Annistasia State Park St. Augustine, FL 4/12/15

DSCN3007I’ve wanted to go to Annistatsia State Park since we started camping. So we made the 200 mile trip from Tampa to St. Augustine. The park is located out on the beaches just ten minutes or so from downtown. Lynda wanted to go by the back roads rather than I-4 and I-95. I-4 can be a total disaster on weekends around Orlando. DSCN3016The camp grounds are very nice. We’re off in the tent, pop up and camper area. Big RVs are off in their own section. The sites all appear to be heavily wooded here. You’d appreciate that in the summer. Here in Florida you’re always looking for shade. We went for a walk around in the RV area, we do still have a big trailer although it is up for sale. Some of the RV sites are a little short, so you would need to check the length and width before you would reserve your site. It’s a beach park so you may have to take what you get as sites are always in demand. Bath houses are relatively clean but old. There is a beach cafe and a camp store. Wood, water, ice, hamburgers, even ice cream! Last night on my trip to the bath house I saw a lightning bug. I haven’t seen one of those in decades. When I was a kid in Philadelphia we used to see and catch bunches of them in glass jars. I guess all of the insecticides and development killed them off. Maybe we just caught too many in glass jars. DSCN2977DSCN2975We went to the old town in St Augustine today. I remember it as one or two short streets of old buildings with wrought iron porches like New Orleans. Now it is half a dozen long streets of buildings made up to look old, many with wrought iron porches, nothing but storefront after store front. At least they are not Gaps, Macy’s, Nordstroms,etc. they are all independents. One sold only Tervis plastic cups and such. We tried to go to the Kingfish Grill, a nice water front place we went to the last time we were here, but it no longer is open for lunch. Went back to the campground and went to a walk on the beach before it could start raining again. Cooked a cut up Cornish game hen in the electric skillet and had cole slaw with it. I took the trash to the dumpster in the dark and saw a lot more lightning bugs, probably a dozen. It began to rain again tonight so we wrapped it up and we’re sitting in trailer reading and writing. DSCN3010Up at seven and wow it’s not raining! Egg McMuffins made in the trusty electric fry pan then off to the beach. The weather is predicted good all day, until five or six anyway, so we’re going to take advantage of it. We had a great day on the beach, sunny with a good breeze. Left about two, we wanted to search for some special art glue the wife needed. W didn’t find it so we went back and roamed the camp ground. Some of the sites are very close to A1A and the St. Augustine Amphitheater. When they have a rock concert I’m sure they blast everyone away. Supposedly they shut down by 10:30 but what about loudness, encores and general craziness? We went to Kingfish grill for dinner. It was about the same as we remembered it. Good sea food, a little pricey, but it is right on the water. While we were eating it poured rain but it stopped by the time we were done. DSCN3024

It poured buckets of rain last night. Luckily for us the pop up does not leak. It’s our last day here so we went for a long walk down the beach this morning. Just sitting around after lunch, Lynda’s doing art and I’m typing on the iPad. We went to the old coquina quarries where they mined the stone to build the fort and a lot of the town. Not much there now. Just looks like concrete but close up you can see the shells. Lynda thinks Annistasia is second to fort Desoto but she loves the Beach and we haven’t been to many of the campgrounds yet.

Going Again – St. George Island, FL

BeachPanWe decided that Minnie was a little too big for just running around in Florida. Gas mileage dropped down to 9-10 mpg and maneuvering it in the streets, parks and traffic was a pain. Plus we didn’t really feel that we were camping. It was just too comfortable.

MicroMiniSo we bought a used pop up that a friend of mine had for sale. It’s only 8 x 8 feet closed and 8×16 feet opened up. Queen bed on one end and a full on the other. No kitchen and only a portapotti. But it’s very easy to tow and swing around in traffic. People don’t seem to be so desperate to get ahead of you as with the big trailer. And we get the normal 17-18 mpg. Also gassing up is not a hassle as we don’t need a huge gas station to move around in. It pulls great, the truck doesn’t even know it’s there.

We decided we needed a real trip so we are taking it up to St George’s island, about 300 miles north of us. It’s an island off Appalatchacola FL with a huge beach and camping. We stopped at Paynes Prairie about half way, for the first night to break up the trip. Going there, traffic on 75 north from Tampa was horrendous with a two hour stretch of stop and go. The road is terrible, from Wesley Chapel to Brooksville lots of it has no pull off space at all due to construction, just two lanes with jersey barriers on one side and a hill or drop off on the other. If you just have a flat there is no where to go. Any accident or break down results in a major traffic jam. I didn’t notice it the last time but it’s noisy here, you can hear the highway all night long. Guess that’s what happens when you sleep in a tent on wheels.

SGbeachMarch 30. Four hour drive over two lane roads from Paynes to St George’s, basically two hundred miles. Long, long bridge over the bay to get there. Reminded me a lot of the Keys highway. Beautiful island, very limited day parking so it doesn’t get over run with people. Nice campground very quiet, all you can hear at night is the ocean just a hundred yards or so away. You can buy ice or wood but there is no camp store. Barbecues are just a fire pit with a big grate on top so you need to bring your own or cook over wood. There is a boil water notice today as they they broke a water main a few days ago and they have to flush the lines. No drinking water but you can wash with it. Going out to Appalatchacola tomorrow.

ApalatMarch 31. Apalatchicola is a small town just across from St. George’s. It’s kind of quaint and funky, but it does appear to be gentrifying on Main Street. It’s really an old fishing village and parts of it are somewhat run down. Art wise there are a number of galleries, pricing ranged for normal to the ridiculous. Lots of old brick buildings. We had lunch on the roof of the Owl Cafe and roamed a bit, lots of closed up places. We went to the dollar store and bought necessaries, broom, dust pan, etc., gassed up, bought ice and went back to the island. We went for a walk on the beach, cooked chicken Parmesan in the electric fry pan, this might be an idea for a new book Camping Electrically!

PoachedApril 1 fools day. Today we’re going to cook poached eggs in cups with English muffins. Again in the electric fry pan. We have a toaster for the muffins. We’ve used propane camp stoves before, but we thought the pan would be more controlable and smaller. If we can eliminate a couple of big fry pans and pots, we will. Space is a big deal in this Micro Minnie trailer, there isn’t very much. Most stuff has to go in the car and then there is the problem of finding things. Which bag is it in? And where is that bag? Can get really frustrating at times, particularly with two different people putting things away. We think we can solve this by putting everything into bins, we probably will have to mark them: breads, pans, drinks, towels, etc. but it might be better.

SloughPanWe took a hike out to Hadley Slough (bay) to see if the bay side would be good for shooting a sunset. The hike from the RV park is about two miles. It looks like it will be good for shooting, but we will drive there as it is just the next beach area down the road and just a short walk. Hiking back we did see a three foot rattlesnake sunning himself by the trail. The woods anywhere in the South is the home to the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.

Rattler

Spag1

Spag3SpagServedWe cooked vegetarian spaghetti in the electric fry pan. Who knew you could cook spaghetti in a fry pan! Again it eliminates a pot! Cook the meat or other goodies first, in this case peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini. Remove  the goodies, then boil and cover the broken spaghetti in about a half inch of salted water until done. Drain the excess water, add the goodies and a sauce if you want it and hooray! You have a spaghetti dinner. See the recipe on my food blog http://www.BillsEntree.com