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22 November 2011 @ 05:49 am
what a difference a year makes  
In the last entry, I was still travelling from Ohio to Florida. I'll continue where that left off...

After leaving Charlotte, I drove through Columbia, South Carolina. I did not see evidence of an Occupy movement there, but perhaps there had been one on the statehouse grounds that had just been "busted". I say this because I saw a police cruiser parked on the grass there late at night when I drove by.

But on Saturday morning, November 19th, I drove into Savannah, Georgia, which is an amazing town like no other in America. I just discovered Savannah this year, and I'm becoming fascinated by it, even in these bleak times when I don't get excited by cities much anymore.

I found some Occupy protesters on Bay Street on the edge of downtown. Here is the album of the photos I took, with some descriptions:

My Visit To Occupy Savannah

The story of Jonathan David Brazell, mentioned in two of the captions, and the Monarch butterfly, are the kind of things that happen a lot in Savannah, and only there, from what I've been told.

I finally got into Deland, Florida just after dark on Saturday night, November 19th, after being delayed through Saint Augustine by traffic congestion. My brother in Jacksonville told me the big traffic jam was caused by the annual Holiday Lights Debut.

The boat was fine while I was gone for five months! In fact, by late morning on Sunday, November 20th, I had it all put back together.

So I decided to spend the afternoon just relaxing, something I hadn't done in a long time. I went to DeLeon Springs State Park to swim in the spring-fed pool I came to love last year:

In that last picture, the view is out into Spring Garden Run, where I worked so hard in late 2010 to build and test my boat.

It looks so sunny and tranquil now, so different from a year ago, when it began to get cold and windy suddenly just after my boat was completed. And, of course, December, 2010 then followed, the coldest December in central Florida history, and the endless winds finally drove me to a different place by February.

It is spooky to look at the latest Goggle Earth imagery of Spring Garden Run, Tedders Fish Camp, and the DeLeon Springs State Park -the little silver rectangle is my boat, out there being battered by those endless winds that I will never forget. Note the date, December 7th, 2010. (I remember hearing the airplane overhead as I watched the Osprey diving to catch fish):

But back to the present...On Sunday, November 20th, 2011, it was sunny and warm, and the mood was happy. Earlier in the day, I called Bob Costa, who I mentioned in this journal last year. On September 24th, he had launched his paddlewheeler that he worked on for so many years. When I called, he was out in the remote stretches of the Saint Johns River, but was planning to come down Spring Garden Run to Tedders about 5 PM. Sure enough, just after I parked there and walked along the shore to Robert Reed's house, we saw the paddlewheeler in the distance coming in. We took of in his motorboat and intercepted Bob, and I recorded most of the rest of the story in this photo album:

Bob Costa's paddlewheeler -November 20, 2011

Now it is early Tuesday morning. Yesterday, another nice one, I re-connected with my friend Chris, who lives next to my present marina, North Shell, and who I bought my new property next to the water from. Then I went around to the land from Paolini Drive, and spent time talking to some of the people who live there, including George and Tim, who live in the two farthest houses. With the very high water in the river now, I discovered my property had about a foot of water on it. So I will indeed need to build a boardwalk if I want access from Paolini Drive 365 days of the year. An alternative is very high boots. But the advantage of the high water is at the other side -next to the river. Yesterday morning I put together my Porta-Bote. I drove it around the bend from the marina to my property, and was able to drive way deep into the woods because of the high water. Deep in the woods is the place to be in a thunderstorm. That's why I bought the land. When I put the gazebo back in there, though, it will have to be elevated if I want to use it during high water like now.

In the afternoon yesterday, I decided to try what I've been wanting to for awhile -go beach driving next to the Atlantic. I drove on the sand a few feet from the waves clear from downtown Daytona Beach to downtown Ormond Beach:

Then I swam for about two hours at Ormond Beach. The Met Life blimp went right overhead, and I watched the surfers from a few feet away. I was captivated. When I was a kid I knew I would be a surfer if I ever lived near the ocean. Well, hell, that's where I am now. I may do this. -There are still so many new things to learn!

Here is my new album of pictures from yesterday, including the Porta-Bote, and the beach:

November 21st, 2011 pictures