies 2,023 acres at the end of a long, narrow barrier island, and is a combination of sandy coves, salt marshes, shady pines, and oak forests.  The park has trails through each of these habitats.  They can all be reached from the campground just behind the playground.  David walks several of them over the week but I just don’t have the energy.




This is an absolutely beautiful spot and has a nice bench and a picnic table but is also prone to mosquitoes when the weather is warm.  No problem today, too much wind.







From the pine trees, I’m serenaded by this lovely Pine Warbler.




Over the days, the  winds continue and so do the waves at the beach.  It looks more like the Atlantic than the Gulf of Mexico.  They are great to watch but it’s too windy and chilly to stay long.






The skies are blue and the dunes are beautiful.



One evening we walk down behind the Interpretive Center to the Sound for the sunset.  Unlike during the day, we can’t stay long as the mosquitoes are having us for dinner.






I’ve had a low grade fever with this cough and fatigue.  Only in the 99’s but yesterday and today my temperature has been normal.  Hope that means there will be a change in the other symptoms as well.  Today  I walk down to the water.  Still impressive wind and waves. 



Some mighty big footprints in the sand.


Yesterday when I walked down, I lay down in the hard sand near the dunes to rest.  I put my hands under my head to keep the sand out of my hair and actually took a little nap.  Today I come prepared with my beach towel.    Nice view.




David is slower about his morning but he eventually finds me here watching the Great Blue Heron and offers to go back for the chairs if I think I’d like to stay.  You can tell from my short sleeves that it’s warmer today.





We spend a few hours in the sun which keeps us warm enough in spite of the wind which is still whipping up the waves.






Not sure if this is the same pair from the ponds but they’ve been here every time I’ve come down to the water.





When the sun goes behind the clouds it becomes too cool and we head back.  On our way, I spot a cattle egret at pond #2..  Like the teal and the cormorant, it is the only time I see him here.




Can you see his blonde forehead patch?



We’ve been told by two people that they’ve seen an alligator in Pond #1.  We look every time we walk by but so far he’s eluded us.




When we get back to Winnona, the red bellied woodpeck is in the pine tree next to the rig again.  Nearby is a mockingbird just singing his heart out.  We have a resident Eastern Towhee as well but I haven’t been able to get pictures of him as he is always flitting around in the leaf litter under the trees.   I really do love having these woodland birds in my backyard.






Even though the sunrise is at a very easy 7am these days, I have not been out once to see it. My illness is causing me to sleep 12 hours at a time followed by mostly lying around all day. But we walk down to the sound to catch the sunset once again and find that the mosquitoes are apparently a permanent fixture in this place at this time.  We take a couple of pictures but can not stay for the final set and what may well be beautiful after color.  Really too bad, the sky was lovely.  As we were walking away up the path and looked back, we could see that the sun had run into a bank of black clouds and disappeared so there probably wasn’t really a visible “set”.




That’s it for our first week at St. George Island.  There is so much more to do here than I am able to do but it’s a wonderful place just to relax.   I’ve had this cough now for 15 days.  I still have the fatigue but the fever seems to have gone. 

Pretty sure this is a virus.  Others who have had similar things have told me it has taken up to a month to be free of it so I haven’t made the monumental effort of seeking out a doctor on the road.  Full timers know how difficult that can be.

If you’ve had this crud, tell me your story and how long it lasted and anything that helped it move on its way. The coughing and the lethargy are really getting me down.

Luckily David is feeling well after being home from the hospital for 11 days now so he plans to drive to Tallahassee tomorrow for his infusion at the Florida Cancer Specialists.


  1. You are getting closer to us. If you keep heading west on 98 you will soon be in our home turf:) When you get to Destin, Henderson State Park is very nice.

  2. Oh, Sherry, I am so sorry you are still sick. I only have occasional coughing spells now, so mine was nothing like yours. I have heard from some friends that a month is typical which is crazy.

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures anyway. I love the birds. A friend has a condo in West Palm Beach and she says there are no small birds in her area. It seems odd, but she has never seen a small bird when she's there. I know that they are there based on your pictures! Hang in.

  3. I'm sorry to hear that your illness has hung on that long. With the fever gone you will probably spring back quickly. Let's hope so.

  4. You sure saw a lot more birds in the ponds than I did, and got great pictures of them too! Excellent description of the park and the wonderful beaches. Great place to rest and recover. Hope you will be over this crud soon! ;)

  5. Sobchoppy As always, your birds are wonderful. At least the wind is keeping the pesky bugs away most of the time. That final photo is incredible. So far we've dodged the virus but when I've had a cough in the past, Vicks on the bottom of my feet covered by warm socks all night has been a huge relief.

    1. That Sobchoppy was supposed to have a Hahahaha after it :-))

  6. I hope you will be able to enjoy some activities on the island. I had a skeeter in my RV the other day, don't like those buggers.

    My granddaughter had a cough for over a month and after several Dr. visits it has been determined to be allergies.

  7. I am so sorry you are still under the weather. Sending good wishes for a full recovery soon. Glad David is better!!
    You sure know your birds!!! We love birding but I'm not as good at identifying them as you are. Great pics!! Love the area...going to put it on our "to visit" list.

  8. So sorry to hear that you're still suffering the effects of that virus. :-(( Seems like you're doing the right thing, resting as much as possible. Love seeing your photos of St. George—if all had gone according to plan, we would be there now. I could bring you soup. :-) Wonderful, wonderful photo of the two Great Blue Herons on the beach.

  9. Great wildlife pics. Enjoyed them.

  10. My great hope is that by now, you have turned the corner on this virus and are beginning to get better. But be patient with the recovery...you will need time to get your strength and energy back. What a beautiful place to just rest. Love all the bird photos... particularly the Kingfisher, so hard to get them to sit still;o)) The wind is blowing so hard here at Fort Clinch that Cumberland Sound looks like the ocean during a hurricane:o(( But, it is keeping the mosquitoes away!!!

  11. Could it have been a Neotropic Cormorant? Smaller than a Double-Crested?

  12. I'm sorry to hear you are still fighting the bug, but I'm glad at least David has kicked it. We both got it and it was probably three weeks or so, although I still cough on occasion but not as violently as I did. I didn't feel all that bad, but the coughing was so severe that it hurt my muscles in my chest and rib area. I took echinacea sporadically, but finally hit it hard the last few days and it finally went away. Feel better.

  13. It seems like an idyllic, quiet place to be spending time in.

  14. You are in our favorite area of Florida. If you haven't visited St Joseph State Park on Cape San Blas, it would be a nice day trip. It's about an hour from St George.

  15. I have no idea how long the creeping crud you have takes to go away. Despite feeling lousy, you still made the most of a bad situation. Hope it finally leaves you alone, there are more beaches and rivers to explore.

  16. Hope by now you are feeling better. While Dave and I have avoided getting the creeping crud my girlfriend got it. Took a month for her to get rid of it, she pretty much stayed holed up in her rv.

  17. What a great beach! I hope that the wind and mosquitos go away so that you can enjoy it. Sorry you still feel blah. You got some great bird pictures. I love the close up of the heron's head. The warbler is pretty but my favorite is the woodpecker on the tree. He looks like he could be saying, "Hey! Did I tell you you could take my picture???" We were supposed to get 3-8 inches of snow and it turned out to be a disappointing dusting instead. I was looking forward to real snow. Hope you feel better each day- spring is coming! xxxooo

  18. I hope you are feeling all better by this time. The crud has made the rounds of the KOA here, but so far (fingers crossed) we haven't gotten it. Sanitizing all the phones in the office :) Love the birds there and sunsets..keep them coming!

  19. I bet our paths crossed at St. George. Site 66 -We were camped there on the 10th and 11th. Mosquitos and no-see-ums were plentiful so we were glad to head back to Sarasota.

  20. You are not alone in the coughing section. Its been two weeks for me and like you had been sidelined from all the hiking in Tucson and it is getting hotter each day. I can relate my diaphrapm is sore from all the coughing.
    St George is on my list for next year should we ever be in Florida for the winter. But the mosquitoes and the wind at this time of the year is a bit concerning. But I appreciate all the details and looking forward to what else you have been up to there.

  21. Hope this finds you much better. I can't remember for sure but I think we were on St George in May. In the trees by the pond on the left as you go into the campground
    were 3 or 4 Great Blue pairs nesting. On my it was awesome site! We do love St George.
    We usually visit in October with no mosquitoes. We also enjoy the bake oysters at the Blue Parrot in the island. Safe travels.

  22. That virus sounds like a doozy. Sleeping 12 hours for you sounds highly unusual!! Lovely beach. Beautiful bird pictures!!


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