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Back to Florida '06-'07

Off for our 7th winter in the southlands. We made a leisurely trip down the East Coast, spent two months as Volunteer Campground Hosts at Gamble Rogers SRA in Flagler Beach, FL. Completing our duties in mid-February, we headed out along the Gulf Coast to East Texas to visit friends. On the return trip home, we drove the entire length of the Natchez Trace Parkway. For a more complete narrative of our winter's travels, see our Travel Log.

We spent the first two weeks of December at the Mayport Naval Base. While there, we spent a delightful day at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.   win0607-1
 win0607-2  There was an abundance of exotic birds...
...and animals. win0607-3 
 win0607-4  Across from our campsite at Mayport was the carrier John F Kennedy.
 Shortly after our arrival at Gamble Rogers, we met Susan and Gus, full-timers in a rather old Lazy Daze. win0607-5 
 win0607-6  Unfortunately, I didn't get this lady's name, but during her stay there, she made incredible progress on her carving of a tree gnome.
 Now here's a toad for you: this young fellow carries 2 Sea-Doo's, 2 dirt bikes and 2 bicycles in the back of his little Ford Ranger. He also had a large internet satellite dish, and was kind enough to grant us access to use it from our rig. win0607-9 
win0607-14  This fellow had a mobile tattoo shop! He was asked to leave after a few days, for he was giving out the gate access code to his customers, who were leaving the gate open. Running a business in a state park also happens to be prohibited.
 Here are sea beans Liz found on the beach. These come from the jungles of South America, floating down the Amazon and on to our shores.  win0607-10
 win0607-11 In nearby Ormond Beach, we visited "The Casements", the winter home of John D Rockefeller. It now serves the town as a meeting center, and houses a Boy Scout Museum. 
 Up in Palm Coast is the Baliker Gallery, a fascinating place filled with amazing wood sculptures. win0607-12 
win0607-13  Here is a sample of a settee made from driftwood. There are also wall pieces and smaller sculptures. 
 On another day off from our Host duties, we visited the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Sciences. A major benefactor is the Root family, whose fortune was based on the design of the original Coca-Cola bottle. win0607-15 
win0607-17   For anyone traveling the Florida Panhandle, we heartily recommend a stop at the Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensecola NAS. It features displays of MANY Navy aircraft and an IMAX theater.
 Former Blue Angels aircraft. win0607-18 
 win0607-19 One can easily spend a day here. 

The rest of our winter consisted of a quick trip westward along the Gulf Coast to Texas, where we visited several friends near San Antonio. At that point, we had to start back for home in New England. Our route took us to Natchez, MS, where we enjoyed the wonderful architecture and flowers. From there we followed the Natchez Trace Parkway northward into Tennessee.