I left rainy, dreary Kingsland, Georgia on the morning of November 29.
It was about an hour and 15 minute drive to St Augustine where I would be spending a few days at Stagecoach RV Park.
I was lucky to find a campground with an opening. Many campgrounds here are either booked solid or they no longer allow vehicles (or trailers) that aren’t certified as “recreational”.
I never had this trouble before. But, then again, it’s a whole new world now.
My van is converted to a home on wheels but it’s not certified as a recreational vehicle (RV). It’s registered as a truck (cargo van’s are considered trucks).
I arrived in St Augustine around noon and decided to check out a favorite spot or two before heading to the campground.
The last time I was in St Augustine was March 2018 but I remember it vividly.
Flashback To March 2018
On the morning of March 13, 2018, Cookie and I said goodbye to Nikki and her boyfriend.
After our goodbyes, Cookie and I began our trek north to Warren IL (The Homeland) to move in with and take care of Dad.
This was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Before switching gears and moving into an entirely different lifestyle (moving in with Dad) I wanted to stop in St Augustine Florida – one of my favorite places on the east coast.
I didn’t know if or when I’d ever return and I wanted to soak in as much of St Augustine as I could.
Visiting St Augustine Pier – March 2018
Due to damage from hurricane Irma the normal access point to the beach had to be moved. Hurricane Irma changed the landscape and a cement barrier had been placed where the old access point used to be.
I lifted Cookie up and put him on the cement barrier (which was about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide).
As I stood there admiring the Atlantic ocean, soaking in as much as I could, Cookie was keeping a watchful eye on anyone and everyone that passed by.
When necessary, Cookie woofed at dogs many times his size as they ran down the beach with their Human’s.
He was making sure they didn’t come to close to his Human!
I never let Cookie run loose at the beach. He was always dressed in his blue harness and leash.
Cookie’s self-proclaimed role as Mighty Protector gave him the uncontrollable desire to immediately – sometimes without warning – chase down every big dog that came too close to him and his Human.
His harness was the best safety net for everyone involved.
Flash-Forward To November 2020
I visited the St Augustine Beach pier today and thought it would be exciting… but my emotions took me by surprise.
It’s been almost 3 years ago but I can remember exactly where the pictures above were taken, where Cookie was standing, what I was feeling and what I was thinking as I embarked on the new chapter that had unexpectedly opened before me.
The cement barrier is still there.
As I pass by the spot where Cookie once stood 3 years ago… the only way to describe it is… surreal.
It was like some sort of time-warp where I briefly quantum leaped back and forth between March 13, 2018 and November 29, 2020.
River To Sea Preserve
After leaving the pier I drove about 10 minutes south to Marineland, Florida. There’s a little preserve right next to the Marineland Dolphin Adventure that I enjoy going to.
The boardwalk runs lengthwise along the beach rather than going out to the beach.
There are stairs leading down to the beach but they don’t have railings and that last step is a doozy.
The stairs and railings going out to the beach were destroy during hurricane Irma or Matthew (they both hit that area). The stairs have been replaced but there are no railings.
Rather than going splat at the bottom of the stairs I simply stayed on the boardwalk and soaked in as much salty sea air as I could before heading to the campground.
Coming Full Circle
My stop in St Augustine back in March 2018 was essentially my last hurrah before moving in to a sticks-n-bricks house and becoming Dad’s Caregiver.
It serves as a cut-off point between my prior nomadic lifestyle and the new temporarily static lifestyle I was about to embark on.
Now that I’m back in the St Augustine area again it feels like I’ve come almost full circle.
St Augustine was quite significant for me. But I don’t think the circle will be fully completed until I reach Homestead, FL.
Getting Lab Work Done While On The Road
One of the items on my agenda was to get some routine lab work done. I do as much as possible when I’m in The Homeland but, sometimes, I need something checked while I’m on the road.
While on the road, I use Quest Diagnostics to get my lab work done. They have many centers across the United States.
Some insurance may pay for out of state blood work but my current insurance does not. It’s not too expensive, though, and I’m able to keep tabs on any routine blood work while on the road.
My appointment was at 11:15 Tuesday morning.
Bright and early Wednesday morning, there was an email letting me know my results were in. To see my results I just had to go to my account.
Quest Diagnostics also notifies my doctor of the results.
The Tire Pressure Light
After my lab work was done I got in the van and ordered a veggie wrap (or two) from Publix.
As I turned the ignition on I noticed the tire pressure light glaring back at me all lit up nice and pretty like.
I sat there a second and shook my head. It most likely wasn’t urgent but it was another issue to deal with and I wasn’t in the mood for it.
I’d put a tire pressure gauge in the glove compartment but do you think I could find that darned thing!?!
That darn gremlin must have gotten in again and took it! But I’m sure the gauge will miraculously show up in a few days.
I hop out of the van and check the tires visually but there was nothing out of the ordinary.
Oh well… I might as well go get my food because I’m hungry. It’s after noon now and I still haven’t eaten today.
Getting My Tires Checked At Discount Tires
After getting my food at Publix I put the bag in the back of the van for later. I wanted to eat without rushing so I just tossed it in back and made it a goal to get the tires taken care of first.
Discount Tires was near the campground and I’d seen a sign that said Free Air Checks and Fills.
All I had to do was pull up between the orange cones and a young man in a mask came out holding a gun. Ok, the gun was actually the air-checker-filler-upper-thing but he was wearing a mask and it looked like he was about to hold me up and I got a chuckle out of it!
He checked my tires and adjusted the air pressure.
As he walked away I asked if they needed air. He said the tires were actually over-inflated and he had to let air out.
This struck me as odd and I suspected I wasn’t done with my tire pressure issue.
The air pressure light was still on but, sometimes, the sensor has to be reset. To reset the sensor a special device is needed (the van isn’t like other vehicles where you can reset the sensor yourself).
The campground was just down the road so I drove back home, ate one of my wraps and decided to deal with the air pressure issue in the morning.
The Next Morning at a Ford Fast Lane
Bella is a Ford Transit cargo van so I decided to take her to a Ford Fast Lane.
A nice young man came out to help me. It was difficult not to notice his piercing light blue eyes against the black neck gaiter (mask) and black leather jacket he was wearing.
He was very polite as he checked the tires and pumped air into the back tires. He said the back tires were 6 – 7 pounds low.
That confirmed my suspicion that they guy from yesterday didn’t do it right.
The piercing blue eyes guy also got the tire pressure light to go off.
The Stagecoach RV Park is a very nice campground and I’ll certainly be back in the future. Possibly the near future – but nothing definite.
Something About Cookie
I don’t think I’ve shared this on the blog but Cookie has been making this trip with me. His bodily remains are traveling with me in his urn and (I’m positive) his spirit is traveling with me too.
Cookie’s final resting place will be with Nikki in Homestead, Florida.
Other than the first few months of his life, Cookie has always lived with Nikki and/or myself. He was part of the family. Cookie traveled with me a few times during my nomadic travels but, once Nikki left the nest, he mostly lived with her. In March 2018, Nikki had to move and couldn’t have Cookie in her new place. That’s how Cookie came to live with me (again).
My Next Destination
My ultimate destination this winter is Homestead, FL where I can, hopefully, come full circle and wrap up this leg of my (inner) journey.
I’m excited to see Nikki and bring Cookie to his final resting place but I’m not yet sure when I’ll hit Homestead.
I’ve simply been going by when my Inner Self says it’s ready to move on.
Just a note: I write my posts while it’s fresh in my mind but I often schedule them to publish at a later date. What you read today may (or may not) be a week or so in the past.