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It's the Journey

Isn't that what they always say--It's not the destination, it's the journey? Well, count me as a believer of that way of thinking as I did indeed have an adventure on Friday, and the journey was longer than even I can believe!

Angela agreed to watch Baxter for as long as I wanted, however, a much needed hair appointment was on my calendar for 4:00 Saturday afternoon, thus, my little get away had to be quick. I decided to visit the towns where I have taken photographs that have brought some happiness to hundreds of people. So, I set about getting a change of clothing together, a couple of cameras, BATTERY CHARGERS, and I was off. St. Augustine was the destination, with a stop in DeLand on the way. We'll get to that shortly...

Here's when I was driving by the camera store in Orlando where most of my cameras were purchased. Please note the time.
In keeping with the journey business, I decided to take all surface streets rather than the Interstate beginning my trip on 17-92. In the past we've discussed how 17-92 was one of the major highways bringing folks from the North to Florida, extending all the way down to near Miami. Following the road I drove through Orlando, Fern Park, Casselberry and on into Sanford. Although this part of the trip was only about 25 miles, it took forever! After traveling through Sanford it seemed to be smooth sailing into DeLand, however, a road block impeded my way. Thinking that turning left would eventually land me in downtown DeLand turned out to not be the case whatsoever. Instead, I landed in the country, or so it seemed to this city girl. Fortunately a couple was out by the road in front of their catfish selling property and were happy to help a lost soul. According to them, the road block had something to do with a political rally which helped me make my decision about the next part of the trip. While chatting with them I learned I was in Beresford, which apparently once had many more folks than it currently does. A short distance from their farm I came across this:
Now I said I packed some things, but one thing I neglected to pack was my photography shoes. Instead, I was wearing some sandals which are hardly the footwear one needs when one goes traipsing through high grass! If only I had them, I would have spent more time studying the headstones. As it was, I got some stickers on my feet! Once very prevalent, I rarely come across any of those pesky weeds anymore. Then again, I rarely go wandering a country cemetery, so who knows they very well might be everywhere still.

A little further while still on the same road, there were some horses. Don't you just love to come across horses? I sure do. What magnificent animals they are.
I think it must have been while I was taking this picture that I discovered my battery was low. No problem, I have another. Except, you guessed it, when I put that one in there wasn't much life left in it either. Good thing I had another camera right? And a battery charger or two. More on that later...

So, with the directions the kind strangers gave me, I got myself back on the road heading North. The traffic was fine, moving more rapidly than you might think, and with the lovely weather I was feeling pretty good. Eventually 17 merged into the back road I wanted, Florida State Road 11. And what a lovely state road it is. Flanked by towering green pine trees, I followed the ribbon of asphalt, yellow, pink, and white wildflowers along the roadside, with a patch of bright blue sky in the front. Is it any wonder they call it a "scenic highway?" Again, in one the few signs of civilization, I came across some horses.
As a side note, if road signs are any indication, Romney is going to win Florida.

Eventually I came into the town of Bunnell, the Flagler County seat, which according to Wikipedia has a population of less than 3,000 people. It seemed to me there were as many flags along the highway as people who live there!
A very curious sight indeed. It was here that I decided to head over to the coast and travel A1A up to St. Augustine. It wasn't long before I came across the familiar landscape of Target, Olive Garden, Publix, and what have you. Quite a contrast to those back country roads!

Flagler Beach has quite a long pier, and orange sand. Don't believe me? How's this for photographic evidence?
These folks were napping in the late afternoon warm sun with the cool ocean breeze. 
The water, as I walked in the shallows, is still a very comfortable temperature. It is a curious thing to me how the sand along the Florida coast can vary so widely as you travel the long Eastern shore.

My next stop along A1A was Washington Oaks State Park. Several years ago, when Bruce and I traveled much of this same route, we stopped in, visiting both the garden side, and the beach front. Because it was getting late, I confined my visit to the beach side which is really quite remarkable. If you are used to Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, or further down the state, Ft. Lauderdale, this beach will really surprise you. Not only are there gigantic cocquina rocks, there are no sea oats at all.
Instead there is some type of sea grass I'm unfamiliar with. Aside from a few birdies sitting atop the rocks, it was only me. Fascinating to see how the waves have washed grooves into the boulders.
Back to the Pilot, and on the road again. I kept traveling for the maybe 25 miles along the coast and just before I arrived in St. Augustine I saw a sign for an historic beach. Curious, (what me curious?) I made the turn in ASAP. What greeted me were some gigantic dunes with sea oats waving in the breeze against a gorgeous backdrop of a cloudless blue sky.
Parking the car, I walked to the boardwalk to see what was on the other side of these dunes. In quite the contrast from my last stop, I saw the most beautiful white sand you can imagine.
I'm not kidding when I tell you it was like walking through talcum powder. Fantastic! As you can tell from the long shadows, the day was getting shorter by the minute. My next visit up this way will find me spending some time on this lovely stretch of Atlantic coastline, if only I can find it again! Onward we go...

Finally, St. Augustine, and one more beach stop. What did I see? Why, a wide, wide, wide beach with the now familiar orange sand.
Nothing like the sand only about three miles South. To be truthful, I did not traverse this area because I needed to find a Publix soon for a bathroom break! Before leaving home I did read up a little on this area, learning the boulders I showed you earlier were once on the coastline here, apparently used by the Spaniards in 1672 for building the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in America. Now you know.

Are we there yet? Almost. After finding said Publix, I made my way to the St. Augustine lighthouse. How late was it? Nearly 6:00! How far is it again to St. Augustine Gail? Highway mileage--110. Gail mileage? Who knows! How is it possible to take five hours? It's the journey folks--not the destination.

The lighthouse was closed due to the late hour, so here's all I can show you:
Very attractive what with those stripes and red top.

Now, what to do about a motel room? Why, I think I'll use Siri. Except she wasn't much help: "Gail, I've found thirteen hotels fairly close to St. Augustine." Thanks a lot Siri--24 miles away is not what I call close! I kept driving, finally stopping at what appeared to be a clean motel with a vacancy sign. The room was just fine. After changing into some jeans, I walked across the street to what turned out to be a St. Augustine mainstay; Osteens has been in business for 47 years serving seafood to what looked to be a very local crowd. Amazingly enough, they only take cash. If I told you all about that dinner it would try your patience as this post is probably already too long, but in a nutshell, it was both delicious and interesting.

After dinner I did what I always do when I'm alone, crawl into bed with a good book. So, how's that for a little journey, both in miles and experience? Tomorrow we'll actually visit St. Augustine together, after all, the journey is important; eventually, however,  the destination must take over.
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