a floridays journey

a floridays journey

Trip 11b – Gamble Rodgers State Park, Washington Oaks State Park

RV in the campsite, a jeep with kayaks on the roof
Date:Sept 4 – 6, 2022
Location:Gamble Rogers State Park
Type:water, 30 amp
Mileage:285 miles
What did we learn:To be inquisitive
Would we go back?Maybe

The beachside campsite was the last one on the right just before the turnaround, so we had only 1 neighbor. The site was nice, clean, and level. We settled in and took a walk on the beach to scout the best location to watch the Space X launch. The launch went off at about 10:00 pm and we watched it from the overlook. Shockingly we were the only ones out to watch the launch. We decided to get up early to see the sunrise.

Just as the sky was starting to light up Sunday morning at 6:15 am we were on the beach ready to go. It was low tide and the reflections of the clouds and the pink in the sand were gorgeous. Once the sun rose I was scanning the beach and noticed there were some people watching turtle researchers uncover a nest. The group Friends of Gamble Rogers State Park excavates the nests 3 days after they naturally hatch. They count how many eggs hatched, how many did not hatch, how many turtles hatched and died, and how many turtles hatched and are still living. The living ones if they are in good health they will release on the sand for the turtle to crawl into the ocean. This morning the Turtle Lady found 1 loggerhead that had hatched but had yet to make it out of the nest. Once she was finished counting all the hatched eggs and covered back up the nest she let the turtle crawl to the ocean. It was really cool to see. She mentioned they had 14 nests the next morning to excavate.

As the sun rose in the sky it became hotter and hotter as it does in September in Florida. We decided to drive to St Augustine for lunch. On the way, we stopped at Washington Oaks State Park. This park is the old winter residence of Owen and Louise Young. Owen was the 1st vice president of General Electric Company and Louise had her own lingerie company. Louise donated the land to the Florida Park Systems in 1964. There is a formal rose garden, a meandering water feature with many pollinator plants, as well as a beach on the other side of A1A with coquina rocks jutting out of the sand. A very beautiful place that will need more exploring on a cooler day.

We continued our drive north to St Augustine and had lunch at Harry’s a New Orleans-style restaurant. It was really good. We then walked around and into Flagler College to see the old Ponce De Leon hotel that Henry Flagler built. You could only go so far unless you were on a tour and the tours had already happened for the day. I guess we will have to come back and check out more of St Augustine and Henry Flager.

Got back to camp just in time to walk to the other side of A1A to the dock area to watch the sunset. They have bright orange flags for you to use to cross the street so the cars see you. I just had to test them out.

We decided to get up for sunset again on Tuesday and see if we can find the turtle people. Once the sunrise was over we started looking for the turtle people. We found them and they were excavating a green turtle nest. They found 18 turtles that had hatched but had not made it out of the nest yet. We watched as they crawled to the ocean. The green turtles were much faster and had more energy than the loggerhead the day before. The green turtle nest is far deeper than the loggerhead nest as well. The man was standing in the nest at the end making sure he got all of the eggs out and accounted for. There were 115 hatched, 18 live, 14 dead, 2 dead hatched, 13 whole eggs for 162 eggs total in the nest. That was a very large nest. Hopefully, all the turtles find their way to the sargasso sea and come back 1 day to lay their own eggs on this beach.

After the turtle excitement, we packed up camp and headed for home. We took A1A down to Daytona Beach and then headed west to I-95. We dropped Floridays off at La Mesa RV in Port St Lucie to get some warranty work done and have an oil change.

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