Sunday, July 4, 2010
Day 16 - Edgewater, FL to Skidaway Island State Park right outside of Savannah, GA
8:25AM Sunday July 4th, 2010 Happy Fourth of July!!!!
Yesterday when I sat down in the morning to write my blog, I was kinda down about the rain and the fact that we had to leave Key West and South Florida behind to keep our sanity. Today is a 180 degree change from that!! It didn't rain last night!! I know exactly where I'm going. I know that it's supposed to be clear skies and 88 degrees there today. I know that I only have a little over a 4 hour drive today. I know where I'm going to celebrate the 4th with Dylan tonight. I know that the tent will be dry when we crawl into it. I know that the next handful of days will take us through some of the most historic parts of our country and I know that we'll be getting back into the groove of camping again.
7:55AM Monday July 5th
Because so much happened yesterday, I really wanted to get it in on this particular entry.
So we were driving along the freeway in Northern Florida when a sign said, "St Augustine, Oldest city in America" I thought that it was appropriate to visit the oldest city in America on her birthday so we pulled off the freeway. St. Augustine is very cool with lots of history. We decided to just drive through rather than spend the $10 to park and follow along behind all the other tourists. One thing that really disappointed me was a Ripley's Believe It or Not right smack dab in the middle of the historic part of town. WTF? The whole place was really geared towards the tourists. Took some good pics, though, and it was kinda cool to know that people had built some of those buildings hundreds of years ago. You can't find history like that in L.A.
We arrived at Savannah about an hour later and I was duly impressed with what I saw. Beautiful old southern houses with huge trees in front draped in Spanish Moss. On our way to the State Park, we drove down this road that was lined with these huge trees...it almost looked like we were driving through a tunnel. Beautiful. The State Park was equally as nice. BTW, did I mention that there wasn't a cloud in the sky? NO RAIN!!!! Even though it was the 4th, we still had our pick of about 8 sites. We picked a great one and started setting up. The tarp and tent were, of course, still soaking wet but they were completely dry within an hour.
After setting up, Dylan and I had some time to go for a bike ride and explore a bit. We found this trail that led us to some old Civil War embankments that the Confederate soldiers had dug to protect Skidaway Island from the Union. Yes, they were still there and quite obvious. You could just imagine what it was like. The trail went through more of the same huge trees with draping Spanish Moss and skirted the border of the brackish swamp. Everything about it appeared to be fresh water until we saw these huge mounds of oyster shells called, Middens, that the Indians had built up over hundreds of years. There were also little hermit kind of crabs skittering through the forest which was, of course, seriously weird.
We ended up at an observation tower at the end of a wooden walkway over the swamp. From the observation tower we could see the Intracoastal Waterway and all the boats and jet skis flying by. Dylan says to me, "Dad, I just saw some dolphins" I said, "no way, there aren't any dolphins in here". I was wrong! Because the ICW looks like a freshwater river, it was so weird to see dolphins. We checked the time and decided to head back to camp to get ready to go into town for the festivities.
We followed GPS to River St. in the old part of Savannah. We found some parking in a parking garage and followed the masses to wherever they were going. Did I say that Savannah was a beautiful city? So we walk down these steep stone steps to an old cobblestone street right on the riverfront. All along here were the old cotton mills and other waterfront warehouses from the early 1800's that have been converted into stores, condos, etc. They've done a great job revitalizing the area and keeping it's charm. People EVERYWHERE!!!! We scoped a restaurant whose sign said, "Raw Oyster and Ale Bar" Right up our alley!!! The hostess said there was a 2 hour wait so we asked if we could just sit at the bar. She said, "sure" and we walked over and grabbed a table immediately. People are like sheep...they follow along and do what all the others are doing. We just thought outside the box a bit. We ordered a "Steamer Plate" which had 3lbs of crab, mussels, shrimp, oysters and a piece of corn. God, it was good!!!! I asked the bartender what kind of ales he had on tap and he said, "you're not going to believe this but we don't have any ales on tap" I had a choice of Bud or Guinness. I took the lesser of two evils and chose the Guinness. We inhaled the goodness that was before us.
When we left the restaurant, there were significantly more people than before. I'll bet there were at least 100,000 people lining the waterfront to watch fireworks. I'm basing my guess on the 90,000+ people that I remember seeing at the LA Coliseum when Living Colour, Metallica and Guns N Roses opened for the Rolling Stones back in about 90 or 91. Who remembers that concert? The sunset over the river was amazing, followed by a fireworks display that was equally amazing. For all the shit and disappointment that we put up with in Florida because of the rain, this kind of made up for it. We had a fantastic time!!
When the display was over, you can just imagine the crush of humanity as everyone left the waterfront to head home. Wow!! People everywhere!! It was exactly like leaving a huge concert. So we get back to the parking garage and, for some reason, there was nobody around our car...we were kind of off in a corner. I said to Dylan, "why don't you fire off one of your M1000 firecrackers over there in the corner?" I didn't have to ask twice. Unfreakingbelievably LOUD!!!! In a parking garage, nonetheless!!! Well, he was deaf after that and felt a certain satisfaction for shooting off a very illegal firework on the 4th of July!! Anything that explodes is illegal in GA. We're saving all our explosives for our visit to Reno at the end of our trip. That will be fun.
We made it back to our camp about an hour and a half later and had a fitful sleep.
All is good!!!