Cedar Point Hike

Friday November 19th 2021

The day began foggy with mild temperatures consistent with the season. As day progressed the fog became low clouds then progressed through various degrees of sunshine to end with a clear sky as the daylight gave way to night. The wind also increased as the day went by peaking with fifteen to twenty mile an hour winds out of the northeast during the late afternoon.

My last Amazon delivery from my early week orders came in today. This was the first delivery that actually arrived in a properly labeled vehicle. An Amazon Prime truck arrived shortly after noon with the bulk of my order. I have one more Amazon delivery scheduled for tomorrow. I placed that order yesterday.

Once I had all my freshly delivered treasures inside, I drove out to Cedar Point for a hike. Today’s hike is in the same area I hiked during my first week here in the Jacksonville area. I delayed returning because I suspected the trail I wanted to walk was excessively wet do to the rain and high tidal conditions. Conditions today were dry, but there was clear evidence that the area had been underwater in the recent past.

The Cedar Point loop trail was lined with fallen leaves and branches in a very fall like scene. The blowing wind kept whistling through the branches of the trees in the hardwood hammock. The sound of snapping branches and falling debris kept me on my toes. Nothing fell on my head, but I did see a couple of small branches fall on the trail ahead of my path. I didn’t see any other animal life on the trail and that includes people.

On my way back to the RV park I stopped at Walmart for groceries. I don’t want to go near the place next week. Between the grocery shoppers preparing for Thanksgiving and the Christmas shoppers looking for deals around Black Friday the place will be a zoo. I probably over bought to stock up and avoid another visit next week. The checkout clerk had the habit of putting one item or two if they were the same in each bag. She also tended to double bag for anything over few ounces or requiring refrigeration. I’m pretty sure I had more bags than items when I got home.

The Full Moon is Hiding Tonight

Thursday November 18th 2021

The weather was on a downward course all day. It started partly cloudy in the high seventies. By the end of the day the sky was fully clouded and the temperature was well past its peak in the mid seventies. Tomorrow is forecast to be mostly cloudy and about ten degrees cooler than today.

The heavy cloud cover means I’m going to miss the full moon for the third or forth month in a row. At least I took some time to look at the moon last night. The clouds also mean I will not be able to see the partial eclipse of the moon tonight. It is supposed to be the longest duration partial lunar eclipse in 600 years. It is not likely that I would have watched more than a few minutes, since it is happening in the wee hours of the morning, but it sounds like something interesting to get a look at.

Wood Storks where I usually see the Little Blue Heron.

I got another Amazon delivery today. This one was also scheduled for tomorrow. Apparently it was fulfilled directly by the vendor. It was shipped from Phoenix via UPS. It was delivered this morning by a man in a UPS uniform driving a U-Haul rental truck. The delivery companies have clearly expanded their capacity with additional vehicles and probably temporary employees. The peak of the delivery season hasn’t arrived yet. I wonder what it will be like getting deliveries in the first few weeks of December.

Blossom of the Day

On my walk around the RV park today I didn’t see the Little Blue Heron. In the area it usually hangs out a pair of Wood Storks were grazing. I wonder if they scared the heron away or if they just beat it to the location. The storks look like bullies, but are probably just another pair birds that like to hang out around Florid ponds.

Noisy Florida Air National Guard jet overhead.

Waiting for Amazon

Wednesday November 17th 2021

The temperature climbed into the upper seventies today. If not for the wind it would have been on the brink of uncomfortable. The humidity and the number of clouds in the sky was also up from the last couple of days.

Still not quite full.

Monday evening and Tuesday morning I placed a number of Amazon orders. All of the Monday orders were due for delivery on Friday, but the Tuesday morning order was scheduled for today. Late yesterday one of the items scheduled for Friday was moved up to today as well. Just as I was getting ready to leave my RV home, I got a notification on my phone that the two items would be delivered in the next hour. I decided to wait for the delivery so the items wouldn’t be left outside for a long period of time. That was mistake.

The Amazon app kept counting down the number of stops the delivery had before mine, but the time windows for the delivery kept getting further out. Eventually the count down stopped, but the time kept moving. When the packages finally arrived, the reason became clear. The app tracked things to the RV park address, but not to all of the stops within the RV park. The rented Hertz truck carrying the deliveries had passed by my RV home several times before finally stopping to drop off my two items and one for the site a couple of units down. Another Amazon delivery truck, this one labeled to Amazon, was driving up and down the streets in the park less than an hour later. This RV park must be a big Amazon delivery customer. It will be interesting to see what happens Friday. Will my seven remaining packages come on one truck or several?

Blossom of the day.

The point of the last two paragraphs of explanation is I didn’t leave the RV park today. I got caught up in watching Amazon’s tracking system while waiting for something that would have been safe enough to leave outside. I think I’ll feel better letting the delivery happen on Friday and there are still a couple of things I may order before I leave here.

Searching for a Preserve

Tuesday November 16th 2021

It was another day of amazing cool Florida fall weather. The temperature started in the forties and got into the low seventies under a bright sunny sky with very little wind.

A small piece of Florida Fall foliage.

I headed off in the direction of Jacksonville Beach today. The last time I was in the Jacksonville Beach area was five years ago, so I thought I knew the way. The compass on my dashboard indicated I was going in the correct easterly direction, but traffic was heavy and nothing looked familiar. My level of uncertainty was climbing when I saw an enticing sign for the Timucuan Preserve and historic Fort Caroline. I’m always up for wandering a preserve with historic significance even when I don’t know anything about it up front. I set out to find the preserve. I followed the signs as they directed me on a twisting path through business districts, shopping districts and high end residential districts. After several miles of trying to remember every turn of my escape route, I found the start of the preserve. At the first location the gate was closed and locked, at the second a small parking lot was full to overflowing and at the third location I was met with another locked gate. Using the three strike rule, I gave up and made my way back toward the main road. With the ever increasing traffic, I gave up my plan to head for the beach and returned home.

Reviewing the map later, I found how unprepared I was. First, I got off the highway several exits early. The route I followed was very wandering and much longer than it needed to be. The Timucuan Preserve turned out to be very large. The area I found with the locked gates was on the periphery and not the biggest part of the park. If I had continued straight when I made my last turn I would have found more of the preserve. Now that I’m better prepared I can return to the preserve and the beach another day. I know a much shorter route that should also keep me out of the worst of the traffic.

Three nights to full.

Back at the RV park, I took my afternoon walk. I was surprised at the number of empty sites I observed. The price structure at this RV park is heavily weighted to encourage longer term stays. The per night rate when you book a month is less than half the rate of a single night. The weekly rate is somewhere in the middle but closer to the single night rate. I think that may be the reason the sites don’t fill up every night, but once they are filled you can’t anticipate how long they will stay.

A Modified Shopping Day

Monday November 15th 2021

The outside temperature this morning was in the low forties. I don’t know what the inside temperature was since I stayed in bed until things started to warm up. The TV weather talkers told me the outside temperature at the nearby airport. The high temperature for the day was a hair over seventy. Another cool night is in the forecast for tonight.

The resident Anhinga

One of the things I planned to do during my stay was some shopping. I have a diverse list of things that I need from clothes and electronics to RV supplies. Most of them are not available at Walmart, so I need to visit a few other stores. Today, after a visit to a couple of other stores, I gave up for now and turned on the computer for some Amazon shopping.

While I’m on the move I usually have to find an Amazon locker or counter to receive packages. Most of the types of parks I like to stay at don’t accept packages. There are usually lockers in big cites or in major tourist areas, but they are limited on the size of the package they will hold. At this RV park the delivery companies, including Amazon, can drop packages off at the individual sites. This makes it very convenient and you can get any size package delivered. My campsite is on the main park road. There is a steady stream of delivery vehicles going by. Some of the distribution sites, including Amazon, are near the airport only a couple of miles away.

Om today’s walk around the RV park, the Anhinga I’ve seen a few times was back. It was in the classic wing drying pose you usually see them in before it flew into a tree on the far side of the retention pond. The Little Blue Heron and the pair of ducks were also present.

The full moon is at the end of the week.

More Little Blue Heron Pictures

Sunday November 14th 2021

The inside temperature was in the low fifties this morning. The bright sunshine brought the inside temperature up quickly, but the outside temperature climbed gradually to a high in the low sixties. It was brisk, sunny fall day. Tonight’s overnight temperatures are forecast to be even cooler. Everything is about ten degrees below the seasonal norms for this area.

Today was a day for chores and watching football on TV. The inside of my RV home has gotten to be cluttered after three weeks in one location. I spent some time today putting a few things away to lower the clutter level a little. The trick will be not getting more stuff out during the remaining two weeks here and work on putting more stuff away before the end of my stay.

I took two walks around the RV park for exercise. The weather conditions were great for being outside. Many other residents of the park were out walking and riding bicycles around the park. Today was the first day I’ve seen so much activity. Most day’s people are hiding out inside their RVs or possibly sitting around outside. The park didn’t seem to empty as much at the end of this weekend like it has been. The winter contingent of long term residents maybe displacing the sites available for weekenders. The other possibility is that people are waiting until tomorrow morning to avoid area traffic. I saw a couple of groups that looked like they were preparing to move on.

Slightly out of focus, but pretty, picture of the pond as the Little Blue Heron flies away.

My friend the Little Blue Heron was back to posing today. It still won’t let me get real close, but moves around as if posing for pictures to keep an eye on me. Today I got a little to close an it took to the air to get away.

A Short Day

Saturday November 13th 2021

The day began cloudy and warm. The forecast called for improving conditions, but the sky continued to get darker as the morning progressed. At one point a few big raindrops fell on the roof, but it was over before anything got wet. About 1:30PM the sun made its first appearance of the day. The cold front bringing cooler temperatures had pushed through the area.

The gloomy morning kept me inside all morning with my focus on reading the news, both real and pseudo, on the internet followed by whole plethora of other information and stories. I briefly noted the arrival of sunshine, but didn’t venture out of my RV home until nearly 3PM. My daily walk around the park was uneventful. I didn’t even see any of the usual birds in the retention ponds.

I took a second shorter walk around the park just before dark. My goal was to help settle my dinner and try once again to find my bird friends. They still weren’t along the banks of the retention pond. Without new bird pictures, the pictures I’ve included in this blog entry are of flower blossoms I haven’t over used and a peak at the approaching full moon.

Less than a week to the next full moon and a partial lunar eclipse.

The darkness came early tonight. Actually, it is the first night I’ve noticed the return to standard time. My late start to the outside portion of my day is probably the cause. Overall I got less than three hours worth of outside daylight exposure today.

Errands and Observations

Friday November 12th 2021

The sun was filtered through clouds most of the day with a couple of rain threats during the early afternoon. The temperature warmed things up into the mid seventies. Another cold front is in the forecast for tomorrow with a much cooler Sunday to follow.

Blossom of the day.

It was warm enough over night that I kept a couple of windows open. This morning, I paid the price. The sound of the aircraft taking off from Jacksonville International Airport was not muffled by the walls and closed windows. Starting before 7AM the jets were busy taking off. The smaller the aircraft the louder the noise. This morning there were only a couple of Air National Guard F15s.

On this Google Maps screen shot the blue dot in the top right corner near the Lowes Gas Station label is my location. It is almost in a direct line with the Jacksonville International Airport Runway.

This afternoon was the time for another grocery run. I have a habit of picking bad times to visit Walmart. Today the kids had time off from school. There were many parents dragging their kids around the store. Many of the kids clearly would have preferred to be any place but shopping with Mom. The shelves had a few gaps in stock. It looked like it was from heavy shopping rather than any shortages.

The Little Blue Heron had a friend today.

Walmart was playing Christmas music on the PA system. That seems to be a little bit earlier than normal. It is probably consistent with there attempt to spread Black Friday out for the entire month of November with specials getting announced online every few days. The Christmas season is clearly on its way. The Hallmark TV channels have been running Christmas Movies around the clock for the last three weeks and the Lifetime channel is starting a similar marathon this weekend. The sappy formular movies are a good time filler now and then. You don’t need to see the beginning, middle and end to know the plot.

On my daily walk around the RV park this evening, it was clear the park was filling up for the weekend. During the week there are a few empty sites, but on the weekend they fill up. I saw two more Canadian plates on today’s walk. The Canadian snowbirds are arriving.

Lots of Walking

Thursday November 12th 2021

The temperature didn’t drop as much over night giving the day a head start on warmth. The temperature peaked in the upper seventies shortly after noon. Clouds moved in from the south keeping the rising temperature in check for the rest of the day.

RV park’s flower bed decorated for the Veterans Day Holiday.

Today’s adventure was a hike at the Betz-Tiger Point Preserve. The trail I walked was part of the 7 Creeks trail. The trail was wide and dry which is great for an exercise hike, but the scenery wasn’t great for an entertainment style hike. It was near high tide so the water in the creek was near the banks. I didn’t see any water birds or any squirrels for that matter. I did see plenty of nuts on the ground, so where were the squirrels? There was a lot more trail than I explored. After about half an hour I turned around and returned to my car.

Clouds moving in over the creek at Betz-Tiger Point.

I continued my exercise with a walk around the RV park. It is two miles around the perimeter of the park. I got curious and drove the loop watching my odometer. On today’s walk I saw my first Canadian Snowbird in the park, or at least their car with Quebec plates. It won’t be long before they aren’t so unusual.

Little Blue Heron watching the water for dinner.

The Little Blue Heron and the pair of ducks were in a different part of the retention pond this afternoon. I often see them in the same area with each other, but today they were in a part of the pond near the main road and entrance to the park. I wonder what the attraction is in the different areas of the pond. They also seem to stick with the main, older, retention pond. The newer retention ponds may not have the food sources of the older ponds. I’m a little surprised that the Little Blue Heron has been here for at least three weeks. The Egrets that were around when I arrived have already moved on.

The Canadian Snowbirds are Back.

Wednesday November 10th 2021

Today was the last day of the current good weather trend. The sky was bright blue, the wind was calm and the temperature was in the mid seventies. Toward the end of the day the clouds started to move in. There is rain and cooling temperatures in the forecast for the next few days going forward.

I drove up to St. Mary’s Georgia this afternoon to checkout one of my favorite quaint historic river town on the coast. My last visit was at the beginning of June. The town maintenance people were busy cleaning up from the weekend flooding and decorating the trees in the park for Christmas. There were still barriers along the sides of the road that were used to close off areas during the weekend flooding. Today the river was back in its banks, but the water level an hour after high tide was within a few inches of the top of the sea wall.

On the way back I stopped at the Florida Welcome Center on Interstate 95. They have a big banner at the entrance to the rest area welcoming Canadians back to Florida. I actually saw two Canadian license plates on cars in the parking lot. The border officially opened at 12:01AM Monday morning. Google says it is a seventeen hour plus drive from Toronto, so they must have been among the people crossing the border on Monday. Florida tourism is certainly looking forward to the return of the Canadian Snowbirds. The TV news has extensively covered the reopening of the border. So far, I haven’t seen any Canadian RVs in this RV park or on the road. Most RV travelers will probably stop for multiple nights on the way south.