An Active Port

Tuesday November 30th 2021

After a cool night it turned into a nice weather day. The high temperature was around seventy with bright sun and a breeze out of the north. We are in a warming trend. The temperature may be unseasonably warm in the eighties by the weekend.

Blossom of the day

There was a lot more activity on the beach this morning. The sun bathers arrived in the afternoon, but the morning was dominated by walkers on the beach and surfers in the water. I did a little beach walking before heading over to the fishing pier along the entrance to the port. There are more people fishing this year than I remember from last year. It seemed to be good fishing, but bad catching. I didn’t see any fish caught.

This afternoon I saw something new. A cruise ship arrived at the port. I’m usually still in bed when they arrive between 5-8AM. The Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas arrived at 2PM. It was met by the pilot boat and escorted into port by a law enforcement boat. The sheriff’s boat is there to get other boats out of the way before they get run over. Port Canaveral is some kind of weird port of call for the Anthem. It is on a week long itinerary round trip to the Bahamas out of New York. It departs Port Canaveral tonight around 9PM.

Anthem of the Seas entering the port in the afternoon.
Mariner of the Seas leaving port at sunset.
Sailboat that thought about playing chicken with the Mariner of the Seas.

Just before dark another Royal Caribbean ship the Mariner of the Seas departed port. The law enforcement escort had more to do than normal. A sailboat was attempting to enter the port with its sail deployed. I think it was under power, but the sail was slowing its progress into the wind. Once warned off by the occupants of the fast moving sheriffs boat the sailboat turned around the wind caught the sail and it was out of danger in less than a minute. What’s a cruise ship departure without a little drama.

This blog entry is getting posted Wednesday morning and hopefully back dated to Tuesday November 30th. I had computer issues on Tuesday night.

Settling in at Jetty Park

Monday November 29th 2021

Another cold front passed through the area last night. The front brought some light rain during the night that lead to a bright sunny day today. The temperature was cool for the season. It peaked in the low to mid sixties. Tonight is forecast to be the coolest night of the season so far. It won’t be my coldest night of the fall. It was cooler too the north in the Jacksonville area last week. As the week goes by it is forecast to warm up. By Saturday it might be in the eighties.

Pelican taking a swim

My focus for the day was getting settled in and exploring any changes to the Jetty Park campground. I stay here at least once or twice every winter in Florida. This year it seems a little different, but I can’t put my finger on the specifics. The only substantial difference I’ve identified is the departure of the food vendor at the beach. The concession stand is empty. In the park this morning there were many empty sites, but new arrivals during the afternoon solved that issue. Last year at this time management was still limiting occupancy due to the pandemic, but it seemed busier than it looked this morning.

It was too cold and windy to walk on the beach this morning. I only saw a few well bundled up people walking the beach. I was fine in the sheltered areas out of the wind, but the beach was out for me today. The beach and much of the park were filled with birds. I saw everything from an Osprey to ordinary Seagulls. In the channel to the port there were many small jumping fish along with a few dolphins exploring the inlet. The dolphins may have been the cause of the jumping fish, but I didn’t see them in the same areas.

The port wasn’t busy during the middle of the day. There was evidence that a couple of changes took place overnight. Two new cruise ships and a freighter arrived. The cruise ships departed just before sunset tonight. Once again there didn’t seem to be as much activity on deck as I’ve see in the past. The Disney Dream did give all of the people on shore a horn serenade. They played a piece of the melody for “When you Wish Upon a Star”, “It’s a Small World”, and two or three others that I could identify but not name. The departing Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas that followed the Dream to sea only gave us a few earth rumbling blasts of her horn.

Traveling South to Port Canaveral

Sunday November 28th 2021

It was a cloudy cool morning in the forties for finishing the outside travel preparation tasks. I got everything done and was on the road by 10:45. The official checkout time was 11AM and the check-in time at my destination was 2PM.

My five weeks in one location was over. In some ways I was ready to get moving again, but in others I could have stayed in one place for another few weeks. Now that the first move of my winter Florida wandering is over I’m happy to be experiencing new things. There is plenty of activity in the port. Unlike my visit last fall, I’ve already seen several cruise ships depart the port. Judging by the number of people that were lining the ships rails, they weren’t full cruise ships. It is still good to see the port active.

Carnival Magic
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas
Disney Fantasy

The trip down Intestate 95 was filled with traffic. The beltway around Jacksonville wasn’t bad, but passing by St. Augustine and Daytona Beach traffic got very heavy and slow. It even stopped a couple of times. Given that it was the end of the Holiday weekend, traffic wasn’t terrible. On a positive note, the big truck drivers seemed to off the road today. I arrived at Jetty Park in Port Canaveral about 2:30PM with one stop for gas. My hope that gas prices would be cheaper after my 5 weeks off the road was not fulfilled. At $3.34 a gallon, the price is fifteen cents higher than I could have bought it for at the end of October. Still the price isn’t the worst I’ve paid nor is it the highest around right now.

Site 355 at Jetty Park in Port Canaveral
If this is a Little Blue Heron then maybe the bird I’ve been calling a Little Blue Heron the last few weeks is actually a Reddish Egret since it had a redder neck.

Travel Prep Day

Saturday November 27th 2021

Today is my last full day in the Jacksonville area. I didn’t think about the holiday weekend traffic when I planned my next stay. The result is that I’m traveling on a Sunday at the end of a long holiday weekend. I usually try to travel on a weekday, but I settled on a Sunday travel day to maximize my time at my next stop. The weekends at Jetty Park in Port Canaveral were all booked when I started looking last spring. I was able to book Sunday through Friday, so that is the reason I’m moving tomorrow.

Today was a bright sunny day with very little wind, but the impact of the last cold front is still in place. The high temperature for the day barely crossed the sixty degree mark. Another front is forecast for tomorrow which will keep the sun behind the clouds and the temperature around sixty once again. I’m moving about 170 miles south. It is forecast to be a five to ten degrees warmer with a little sun.

I spent today getting ready to travel. The morning was focused on the inside of the RV and the afternoon the outside. Even though I’ve tried to keep things from accumulating, the longer stay has resulted in a more work to get ready for travel. Particularly complicated was getting all of the pots and pans back into their storage locations. Anything that I though I might use again during my stay got put aside rather than back in its hiding place at the backs of cabinets and draws. Outside I only had the added task of removing the wheel covers that I put on the tires during longer stays. I have about the normal level of prep work left for the morning before the 11AM checkout time.

Walking around the RV park this afternoon I didn’t see any of the birds I’ve grown accustom to seeing. Maybe the ducks and Little Blue Heron have also moved on. The retention ponds they frequented are down more than a foot from the level when I arrived. All of the pictures included in this blog entry are of the local wildflowers.

Weird Day

Friday November 26th 2021

The day after Thanksgiving is a weird day. Everything is different about it. Some of the day’s characteristics are holiday like, some are weekend like and knowing what is open is a real guessing game. The morning TV news anchors were the weekend crews and later in the day the programming became heavily sports oriented. It really had my sense of time based on TV programming thoroughly confused.

Blossom of the day.

Both of the businesses I had an interest in visiting today were closed. I wanted to pick up my mail from my mail service before leaving this area, but they were closed today. Luckily, I checked the web site before driving the twenty plus miles. Second on the agenda was getting my hair cut, but the place I’d scoped out for that medium level torture was also closed. My conclusion, the service industries consider this a holiday.

Today’s weather was also weird. It started out cloudy and only moderately cool, but went on a roller coaster ride from there. As the morning went by the clouds increased from gray to thick and black. It looked like it was going to rain at any minute. The wind was blowing out of the northwest creating a very raw and uncomfortable portion of the day. A little after 2PM the sun started to make an appearance. Before darkness arrived the sky was blue and the sun was bright. The temperature never got above the low sixties.

The aircraft heading in and out of Jacksonville International Airport were just as busy today as any other day.

On my walk around the RV park there was a little more activity than yesterday. There were even a few new arrivals for the weekend. The number of unoccupied RVs still seems to be high. I expect many will be back on Sunday after I’ve moved on. Tomorrow will be a packing day for my Sunday travel day.

A Quiet and Thankful Day

Thursday November 25th 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

The day started cool and sunny and ended with increasing clouds. The high temperature for the day was about seventy. It was a nice day overall.

Lunch in the weeds.

I spent a very quiet day. It was a case of watching the parade on television this morning followed by the dog show and finally NFL football games. In between I managed to cook up a very nonstandard Thanksgiving dinner. I grilled a couple of Brats as the main course. The only thing traditional about the meal was the slice of apple pie with ice cream I had for dessert.

On my walk around the RV park it was very sleepy. Many of the RVs were unoccupied and others were all buttoned up with the residents inside. I saw a couple of instances of on going outside cooking and one actual gathering of people sitting around enjoying a Thanksgiving meal. The other difference was the level of communication when passing other walkers. Usually it is no more than a “Hi” or a nod. Today it was an actual phrase of “Happy Thanksgiving”.

Patterned sky at the end of the day.

Thanksgiving Eve

Wednesday November 24th 2021

Today’s official high temperature was in the low sixties. It was about seven degrees warmer than yesterday, but it felt colder. The northeast wind was a little brisker producing a greater chill factor.

Wildflower blossom of the day.

This Thanksgiving Eve day has some odd characteristics. The traffic on the road seemed to be more tolerable than yesterday. It was heavy, but kept moving. Here in the RV park it is getting very quiet. Many more residents seem to have departed for the holiday. The number of partially empty sites and RVs with no one home has increased. On my last walk around the park before evening, I didn’t see more than a couple of people out walking. Usually I see many people getting in the last walk of the day or making sure “Fido” is ready for the evening.

Huddled against the cold.
Head and neck tucked in for warmth.

This will be my sixth Thanksgiving on my Rambling Road trip. Three of those I had dinner at a casino. The first year I was at the Seminole Casino in Immokalee Florida. The second and forth I was in Las Vegas. I had Thanksgiving with dozens of other people at a casino buffet. The other years I’ve cooked for myself. That’s the plan for tomorrow as well. Other people traveling full time have mentioned joining organized meals at the RV park. I’ve never been at a park with anything planned for Thanksgiving. I probably wouldn’t attend anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

A Cool Weather Day

Tuesday November 23rd 2021

It was a beautiful day today, but not a warm one. The overnight temperature was in the forties and tonight it is already back in the forties. In between the bright sun fighting a north wind raised the temperature into the mid fifties. Outside activities in the wind were a bit on the cool side. I saw a few people wearing winter coats. My only concession to the temperature was a long sleeve shirt under my sweatshirt. I switched from shorts to long pants a couple of weeks ago. Florida winter is here until February.

I see you.

There are a lot of signs of the approaching Thanksgiving Day holiday around. Out on the highway the traffic has increased. There was another accident on Interstate 95 that slowed the flow to stop and go this afternoon. In the park there are a number of half empty sites. The occupants have taken their RV on a trip, but left a lot of the extras associated with life in camp at the site. There are other RVs without any vehicles around. They are clearly away for the week or extra long weekend. I’ve seen similar behaviors at the RV park I stayed at in Las Vegas for a couple of winters.

The traffic on the highway changed my planned attempt to find the Preserve I didn’t locate last week. Instead I got my exercise with another couple of walks around the RV park. The number of flowers in bloom was down because of the temperature. The Hibiscus I’ve been taking pictures of practically every day in particular were not open in the cold weather. The Little Blue Heron and the Ducks were gathered in the sun along the bank of the retention pond protected them from the north wind. The recently arrived flock of Ibis were using the RV Park fence in a similar way.

Inside my sun warmed RV home between the walks I did some more 2022 travel research. Before I commit to reservations for next winter I need a better idea on next summers travel. The Black Hills of South Dakota are my major focus for next year. I will head north in early to mid May and return to Florida by mid fall. There are lots of other details I still need to work out including the route and what else I intend to see.

Pictures and Some Random Words

Monday November 22nd 2021

The overnight fog gave way to rain shortly after sunrise. A steady rain of medium intensity fell until about 9AM followed by several hours of the gloomy conditions common over the last few days. This afternoon the clearing sky was visible to the northwest, but it seemed to take forever to get here. In the last hour before sunset the sky cleared and the sun brightened the area. The temperature peaked at seventy degrees. The clear sky means there will be nothing to keep the warmth in overnight. The overnight temperature is forecast to be in the low forties.

Clearing sky slowly approaching from the northwest.

It wasn’t a good day for outdoor activity. I only got in one walk around the RV park late in the day. Most of my day was spent catching up on chores around my RV home. The inside clutter was in need of another pickup session. The packaging from all of the Amazon shipments I received last week needed to be broken down to fit in the trash. At this park it is necessary to take your own trash to the dumpster. They nearest one is at the entrance to the park so I drop my trash off when I’m driving out of the park.

The Ibis have arrived.
Wildflower blossom of the day.

Also among today’s chores was emptying the black and gray tanks. When I’m parked in one place for a long period of time, I dump the tanks once a week. They are big enough that I easily go two weeks without dumping when I don’t have a sewer hookup. On longer stays like this with a sewer hookup, I don’t monitor how much water is going into the tanks as closely and just empty the tanks regularly.


Thinking About Next Winter

Sunday November 21st 2021

Today began similar to yesterday. The gloomy weather resulted in a very slow start to my day. It was after 1PM when the sun started to breakthrough the cloud cover. I finally broke from slow mode to active mode about 3PM. During my walk around the RV Park the weather was at its best. The temperature peaked in the low sixties with lots of sunshine. By sunset the clouds were moving back in and the forecast called for “dense” fog overnight.

Blossom of the day.

During my slow morning, I started to think about next winter. The eleven month reservation window for Florida State Parks is rapidly approaching. I generally plan on being back in Florida by he last week in October. If I want to stay in a Florida state park, the reservation window opens one of the days toward the end of this week. My month long stay at this commercial park has also worked out well from a relaxation point of view. This location isn’t ideal for things I like to do in the area, so a different location of a month plus stay would be a possibility.

Another option for the 22-23 winter would be to find a Florida location to stay for several months rather than hopping between state parks. It isn’t too early to start planning. Long term reservations are very hard to get in the popular areas. To have enough things to keep me interested during an extended stay I’d have to be in the Orlando area or on one of the coasts. Those areas book quickly and are more expensive. The same month I spent here in the Jacksonville area is twice as expensive in the Orlando area. Coming up with the right combination of long term stay and moving around to balance the activity level with some consideration to cost is the challenge.

Today’s Egret Picture.

I am now in my last week of my month long stay here in the Jacksonville area. Next Sunday I move down to Port Canaveral for a few nights before beginning my state park hopping for this winter. I’ll be doing mostly two week stays at different state park between now and the end of April.