Saying Good-bye to Florida

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I forgot to mention in our last entry about our breakfast with our old neighbors from Minnesota.  Clyde and Mary lived next to us in Jordan for many years.  When we sold our house they started talking about buying a 5th wheel and working out of state while living in it (they are a few years younger than us).  About three months after we left they had a 5th wheel in their driveway and have been working in North Dakota during the warmer months.  They still have their home in MN but live almost full-time in their 5th wheel.  They are spending the winter months in Texas but road their Harley to Florida for a week.  We caught up with them the last day before they headed back to Texas and had a terrific visit.  It was so great to hear about their working experience.  They both love the RV life so much that we can’t believe they still have a stick house.  We’re guessing it won’t be long before they sell their house and become true full-timers.

 So our next stop was not far down the road from the lovely county park to an RV Park close to The Villages so we could catch up with a fellow Toro retiree.  Les retired from Toro in 1994 and he and his wife, Mary, moved to Florida in The Villages some years ago.  Mary and Les showed us around the community of about 90,000 residents over the age of 55.  It was huge!  I could try to remember all of the statistic about the area but I know I won’t get it all correct.  To say it was huge is really an understatement.  Golf course after golf course, restaurants, shops, recreation centers, doctor clinics and golf carts.  Everyone and I do mean everyone had a golf cart.  It was something to see.  It is an amazing place.   Mary and Les drove us around trying to show us as much as they could.  One of our stops was at Brownwood, a western community that was so cute.  They had beautiful bronze statues of a cowboy herding his cattle at the entrance to the community.  It reminded us of our western travels.  They were beautiful pieces of art.  We finished our day with a dinner at a nice restaurant and had to say our good-byes.  It had been almost twenty years since Joe and Les worked together so they had a lot of catching up to do.

Golf Carts in Town Brownwood Center Bronze statues of a cowboy  More bronze statues  Movie Theater at Brownwood Water Tower at Brownwood

Moving a little farther north we landed in St. Augustine, FL.  We could only get three nights in the RV Park because the Daytona 500 was on the weekend and everything around was booked.   We bought a three day sightseeing tour ticket for St. Augustine and a shuttle bus picked us up right in front of the office of the campground and took us in to St. Augustine about 10 miles away.  There we could get on and off a trolley that made 21 different stops at points of interest.  There was a trolley stopping at each of the 21 stops every 15 minutes so you never had to wait long if you got off to check something out or just walk around the area.  We enjoyed two days of sightseeing by using the trolleys and walking.  Of course you could purchase tours for some of the places the trolley stopped but we decided to do just the free things and walk as much as possible.  We did get in free because of our Golden Pass to Castillo de San Marco an old fort that is a National Monument.  It was built in the 1500 and very fascinating.  We also visited the Mission of Nombre de Dios and the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche.  We poked our noses inside Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church which was absolutely beautiful on the outside and cold and bare on the inside and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, which was beautiful on the inside and not much to look at from the outside.  We walked through St. George Street several times, which was a walking street several blocks long with shops and restaurants.  This is where I had my cockroach lunch (not good to be serve a sandwich and chips and a cockroach runs out from under a chip).   It was a fun area to explore.

Top Fort view of bay  One tower top fort Cannons Cannons Entering Fort Outside Fort  

Nombre de Dios Ripley's believe it or not Alcazar Hotel Villa Zoranyda Museum Our Lady of La Leche Shrine Flager Memoral Church 

Flagler College was built as a hotel This area is so full of history that we would love to return some day and do a little more exploring.  It is a college city with the beautiful Flagler College in the center.  Flagler College was built as a hotel in the late 1800s and turned into a college sometime in the mid-1900s.  We walked through the campus and the buildings were amazing.

In our last few hours at St. Augustine we took a shuttle to St. Augustine Beach.  Our driver dropped us off at a beach and we walked for an hour on the shoreline and then picked up our shuttle to be taken back into St. Augustine so we could catch another shuttle back to the RV Park.   We had two full days of sightseeing for only $35 each and we never moved our truck for the days we were in the park.  Money well spent.

After spending 4 months in Florida we are saying good-bye for tomorrow we will be in Georgia.  There were so many things we enjoyed about Florida but of course there are always things we could do without.  We loved the large oak and palm trees, the beautiful birds, the gulf and the ocean, the weather and Joe loved the alligators.  We didn’t like all the bugs, the humidity, the snakes (although we only saw one) and the flatness of the land.  Florida has been good to us.  We never had bad weather, we met some wonderful people, stayed at some fabulous parks, saw some amazing things and we watched our daughter get married on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches.   We also had to say good-bye to our loving dog, Ivy in Florida.   We have many memories from this state and maybe someday we will return but for now —-

Today Florida – tomorrow Georgia!

Live a good life and in the end it’s not the years in a life it’s the life in the years.

Stay safe!