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From St. Augustine to Orlando, Florida

December 12, 2005

Hello again. This past week started out in St. Augustine, Florida. As we were driving down I-95 southbound into Florida, I was trying to think about the last time I had visited the historic area of St. Augustine. It was about 10 years ago and I remembered there wasn't much parking and the streets were narrow for the most part. I thought the best place to try was around the old fort.

As we arrived into the historic area off US1, I passed by a parking lot next to a school that had several tour buses and another RV. It was several blocks away from the fort, so I continued on. However, when I arrived at the fort's parking lot, there was a sign that said RV and Bus parking was back near US1. That must have been the same parking lot I just passed. Now I had to figure out how to turn a 36 foot motorhome around while pulling a Blazer in the narrow streets! I continued down along the waterfront until I passed the old historic part of town and then turned east back toward US1. Snaking my way through the residential streets, I made it back to the highway and headed back to the school where I saw the other RV.

After parking, we decided to ride our bikes the few blocks back to the historic district. Our first stop was the old fort. We toured the lower part of the fort going from room to room trying to give the boys a little bit of Spanish Florida history. Then we climbed the stairs to the top and saw all the cannons. It didn't take long before we realized that the cannons had dates on them. Most of them were made in Spain, sent to Mexico, and then captured during the Mexican-American War in the 1800's. Then we enjoyed the views out over the water.

After the fort, we rode our bikes down through the historic streets of shops. We didn't get very far before seeing the "no bicycling" signs, so we had to get off and walk them. Our next stop was what is considered to be the oldest house in America.

The oldest house had gone through a lot of renovations over the years. It started out as a small two room house with no windows, only shutters. It had stone walls and floors. It was, of course, owned by a Spanish family. However, when Spain and England made a treaty and swapped Florida for Cuba, the English took over and the Spanish families were forced out. The new owners added a second floor and gave it a more English look with wood and stucco. They also added glass windows which they were more accustomed to. You can see in the photo the two different building materials used.

After the oldest house, we rode our bikes down to the oldest school. However, by the time we got there it was closing. Just about everything there closes at 5pm. So I took a picture of the outside and we rode back to the RV.

Our first thoughts were to stay in St. Augustine overnight. We had some friends living there who used to live in Orlando that we went to church with. It would have been great to see them again. However, we also wanted to get back to Orlando to get some legal paperwork started. So I loaded up the bikes on the bike rack and we continued driving south to Orlando.

We finally arrived back to Orlando after dark and the campground we were planning to stay at was already closed. So instead of staying overnight at a WalMart, we decided to surprise my father. He wasn't home when we got there, but we pulled into his driveway anyway. When he arrived, he thought he had pulled into the wrong street. It was a great surprise and he was happy to see us.

The next day we drove the RV over to the campground and setup. We spent the next few days going to Lake County where my mother lives to update our drivers licenses and get the paperwork started for passports. We need to be legal when we head out west so we can drive through Canada to Alaska. We've also been taking care of some business matters. I'm trying to catch up on my work and Cricket has several loans in the works as well. We also took care of some Christmas shopping. I even decorated the RV with some lights.

Yesterday we all went to Orlando Grace Church. It was great to see our friends there that day and catch up on the past few months events. Later this week we're heading over to Tampa to get some service on the RV.

Take care and see you in a few more days.


Sunsets at the campground:

More from St. Augustine: