FORT CLINCH STATE PARK (FL)

Another Florida beach side campsite for us here at Fort Clinch State Park and another near freezing and windy visit. I know it's still January and we are on the Florida/Georgia border here, but come on, this is still the Sunshine State isn't it? Well, when I heard that Chicago's overnight low was -24°F and their daytime high was a mere -10°F, all of a sudden I feel like putting back on my shorts and t-shirt and taking that walk on the beach!



MONDAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #2 - STOP #7

Nothing out of the ordinary with today's travels except most of it was on Interstate Highways, mostly I-95 and I-295 to get around Jacksonville. We prefer less traveled and more scenic routes using state and county highways, but in this instance there just wasn't a convenient alternate route available.

With the government shutdown temporarily over and with the National Seashore and National Monuments reopening in Titusville and St. Augustine, I suspect we will be backtracking a bit to go visit and get the cancellation stamps needed for my National Parks Passport Book, I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before so I included a link.



TUESDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
321 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

Tricia will be working all day today and I'm caught up with my blog posts so today is going to be a solo road trip for yours truly. With the opening of the National Park system I've got some catching up to do with my Passport Book in hand. But first things first, I had to drive the 72 miles back south to St. Augustine. When Tricia and I visited St. Augustine a couple of years ago we took the Old Town Trolley Tour and one of the stops was at the San Sebastian Winery.

Tricia typically prefers white wine, but last time we were here we did the wine tasting tour and she found a red wine that she thoroughly enjoyed. So being the good husband that I am I stopped in and purchased two bottles of red wine for her and two bottles of Muscadine Grape Juice for myself. With the important stuff out of the way it's time for some sightseeing.

Next on the list is a visit to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument here in St. Augustine. Having visited this nearly 350 year old stone fort on previous trips, and being pressed for time today, I opted for a quick visit to the restrooms inside the fort and then a visit to the gift shop to get my passport book stamped. After all I only paid for 15 minutes of parking and I have several other places to go today.

Next up, climb the 219 stairs to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse, something I had not done on any previous trip. Located just on the other side of The Bridge of Lions is Anastasia Island with the lighthouse and museum. I took a quick look around and then began my climb to the top. This is the second tallest lighthouse I have ever climbed, only the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with 257 stairs is taller.

Next up is a visit to Fort Mantanzas National Monument which is located 15 south of Castillo de San Marcos, it guarded the inlet approach to St. Augustine. Once again this is a location I've visited on previous trips and decided to forego the free boat ride over to the actual fort, on the opposite bank of the river, and just visit the restroom and gift shop where I once again got my passport book stamped.

Last thing on my to do list for the day is to revisit the Canaveral National Seashore which is just over 75 miles south of here. Two reasons I decide to make the drive down here are to get my Passport Book stamped, and also to get a small sample of sand from the shoreline to add to our collection from all of the other National Seashores we have visited so far. By the end of this year we will have visited eight out of the ten National Seashores in the U.S., only the ones located in Texas and California will be left to visit.

With all that done there is only one thing left to do.
Drive the 155 miles back home to make dinner for my hard working wife!

Can anyone name the National Seashores in Texas and California?
(no Googling please, but the answers are located somewhere on this blog if you take time to look for them!)
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WEDNESDAY

WORK DAY FROM HOME
54 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

All day yesterday Tricia was struggling with getting solid cell phone reception so she could get her work done. So today we are going to drive down into Jacksonville, visit with our friends, use their strong home internet service to get some work done and then go out to dinner with them. After everyone was either home from school, or done with work for the day, we all piled into our cars and went out for dinner at Chowder Ted's.

It is a small little hole in the wall local pub with fresh seafood right on the river, just our kind of place! Most of the à la carte entrées were under $10 and all were delicious. We all had something different, I had a Blackened Crabcake, but we all were delighted with our meals. I'm sure they will be back, but we unfortunately will be moving on down the road.



Who will be the first to correctly guess our next location?
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