Hairy Drives and Changing Weather
~Sunday, January 31, 2021
Day 231 (Travel Day)
Saw Larry this morning as I delivered his cookies. We stood outside chatting more about his travels, more about our travels and the experience of being a Boondocker’s Welcome host. After more route consideration, we decided it would be great to circle back to Larry’s after we revisit The Keys which would extend our stay in Florida until the end of February. We’re trying to stay as far south as we can, working around what’s available. So the route may seem a little crazy. If you remember when Florida planning came into our picture, it seemed so far away….too far for making reservations, not knowing exactly how things would end up; which is why we only booked our 2 weeks in Old Town. In hindsight, we never should have stayed there as long as we did even though we saw some amazing places. We didn’t make good use of Florida weather being there and there wasn’t too much to do there. What we’ve come to learn is there definitely are certain spots that you must book a year in advance in the sunshine state. It seems to be the one spot with the most limited amount of space, with everyone clamoring to be here. For instance, right now, if we want to be back in Florida to stay at the ideal state parks like Bahia Honda, we would have to start booking now (most are 11 months out in their bookings). State parks seem to get snatched up the fastest due to their affordable price point and appealing campsites. So even though we say avoir to Larry, we will be back!
Heading for Jacksonville, FL, about 280 miles from Ft. Denaud. We noticed the further north we went, the more overcast and humid it became, even with the windows rolled up. Time for the A/C which I’m sure for most of you reading this, sounds a bit strange based on your weather at the moment. Passing through Orlando and seeing Disneyworld in the distance brought back the wonderful vacation we took with the kids, my mom, and my sister’s family, about 20 years ago. Crazy that it’s been that long. The 40+ miles of driving Highway 27 was brutal (notice Jeff's hair!)
with all the stop lights and highway construction (Jeff was driving), until you finally arrive at Highway 95 where the angels finally sing.
Jacksonville looks like a very nice city of 890,000 people with a ginormous city limit. This may be a possible add on to our moving list so we shall see. Jeff and I have been reading a lot about the real estate market which, according to many economists, is really in for a change. The baby boomers are aging and downsizing, the millennials are late into the market (most living at home longer) and will inherit more than any other generation, and the pandemic has really had adverse affects on government revenue….which in the future, will likely be made up by increasing property taxes and wealth taxes. What’s on our radar the most at the moment…..taxes in general as a deciding factor in where to live. Things are about to get very interesting.
As we arrived to our destination, it was really interesting to be driving through city limits then within minutes arrive suddenly to such a densely forested, tropical setting at Kathryn Abbey Hannah Park. We’ve been on a good roll lately arriving to places before dark. Our campsite is at the far northeast end of the park and there is a decent amount of space between each site, with each location partitioned by dense foliage and an amazing canopy of palms and oaks with drapy moss. As the set up went smoothly, the wind picked up (maybe the awnings came out a little too early), but the weather stayed warm (low 70’s). Sadie couldn’t go without saying “hi” to our young “tent” neighbor from Connecticut, who also had just arrived. We’ve never seen anything quite like this campground before. Stunningly beautiful, if you like the jungle style, this is like an amusement park for campers. It has everything. Multiple access points right out to the Atlantic Ocean (which we checked out in the dark), a lake, a kids splash park, disc golf, fishing, boating, biking, hiking, canoeing and a well appointed camp store. With around 290 sites plus 5 cabins, the place is enormous. We can’t wait to really check it all out tomorrow.
As the night wore on, the weather grew more stormy, and though we thought the storm had passed north of us, at around midnight we got pummeled by wind and rain, prompting us to bring in the awnings. It may not be the pleasant 70 degrees we’ve been used to the past 2 weeks, but we’re kind of diggin’ the change.