Road Journal 9/13/14

Had an uneventful drive from Durham, NC down to our campsite in SC. Arrived at Hunting Island at dusk and went to check in. Even though I had specified I wanted a tent only site when I reserved it we got relegated to the RV section of the campsite and had to erect our tent on hard-pack gravel instead of the sandy, pine needle covered area the tents usually rest upon. Luckily we had air mattresses but several tent stakes were irreparably damaged in the process. It rained all night, not quite as relaxing a sound as the surf would have been.

Woke up early the next morning to get some sunrise shots on the beach. Exited the tent to find that, although the rain had stopped, the clouds were covering every inch of sky. Instead of sunrise shots we found a huddle house to eat breakfast in and then wandered about the town of Beaufort and Port Royal all day. It was interesting to see the salt water marshes all around the area. In Port Royal there was a wooden walkway along the banks of the marsh/river with a tall observation tower overlooking the whole area. We decided we had to stop there and check it out.

When we first arrived I veered off to use the port-o-john. The first door I opened revealed tiny baby crabs darting all over and a rather large one circling the seat area. I quickly closed the door. The second door I opened had two large crickets mating and a dozen baby crabs covering the floor. Third port-o-john seemed free of animal life but I have to admit I was very hesitant to sit down (or even crouch) wondering if there were crabs or spiders just waiting to pop out of the holding tank and clamp onto my delicate areas.

The port-o-johns were not the only place crawling with life. There were so many shellfish adorning the banks of that river. Everywhere you went you could hear the scuttle of crabs, the clapping of the clams and oysters and the calls of the birds hunting for their prey. Fishermen were casting lines and one man was throwing his shrimp net repeatedly into the shallow waters catching his dinner. For the few minutes the sun peeked out from the clouds the sight of the bright green marsh grass contrasting against the dark banks and the blue water was absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately that brief moment in time didn’t last long enough for me to unzip my bag and get my camera out, on and focused in time. Husband managed to get a nice cell phone shot of it though.

Went back to the campground and endured another night of rain, the poor tent held up well but there were a couple puddles to mop up in the morning and husband claimed he was dripped on all night. Tried for sunrise photos again Tuesday morning, the clouds were still there but there may be a few shots I end up liking. The gnats were everywhere tho, any part of skin exposed was immediately bitten up. I left husband on the beach while he was waiting for his time-lapse photo to finish up and headed back to the tent. Husband came over to our site shortly after with a cute little kitten following him.

 

 

kitten

Friendliest kitten ever! We fed her some beef jerky but she seemed more interested in being pet and scratched and paid attention to than fed. She followed us around the campgrounds¬†and it took everything I had in me not to take her with us when we left. There was a whole colony of feral beach kitties hiding in the patches of growth between campsites including a mother with tiny little kittens that couldn’t have been more than a couple weeks old. Broke my heart a little but realistically I couldn’t take a cat with us on the rest of our road trip. We did go back into town and buy a bag of cat food and set it out in the middle of a patch of jungle for the mother cat and the rest to chow on though.

Left the campsite and went up the road a mile to explore the Hunting Island Lighthouse. Brother elected not to join us in climbing it so husband and I made that climb ourselves. The view was pretty, but would have been prettier if the sun would have been out. When we left the lighthouse to head towards Florida husband took a video of us driving the mile long path through the jungle. We aptly put on the Guns&Roses song “Welcome to the Jungle” and blasted it as we twisted and turned along the windy road through the palm leaves and vines.

Left SC and headed to Savannah, GA. Stopped for a brief stroll in the many tiny parks (squares?) and recreated a photo husband and I had taken several years ago. We tried to find the park that the Forrest Gump bench was in only to find out that it had since been moved to some museum, oh well it was still an adventure. Left Savannah and made a beeline for Florida. We had briefly considered camping in Jekyll Park but the weather forecast called for more rain and our poor tent couldn’t take another night of that. Stopped for some Steak N Shake so brother could experience it and found ourselves experiencing the now expected selective Georgian distaste for people with “Yankee” accents. Not only we were waited on last, we had to wait twice as long for our food as everyone else and our orders were wrong. People sat 15 minutes after us were eating 10 minutes before we were, I don’t think brother believed us when we told him that was a thing that happened.

Right as we crossed the border from GA to FL the sun began to set. Husband pulled over and we all started taking pictures, it was a pretty awesome formation of clouds with a nice reflection against some water. Really beautiful. Kept driving till we reached the Best Western in Deerfield, FL and happily crashed for the night. Woke up early the next day to hit the beaches. Spent Wednesday hopping from beach to beach, each one nicer than the last as we worked our way from Deerfield down to Lauderdale then to South Beach. Ended the evening at South Pointe Park trying to get some sunset shots but my favorite shot of the night ended up being of a feral cat yawning.

Thursday was a rainy day, we had no idea what to do in Florida when it was raining. Ended up at a mall upgrading brother’s cell phone. Husband bought me a beautiful diamond bracelet as an additional anniversary present and a couple outfits. A late dinner ended the night and we crossed our fingers that Friday wouldn’t be so wet.

Decided to take a chance and headed back to Miami Beach on Friday to show brother another beach. After an hour we got rained off the beach and grabbed lunch in a tiny restaurant, Amami, where I had some amazing gnocchi. Headed north a couple miles till we found a sunny patch of beach and resumed our lounging. I love floating and bobbing in the warm waters of the Atlantic down in south Florida. I love the feel of the sun on my skin and the thrill of finding a perfect shell in the ebb and flow of the tide. I didn’t want to leave. Found a place selling Cuban coffee and went a bit nuts, drinking a cortadito and a colada all by myself. The headache I got a couple hours later reminded me why I have given up caffeine. I just love cortaditos so much though and you just can’t find a good one in my hometown area.

Left the beach and headed towards Key Biscayne to get some sunset and Miami skyline shots. Stopped at Virginia Key Park and I snuck down under the bridge to cross to the other side through a hole cut in the fence. Set up my shots and husband joined me to watch the sun go down behind Miami. It was a lovely evening. After I was satisfied with the shots I got we headed back up to Deerfield and stopped to get some late night food at Hook Fish & Chicken. The ex New Yorker working the counter was one of those rare people who was overworked and underpaid yet still did their job so exceptionally despite all the chaos and demanding customer base that we couldn’t help but tip her $10 to acknowledge that we appreciated her abilities. I wish there were more people like her everywhere. Our food was delicious!

Not quite sure what today will bring but any day in Florida is still a good day!