Life on the Open Road

Life on the Open Road
Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Awesome Expectations

I had a really cool realization this evening after an experience on the beach. I have fun, interesting, new rendezvous every time I go out. The same way I have the expectation of meeting friendly people everywhere, I have the expectation of these exciting experiences. I adore the variety, diversity and range of them. I love the brief conversations or moments with animals or whatever it may be. This week alone, I’ve had several and it has me wanting to venture out even more often because it is so fun and satisfying. I love time and physical space to myself and I love connecting with others. I love being awake and I love being asleep. The ebb and flow and ease of it all is enjoyable. 

That said, here are some of the examples of these rendezvous of late. 

I was driving an EZ Go (that doesn’t have a windshield) and a butterfly came right at me. I ducked so it wouldn’t hit my face and had a good laugh. I love seeing so many butterflies happily fluttering around. 

A different location and butterfly that same day. Kudos if you can spot it there, somewhat central and left. 
Remember that post about my evening beach walk where I said it was an eagle I’d spotted, then corrected it as a hawk? It WAS an eagle. I saw one at the beach again today and got some pictures as it stood eating something it had caught. That was cool because I knew it was an eagle and not a hawk and now know I can be sure there are eagles here, at the beach. 

Eagle, right? It was big! I zoomed in quite a bit so as to keep my distance and leave it be. 
I have had some very nice short conversations with people who have had lovely things to say and have complimented me on some things I’ve been doing. Without getting into the specifics of that, I take a lot of pride in what I do and to have multiple people notice that and comment was incredibly fulfilling. 

I love excellent customer service and people who are kind and professional and that is always nice to meet with. I got some propane the other day when the weather was grey and storms had been passing through and this particular place is one I like returning to because, despite it being a fill station I need to go the “wrong” way into for them to reach my LP fill, they are always friendly and professional plus I can pay via credit card right there and the price is fair. Yeah, some places may be cheaper, I haven’t looked. I like paying for good service and the ease of it being nearby and I’m happy to return to this place. I was told they will not fill if there is lightning as that is considered dangerous for them. Thankfully the rain stopped for the bit of time it took and she got exactly the amount I asked for in! 

And then there is this evening when I was walking the beach, closer to the end of the walk. I saw some folks fishing and recognized a shark fin. The reeling it in was also noticeable as I’ve seen other-than -fish caught enough times at this point and I know what this looks like. It was a nice sized shark. I watched from afar, wondering what they’d do. Long story short, they tagged it, measured it, and released it. I took one picture since my camera is full and that was all I could get. I passed them but then went back and one saw I was going to ask a question. I asked if they’d tagged the shark and he said yes, they are volunteers with NOAA. He then explained that they get postcards from NOAA and, when they catch and tag the shark, they send the stats to them for tracking. This isn’t the GPS kind of tracking. I thought that was interesting and I was glad to have this experience as it was totally new to me. I also learned it was a lemon shark! I said I thought it was a great white and he laughed and said no. I know what great whites look like and hadn’t really looked at lemon sharks before. I can clearly see now that they are rather different and now I know how to tell them apart. 

Lemon shark. 
So… I have more to share about sharks at some point. For now, I will simply say that during a beach walk the other day I saw a fin very nearby me, close to where I stood with just my feet in the water. It was a shark moving swiftly and deliberately. I had thought it was a great white that was young but larger than the babies I’d been seeing. I now think it was a lemon shark. 

I love the beach! 

I love having these experiences. I love having awesome expectations for fun and satisfaction to be a part of my days in moments like these. I love learning new things and making connections. I love walking the beach and I have the expectation of enjoying it every single time. Each night especially, when I walk it, I look around so thrilled to be in such a beautiful place. It's one of the easiest places I know to be. I love it. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Incredibly Independent

I’m feeling incredibly independent. I’m doing so many new things and living so much of how and what I want to with more clearly on the way, that it feels amazing. I am happier and happier and things are going really, really well.

It feels good to notice that I’m feeling so independent as feeling independent to me means feeling capable, confident, secure, solid, strong and able. It feels doubt free and it is. I hadn’t even realized until just now how doubt free I am about so many things. I really KNOW without question that I can. I can do whatever, I can be whatever, I can have whatever. I feel very free, very sure, very upbeat, and very good. This also means that I’m up for a lot of new things and open to a lot of what I want. I just figure it’s a “Yes, I can” and a “Yes, I will” and a “Yes” to so much good stuff. It’s like when I’m driving and keep getting green lights as I’m ready and eager to go, enjoying the ride, the destinations, and the continuing journey. It feels good. I feel good.

Here are a few pictures of late. First, of meals and second of nature.

It feels really good to have healthy relationships and especially to have a healthy relationship with myself. Inspiration comes from within (contrast to motivation which comes from the external i.e. “a motivating factor”) and feeling inspired to new ideas, action, and whatever else, is really fun. My impulses are good and I see the how things come together so well as I trust and follow them. So much of my journey has been with feeling that- feeling my way as I go. I continue to be lead by this and I’m excited about where I am at and excited about where else I will go and what else I will do. Content is awesome. Ready and eager for more, knowing it is coming, while being happy where I am is ideal. I’m in a really good place; a really good place emotionally, physically, and overall. Life is supposed to be fun and mine is. I’m really happy.

Amongst all of the choices that I’m making, all of the easy decisions that are becoming easier, I had a moment of realizing all of the choices I was no longer making. Better choices have taken their place and a better life has as well. There’s no turning back and lots of forward motion. This is living. This is learning. This is knowing and trusting myself with such certainty. It only gets better and better. I am really proud of myself and my life and all the goodness I have asked for and allowed. It only gets better and better. Life is good!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

An Abundance of Goodness

There are so many wonderful things I want and have. As I was listing them this morning, I decided it would make a good post to share some of them! 

I’ve got daily beach walks, fresh air, sunlight, wildlife, friendly people, new opportunities, and interesting things here.
I’ve got comfort; fresh water, a bathhouse for showers, easy and well priced laundry, and electricity.
I’ve got the air conditioner working great and keeping us cool, a safe place for my cat, and easy come and go as I please.
I’ve got access to variety of foods, my favorite stores, and the ability to cook more regardless of the outside temperature since I have the AC.
I’ve got interesting people to rendezvous with and have fun conversations with.
I’ve got a growing understanding of the thick dialects from parts of country and really kind people who can tell when I’m not sure what they’ve said and are willing to explain slowly or in different words.
I’ve got lots of freedom, as always, to play and do as I please.
I’ve got somewhat of a schedule to look forward to, learning and doing new things.
I’ve got feelings of excitement and eagerness and calm and chill knowing.
I’ve got dolphins and alligators and fishes and birds to watch and admire.
I’ve got notebooks to fill, favorite movies and shows to watch and the power to easily do so. (HouseSitter, Labyrinth and Fraggle Rock so far.)
I’ve got access to drinkable water and delicious tasting ice.
I’ve got solar lights that look cool each evening and give me light to see out and around.
I’ve got open sky and stars and the moon, rainstorms, and a breeze.
I’ve got feet that are smooth and tough like sea glass from so much time in the ocean. I’ve got a strength in walking on virtually anything with ease.
I’ve got people who know what they are doing and are happy to show and explain things to me when I ask.
I’ve got a variety of ages around me, a form of diversity I really enjoy.
I’ve got easy access to a propane fill if and when I need it and less need since my fridge is on electric now.
I’ve got a place I love to be, that’s beautiful and well maintained, where people are happy and friendly, and where some are beginning to recognize me when I’m out and about.
I’ve got ideas that excite me.
I’ve got desires I’m looking forward to experiencing more fully.
I’ve got dreams I like to dream about either way.
I’ve got a strong sense of independence, knowing I am capable and that any outside assistance I need will easily come to me when I need it.
I’ve got a fun new hobby I’m enjoying and will be sharing more about in the future.
I've got a wonderful feline friend to share my life with.
I’ve got lots to look forward to.
I’ve got lots I want right now.
I’ve got the recognition of having both. 

I’ve got an abundance of goodness. I’ve got a great life. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park in Palm Coast, FL

When I was registering for my visit at Anastasia State Park, I was given a BOGO ticket for the nearby (about 30 minutes south) Washington Oaks Gardens State Park as well. This was awesome! I had previously driven by it and opted not to go in. On my last day's stay, I drove down with just over an hour before closing to check the park out. I am so glad I did!

First of all, this park is much bigger than I thought and I actually only visited the garden side, not knowing until I was leaving that I could cross the street to the beach side. I know for the next time and would love to visit again, perhaps for an event even, and I definitely feel this park is worth the entry fee either way. 

It was the honor system upon entering and no ranger was there. I decided to drive around the park, to get a sense of things and decide how to proceed. I'm also glad I did that. I saw there are trails and there is a large picnic area. What I was most interested in was the formal gardens so that is where I focused. 

The park was given to the state by Louise Young and had been her home, along with some family, prior. There is a distant relation to George Washington. The visitors center along the path of the historic gardens area is the old home. One section has information set up like a mini exhibit and the other is set like a living room may have been back when she lived there complete with an old fashioned TV playing a likely dated movie about the grounds(it was Florida nature related, at least.) I looked at the old books on the shelves, recognizing that my family had some of the same series. There are also bathrooms here. I like how they made use of the house like this. 

It was nearing sunset and I followed the map and read the various markers. What a lovely place to have lived. An interesting thing was that, as I made mental connections, something seemed familiar... then I saw an old photo and I knew it! This woman is featured in a book I read when I was younger. I hadn't heard of the gardens back then and it began to come together more. Louise Young became a millionaire by 19 in the early 1900s with her business. A photo I saw here was like the one on the cover of the book. I was more familiar with her story and this place than I'd remembered. 

The gardens and property are nice. The history and things that were done here were cool. From art to citrus production and more, it seems like it was a lively and charming place to dwell. 

They were setting up for an event the next day. Alas, I had just the right amount of time to visit the gardens and do the self guided tour and then leave by closing(8:15 that night.) One could easily spend hours here, if walking the beach and the trails, packing a lunch, touring the gardens and visiting the shop which was closed when I was there. 

I'd recommend it and I'd go back! 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Anastasia State Park Once Again and the Southeast Intracoastal Waterway Park

I returned to Anastasia State Park as I wanted to stay at the beach more and one day had the impulse to drive there to see if the one site I saw open online truly was available. It was! I got a walk up site in a new area I hadn't stayed in before. Perfect. Like at Tomoka, I started with one night and then returned to add more the next day. 

At my campsite.

I did a load of laundry for $3. Awesome. I love how they state the cost and time right on the machines. I wish laundromats would do this, too. Some state more info than others. 

Really tiny Portuguese Man-o-war and a four legged purple starfish! 
There is wifi at the beach so I drove there to use it some (my site was a far walk otherwise) and also walked the beach as usual. 
This gull had a good catch!

Another crab.

I have come to especially love pelicans. They are so amazing to watch and such large birds! 

Portuguese Man-o-war which is apparently not a jellyfish. Their colors can be really beautiful. I wouldn't touch it though! 

I cleaned the RV again including vacuuming which made it feel so nice inside. I will be sharing some tips for beach going in the near future as I've certainly learned some things, especially for dealing with sand. 

My cat was out in her tent more than once and a neighbor gifted her with a handmade toy on HER BIRTHDAY! What perfect timing! 

One of the things I really like about this park is that there are three dump stations in one so that multiple RVs can use it at once. I really like that. Very easy. 
I think this is the coquina site...
I also stopped to see the coquina site at the park. I'm not sure if I missed it or what. I walked through and probably right by but it looked rather different than the pictures in the pamphlets. Oh well. I think this picture is actually it, to the right especially. 

This is down by the picnic area and beach parking. 

The rangers at this park are all very nice. I was thrilled when I came back one afternoon after food shopping and the ranger gave me a big smile and wave to let me through. I just lit up at that. She was the one who I had paid for more days with. I've interacted with several of the rangers here and they were all top notch. Another cool bonus was this stay I was given a BOGO for admission to another nearby state park (not one with camping, though I'd love to camp at it if they add it!) A post on that is coming soon! 

This stay was wonderful with a good mix of nature, comfort, and the joy of having unlimited power for my computer and whatever else. It was really nice. I woke up on my last morning and knew I was ready to go. Still, I'd return to this park yet again. 

Not too far south of here is the Southeast Intracoastal Waterway Park which I've also enjoyed multiple visits to. There is a little dock to walk out on where you can see the nearby fort and there is a nice pathway to walk around with some benches here and there to stop at. I liked walking it and learned from one of the informative posts throughout that mink live in Florida and they swim. Go figure! I've wondered now if what I may have thought was a river otter was a mink at some point. There is a small body of water plus some picnic tables here, too. While there were some others visiting at times, even at the busiest times I was here, it was pleasant and a nice little spot to chill and enjoy. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach, Florida

I've spent a lot of time at beaches the past several months yet still enjoyed exploring the surrounding areas and traveling up and down the coast some. One of the places I don't recall visiting ever before was Ormond Beach. I had heard of it yet never been until this Spring. 

Along A1A there are numerous pull offs to park with easy access right on the water. That's great! I will note, however, that this is largely restricted with signs that clearly state, "No RV Parking" and, while I normally take that to mean larger RVs that take more than one spot, I only briefly parked at one(right by a large RV actually.) I had found a beach side park that sounded good so went there instead. It was beautiful! 

Unlike St. Augustine Beach which has a lot of shells and such mixed in, the sand here was all so soft along where I walked and as far as I could see, even when it was wet or darker near the water than the bright, dry white. There was far less on the beach other than some sort of seaweed, too. It was an interesting difference to find. Also, there are lifeguards! Another difference I appreciated. 

I was able to back into a perfect spot at the park itself and spend the afternoon. After this, I drove south to Daytona as I don't think I'd been there before either(if I had, I was a kid or baby and don't recall it.) Not my cup of tea at this time but hey, I've seen some and got a feel for it. 

I decided to spend a night at Tomoka State Park. I absolutely love walk up sites which are non-reservable. That means that I can decide each morning up to 14 days to spend another night. With the state park system, after 14 days you need to leave that park for 3 days before you can come back. I had a sense I'd stay longer and as soon as I got to the hot showers with excellent pressure, I was sold. I walked around that evening and went back to pay for more nights. 
So scenic, I love this shot. This is part of why I love state parks, the natural beauty is preserved and the campground is in nature, with a lovely mix of privacy and community.
This park is really nice! There is a statue: 

An area with info on the indigo that had been produced here and a tombstone. There used to be a small museum right by these and now the building is an open space rented or used for various purposes. 

You can walk along the water (fresh water - the beach is nearby but the park is situated on the river) and a trail plus there is a shop and you can rent kayaks or canoes or bring your own boat. 

I loved watching the sunset by the water. I got some shots of the moon and the sun in the sky. All my photos shared here have been from my phone, by the way. 
If you look, you can make out the moon up there, too. It's overexposed but you get the idea. I used pano for the shots and this one appears clearest to me. 

I greatly enjoyed my stay at Tomoka and would return to this park again.