East Coast Vacation Road Trip: Days 8 – 10

After another continental breakfast we bid adieu to Savannah proper and headed to the Bonaventure Cemetery where we encountered an extremely helpful grounds keeper that gave us the name of some of the plants we had wondered about during our time in the south.

Crepe Myrtle

One of my favorites was Crape Myrtle which comes in many different colors and has a lovely scent.

Cemetery

Johnny Mercer’s family grave site is in this cemetery. We were in time to hear a tour guide talk about much of the life of Johnny. Pretty fascinating.

Mercer Grave Site

I also wanted to see the Wormsloe Plantation. We didn’t have time to tour the plantation so I just pulled in and took a shot of the live oak lined drive. This plantation has been in many films including Forrest Gump. One thing I learned while in the south is the different between a Live Oak and an Oak. A live oak doesn’t lose its leaves in the winter and only survives in the southern US.

Wormsloe

One thing we noticed on our drive from Maryland through Georgia was the lack of highway patrol and the incredible speeds of drivers. That all changed when we hit the Florida state line. The number of patrol cars went up exponentially. Shortly after entering Florida we stopped at a rest stop and obtained our Florida Geocaching souvenir. Then it was on to St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US.

We started off at the Castillo de San Marcos. The Castillo was built of coquina, a soft limestone of broken shells, in 1695. When hit by cannon it absorbs the hit and doesn’t do damage. The coquina was cut on Anastasia island and floated across to create the star shaped Castillo. Over the centuries it has been dominated by the French, Spanish, British and US.

Castillo

We arrived about a half hour before it closed but had a decent amount of time to view the historical displays set up in most of the rooms. There was a nice breeze running through the lower portion. We ventured up top for some amazing views of nearby Anastasia Island and the St. Augustine lighthouse.

Anastasia Island View

We toured the grounds and did two Geocaches [an earth and a virtual]. This is where we saw this curious structure. Turns out it is a furnace used to heat up cannon balls to fire at wooden ships.

Furnace

We walked about a half mile through old town St. Augustine to dinner at A1A Ale Works. B had the lobster pot pie and flight of beer and I had the seafood paella and a porter.

After dinner we drove over to Anastasia island and hit another Geocache near the St. Augustine lighthouse. Unfortunately it was too late in the day to tour the lighthouse.

Lighthouse

Our drive from St. Augustine to Tampa was pretty uneventful until we got to Orlando near Disney World where they were doing a bunch of construction. As we were driving we noticed lightning to the southeast and soon we were in the middle of a summer storm to get to our friends new home. We visited for a bit and then as it was midnight drove on to the hotel for the night as they didn’t have all of their furniture yet and the room was covered for that last night.

Breakfast the next morning was a quick stop at Starbucks and a Geocache where I found a trackable. I brought this one back to Seattle and will leave it somewhere on this coast so it will gain a lot of mileage. We headed out to Clearwater Beach which is on the Gulf of Mexico. We were told by no less than 3 separate people to try the grouper sandwich at Frenchy’s. It did not disappoint.

We walked out to the beach and decided to do a Geocache before heading back to Dover where are friends new home is. Below is B with the Gulf in the background very near where we found our last Geocache of the trip. The sand was like sugar.

Gulf and Bill

Bouganvillea on our walk back to the car.

Bouganvilla

Not certain what this flower is but it was pretty!

Hybiscus

We drove back to our friends house just in time for another summer storm. We were scheduled to fly out that evening [again on the red eye] and they asked if we could return their rental car. We said our goodbyes and loaded up for our drive out. The weather quickly turned worse. I had the wipers on their fastest speed and I could barely see out the window. Within the hour it has stopped raining and the sun was shining again. Got to love summer storms on the east coast!

We were told we needed to go to Cigar City Brewing before we left town. We each had a flight of four we chose and we both ended up getting a Cafe Americano which is a 11% double stout.

Sadly we had to end our vacation and head to the airport for our flight home. At this point B was in a super silly mood.

Silly B

We had a layover in Phoenix which was delayed and where I experienced the beginnings of a migraine. When we got on the plane it was further delayed as they had to fix some lights. We ended up landing an hour and a half late [3:00 AM Pacific time] in Seattle and our shuttle was not waiting for us. After a phone call our car came and got us and delivered us to our home. Thank goodness my migraine went away while I tried to sleep on the plane!

Except for the flight and car issues coming home, our vacation was awesome and restful full of good food, great beer, fun friends and great historical visits. There are a few places we would like to return such as Richmond, VA for the Edgar Allan Poe museum [and Legengs Brewing – those Brussels sprouts!], Colonial Williamsburg [we got there late and could have seen so much more] as well as Jamestown and Yorktown. Asheville, NC for the Biltmore House [if we had time we would have gone but it’s west of Charlotte] and Savannah.

We know we will likely be back in DC next Memorial Day for Hope and Lauren’s wedding and we plan to go to Philadelphia for a few days beforehand. We would also like to include George and Martha’s place [Mount Vernon] on that trip and see more of the museums on the National Mall.

Our friends who moved to Tampa, Brad & Susan will be there for six years so we will likely visit them in that time and include the Tiffany and Salvador Dali museums which we thought we would visit this time but ran out of time. Along with Disney and Universal Studios [Harry Potter World anyone?].

We collapsed in to bed and slept until around 9:00 AM. That is when we got up to prepare ourselves for camping. Post to come soon!

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