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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Simply the Best!

~Thursday, April 6, 2023~

Day 1,027 (Travel Day)

Hit the road around 11:00 a.m. with a 2-hour drive to Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine, Florida (our last campground in “the Sunshine State” before moving on to South Carolina). We paid St. Augustine a visit in 2021, albeit short with only enough time to tour the St. Augustine Lighthouse. So we’re excited to see what else makes this place such a tourist destination.

Of course heading more north means we’re headed into more dodgy weather, but I am excited about the house hunting prospects that are around the corner once we land in North Carolina and the hugs we’ll get upon visiting grandchildren in Illinois. On our exit from Wickham Campground, we learned that we’re 2 weeks shy of the Melbourne Blueberry Festival and a few days too early for Wickham Park’s Farmers Market w/ live music. Can’t time everything so perfectly. Aside from nearly tapping a bike pedestrian on our way out of the park, the drive went smoothly 🤪.

A few packages had already been delivered upon our arrival to Anastasia SP….thankyou Amazon! As much as there are a lot of things I don’t like about Amazon, ecologically speaking, it sure has provided us peace of mind of being able to rely on timely deliveries. We just don’t have the luxury of a 7-10 day timeframe when moving quickly between campgrounds. From the minute we entered the park, I knew we were in for a treat….maritime hammock forest, white quartz sandy hiking paths throughout, and one of the best beaches in Florida just 2 minutes from our campsite.

Anastasia State Park is ranked #6 as one of the best state parks in the United States. No wonder we felt like we hit the lottery jackpot when we were able to snag a spot here about 11 months ago. What a way to end our time here in Florida.

We’re in the Coquina Loop, one of 7, named after the Old Spanish Coquina Quarries on the property, so we’ll certainly be checking those out while we’re here. Inside our loop are about 35 campsites, most of which would not fit our trailer. The majority of campers are either in tents or sprinter vans, with only a few of us at 35 feet or greater. Class A’s would definitely not fit in here. The sites are pretty spacious between each other with lush vegetation all around, making you feel you’re in your own cocoon. There is water & 30A service at each site, a laundry facility, a dump station, a recycling station (a rarity in Florida) and plenty of nature trails to either hike or bike.

After we were all set up, Jeff and Sadie went to investigate one of those trails in the park, while I was on a long phone call with DMV to sort out some issues we’re having with our smog exemption waiver. Since Jeff and I aren’t driving the truck in California, this would be our second request to have our smog waived. For some reason, they didn’t approve it this time around, but did the previous year. In any case, it’s holding up our registration (though they didn’t seem to have trouble cashing my check which I sent in way before the due date in case of delays). And like most government agencies, they are way behind on their processing time. After a number of phone calls, we think we have it finally all straightened out now that I’ve talked to the right people!

Jeff raved about the Ancient Sand Dune Trail they discovered, so I guess he won’t mind doing it a second time with me. Evidently, it leads you on a short scramble up and over relic dunes, shaded by ancient live oaks. At least there was still enough daylight for BOTH of us to bike over to St. Augustine Beach to catch the sunset.

The brownish, murky appearance was a far cry from the turquoise blue of The Keys. And the surf was quite choppy which would explain the ‘yellow flag warning’ indicating moderate danger for rip currents. Whoever was in the water was playing it safe, staying only a few feet from shore. What is it about Florida beaches and the number of shells on them?

We’ve never seen anything like it on the West Coast. And we’re not talking fragments; whole shells. It’s tempting to take home a few, but if everyone did that, there’d be none for us all to enjoy. So there it sits to either be taken back out with the tide or for someone else to appreciate.

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