Our Viva!

Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area • Flagler Beach, FL • JUL 29 - 30, 2014

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To celebrate Rick’s birthday, we made our first visit to Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach. We loved the place, and knew immediately that we would return as often as possible. It’s about a 90 minute drive from home, and that’s going over to Daytona Beach and up A1A. Linda used to live in Daytona Beach, and always welcomes the opportunity to drive through the city whenever she can. An FYI for race fans, we go past Daytona International Speedway on this route. It is huge.

This state park was named in honor of Gamble Rogers, a legendary Florida singer/songwriter and storyteller. In 1991, while camping at Flagler Beach, and despite some physical limitations, he went into very rough surf in an attempt to save a man who was drowning. Unfortunately, both Gamble Rogers and the other man died.

The campgrounds are on the beach side of A1A, and the rest of the state park is on the other side of the road. The RV sites are separated from the beach only by a narrow stretch of protected sand dunes, so you are camping close enough to see, hear and smell the ocean. It’s wonderful. Speaking of protection, there were a number of sea turtle nests that were cordoned off in multiple places along the beach. We were hoping to see hatchlings crawling towards the sea, but that didn’t happen.

The days were hot, but the evenings were cool enough for a campfire (thanks to the portable fan that we brought for the screen room, which we set up just outside the Viva).

The sunrises over the ocean were spectacular!

We found a great place within a short walk to eat and have a cold beverage. It also overlooks the beach. It’s dog friendly, and has some tasty vegan choices for us.

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Anastasia State Park • St. Augustine, FL • JUL 28, 2014

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A return visit to Anastasia State Park, for a one night stay before heading to Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area tomorrow.

Rick walked out on the pier and noticed a number of people pointing down at the water. He looked down as well and saw a massive school of fish. A truly unbelievable sight. Not sure what kind of fish they were, but there certainly had everyone’s attention.

The weather was perfect, which meant we had to have a campfire at night.

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Fort De Soto Park • St. Petersburg, FL • JUL 13 - 15, 2014

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What a great place!

This campground is operated by Pinellas County, so it is not part of the Florida State Parks system. The campground is divided into two areas--one is dog friendly, and no pets are allowed in the other.

It took several hours to get over to the Gulf, but the trip was worth it. The sites were level, shaded, private, and abutted an inlet at the rear of the site.

There is a great running trail here, and Rick took advantage of it. Parts of the trail were shaded (which is where he saw a snake slither off the path), but the unshaded parts were full sun, and that made for rather brutal running.

We were able to walk the dogs in the shady part of the campground, and they loved it. We did experience a major downpour, which partially flooded several of the campsites. There were small rivers of water flowing around the Viva, but no problems.

It’s a long hike to the beach from the campground, so we need to get a bicycle before our next visit here.

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Anastasia State Park • St. Augustine, FL • JUL 9, 2014

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A very special day…Linda’s 65th birthday! She picked Anastasia State Park as the place she wanted to spend her birthday. Well, the first camping spot was Honolulu but the Viva can’t swim, so Anastasia it was.

The ocean was a manageable walk from our campsite, except it was far too hot for the dogs to make the trek. Instead, we unhooked and drove to the beach in the Viva. We took turns going to the beach while one of us still in the air conditioning with the dogs.

Our campsite was shaded and cooler. We set up our screen room, and spent much of the time outdoors.

When evening came it was still warm, but we had to have a campfire for Linda’s birthday.

We like this campground and will definitely return--especially since we now get a 50% discount due to Linda’s advanced age! Seriously, it is wonderful that Florida offers a 50% discount to Florida residents who are 65 and older.

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Bulow Plantation RV Resort • Flagler Beach, FL • JUL 8, 2014

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We spent July 8th, the night before Linda’s birthday, at Bulow Plantation RV Resort in Flagler Beach, FL. Not many photo ops here, and the above photo and the ones linked below were actually taken the next morning, on Linda’s birthday. There are three shots of us standing in front of the fountain with the Viva in the background. All three are included because there are elements of each that we like (like the Viva repositioned and the fountain in better view), and also elements of each we don’t like (such as Tybee looking like a wild thing). Maybe Rick needs to work some Photoshop magic when he has time to combine the best of all three into one!

What to say about this campground…our first impression was not good, but we have decided to return sometime and give it another chance.

It didn’t start off very well. There were many empty campsites, but they put us directly across from the campground bar, which is open not only to campers but to the general public. We didn’t mind that the campground had a bar--on some nights, that could be a plus!--but we didn’t want to be camped where it was right in front of us. Fortunately for us, it was closed the night we were there, but it still had a number of lights burning, which spoiled the camping experience a bit.

Also, the campground power to our Viva went out twice. The second time we went to the office and a maintenance worker came to our site. He found that the electrical supply had some major problem, and was spiking. We bought a surge protector before our Viva was even delivered, and we use it every time we camp. It probably paid for itself today. The maintenance guy shut off the power supply we were using, and we hooked up to another source that was working properly.

Rick went for a run through the campgrounds, and we took the dogs for several walks. The campgrounds were shaded and very nice, so we hope for a better experience on our next visit.

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Fisherman's Cove at Lake Harris • Tavares, FL • JUL 3 - 5, 2014

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This entry is a bit of a departure because it’s more about boating than RVing.

With heavy rains in the forecast, we still chose to spend three nights over the 4th of July holiday at Fisherman’s Cove. We were hoping for a break in the storms long enough for us to see fireworks from the water on the 4th.

We recently purchased a Coleman 10 x 10 screen room, and we set it up for the first time on this camping trip. We didn’t take any pictures of it, but will do so in the future.

Fisherman’s Cove has a 9 hole “executive” (for non-golfers, that means short holes) golf course. Well, it’s sort of a golf course. It has 9 holes, but the “greens” are just regular grass. Rick used to be a decent golfer, and was responsible for forming the first golf team at his high school. But that was a long time ago. He wiped the dust off several irons and played 9 holes here on July 3. He was the only one on the course, which was a good thing considering his frequent errant shots. It was enough to convince him that his golfing days best remain in the past.

The rains set in after Rick finished playing, and prevented any boating on the 3rd. The 4th was looking iffy until late afternoon when the skies cleared. With friends Ken and Mary, and also with the dogs in tow, we set out about two hours before sunset to go to Tavares.

The weather cooperated, and we were treated to a spectacular fireworks show. There were dozens of boats on the water, and it seemed like most of them went through the Dora Canal on the way back to their docks. If you don’t know about the Dora Canal, research it on the web. It has been described as the most beautiful mile of water in the world, and it is. It was the first time we went through it at night, which was really cool. But it was one long procession of boats, so there was a lot of light and noise. We want to make a trip through the Dora Canal at night sometime, when we are the only boat. Now that would be really cool!

On the morning of July 6th, we were on the water before dawn and saw the sunrise. We then went through the Dora Canal again. The early morning colors were beautiful!

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