Monday, September 27, 2021

Fall Foliage Road Trip Day 1: Bye-Bye Florida, Hello, Georgia


Jacksonville Florida's cable-stayed Dames Point Bridge towers over the St. John's river at 175 feet high
We've crossed
under that bridge quite a few times—in our sailboat.

Today's goal: hit the road at 8 am, book a ferry in St. Mary's to Cumberland Island National Seashore for tomorrow, and see with the parks office to see if any campsites opened up. 

Bye-bye Florida, we're northbound at last.

We stopped off at Fernandina Beach seashore along the way to stretch our legs. Then we stopped at Eagan's Creek Park to enjoy a close-up view of the vivid green verdant low country.  Wayne spotted a 'gator; got a photo but with its back to us, not that interesting a shot. I'll post it anyway if anyone's interested; let me know.

Crossed the border into Georgia. We'll see if we can find a farmer's stand with Georgia peaches.

No luck on a Cumberland campsite, but tomorrow's ferry's booked. We'll get in a good day hike tomorrow, heading out on the first ferry of the day, and leaving on the last.

Let the adventures begin!

Location Location
We're at Kingston, Georgia tonight and tomorrow night, as it's the town next to St. Mary's, where the ferry to Cumberland Island Seashore picks up and drops off Cumberland Island visitors.

Saturday, September 25, 2021


Photo by Vladimir Tomić on Unsplash

Tomorrow we vacate the house-sit where we've been since mid-July. We're so grateful to Julene for trusting us with her home and her adorable kitty, Shiva, who we fell in love with during our time with her.

Monday morning bright and early, we're hitting the road, northbound for fall foliage, not returning to Fort Pierce Florida until November 1st (unless we decide to come back earlier).

We're stoked; our timing for this trip is right on target, according to this cool interactive leaf guide, updated annually.

Wayne's agreed to my request to do exactly what the dog in the image above is doing—jump into a big pile of fall leaves. I will post that when we do, and more.

For those of you who already offered what-to-do and where-to-go suggestions, thank you! We are still flexible in our plans, so if anyone else has any must-see stop recommendations between Georgia and Niagara Falls for a couple of outdoor lovers, please share.

More soon! We invite you to travel with us vicariously as we drive, hike, backpack, camp, and in general, explore the US East in its autumn finery, visiting friends and family along the way. 

Happy fall!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Another Little Miracle of Kindness from a Stranger

Shiva kitty climbing Julene's lanai screen.
Shiva's an agile climber, she can make it up to the ceiling with ease.
It would be an understatement to say we've been lucky. We were wondering what to do when our boat sold when our friend Julene at Sunnier Palms offered up her place while she was going traveling for a couple of months. All we had to do was hang out in our favorite place, feed and love up Julene's adorable kitten Shiva, and if a hurricane came make sure everything was as tucked away as possible.

Amazingly, when you open the lanai door
Shiva will poke her head into opening
to greet you, but make no attempt to bolt.
Julene took Shiva in as a stray. When we came to house-sit, Shiva was thirteen weeks old. Now, at over five months old, she's had her first heat; we'd consider her a cat, though still adorable. We asked the vet if Shiva would still be able to climb the lanai screens if she got her toenails trimmed. Yep, they said with conviction, giving me the sense that lanai climbing kitties are not at all unique to the area.

This is what we're hoping to find on our road trip starting in a little over a week.
Photo credit: Taryn Elliot from Pexels pexels-taryn-elliott-5182568.jpeg
Next week Julene returns and we plan to head north for a month, chasing the fall foliage along the east coast.  We're pretty psyched about the trip; we expect to see the foliage in peak season according to this interactive fall foliage map link sent to us from our friend Jay via Facebook.

But with our boat sold, what were we going to do after that? We have an offer in on a place at Sunnier, but it won't be available until December, if not later. Folks at Sunnier suggested we ask "Farmer Rick" about borrowing his RV. His RV was stored in Sunnier's storage yard.

Home as of November. Our road trip in October will be by car, not RV.
We've never met Rick, but with his permission, Sunnier management gave us his phone number. We called. "Sure," he said, "You're welcome to borrow my RV.

We'll find a way to make it up to you, we promised.

 Don't worry about it, he told us, saying he looked forward to meeting us once he made the trek down from his farm in Vermont.

Power cord for Rick's RV. Since fixed, courtesy's Wayne's electrical skills.
Rick's RV sat for two years unused in Sunnier's storage area. The solar charger for it got disconnected, leaving it with a dead battery. Yup, we're on our way for finding ways to make Rick glad he loaned us his RV, which is quite nice and roomy, with lots of storage. We're already setting Rick's trailer up so that when Julene returns all our stuff will be out and her place will feel like home to her again.

Sunrise seen from Julene's front yard. Home sweet home . . . for one more week.
We hope Julene won't be too horrified at the changes while Shiva was under our care. We believe Shiva's mohawk with chartreuse and fuschia dye looks quite fetching on her. Okay, maybe we didn't play hairdresser with Shiva, and we swear we didn't teach her to climb the lanai screens and even broke her of the habit of getting on kitchen countertops. However, we are guilty of her new love affair with ice cubes (which she plans to take to the next level by requesting tuna daiquiris for breakfast), and her field hockey talent, honed by playing with bottle caps. 
Shiva still bites, but much less often and much more gently.
Julene could relate to this, and so can we.
"Couldn't she learn some kind of a non-kill game?" Wayne asked. "How about a nice game of chess?" he added, channeling War Games.

All kidding aside, we're really gonna miss Shiva. We kinda fell in love with her.
When we return to Sunnier, we'll be in lot 51 (which we plan to rename Area 51), which we figure means more miracles may happen, this time, perhaps from aliens. Like Shiva, we're counting on them being friendly.

Is this what will happen to our campsite in Area 51, Sunnier Palms, Fort Pierce, Florida?
Photo credit F. Delventhal,
Meanwhile, the other night (September 15th), our neighbors at Sunnier flagged us down to see the SpaceX Inspiration 4 launch take off and watch the first stage rocket separation. 
SpaceX Inspiration 4 rocket with four civilian passengers.
Photo credit John Karuas.
I can't claim my fall foliage photos will be as spectacular as John Karuas' SpaceX photos, but I'm betting if you watch this space for future posts. we'll find something pretty enough to make it worth your while

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Limbo Isn't Too Bad

Kayaking: a 1-minute video of a nearby creek
teeming with wildlife.
Working on our "what next"—which is still unresolved—doesn't keep us from enjoying where we are. Currently, that's still housesitting in Fort Pierce, Florida. Since my only boat is now a kayak, please join me for a virtual spin (watch the video) on the nearest kayak-able waterway, 10 Mile Creek Preserve.

Oaks, palms, mangroves . . . there was a terrific variety of trees and shrubs in such a short stretch.

The launch was free with a short carry and an easy take-off.

These sculptural oak limbs offer a home for ferns and orchids.

Ten Mile Creek Preserve is a branch of the St. Lucie River waterway. There's little current and enough shelter that there's little wind, making for an easy paddle. The water's so calm you're dissecting a mirror of the sky view as you glide along.

There were some hints that fall is fast approaching—besides a later sunrise and earlier sunset. I teased Wayne, Mr. Not-an-earlyriser the other day because he couldn't understand how he got up before sunrise. 

"What's going on?" he asked.

Fall, I told him.

Swamp apples fading to black with autumn leaves starting.

Where there are oaks, there are acorns.

More fall color.

As for the wildlife . . . (if you haven't already) watch the video! It's less than a minute long.

My kayaking tour guide buddy, Tom with Go Kayaking Tours would be proud of me. I deliberately slowed down and got quiet to see what I could see.

Spoiler alert! While I didn't see any 'gators, I saw the mudslides and matted vegetation they leave in their wake and heard their grunts. Those alligator grunts weren't as scary as the ones in this Everglades recording from the National Park Service. If that doesn't make chills run up your spine, I'm not sure what will!

I plowed through the first band of these plants that grew all the way across the creek
but turned around when I hit the second.

Coming soon: what a bioluminescent kayak is like.

Shiva, from her hiding place behind the couch;
our wildlife back at the ranch, chez Julene's.