Our Viva!

Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area • Flagler Beach, FL • OCT 29 - 30, 2017

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Don't let the photo concern you, it's not a victim of the recent hurricane. Check the date, it was almost Halloween!

After an unpleasant trip here (see the previous blog entry), this stay bordered on perfect! The weather cooperated—a bit cool the first day and overnight when we had to turn on the furnace, but pleasant the second day, and no rain. Repeat, no rain! Rick didn't bring along his swim suit as it was late October and he thought the ocean would be chilly, but he found it surprisingly warm. Warm enough that he will pack his swim suit when we return within the week…at which time the ocean will probably be chilly.

Rick took a break from running to let his sore feet heal a bit, but he took Zoe for a long walk on the trails and also on the beach where she splashed around in the surf. Tybee got several walks within the campground, and both Rick and Linda took walks on the beach. We also had a great (blue, cloudless sky) view of a Space X launch, which is always a thrill.

We saw a beautiful sunrise (see Linda's photos), enjoyed a cozy campfire our second night, and simply had a wonderful, relaxing stay. The only wrinkle was with our water heater. We have a tankless (on demand) water heater that worked the day we arrived, but didn't work the second day when we wanted hot water. We tried the reset button but that didn't work, so it will need service. Can you say cha-ching? Donations are being accepted!

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Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area • Flagler Beach, FL • OCT 1, 2017

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This wasn't our worst camping experience—that will probably always be "The Night (or Nightmare) of the No-See-Ums"—but it certainly makes the short list.

The skies were threatening when we arrived just after noon. The campground had reopened only a couple of days before, after being closed since Hurricane Irma did some damage, and we had never seen Gamble Rogers so empty-looking. We counted a total of eight rigs, including the hosts. Before Rick finished hooking up the Viva, the rain started. And the wind whipped up. And the rain came in torrents. And the wind grew stronger. Repeat all of that, throughout the rest of the day and well into the night. It was so bad that when Rick took the dogs out for a potty break, it was difficult to open the Viva's side door against the wind. For hours the Viva rocked back and forth, so much so that Linda became sick to her stomach.

No walks for the dogs. No running for Rick. No beach walks for Linda. No Snack Jacks for vegan burgers. We didn't take our bikes along because we knew the weather was going to be rough, but we didn't think it would be that rough! We stayed inside and waited for the weather to clear, but it never did. The one positive—the rangers had conducted a controlled burn, so all of the sites had a good ocean view. Unfortunately on this visit, the only view was of gray skies and an angry sea with waves six to eight feet high.

Rick got up overnight to let Tybee out yet again, and he saw an alert on his phone that there was an active shooter in Las Vegas. He went back to bed hoping that no one had been hurt. We then awoke the next morning to learn the horrible extent of what the madman with his guns had done. It is beyond the time to stop gun violence in our country.

Gamble Rogers was supposed to be stop one of a five day trip. Even though there was going to be a break in the rain, the strong winds were going to persist over all five days, and we decided we had already had enough and it was time to head home. We left as soon as we got ourselves together.

The campground was saturated with standing pools of water everywhere. We saw flooded areas in town as we were leaving, and as far inland as Astor.

The tragedy in Las Vegas weighed heavily on our minds the entire trip home—and we didn't know that even more bad news was coming later in the day, with the passing of Tom Petty.

This was one trip to forget.

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