Life on the Open Road

Life on the Open Road

Monday, January 30, 2017

Revisiting St. Marys and Kingsland, GA

I went back to Georgia and walked around St. Marys again. The park by the water has improved signage I was very appreciative of! I read it and was so pleased they'd changed. Much better- kinder and more welcoming!

The old signs I'd seen earlier in 2016.

The new, much improved sign!

I also discovered another park down the road a bit, right across from the water. I hadn't visited it before. It's a short walk with information on the area throughout it. The history was interesting and this made for a nice stroll.

At the water, before crossing to the above park, there is a dock and large gazebo of sorts. I walked out to it and enjoyed the views, then noticed some tracks in the mud. 

Even though I recognized these tracks on my own, I so love when places have these signs up! I posted this on Instagram and someone asked me where the human prints were. I said humans make like Bigfoot and leave no trace, but we know they're there... 😉

I walked around the downtown area again as well. 

Still didn't actually go in here. It's a free radio museum. Maybe next time.

The lights throughout the downtown main road plus the park were really nice. I drove around to see them and some of the homes lit up. It's so great to see so many people out enjoying their town and the area. At night, there were a good number of people coming and going, playing, walking, talking, having a good time. 

I don't really have pictures from Kingsland. I did return so am mentioning it. At this point there are so many, this is perhaps for the better! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville, FL

One afternoon I decided to visit Kingsley Plantation. I'm glad I did!

This is a free National Park and a really nice location. I will note that if you have a large RV or trailer, it's best to leave it and get here in a smaller vehicle. You may even be able to take a boat... anyway I mention this because the drive to the site includes a couple miles of road that isn't really made for big rigs and the parking area is better for cars and bikes, too. I believe this is noted on the official website as well. 

At the plantation you can do an audio tour. I didn't opt for that, instead, I just walked around myself and read the info as I went. You know that moment when you feel someone near you? I looked up and saw three beautiful peacocks. (At this moment, I was inside of a building looking out the doorway.) 

 The old buildings were cool. One shared various history and had some of the rooms set up as they may have been, like the kitchen full of foods. The home has tours by reservation on weekends and this was a weekday so I only walked around it outside. 

There are turtles nesting on the grounds. There is a garden area where they grow indigo. That was neat to learn more about. The water is pretty and the cabins are very cool. I appreciate tabby like the sugar ruins I'd visited earlier in the year. It seems very strong and has character.

How the walls were done, plus parts of the cabins. 

A lot of physical labor went on here. Learning about the history of the Kingsley family was interesting and unique.

I arrived later in the day so had a shorter amount of time before it closed. It was enough and satisfying but I'd recommend at least two hours here. I'd probably also do the audio tour to learn more. It'd likely fill the place in with greater detail. I had been interested in visiting for a while and was so glad I decided to! Even though the miles weren't many, time-wise it was a bit of a drive so I'd kept putting it off. I would return for a longer visit and perhaps an event of some sort. There's also a trail there which could be neat to travel on.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Inspired Trekker- Back at it!

All right so the new site is still in the works. I've got all the posts over and have switched from both GoDaddy and Wordpress to Blogger and Google sites. This has all around been more to my liking thus far.

As I continue to learn how to create the site as I want it, I'll be back to posting and have got a bunch to share at this point. We'll see what rhythm develops. I will aim to be somewhat consistent without flooding any inboxes. New travel posts will resume tomorrow.

If you're new here, feel free to look around and subscribe to receive email updates,  if you'd like to. For those aready subscribed, thanks for following along!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Changing My Site 

It's been quiet here because I've decided to change my website from Wordpress to Blogger and I've learned that this is a process that may take more than doing the opposite does. I may need to go post by post with moving things over and with 120 posts and over 1,500 photos in my media library, I didn't want to add anymore posts in the meantime. If I'm unable to simply transfer my followers, I will be sure to send out an email with the new site where you can choose to subscribe again, if you'd like to. (I am keeping my domain, haven't decided about the email or if I'll change it, too.) 
I'm going to do my best to get everything up and running smoothly in a short amount of time. It was a good year to play around with Wordpress and I learned from it. I'm very excited to switch to Blogger again as I've used it before and really like it. It also is a popular choice with a bunch of other RVer blogs I follow.
That said, I hope the new year is going well for everyone. I've been spending a lot of time at the beach which has been a great start and I'm looking forward to sharing more in the near future! 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

More Amelia Island as I Return to Florida in Late 2016

As I approached Florida at the start of this Winter I began to recognize some of the places along the way. One was Tybee Island. That "beach in Florida" I couldn't remember the name of a the end of "After the Fact" was actually there! I'm pretty sure, or very close. I had forgotten a bit of where I'd been and what I'd done last Fall after Savannah and didn't place it until I was back. Anyhow I was very happy to find myself back at Amelia Island. The beach, the Harris Teeter, the downtown... the beach... :) 
Beach walking:
An awesome hawk experience that my cat and I both found entertaining for a while. It was digging in the grass and flying up and down. Very cool. 

I have learned that there is a new ordinance and parking during certain hours for anyone- even county residents- now is no longer allowed. It is enforced enough for me to say that unless you get a permit and drive onto the beach to camp, it's probably best to find a different place to spend the night. You can still camp on the beach. No vehicles can be in the parking lot overnight, though.
So I was in and out of the island at night, staying in Yulee and also back up to Georgia some. These are close and easy drives and I'll be sharing more in future posts. 
For now, I will say I enjoyed being back at one of my favorite places yet and walking the beach has been wonderful and pretty much a daily activity since. I love it.
Also cool was that I had said I wanted to drive through some holiday lights. I have really enjoyed them this season. So one night I was driving and decided to go to the downtown. Imagine my delight when I saw how it was all lit up! And I was driving right through it! Beautiful and lovely. I didn't get out to walk around(shops, restaurants- I have walked it before), I simply smiled and appreciated being there. 

I love Amelia Island. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Shopping at Costco as a Solo RVer in a Class B RV

I recently went to Costco. I thought I was going to fill my tank with gas and get a tub of cheese balls. Also on my list of possibilities was anything fresh that looked good, string cheese, and water.
I first forgot a cart but there were plenty by the registers to grab one inside. Then I slowly went through the aisles looking for cheese balls. If I saw something of interest, I put it in the cart to decide on later. 
I grabbed grassfed beef jerkey and a dried fruit and nut variety platter on a nice wooden cutting board. I like to eat a range of food so a huge bag of any one thing is generally not my preference, if for no reason other than I can't finish it alone before it turns. 
Next I had some dried blueberries. They eventually went back. I had 5 pounds of grapefruit, a tub of hummus, and 2 pounds of fresh french green beans. They went back. 
The string cheese included 48, not the 24 I was thinking. Way too many for my fridge to fit if I also want other food in there and I do. 
I took the 40 pack of water bottles to try, the idea being that I can freeze some, fridge it(I keep water in my cabinet, not my fridge), and it was cheaper per gallon price. Worth a try as I know I can refill or buy a new jug anytime. I got Kirkland mineral water as I've been enjoying the Pure Baby water with minerals lately. 
I also got a mango juice. I like it and was in the mood once I saw it, also figuring it would freeze and make a tasty dessert of sorts. 
When I put the big hummus back, I noticed the package of single serves including 20 of them. It costs more yet is better because I can eat them over time so I took one.
A couple of meals lately. The small hummus is a good size for a serving and the Veggie Straws are light, tasty, and satisfying. The cheese slices are good, too! The chips pictured are Crunchmaster, also sold at Costco and delicious! I still had some so didn't buy more. They've a favorite.
This store did not carry cheese balls. Instead, I got a big bag of Veggie Straws which now includes sweet potato straws! And I got 2 pounds of four cheeses, pre-sliced and ready to eat. Again, I like variety and it seemed like something I'd enjoy. 
As I walked through the store, I thought of what good prices many things were and then how much I'd be throwing away both of money and food because it would simply be more than I could consume. I'll also point out that storage is something to consider! The frozen aisle? Maybe the smallest product they sell there could fit in my freezer, otherwise there was no way! 
So, here are a few things I took away from this experience. 
My tips for what to get:
1. Anything you know you love and will eat and can fit. 
2. Get the singles in bulk if you can fit them because it will last longer and may still be a better deal over time, especially if they can be stored in varuous places(often better than one large item.) 
3. The water is cheaper than buying new jugs but more than refilling if you go for gallons. I paid $2.99 for 5.28g of water in the bottles whereas it was about 75 cents a gallon for the jugs. The jugs were sold as a 6 pack though- where would I put those?!
4. Plan to eat on the way out. I tried the pizza this time and it was tasty. 
5. Check that it is a gas station Costco first. I thought it was and this location was not. The gas stations usually have a lower price and a higher quality fuel. 
I do think shopping at Costco can still be useful as an RVer, it's just a matter of what works best for you. I was given a giftcard and don't currently have a membership. Depending on what you shop for and your eating habits, plus if you are near the ones with gas stations often, it could be a good deal to have a membership. For now, I appreciate the chance to try it and see how often I'm near a Costco to decide if it would be worth it to join. I travel solo, however, I do think that if a meet up were planned and a Costco nearby, it'd be worth seeing if folks wanted to go in on the bigger items and split them. For example, the paper towels are awesome! One roll lasts me a long time and the package is around 15 rolls which would likely last me over a year. Buying together and splitting would be worth it. 
Anyhow for this trip, I got 7 items. 
Dried fruits and nuts- lots, variety, and easy to store. The jerky is really good as are the Veggie Straws. They sell them in individual bags, too. My preference this time was one big bag as the little ones would actually be more work for me to store in my space.
What I bought:
1 package 40 water bottles
1 package grassfed beef jerkey 
1 cheese variety pack 
1 mango juice
1 dried fruit and nut on a cutting board tray
1 bag of Veggie Straws 
1 package of single hummus
And a slice of combo pizza on my way out. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Solo Birthday on the Road 

Last year I spent my birthday in Savannah, GA. This year I was newly back in Florida and decided to see what was in the Jacksonville area. I had visited earlier in the year and am glad that I returned, better prepared with a bit of planning and looking into things beforehand, because I had a much better visit! An interesting thing I noted is that, when you live so freely and are aware of this, any and every day can have that awesomeness of a birthday. It really wasn't all that different than my normal and I like that! I wrote the following the night of my birthday, after a full day: 
I really like being alone. I really like new experiences. I really like nature and I love cats including big cats. So today for my birthday, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do things I'd enjoy as well. 
I'm so glad I use TripAdvisor now because it really helps me get a feel for a place and the info I'm looking for about a place. For example, can I easily park there? 
To start, I had a nice hot shower in the RV and put some gas in the tank just to be sure I had a good amount in case I changed my plans at all. 

I went to Dennys for a free grand slam on my birthday. I don't know if I'd ever eaten there before and can say the food was really good, filling, and I ate it all. 
Next I went to the Jacksonville Arboretum. I walked some trails, took pictures, and made a phone call once I was back in the RV. I also bought a ticket online and looked up a library to print it at. 
This is a nice arboretum with easy to more moderate trails. It was a pleasant few hours.
Conveniently, the library was very nearby. I went to the desk to ask about printing, having noted that online suggested you needed a library card for it. My library card is for Bushnell and Sumter County which is not Duvall County, where I was. So I said I bought a ticket to see the big cats, to tour the sanctuary and watch the feeding. The woman looked baffled and thought I'd been ripped off. She was unfamiliar with this place and was thinking I had paid to see someone feed domestic cats... this was a bit comedic. I showed her the eticket and the man next to her who also worked there mentioned something about the zoo and it being free... anyhow, when I explained it was big cats- lions, tigers, etc. she got it. She said they normally charge $2 for a day pass but she used her personal card for me instead which gave me 45 minutes of internet. I needed to use a special login because I didn't remember my password, given that I mostly use my phone which is already synced. So I asked her how we'd know if it worked to print and she walked me over to the machine to click on my doc to print. It's interesting how the different libraries are set up. In Bushnell, for example, I need to ask them to print it for me and pay them there. This has a different system and the woman had put .25 onto the card for the .10 copy for me. She said it was for giving me a hard time, thinking I'd been had. lol. I asked if I should log out and she said I could keep using the computer if I wanted to and I said I was set and thank you. Off I went. 

To Dennys again. A different one. Same meal but different because you can choose different options. Again, really good, and I ate it all. I do tip, just the meal itself is covered(you'd pay for extras) and this time she didn't ask me for ID. The first place did. 
This was perfect timing to drive to the cat sanctuary. I got there around when they opened and was told to join the tour that had just started, so I did. I'm glad. That worked well. Then I went back to check my cat and spoke with a volunteer a bit. Next I watched the video I'd missed at the beginning. A volunteer offered to put it on again when I inquired since I missed it. (The gate opens at 6 and I got there just after so I'm not sure how it opens and all starts at the same time since people need to be able to get in...) After that I walked to the back to where the feeding started.
There are various big cats and some other animals living here. As I mention, some areas were better lit and so I'm just sharing pictures that you can see well.
It was dark at some areas but overall still cool to watch and hear the cats eating. They are fed raw food and it was cool. I mentioned to one volunteer that I raw feed my cat too. She doesn't eat the bones though. She did try a bit as a kitten and now I use a premix that has eggshell instead. The balance is good for them- it isn't just raw meat. These cats are also fed vitamins and organs and such mixed in. They are given mostly chicken and some beef. 
After this I texted some folks some videos and pictures and headed back North a bit for the night. This was a very different kind of birthday for me and I enjoy that. I like mixing it up.