Saturday, March 14, 2009

Jupiter FL to St,. Mary's GA

We packed up and were on the road before 9 AM. We drove into Jupiter FL to find the lighthouse which we found but they did not open until 10 so we just took photos, bought some gas and were on our way north. Ben was thrilled with the mileage on the Sprinter was the best ever 25.6. We are really involved in W.E.B. Griffin’s The Hostage and are about half way through 15 CD’s.

When we reached the Space Coast we headed for the Kennedy Space Center – the internet site spoke about all the pricey tours; but Jane had a tour book that said you could visit the space center visitor center and park at no cost – so we thought why not! Well the book was wrong but they told us where we could go to visit a gift store to find some surprises for Daniel. We retraced our steps back to the Astronaut Hall of Fame and found way more than we could possibly buy for Daniel. It can be a surprise but it is not the $50 astronaut jump suit! It would be outgrown in 3 months! After our shopping we headed across to the Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Luckily the Wildlife Refuge was open until 6PM today but the Seashore was closed. Tomorrow there is a space launch; and since these two facilities are in close proximity to the launch area they close to prevent any exposure to accidents if one might happen. We had a nice lunch at the Refuge Visitor Center – surprisingly they had the stamp for both themselves AND the Seashore so we got the stamp even if they were closed – well we were really here – they were just closed! We also took a nice hike around some lakes and forest but did not see too much wildlife since it was 1 PM.

Today we had the worst weather of our trip – other than the snow on the day we left! It rained during the night and several times today. In the Saint Augustine and Jacksonville area it was very foggy. Not cold but just cloudy and damp.

We then continued north with Jane driving for the first time this trip – Ben needed a rest for his back since he had worn the wrong shoes today – too much walking in his moccasins. Our next stop was Fort Matanzas National Monument just south of St. Augustine. We found it but the last ferry of the day was leaving just as we arrived. We did not realize the visitor center is on one side of the river and people have to be ferried across to the actual fort – their large ferry was getting inspected by the coast guard today so small boats were trying to handle the people and failed. We listened to some historical information from a period dressed Spanish Soldier. They were going to have a ceremony in St. Augustine tonight with a large number of the dressed soldiers marching and performing. We drove up the island a way to see if we could get a site at Anastasia State Park but alas they were full up.

We did not find another private campground so decided to head on up to St. Mary’s GA (about 50 miles) to camp or get a motel and eat at one of Ben’s favorite seafood places in St. Mary’s. The drive to Jacksonville from St. Augustine on A1A was interesting – very narrow strip of land. As we neared Jacksonville the homes became larger and larger. We were driving through one of the most exclusive areas of Jacksonville.

It was 6:30 when we arrived at St. Mary’s – it would be dark in 30 minutes so we checked into a Sleep Inn and Ben discovered from the receptionist at the Sleep Inn that his favorite restaurant had closed! She recommended St. John’s Seafood as a good substitute. It was outstanding - best scallops and clams either of us had ever eaten. The shrimp, fish, hush puppies and oysters were good too. We even have fish leftover we put in the fridge in the Sprinter for sandwiches tomorrow!
Tomorrow we continue north and will visit Fort Frederica National Monument on St. Simons and then Fort Pulaski National Monument on Tybee Island. Then we will head into South Carolina and see how far we get. We have not been to Fort Sumter National Monument even though we lived in Charleston so we may try to go there.

It was 59 degrees when we stopped in St. Mary’s – time to get out the long pants!

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