Saturday, in 80 degree sunshine, we took Old Highway 321 in South Carolina down into Georgia. The success of the businesses of the past are visible in rusted and boarded up establishments long since given over to the Modern Motorway. We passed lots of old gas stations, motels and restaurants with faded original signage and peeling paint. Many pastel coloured southern-porched homes sat in the shade of Live Oaks and Palms. Sadly, many decrepit homes lean sideways groaning to their occupants who call these places home. Others would likely take a wrecking ball to them.
Who wouldn't like a state whose most popular grocery store is called Piggly Wiggly?
Every town, no matter how small, has its church. The most common style is the white wooden clapboard house with a steeple mounted on top. These are so common it looks as if there was a sale on Build-Your-Own Church kits that everyone ordered. Then there are the upgraded models, similar in style but made of concrete to better withstand the wrath of God. These lack character and charm on the exterior but perhaps make up for it inside!?
Once again, we spent our overnight in a Walmart lot in Brunswick, Georgia.
Sunday November 11. We Remember our Veterans with humility and pride!
We motored two hours into Florida where we set up camp in St. Augustine State Park. Because it was a long weekend, most campers were staying through to Monday. We had a two hour wait and a good deal of frustration with some Quebecers who refused to speak English to the camp rangers, in turn, causing pandemonium to the process of issuing sites. During the wait, we dipped our toes in the Atlantic and checked out the wide, bleached white beach and sugary dunes. Two large turtles crawled up through the rough grasses leaving scraggly trails in the sand. Our camp site was private and pretty lined with Palms, Live Oak, Olive and Purple Beauty Bushes. It was a tight spot with just enough room to put the slides out on out motor home.
We changed into some lightweight summer duds and drove into downtown St. Augustine, the oldest city in America.
Evidence of its early Spanish settlement is everywhere: in the red tile roofs, the intricately carved stone and the Colonial style metalwork. Strolling the town, we found a cafe with an outdoor patio where Dixie was allowed to join us. Indulging in some southern cooking, we chowed down on warm cornbread with honey butter and a shrimp PO-Boy!
Many of the narrow streets show promise of architectural treats but most are cluttered with tacky souvenir shops and so-called art galleries. It was much nicer to stroll along the stone walkways beside Matanzas Bay. The walls of the old Castillo De San Marcos Fort stands proudly with its impenetrable walls made from Coquina heralding memories of battle. The conglomerate building material is basically seabed, a natural crushed shell substance used in building walls all around St.Augustine. It's value in a fort is its brute strength and ability to absorb the impact of cannonball fire without compromising the wall's structure, thus the Fort stands today!
The State park provided a very quiet night's sleep. We started Monday with a beach morning. That particular beach was not as kind to the feet as the powdery sand back at the state park. It was comprised of tiny shells topped with larger shells washed in by the tide. We found a cool twisty one! Dixie played in the waves where a number of surfers waited for the perfect ride. It was difficult to leave the surf-carved dunes and soothing sounds of the waves but we had sight seeing to do!