Thursday November 4th 2021
The F-15s of the Florida Air National Guard decided to be particularly low and loud on their take off from the Jacksonville International Airport this morning. Shortly before 9AM at least four and maybe as many as eight F-15s forced me from drowsy wakefulness to fully alert and wide awake. They were exceptionally loud and much longer in duration overhead this morning than other mornings. Perhaps it was the low cloud cover that developed overnight and continued most of the day.
Most of the pictures in this blog entry represent Florida’s fall colors. Nothing is as brilliant as the colors on the deciduous trees in the northern forests, but there are plenty of subtle pops of color. Many bushes develop colors and flowers continue to bloom. There are plenty of examples of wild and planted flowers in bloom.
In addition to the fall colors the dropping temperatures are also advertising the approaching winter. The TV news casts are forecasting another feature of winter in Florida; the arrival of the snowbirds. I have heard two different news stories and read a few internet articles on the opening of the US Canadian boarder next week. Interviews with RV park managers and rental property brokers have reported a huge increase in Canadian bookings for the winter months. For the most part, Canadians weren’t here last winter. I think I saw two or three Canadian license plates last winter. Usually they are as numerous as any northern state. My guess is the vehicles were here when the boarder closed and never returned to Canada. The owners probably flew back and forth to Canada with a self declared essential travel exemption if they even returned north at all. From what I’ve read, the closed US Canadian boarder was easily crossed in an airplane, but far more difficult by land.
Last winter the tourism industry cited the lack of Canadians as one of the key differences in the winter season. I didn’t see any difference in camp site availability at any of the places I stayed, but that could be associated with the places I pick. Even so, I’m glad I have all of my reservations in place for this winter. The competition for sites may be intense. The current forecasts are for a huge year for snowbirds. All that could change with another COVID surge, but somehow I think that would only be a tiny deterrent.