We hit the road about 0930 heading for Jacksonville Beach, Florida www.jacksonvillebeach.org which was somewhere I’d visited briefly whilst in the Royal Navy. It was another cloudy day with not even the promise of it brightening up later. We crossed rivers and wetlands as we travelled south. Soon after crossing from Georgia in to Florida we came across a Rest Area complete with a Visitors Center with the added bonus of free Wi-Fi which was a very nice touch and only the second time we’d come across it on our travels. So whilst Rosina did her usual tour of the leaflet stands I quickly wound the laptop up and took a look at emails and the weather forecast on www.accuweather.com .
As we arrived in the Jacksonville area the traffic became very busy indeed which is understandable since the city is supposed to be the second largest in the USA after Anchorage in Alaska which surprised me. We eventually managed to find the beach road, but by then I’d lost interest in the place, it was nothing like I remembered it some 36 years ago, but having come this far I felt we should at least have a look at the sea. We pulled off in to a small public parking area, walked to the beach took a couple of pictures of the damp, windy, misty seashore and got back in the vehicle. I suggested to The Chef that we make our way towards Tampa and the Gulf of Mexico as I was getting hacked off with the Atlantic weather. By setting out right away we would miss the heavy traffic tomorrow morning. I suppose a lot of the traffic on the roads today is due to the Presidential Election and everybody needing their cars because the Polling Stations will be further than 200 yards from their homes.
So off we went again heading for Ocala which is about halfway to Tampa as I didn’t fancy driving another 150 miles having already driven from Savannah. The scenery was much the same and fortunately the price of fuel continued to fall as we travelled south. We topped the tank up twice today paying as little as $2.18 a gallon, which is a lot less than the $4+ we were paying for much of our last trip.
We arrived at a local Wal-Mart here in Ocala at about 16:10 and I was pleased to have arrived. Driving an RV is more tiring than a car, more concentration is needed due to the size, handling characteristics and having to think for other road users. With one of these things if you have an accident irrespective of who is to blame, you lose not only your transport but your accommodation so the stakes are higher and the responsibility greater.
LOCATION TONIGHT: Wal-Mart Super, 2600 SW 19th Ave, Ocala, FL 34474 (GPS: N29.159311 W82.166629).