29 March 2015

Homestretch

On November 8th, 2014 ... I  S t o o d , sheltered and protected, in a small grove of tall, majestic Eastern White Pine.

I was just outside the front door of our house.

It was late in a Canadian Autumn ... I was understandably nervous.

 And ... I was alone.

A solitary snowflake floated innocently past my left eye. 

And ... I panicked!

I quickly shut that eye and stumbled (almost) blindly into the house. 
.
.
I re-emerged 12 hours later ... but, I was cautious!

Thankfully, LOAF was already fully serviced and outfitted. We left CANADA, early that morning. It was a clear day, we slowly worked our way south and we left that snowflake well behind us. We followed the suns' warmth and wandered, mostly in Florida, for the next 107 days.


 

Then, in late February 2015, we flew to MEXICO, hooked up with family and friends for a time ... we socialized, we dove and snorkelled with the fishes. It was all quite grand! We wandered around there for 24 more days, before boarding a return flight out of Cancun ... 


 


... to Orlando, FL and to the start of this adventures' final segment.

March 20 - 31, 2015 
ROUTE: Orlando Airport, FL > Wintergarden > Fernandina Beach > St. Marys, GA > Florence, SC > through North Carolina > Colonial Heights, VA > through West Virginia > Hazelton, PA > Watertown, NY, USA > Basecamp, CANADA

A chronological summary of what we've been up to for these final 12 days. The Florida stops on this route were spent servicing the camper (... a second fresh water pump in less than 1 year! and a HW tank burner tube reamed out - plugged with Mud Daubers, no tools on hand.) and spending time with family and friends. 


The trip is winding down now and we are both a bit eager to be home. It will be a slow journey north to Ontario. We will monitor weather windows over the next several days and select the best times and routes to follow. I imagine we'll see that snowflake or one of its' kin, once more, before this trip ends!

.
.

Crooked River State Park, St. Marys, GA
We spent several days here. This will definitely go on our list of favourite campgrounds. Large, private sites, well-treed, electric & water with a common dump site, bath-houses, some sites near a coastal waterfront, a nature centre, several hiking trails, birding, boat launches for water trails. 
CAUTION: Gnats and sand fleas could be a problem during damp, hot seasons ... we know this!


 

Wikipedia: St. Marys is the gateway to Cumberland Island National Seashore, the largest of the Georgia Coast's barrier islands. The National Seashore's visitor center and boat access are both located at the St. Marys waterfront. The city is also home to the annual St. Marys Rock Shrimp Festival, the St. Marys Submarine Museum, the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, and to eight Ohio-class submarines. St. Marys was made a United States port of entry by act of the U.S. Congress March 2, 1799.After the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves took effect in 1808, St. Marys became, along with Spanish Amelia Island , a center for smuggling, especially during the period between 1812-1819 when various rebel groups held Amelia Island.


Historic St. Marys ...







The Raisins (Old Folks, Olderlies, Seniors)
... are staying at Fernandina Beach, approximately 40 kms south of here but, that's close enough to drive for a FREE meal. Aren't they GREAT! Do you remember them? We did a post on them in Georgia in November 2014 ... this is, Georgia March 2015.

Notice the laughter, the 'shared' inside joke ... they think they've tricked us.

Helen prepared a very expensive meal of chicken and local grouper shish-ke-bob with fresh, exotic veggies on the skewer.

We convinced them this is dessert. They are eating 'day old, supermarket' bread with a 1/4" burned crust and an unbaked centre finished off with large dollops of salted butter. Yummm!

Raisins are very easy to fool please!

Vino blanco was involved.

I had a difficult time keeping the fire going, even fanning with the BIG hat. We bought a bag of damp red oak for $7 USD ... I have 6 full cord at home but that's not doing us any good here. The only dry kindling in the nearby forest is palm fronds and it's been raining a lot. I later gathered some drier evergreen cones that had enough pitch in them to actually produce some flame, just about dried the red oak and actually burn orange for a time.


The BIG hat & beanie: compliments of my buddy Cary.

TRAILS: River, Nature, Sempervirens, Palmetto, Nature Centre

There are several trails in this State Park and we walked five of them. None are particularily long or difficult. The terrain is mostly flat, with very little grade, some boardwalk and a bird viewing platform along the Nature Trail. Sections run next to the shoreline of the Crooked River with its' extensive, nearby salt marshes, in a dense hardwood forest that features large hickory, butternut, cherry and chapman oak. We stirred up a wild hog along the River Trail but only saw tracks and heard the ‘grunt-snort’. We caught, just a glimpse, of a shy Gopher Tortoise as it disappeared down its’ burrow, but later saw one along the Palmetto Trail. We identified: cardinal, bluebird, tufted titmouse, mockingbird, black vulture, nuthatch, pine & yellow-rumped warblers.










 

The Last 2021 kms
DAY(s) 139 - 143
We travelled interstate highways most of our way home. The high temperature was +22C when we left St. Marys, GA. It decreased slowly to a low of -6C in Hazelton, PA. I'm sure it will drop a little more before we reach home. We experienced clear, sunny days and cool, overcast days. We drove through light drizzle, heavy rain and light snow flurries south of the Virginia border.  The first accumulated snow we saw, was on the ground in northern PA ... just small, isolated patches. The camper was fully winterized by the time we reached Virginia and from then on we spent our nights in hotels. 

      LOAFs' Last Camp: Florence, SC 

Just two more driving days left, we should make Watertown, NY tomorrow and from there it's just a short drive home on Tuesday.

... oh, remember that snowflake I saw on November 8th? It and a bunch of it's buddies hung around to welcome us home!


Prior to this, our longest trip, duration-wise, had been in 2005 when we travelled around North America for 133 days (19 weeks). This then, is a new personal best for us ... we travelled for 143 days (20 weeks, 3 days) during this latest adventure. 

.
.

We won't be posting for awhile, unless something really exciting happens at Basecamp!  

Our house is for sale and that will be our priority over the next several months. We have a new bathroom renovation to complete, some final trimeout to finish up, some repair, stuff to sell/donate/throw away and give away. We'll be busy! All our tavel plans are on hold, for now ... until the house sells or we temporarily take it off the market later this year. We will keep the UPCOMING DESTINATIONS sidebar notes updated on the blog. Hopefully, some of those 'planned trips' will actually happen!! 

Crusty ...     Thanks for  the comments and for staying in touch!

1 comment:

  1. Ahh...working on the house. Something we (still) have to look forward to in a couple of months.

    ReplyDelete

Comments, suggestions, observations and even opinions are welcome ... please leave yours!
TEAM: LOAF, Crummy, Wry & Crusty