Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Palm Coast to Pensacola

We left Palm Coast today (thank God!) and made our way up hwy 100 through Starke, Florida, a really quaint little town whose downtown area obviously hadn't changed much in the past half-century. The city leaders have done a good job of dressing up the streets with benches, planters and greenery, however, so we found a parking spot for our rig and walked a couple of blocks to what looked like a quaint little bakery/restaurant on Main Street named the Bobcat Restaurant. We ordered a couple of hamburgers, but we couldn't eat all of them because we noticed they were undercooked in the middle of the patties. As we looked around the restaurant, we could see only a few stale-looking cookies comprising their bakery offerings and, except for us, the place was empty of patrons. We then realized that, in choosing this place to eat, we ignored one of the most important signs of a potentially good place to eat: There should be vehicles in the parking lot, no matter what time of day. Because of the quaintness of the town, we had ignored the fact that there were no cars parked in front of the café. I was not subtle in my criticism of the hamburgers to the proprietor, so much so that he offered to comp the meal. Looking around at the shabbiness of the place, however, I figured he probably needed the money more than I did, so I elected not to take him up on his offer, especially since we had eaten a goodly bit of each burger.

We made our way out to I-10 again, electing to stay with the interstate because we were ready to get Florida behind us. We were on the road another seven hours this day, and by the time we got to Milton, Florida, just outside Pensacola, we were ready to stop. We stayed at the local KOA campground, arriving at 7:30 p.m., just as they were closing. This was a first for us—arriving at an RV park when the office was still open! This was a nice enough park and, although we didn't have a concrete pad, the spot was a pull-through and level. We had chosen this place due to their advertisement of wi-fi access, but it was through LinkSpot, and not free. We elected not to use it. With Sandy's help, I cooked a pan of chili in the electric skillet for supper, and we both thought it was pretty good. We met a nice couple from Sugar Land, Texas, in the spot next to us. Their names were Travis and Lynn Boyd, and they were returning home from Florida, where they had been touring for a month in their pull-behind travel trailer. They were traveling with two medium sized dogs and told us that they had had two additional ones, but they had recently died. That seemed a bit crowded to me. I just don't know if I could endure the complication of so many pets while on vacation.

Meeting this couple brings to mind the surprising camaraderie among RVers. Without exception, all the people we have encountered in the RV world have been extraordinarily friendly and helpful. Most seem to have no inhibitions about walking over and starting a friendly conversation, as though they were longtime acquaintances. I think the familial nature of this relationship is due, obviously, to the things we have in common, like an adventurous spirit, a greater maturity in age, experience and financial wherewithal and, perhaps just plain generosity. I think we all become less self-centered as we get older, and this translates into a desire to befriend others and help them when you can. This bit of wisdom, of course, is lost on the young, as it was for me when I was a youth. Too bad we can't figure out what's important at an earlier age.

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