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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Lighting the Way

~Tuesday, February 2, 2021~

Day 233

A beautiful, sunny day, but still very chilly. I told Jeff, this campground would be even better if the temps could bump up to the mid 70’s since our setting is “jungle dense”, with no sun hitting our trailer. But then I guess, we might have more mosquitos along with that, right?

Today, we’re taking advantage of our campground location to check out the nation’s oldest Port…..St. Augustine.; another teaser of a stop as we have to move on to our next destination tomorrow. However, we’ve decided to return to St. Augustine in the latter part of February, so they’ll be plenty of time for more sightseeing. We’ve also been in touch with a few real estate agents since we both really like the Jacksonville/St. Augustine areas. Time will tell since there are still so many places to discover. But first, a walk on the beach to check out updates on the grounded sailboat.

The weather is much more favorable today….perfectly clear, not a cloud in the sky, less windy, but still chilly. This cold snap is really something. We’ve overheard many locals saying it’s been at least 3 or 4 years since they’ve seen these kind of temps.

Other than the sailboat, the only other attraction we were able to see today was the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

The first St. Augustine Lighthouse was built in 1824 which deteriorated over the years by storms and erosion, located 350 yards closer than its current location. The second lighthouse, which has since been restored, was built from 1871 to 1874. It does appear that this lighthouse is more protected than others we have seen. You don’t even see the crashing waves around the base of it. The current location was selected due to its relatively high elevation atop an old beach dune. Before you start the ascent, there is an oil room and keeper’s office which displays artifacts the keeper would have used. But what impressed us, was the 100-gallon oil butts stored in an oil room along with the keeper’s 5-gallon steel coffee maker looking can. We were able to lift the can to see what it would feel like “empty”. Once they would refill this can, it would weigh around 30 lbs, that later had to be carried up 219 steps,

with 8 landings to the top. What a work out! Crazy!! I always equate 30 lbs. to carrying a case of wine (my days in the wine industry). Once we got to the top (not the very top), we had the most amazing views from the circular platform just below the room that houses the 9-foot tall lens with 370 prisms. This lens can be seen from 19 to 25 miles away. The lighthouse still serves as a beacon for lost ships/boats but operates by more modern, automated means.

Adjacent to the lighthouse is the keeper’s house (and very nice I might add). There were at least 5 families over the years that took on this important task. In the house, they have converted the basement into a museum where we saw restored artifacts that had been recovered from wrecked ships in the area during the American Revolution. A very worthwhile tour for sure. It’s amazing to think that St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States which only intrigues us to see more.

Tonight’s dinner conversation was quite interesting and thought provoking about our modern times…..the ease of getting information. This topic basically came up because I was talking about some of the other RV groups I follow on Instagram with some being forthright and specific in sharing information, and some that prefer to withhold specifics. Jeff and I like to think of ourselves as somewhere in the middle of that. If you give too much information, being the one that goes through all the time and trouble to find things out for yourself, and you’re just putting it “out there”, the “other people” just show up at that restaurant, or that campsite, or that perfect secret little oasis, that isn’t so secret anymore. I liken it back to my school days when there were the students who always used the Cliff Notes (easy route) to complete their essay or report vs. the students, like us, who spent hours and hours of research in the library to complete the same task. I always took great satisfaction in knowing that I didn’t take the “easy route”. But then I brought up the point that we’re guilty of doing the same thing in a way, simply by checking reviews about restaurants, places to stay, places to visit, to weed out the crap, to simply save time or to avoid going through a bad experience. So I guess my point is, we all just need to use some common sense in how much information we want to share with people either through websites or social media posts. Leave a little surprise for others to discover, especially if you have plans to go back to that place. If everybody finds out about it, that fabulous restaurant or that jewel of a camp spot that you found right on the beach will become so saturated, that you yourself, may not get to enjoy it again. Something to ponder for sure.

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