Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunrise Was a Bust

Flagler Beach, Florida

Well, we got up at 6ish to be out the door by about 7:20 to catch the sunrise.  It wasn’t looking good because it was raining!  We went anyway because the other day when it was drizzling a little, we got some nice photos and it turned out to be a very nice morning.

We weren’t so lucky this morning. It was pretty windy and the rain didn’t let up.  The ocean was ugly and of course no hint of the sun.

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The die-hard fishermen were there though.  Notice the  red gale force wind warning flag?

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We decided to hang around the campground today and do a few chores and a little laundry.  It was time to wash the blankets, and mattress pad, so we went over to the campground laundry mat. It’s much easier than trying to stuff the big things into our little machine.  Al had some caulking he needed to do around the shower, so he worked on that.

Yesterday, I got an email from a woman named Sharon.  She found my blog from Facebook.  I’m not real sure how, but she was wondering if we were staying in the same campground as they are.  It turned out we are, and that they are actually right behind us the next row over.  They have been staying in this area every winter for many years and are very familiar with the area.    We went over and visited with Sharon and Dick and their cute little dog Baby.  They are from New York.  Sharon is a kayaker and gave us some good info on where to go around here.  Rv’ers are such nice people!  We only had time for a short visit with them, but I’m sure we’ll get together with them again.

I also wanted to post some pictures of the campground we’re staying.   It’s called Bulow Rv Resort.  It’s one of the “Max Pass” campgrounds we have access to through our Thousand Trails membership.  Our two week stay here cost a whopping $42. 

The campground has been around awhile.   No concrete pads  (or very few) or paved roads.  There are a lot of sites which have only 3o amp and many without sewer.  What is  especially nice about it, is there are beautiful Live Oak trees all around.  It’s a gorgeous piece of property.  I’m not sure how much land is part of the campground, but it’s quite a lot.  It’s just so beautiful with all the Live Oaks all draped with Spanish Moss.

There are nice sandy roads that make wonderful hiking trails.  However, there is just one problem with that.  It seems they use these trails to dispose of all the “yard” waste from around the campground.  There are big piles of palm fronds and tree branches.  That was always a big problem around our Georgia house and we certainly understand how difficult it is to dispose of this stuff…but it sure made the beautiful trails look trashy.

Here is a view coming in. to the campground.  Last night we saw 6-7 deer cross the road. We’re going to watch for them tonight with camera in hand.

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The old office building is in bad shape and in dire need of a new roof.  The first time I saw it, I thought it was decorated for Halloween. 

Bulow Plantation Rv Resort old office building

There is another newer office building. 

The sites are plenty large and easy to get into.  It’s definitely big rig friendly.

Bulow Plantation Rv Resort

Here is our campsite and the ‘big guy” parked nicely by himself.  The campground is starting to fill up and soon sites will be pretty hard to come by, I imagine.  I think a lot of people use it as a stopping off point for points further south, but obviously many people winter here.    It’s a great location and so much to do in the area.  It’s only a few miles from I-95.

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Our view from our front window. We like seeing trees instead of rv’s.

Bulow Plantation Rv resort

Bulow Plantation Rv resort

Bulow Plantation Rv Resort

Some canals around the campground.

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The pool.

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The laundry room is nice, and cheap! 

Bulow Plantation Rv Resort  $1.25/1.00

What we like best about the campground, is the location.  We’re between Daytona Beach and St Augustine, and Jacksonville is right up the road.  Everything is convenient with the interstate right here.  Highway A1A gives you a beautiful beach drive to go north or south.  Flagler county doesn’t allow building on the beach so you can actually see water from the road!  It’s a nice change!

So as I sit here posting the blog, Al is in his recliner facing towards the front window.  He sees this woman in the field in front of us.  She is lining up about 6 golf balls and she proceeds to hit one….right towards our coach!   Al was so shocked he could barely speak.  He said she appeared to looking right at him when she hit the ball and was surprised it headed our way.  He  didn’t think she was going to hit any more balls, but I decided to go outside and make sure.  I picked up he ball she had just hit and it was only about 8-10 feet in front of our coach.  Yikes…she really did hit it close to us!   I picked it up and handed it to her.  She said,  “ I  think I need to go someplace else.”  I said, yeah, I think that’s a good idea!   We couldn’t believe she laid out six golf balls and was going to hit them right in our direction.  Did she not see us?    We are the only rv there.  She could have hit them the other direction and had 200 yards.   I don’t know what she was thinking but she appeared to be a bit surprised our coach was right there!  Thank goodness she didn’t hit us. 

Well, thanks to Rick and Paulette, we’re having lasagna for dinner tonight.  Rick posted a picture of a delicious lasagna dinner Paulette made the other night and I’ve been hungry for one ever since.  I hope it turns out good!  You never know with my cooking skills!

Daytona to Tomoka State Park

Flagler Beach, Florida

We’ve been busy exploring the area.  On Saturday we headed south to Daytona.  

Some parts of Daytona Beach reminded me of the old beach movies of the 60’s.  There was even a carnival on the beach.  It was kind of an interesting town.  We normally don’t like beach tourist towns, but this one was kind of different.  We may go back and walk around a little.

Ferris Wheel on Daytona Beach

Lots of little shops for the bikers during bike week. It gets pretty crazy here during bike week.  It’s sometime the end of February or early March, I think.

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Daytona is one of the few beaches where you can actually drive your car right on the beach.  They charge $5 a vehicle.  We didn’t drive on the beach on Saturday…it was just too crowded.  It might be a fun thing to do one day.

We drove right by the Daytona speedway.    There were a lot of Rv’s in the parking lot.  I think it was some kind of rv show, but we didn’t stop.

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We visited Tomoka  State Park in Ormand Beach.  It was a nice park, but not big rig friendly.  The largest rig they can handle is 34 feet.

The campground road was a bit windy and narrow.

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It was pretty full.

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Lots of privacy between sites, but they were just too small for a big rig.

There was a nice paddling trail for kayaks and canoes.

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The main campground road was very pretty.

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There was some ruins from an old sugar mill.

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The weather a little cloudy but I don’t think we ever actually got any rain.  It was nice and cool, so we enjoyed it.  It was a long summer.

We stopped at Bulow Creek State Park and took some pictures of the Fairfield Oak.  It was quite a beautiful tree…thought to be between 300-500 years old. 

Al is standing under the tree.  Can you see him?

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Little Surfer Dude

Flagler Beach, Florida

It was raining when we left home this morning, but we still managed to head out the door by about 7:15  am for sunrise at the beach.  It is becoming a very nice habit.  It will be more difficult once the time changes on November 6th.

We didn’t expect to see the sun since it was cloudy, and we were right.   It was still a wonderful way to start the day.   The rain was light and would stop and start.  It never rained hard enough that I had to put my camera away.

We went to our usual spot on Flagler Beach by the pier.  We never saw the sun, but there was a man and his young child getting ready to go surfing.  This was a very little kid.

surfer dudes

We’re actually not sure if it boy or girl, but we assumed it was a boy.  He/she had shoulder length hair, but then so did the dad.

Anyway, it was quite cute to watch how the dad was helping his child surf.   After watching awhile, it was apparent the kid had been surfing before.  He was pretty good.

The water is very shallow as far as the end of the pier.  Dad would stand up and help the kid catch a wave.  The kid would surf into shore and dad would body surf in and go help the kid paddle back out.  He never let him get too far away for very long.  He was a good dad. 

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He looks bigger on the surfboard, but it is the same little kid.

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We took a long walk on the beach and picked up our share of trash.  Balloons are a real problem for marine life and we picked up a dozen deflated balloons with strings.  They were wrapped up with the Sargasso grass which was washing up on the beach. 

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Afterwards we  took a drive down highway A1A.  Flagler County sure does it right.  You can actually drive by the beach and see the ocean. 

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There are no high rise buildings. We didn’t see any buildings higher than 2 floors.  The shops are mostly just little mom and pop places.  A very nice change from the high rise  condo’s and hotels along the Gulf coast of Florida…and for that matter, most of Florida.  There is really a lot of undeveloped beach property in this area.  It’s a great part of Florida.

We did a little sightseeing along the way.  I thought this old tree looked like a scary Halloween  scene.

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We visited Washington Oaks State Park.  No camping or kayak launch but there was a real nice kayaking place on the inter-coastal waterway side of the park.  We saw tons of dolphin swimming there.  On the other side of the road, was the beach, with high dunes and a nice beach access.

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Miles of deserted beaches.

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Lots of nice vacant ocean front property…and all owned by the state of Florida!

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I thought the next picture turned out very pretty.

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Notice the cinnamon colored sand?  It’s quite a contrast from the sugar white sand in the panhandle and the southern gulf coast. 

I promised to post some pictures of the other beach campground we found the other day.  Here they are.

Gamble Rogers State Park  is in Flagler Beach, between the Atlantic and the inter-coastal waterway…on both sides of Highway A1A.

They have 34 campsites on the beach.  The ranger said there were only 3 sites that would accommodate a 40 footer.  Maybe you could squeeze into a few other sites, but getting in and out could be a bit tricky for a large rig. 

The ocean front sites are showing on the left and ocean view on the right.  The price is the same.  The first site on the left is the camphost.  They have a 40 foot motorhome.  You can see it fit just fine.IMG_6257

Many of the campsites on the water had vegetation in front blocking some view of the ocean.

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The sites were plenty wide.

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This is what your view from your window might look like.

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Campsites are $28 a night, plus tax.  No sewer hook-ups.  There were a few 40 footers in there, but per the ranger only 3 sites would accommodate a 40 footer.  I think you could get into a few others as well.  It was difficult to check the sites out because most were occupied.

On the other side of the highway was the recreational part of the park.  It had a nice boat launch and kayak and canoe rental.

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This area is on the inter-coastal waterway.  It’s much calmer and better for kayaking.

The beach side has a nice access ramp (down the dunes) to the beach.

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During the winter months from November through March you might see a migrating Right Whale.

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They can be up to 55 feet long and weigh 55 tons.  Think of seeing a large motorhome swimming in the water!  They are even larger!  They are extremely endangered and it’s there are only between 350-500 left in the world.  Very sad.  We’ve been watching for them, even though they normally don’t get to this area until December.  You never know.

 

 

Here is a picture I took while we were kayaking yesterday.  That guy on the right is Al.

 

Kayaker enjoys amazingly close encounter with humpback whales

 

Just kidding

I borrowed this from the internet.  Those are humpback whales.  Amazing, huh?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beverly Beach Camptown Rv Resort

Flagler Beach, Florida

No, our campground is not beach front.  We are in the “cheap seats” and about 7 miles from the beach. 

I’ll post some pictures of our campground in the next few days.  It’s nothing special, but the location is perfect for exploring this area.  We are north of Daytona  and south of Jacksonville.  There is a lot to do here and I’m sure we’ll be back very soon. 

We’re close enough to get to the beach and watch the sun rise over the Atlantic without having to get up earlier than normal!  That is until the time change!

We enjoyed watching the sun rise yesterday so much that we decided we’d try to do it every day. 

Every sunset and sunrise over the ocean is different.  Today, the clouds formed right down to the ocean and you could not see the big orange ball coming up over the water. 

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You could see the sun once it rose over the cloud layer.

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The surfers and fishermen were already there by the time we arrived.

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The man that runs the pier told us he opens at 6 am and the fishermen are lined up waiting for him.  There is no fishing license required on the pier.  It cost $1.50 to walk on and I think it said $3.00 to fish.

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It’s truly a magical time of the day. 

 

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Notice the shrimper in the background?

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As the sun rose,  we noticed something coming up the beach.

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Can you see it?

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There it is.

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It’s an ultra lite “trike”IMG_6484l

How cool would it be to be up there flying along the coast as the sun was rising?

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We noticed there are two people in it. 

Hummmm…maybe they take people up with them?  I did a quick Google search and found a local airport where I think they have instructors.  We may check them out and see if we can fly with them.  Of course that is if they aren’t too expensive.  I could really get some great pictures from that vantage point, couldn’t I?

Al and I almost bought a similar ultra-lite powered parachute, a few years ago.  We finally decided it wasn’t in the budget.  At least Al did, I didn’t care…I really wanted one.   You can see who won that battle, can’t you?

 

On our exploration drive yesterday,we discovered two beach front campgrounds nearby.  One is a state park.  I’ll post pictures of that one in the next day or two.  It was pretty nice, but the sites were a bit short and not suited well for a big rig. 

The one we really like is called Beverly Beach Camptown Rv Resort.  This place is wonderful! 

The sites are plenty long enough and pretty wide considering you have oceanfront camping.  There is no  privacy between sites but who cares!

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It’s in Beverly Beach, which is 20 miles south of St Augustine and 20 miles north of Daytona Beach.  It’s the perfect location for anyone coming either to race week or bike week.

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Their rates are always pretty high, but they are even higher during race or bike week.  You can expect to pay $130 per night!   I imagine they are completely booked during those weeks.

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Most motorhomes park facing in because you want that beautiful view from your front window.  It was a bit cloudy when we took these pictures.  I’ll take more on a sunnier day.

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The hookups pedestals are between 2 sites, and closest to the ocean.  They are situated perfectly if you back up, but not so much if you pull in forward.

If you are to the right of the pedestal, you are the closest to your hook-ups if you pull in forward.  Plan on bringing extra hoses and power cords.  The sites are full hook-ups…sewer included and they offer free wifi.  Satellite would be no problem.

There is no pool, shuffleboard or horseshoes, like most Florida snowbird campgrounds.

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There are ocean front (OF) sites for $75 a night ($85  Feb thru April) and excluding bike, race or holiday weeks.

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The restrooms were nice and clean.

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There are ocean view (OV) sites for between $60 to 80 per night.  They are on the opposite of the campground road.

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Of course your “ocean view” may be obstructed if a big rig is parked between you and the view!

There are also tent sites for $40 in a separate tent area…not ocean front.

Their monthly rates are between $1300 and $1400 for ocean front sites. 

There is also another section of the campground on the other side of the highway called Campers Village.  The rates are between $50 and $65 a night.  We didn’t even bother going there.  In our opinion if you’re going to pay that much you need to be ocean front.

It really is a very nice beach campground, and the nicest we’ve seen.  The main road is plenty wide enough to maneuver a large rig and the sites have million dollar (literally) views.  This ocean front property sells for millions for even a small lot!

We would sure like to stay on the beach a few days before we head back to Tampa.  The budget can’t take more than that though!  It will depend on the weather and how much money we spend while we’re here.   I would not want to stay there in the winter months.  That wind blowing off the ocean can be very strong and cold.  We nearly froze walking on the beach in Vero Beach last spring. 

We are going to hang around home today and maybe even try to wash the coach.  We didn’t get all the gunk off the roof and it made a mess down the side that we just cleaned!   Our neighbors left this morning, so we have  plenty of room.