We are far enough south. We are wearing shorts!!!
We left off at Island hopping to Skidaway Island State Park just outside of Savannah, GA on the coast. This was a beautifully lush place to stay, a private campsite with VERY clean facilities. LOTS of wildlife! Georgia has many barrier islands protecting its coast, and leveraged their geographical location to its advantage in the Civil War; they could easily protect their ports. The coastal history is acknowledged via many historical sites as this bountiful coastline supported native Americans first, as on the islands you cannot escape the numerous shell middens (oyster shell mounds) everywhere, then colonists moved in, cleared the land and started growing crops. In this part of Georgia, established in the early 1700s, initially, slavery was against the law, but unable to turn a profit, soon natives and imported labor (Africans and poor Europeans) were enslaved to work the land to produce corn, potatoes, rice, cotton, oranges, pomegranates, figs, peaches, apricots and mulberry trees for silk. The sea and land were bountiful!
From Skidaway Island we meandered though central, coastal Georgia and discovered a less-developed, less commercialized part of coastal Georgia with topographical differences like hills and cliffs and an active fishing industry; Shellman Cliff and Darien, GA. We took 5 hours to travel about 100 miles to the next Georgia State Park, Crooked River State Park near St. Marys, GA; another beautiful coastal community. A big change in climate is the humidity; while its not warm enough to wear shorts (yet), it is VERY humid and hard for towels to dry without a bit of “heat” help; odors abound, indoors and out in this humidity. As we walk the trails, while very lush, varying amounts of decay surround you.
While at Crooked River State Park we take a day to visit Cumberland Island National Park. You catch a ferry in St. Marys, GA for a 45 minute ride to this barrier island where wild horses live, primitive camping is allowed and natural beauty abounds. You get “the talk” about critters before all board the ferry. The critters we need to give space to are wild horses, alligators, black bears, racoons and snakes, never saw any except the horses from the ferry, and “the talk” failed to mention the millions of the blue crabs that make the beach seem like its moving. While there is not enough space for social distancing, ALL are required to wear masks aboard the ferry. We walked 6.5 miles that day and saw both sides of a very small part of the island; one side was sunny, hot and humid, the other side was a fogged-in, sugar-sand beach. We followed the tracks of those before us to find our way back to the “sunny side” and the ferry back to the mainland.
We are still heading south with a quick trip to Florida’s east coast to see some friends from Marshfield. On the way we stay at a harvest host, Barberville historic site, where we came upon the biggest lawn ornament display/business we have ever seen; countless life-size animals that are anatomically correct as well as decorative pottery, fountains and teak furniture, “Barberville Yard Art Emporium, America’s Largest variety of Unique Handcrafted Outdoor Art”. We get rained out, so we pack up and head south to Port Orange, Florida. As with the rest of the country, the weather is not great as it continues to precipitate, but the company is awesome and so is the food. We are finally wearing shorts, daily.
We head to Florida’s West coast via Florida’s Water Management Land, Lake Panosoffkee, where you can camp for free with limited services (no electric and no potable water) but did have a bathroom and over 13,000 acres to explore. We do a lot of hiking trying to find a “bridge”; the trail maps are not good and we walk over 13 miles in 3 days, on day 3 we finally find the “bridge”. We were definitely “off” the regular trail, but that led to us seeing beautiful, large water birds in a pond that wasn’t on the map; a great egret, an Anhingus, a Great Heron and a Pelican. Also, we ran out of water in the 20 gallon tank in the RV as we were going to shower and realized we hadn’t flushed the hot water heater. NOT going to bath in pink antifreeze; we do have 9 gallons of extra water on board and make do with Navy showers. Onto civilization and a bit of vacation in the Clearwater/Tampa area, seeing friends from Marshfield and Hull. We will be here til the end of February, plotting our course West.
We enjoy good health and good friends along the way. We are fortunate to be living this life in this country during this time.
Peace and Love,
Sean & Kelly