Our Viva!

Salt Springs Recreation Area • Ft. McCoy, FL • OCT 4, 2016

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Talk about the calm before the storm…

We had booked three nights of camping—the two nights at Gamble Rogers Memorial SRA we detailed in our last post, and the third night at Salt Springs Recreation Area—well in advance, not knowing that when the time came for our trip, Hurricane Matthew would be bearing down on Florida.

We thought about leaving Gamble Rogers Memorial SRA and heading home, but the weather was still beautiful—there was no indication of what was coming. So, we decided to go ahead and camp the third night, at Salt Springs.

We had camped here last December and really enjoyed it. The campground had been crowded, but it was still peaceful and relaxing. What a difference this time! It was still peaceful and relaxing, but the campground was empty! We counted five other sites that had campers, that was it. We didn't know if that made us brave or crazy. On our previous visit here we discovered there was no cell phone service, thus no internet, nor could we get TV reception. That was a bit refreshing then, but it was disconcerting this time. We were truly out of touch with the rest of the world, with what was predicted to be a monster storm just over a day away. The rangers were going to close the campground Thursday morning.

We went to bed early and headed out the next morning well before sunrise. Some of the other campers had already pulled out. When we got home on Wednesday we unloaded the Viva and then began securing the house to prepare it for the hurricane. We went to bed Thursday night with 80+ mph winds predicted for the next morning. Fortunately, the storm moved about ten miles east overnight, which made a huge difference. Our winds were at most 45 mph, and while the rain was steady, it was nothing that we hadn't experienced in many Florida rainstorms. We got lucky!

The photos for this stay are remarkable only in what they don't show—other campers. You can see (in all directions) how empty the campground was. The only rig that is visible in the distance is our lonely little Viva!

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Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area • Flagler Beach, FL • OCT 2 - 3, 2016

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A return visit to Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area, just ten days after our last visit here.

Hurricane Matthew was looming on the horizon (almost literally), but we won't detail that here. Instead, see our next stop at Salt Springs for that information. Otherwise, these two days were relaxing and uneventful, and the weather was perfect.

Rick ran both days and took Zoe for a hike on the Riverside trails. Linda walked the beach and collected some nice shells. Zoe and Tybee stayed in the Viva while we walked the beach after sunset the first evening. We didn't bring our bicycles—because of the approaching storm, we wanted to travel light. We also didn't have a campfire this trip.

We did talk with a ranger (Greg) who told us they might cut back the dunes if funding can be approved. The vegetation is so high in a number of campsites that you can't see the beach or anything else. The dunes are essential to protect the beach and prevent erosion, but the vegetation doesn't need to be ten feet high!

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