It was just a short, three-night stay at Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area, but we certainly made the best of our time here!
We had two nights on site 12, then for our final night we moved to site 21 directly overlooking the beach—and what a great view we had.
Rick ran (of course) two of our three mornings here, four miles each time, taking Zoe for a little over a mile before dropping her back at the Viva (too hot for her to run a longer distance right now). And speaking of mornings, see the photos for some amazing sunrises that Linda captured with her iPhone. She didn't use any filters or effects, those are the images as she took them.
We both went for walks on the beach, and the "sand shelf" we mentioned in our last blog entry still highlights the beach. We've stayed at this park 34 different times since 2014 (for a total of 88 nights), and the sand shelf only appeared recently. The shelf is still three to four feet above the flat part of the beach. As you will also see in the photos, the piece of shipwreck remains almost totally buried.
Rick went kayaking in the Intracoastal Waterway on Wednesday. He regularly kayaks the Dora Canal, so he is comfortable being in a very small, slightly unstable craft even though venomous snakes and large gators can be lurking nearby. He didn't see any snakes or gators while kayaking the channels of the Intracoastal, but he found it more unsettling than the Dora Canal. On weekends the Dora Canal has a steady stream of boats passing by. Even on slow days it's not long before a boat comes along. But here, in the tree and weed-lined channels off the main waterway of the Intracoastal, there was literally no one else around as he paddled for nearly a couple of hours. Check out the photo of Rick's kayak—no, it wasn't bitten in two by a gator, it actually comes in two snap-together pieces, for easy transport.
Linda passed a rather large turtle on one of her walks. It wasn't a sea turtle, but she did see it so she took a photo (see what we did there!). Speaking of sea turtles, dozens of sea turtle nests were cordoned off across the beach, awaiting hatchlings to begin their nighttime scamper to the sea.
There is a phenomenon sweeping the country (the world, actually) in which people paint rocks and then "hide" them in places where they will be found. The person finding a painted rock is supposed to report it—the rocks have website URLs or Facebook pages identifying the group whose member hid it—and then either keep the rock or hide it for someone else to find. We found one painted rock this trip, but also found a delicate painted shell, a first for us. It was painted and left by a member of the Facebook group "Love On The Rocks," and depicts a flip-flop. Appropriate that we found it near the beach!
The highlight of this trip for Rick really had nothing to do with camping. You may/may not be familiar with the rock group MC5 (does the song "Kick Out The Jams" sound familiar?). They flashed to national prominence in the late '60s, including a memorable performance at the '68 Democratic National Convention, but then broke up soon after. They have influenced countless bands, however, and there are many (including Rick) who feel they deserve induction into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame. The MC5 actually played Indian Lake (where Rick is from) in 1969, but Rick was too young to get into the show. He has always regretted not being able to see them, as he still listens to their albums regularly. Well…this stay at Gamble Rogers was already booked when Rick learned that Wayne Kramer, the lead guitarist and one of only two surviving MC5 members, was touring as "MC50" to commemorate 50 years since the release of the "Kick Out The Jams" album. With a group of top musicians from other bands, Wayne and MC50 would be performing the entire KOTJ album from beginning to end. On our last night at Gamble Rogers, MC50 was appearing about 30 miles up the road at the St. Augustine Amphitheater. Of course Rick had to go this time, and of course he came back from the concert on Cloud Nine. A night he will always treasure.
Another highlight for Rick while on this trip was receiving an e-mail from the Florida Writers Association. He had entered a poem and a short story in the FWA's Royal Palm Literary Awards contest. He learned in the e-mail that both of his entries had moved from Semi-Finalist to Finalist. The results will be announced in October.
One last thing to close this lengthy entry for a such a short stay. On Friday morning, our last morning at Gamble Rogers, Rick walked down to the beach access ramp to watch the sunrise. Another guy from the campground soon joined him to take in the sight. They talked for a while, then Rick asked him where he was from. The guy said, "Tavares," which is where we live now. He then added, "Royal Harbor," which is our development—we live just a few streets apart. As we walked back to our RVs, we realized we not only were neighbors in our development, our RVs were parked next to each other. The photo of the Class A with the Miata was their site. Small world!
Click for ALL of this trip’s PHOTOS (18 total)