Our Viva!

Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area • Flagler Beach, FL • DEC 11 - 14, 2017

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Yes, back to Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area…again! Before we detail this visit, a few statistics:

Counting this trip, we have camped a total of 235 nights in the Viva since buying it in May of 2014—that's spending almost 18% of our time in the Viva. We have stayed in 78 different campgrounds, with Gamble Rogers being by far our most frequent destination. We have camped here 31 different times for a total of 80 nights. Over 34% of our camping has been at Gamble Rogers. That will change dramatically when we hit the road for 80+ days in 2018, but those are the numbers at this point. Now, for this visit:

What a great time we had during our four days here! The weather was perfect, the sunrises spectacular. We had great campfires. We saw a rocket launch. We reconnected with friends old and new, and made new friends. Linda walked the beach, Rick and Zoe ran 3 miles daily and also walked the trails. Tybee is slowing down, but he had a good time, too. Just a wonderful time!

On Wednesday, we were relaxing in the Viva when there was a knock at the door. Talk about a surprise! It was Mike Nugen, a fantastic guitarist who has played on a number of Rick's songs and has been a friend since Rick's days with Sisapa Record Company. Mike was staying for a few days in his second home in Flagler Beach and saw on Facebook that we were camping at Gamble Rogers, so he decided to stop by. It was great to see him after so many years, and so nice to reminisce about old times. If you'd like a sample of Mike's amazing guitar playing, send me a message and I'll send you a link to some YouTube videos. And as amazing as Mike is on guitar, that's actually his second instrument—he is a piano virtuoso. Some people have too much talent!

We shared a campfire on Thursday night with Gary and Trish, who were camping in their beautiful new Class A rig with their puppy, Diesel. We didn't know that Trish was a singer, and Gary a drummer who has played in a number of bands. I talked about my experiences in the music business, and Paul Cotton's name came up. Gary knows Paul Cotton (a member of the band Poco) and until recently worked with Paul's wife. Small world! I also mentioned my connection to Kenny Aronoff, and Gary said that he was in a friend's house and saw a photo on the mantle of Kenny Aronoff. Gary, being a drummer, immediately recognized Kenny, who was John Mellencamp's long-time drummer and has played on countless recordings by other artists. I was lucky to have Kenny play on six of my songs. Gary and Trish are such nice people, and it was great to sit around the campfire with them. They even brought us a Christmas gift. We look forward to seeing them at Gamble Rogers in 2018.

Rick was walking the dogs and met Denise, who was camping with her husband Rob and poodle Niles. Rick told Denise about Zoe's video on Facebook (over 1.6 million views and counting), and Denise later stopped by to get the Facebook link so she could watch the video. We hope to get together with Denise, Rob, and Niles on a future visit, as they also camp at Gamble Rogers whenever they can.

Random other things…on the first day we saw a huge—repeat, huge—Airstream trailer back in across from us. The couple was from Alabama, and Rick told them that he grew up less thank 20 miles from where their trailer was manufactured in Jackson Center, Ohio. Within the hour another huge Airstream trailer, just as long as the one that belonged to the Alabama couple, arrived and backed into the spot next to the Alabama Airstream. What are the odds!

The shrimpers were out in full force. We saw eight boats at one time, the most we've ever seen.

There was one unfortunate incident, a repeat of something that is happening a bit too often. Rick was walking Zoe (on her leash) to the dog "playground" when three large, unleashed dogs came charging at them from a campsite. They got within a few feet before stopping. Their owner came out to get them and apologized, but the dogs should never have been loose to begin with. That is the third time in recent stays that loose dogs have come after either Zoe or Tybee.

But that one event didn't spoil an otherwise great time!

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