Our Viva!

Salt Springs Recreation Area • Ft. McCoy, FL • FEB 21, 2017

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We knew from previous visits to Salt Springs Recreation Area that once we arrived, we would not have cell phone service or access to the internet. We knew rain was forecast, and when we checked again en route to the campground we saw that Wednesday would bring steady rain and thunderstorms all day long. After Salt Springs we were going to head to Blue Springs State Park for day three of our three day trip, but considering the forecast, we decided to stay at Salt Springs and then head home early the next morning.

The last time we were here was just before Hurricane Matthew hit Florida (see the OCT 4, 2016 blog entry). The campground was almost full this visit.

After hooking up the Viva, we took the dogs for a long walk, and then rode our bikes to the springs. We took photos of giant live oak trees, and also an abandoned house on the edge of the springs that looked really spooky.

We closed the evening with another great campfire, then headed home the next morning to beat the rain.

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Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area • Flagler Beach, FL • FEB 20, 2017

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After being off the road in January, we were eager to set out on our first RV trip of 2017 for one-night stays at three different campgrounds we had visited previously. Our first stop was our favorite Florida camping destination, Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach.

We set a departure time of 10:00 a.m. on Monday, but we were off by 9:35. Leaving early is unusual for us, because we (mostly Rick) always think it will take less time to load than it actually does. We took a different route, going east to Daytona Beach (and past Daytona International Speedway, home of this weekend's Daytona 500 NASCAR race) and then north on A1A. Although it had been over four and a half months since Hurricane Matthew battered the coast, we saw many blue tarps still on roofs, numerous other roofs that were in the process of being re-shingled, and dozens of beach access ramps and stairs that were still in disrepair.

We arrived at Gamble Rogers before the campers who had our spot (site 19) had left, so we parked across A1A in the riverside section of the campground and had lunch. Rick then rode his bike over to the beachside to see if the site was ready yet. A large 5th wheel rig had just pulled out and was at the dump station. Rick stopped to say hello and, noticing the rig's Ohio license plate, asked the couple where in Ohio they were from. They lived outside Johnstown on Jug Street, just a couple of miles from our former house on Mink Street, where we lived from 1996- 2005. They even knew our neighbors nearby. Small world!

With our spot now available, we quickly hooked up the Viva and immediately started enjoying our beachfront view. We took the dogs to explore the riverside trail (they love that trail!), then we rode our bikes to High Tides at Snack Jacks. After our usual order of large fries and two cold adult libations, we rode our bikes to the Volusia County line and then back to our campsite.

We saw a 2017 Winnebago Trend, the sister model to our Itasca Viva. In fact, Winnebago has phased out the Itasca brand, so they now offer only the Trend—but it still looks just like our Viva. We talked to the Trend owners, John and Millie from Port Orange. They hadn't had their Trend very long, so we answered their questions about our experiences on the road. We gave them our contact info and they said they would email us and keep in touch. We might even see them on the road again sometime.

We enjoyed a beachside campfire and a sky with literally millions of stars, It was a perfect way to end the evening.

Tuesday brought a spectacular sunrise—the colors were amazing! After another walk on the riverside trail with the dogs, Linda and Rick took turns for hour-long strolls on the beach. Rick took more photos of the strange object partially buried in the sand about a mile north of the campground (you can find other photos by checking earlier visits here). Sadly, graffiti "artists" did their deeds since our last stay, as you can see from the current photos.

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