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50 States, Day 286

  Mims to St. Augustine, 102 miles
"Work like you don't need the money.  Love like you've never been hurt.  Dance like nobody's watching."
~Satchel Paige

We fiddled around in Florida once again, the weather clear and 75, the water blue and the grass green. Why would we rush this? Since we're living in the tent, warm weather makes all the difference. We met fine people again at the campground in Mims, and Dan the Bicycle Man inspired me. Dan is a 'work camper.' That is, he works at the KOA for a lower wage but gets free site and utilities. It works well for many retired people. Dan was an owner operator of a truck and didn't pay into Social Security. Now he's not getting much out of it. So at age seventy, he works. Instead of driving around the KOA in a golf cart, he rides a bicycle/trike. He stays in shape while he works. But what was remarkable about Dan was his attitude as he was a ray of sunshine around the campsites. He helped newcomers find their sites, so he's the KOA ambassador and makes them feel welcome. He lives in a 1984 converted International bus. What an inspiring guy, who keeps his chin up when things aren't really great.

We rode along more coastline today with a mixture of ocean views and towering condos. Saw a sign today at a lot for sale, $975,000. Ouch. Many of the joints are McMansions, while a few old timers hold out against the onslaught of excess.
St. Augustine happens to be one of the oldest settlements in the New World, suffering through fires, crop devouring freezes and warfare. The Spanish claimed it first, but struggled to hold it, first prevailing against the French, eventually losing it to the Brits who were intent on colonizing. Seems the Spanish pretty much came in anywhere and pillaged the gold and anything else they could get their hands on. We should know more tomorrow as we're touring St. A.

And now, sunny and cheerful, Quilter Girl!

The Spanish built forts along the coast of Florida to protect ships sailing back to Spain with gold taken from Mexico and other colonies in the new world.  Unfortunately for them, the French also had a fort, north of here near Jacksonville.  Neither country succeeded in establishing a lasting settlement but they did have some skirmishes between the forts.  We will tour Castillo San Marcos tomorrow which is a large fort in the middle of the town.  Today we stopped at Fort Matanzas, which was situated at the mouth of a river and gave the fort a great view of attacking ships coming toward St. Augustine.  Dinner was a quick one at Wendy's as we could walk there.  We weren't that hungry because we had a large snack of leftover Stromboli from a couple of days ago.  It was good but filling, so we had no desire to have a huge dinner.  This KOA is on Anastasia Island and has its own small lake in the middle.  We are a block off A1A and not too far from downtown St. Augustine.  There is a tour bus that we can take if we like.      


If you're wondering what we're reading, QG is reading romances by the dozen and I finished 'The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe' by Daniel Defoe. A classic, it was really intriguing. You can read my review of it at

Tomorrow, St. Augustine and some history. By the time this trip ends, we should get some sort of degree.


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