East Coast Home Tour with my son, Lucas

June 16-July 1, 2014

My son and I went on a road trip East, to Charleston, SC., Cumberland Island, GA., St. Augustine., FLA., and through various parts of GA and TN. These are pictures from the trip.

 

 

Drove 11 hours the first day…too much, I realised, too late after Lucas got carsick and vomited all over the back seat. Poor thing. He ate a hearty breakfast the next day, before I drove another 7.

IMG_1540(Above) This is the first pic I took on the trip, from our table in a Waffle House in Crossville, TN., where we slept the first night in a simple motel.

Below: Driving through the Great Smoky Mountains in Eastern TN

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We Finally arrived at the travellers hostel in downtown Charleston at about 3Pm the following day. This place was very special and both Lucas and I had fascinating interactions with the other travelers there. He met a 10 yr. old kid from Oregon named Leonardo and they played chess and arm wrestled each other. Lucas beat him at both! but Leo was a great sport! Below is the entrance to the 8 bunkbed room we slept in…

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Below: Lucas and I slept in the top bunk

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Below: The Chess & chill-out room where the kids played chess. The TV was never on. In between the times I was visiting my mom and taking her places, we would come back here and it was a welcome respite. There were young and not-so-young people from all over the world. In our room alone, there was a group from Montreal, and a couple from Norway.

 

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Below: one of the dining rooms where one could chat and chew…breakfast was included…

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Lucas demanded before we left that we visit the Battery so he could see the cannons….

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 …he enjoyed clambering all over them despite the fact that it was broiling in the sun

 

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 Our next stop was a 3 day camping adventure on Cumberland Island Georgia…it had been 30+ years since I was there. You have to take a ferry and there are no amenities once you’re there…it is a wild, magical, and very hot place in June!

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Lucas caught a millipede and enjoyed it’s company for awhile on one of our walks

 

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 We got to the Dungeness ruins and  there were wild horses all over the place

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 Walking to the Dungeness ruins…

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P1020958Above—The main road on Cumberland Island.

Below: Our campsite…it was 500 feet from the beach dunes. The squirrels and Raccoons were relentless about trying to get into that food-cage.

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I spent a lot of time just mesmerized by the magical tree canopy that covered most of the island….when it wasn’t storming…

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This little Marmot tent kept us dry even when everything else got soaked

 Below: the Golden Silk Orbweaver, or banana spider…nephila clavipes…beautiful, beneficial, and harmless to humans

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There was spectacular wildlife everywhere…and the deer and birds were unafraid.

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 The tire tracks on the beach were from Department of Interior trucks that monitored the sea turtle nests that were all over the beach

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Above: a camouflaged spider-type sand crab shell, and

below: Beach Morning Glory, Ipomoea pes-caprae

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The cardinals were ubiquitous when I got campfires going…I have never seen so many…and they were almost tame

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The tree frogs were all over these palms after a rain…and in your backpack!

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P1030119Below: The first place we had a hot breakfast after 3 days on the Island

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After a hearty breakfast, we went to St. Augustine, near where I was born. We stayed in a little beach house for 4 days (below)

 

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This place was built in the 1960’s, and used to be an inn and sandwich shop on the “Colored” part of Butler Beach back when beaches were still segregated. The owner still has the original sign that was posted outside, and Minnie, the lady who originally owned it, is still alive!

IMG_1642Below: Our first excursion (besides the beach…) was to historical St. Augustine

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Around Plaza de la Constitucion

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Above: The entrance to Flagler College

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Above: A fountain at the main entrance.

Below: Photos of the interior—the dome, staircase, dining hall and architectural details…

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Above : Lucas in Jail!

Below: Toured a bunch of churches built in the same period as Flagler…and or by the same architect(s)

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Spent time cooling down in the Methodist church, and talking to an interesting docent who happened to be from KC—worked as an engineer for Boeing. He did not miss Kansas.

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More Historical scenes in St. Augustine. Lucas and I wanted to stay here

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P1030257Above: The oldest schoolhouse in the US

Below: Photos of the Fort…Castillo de San Marco

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Below: While waiting for the storm to pass, I took pictures of the Coquina…out of which the fort was made in the 1500’s…

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…as well as the sign that explained lightening strikes in Florida…

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Then we finally got to go upstairs and see the view…and the cannons

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Below: Amazing seafood every day

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Another main excursion was to visit the Alligator Farm:

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P1030441…Some of the birds in the rookery weren’t so lucky

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P1030449In addition to having Alligators and Crocs from all over the world, this place had reptiles, amphibians, monkeys…

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Another day we drove to Ponte Vedra so I could show Lucas the house where I was born—(This isn’t it!)

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Views entering Ponte Vedra at 40MPH

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Below: The house on Duval Drive where I was born. My parents bought it for $63,000 in 1960. It’s now valued at over $3million. Lucas thought it was hilarious that I got out of the car to photograph someone else’s house. But then he asked, “Let’s just go inside!”  Yeah, right. I do remember the layout, though.

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Below: This was a duck lagoon where the maid would take me to feed the “quack-quacks” . Yes, we had a maid in 1974…and my mother was a member of the Ponte Vedra Country Club…

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Apparently my mother left me in the car when I was 3 and I took myself on a tour around this place. Not bad for a first drive.

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…This place is like Hollywood

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Below: Back to Butler Beach for some MORE good seafood!

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Driving back to GA., we stopped in Lakeland, GA., where my dad grew up, and where several generations of my family had lived since the 1700’s. Here is Lucas on the dock of Bank’s Lake. It’s full of Gators.

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See! There’s one.

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P1030559 It is gorgeous…

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And we stayed at the Lakeland Inn….

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We visited my dad’s gravesite and our family cemetery at the Riverside Baptist Church. I showed Lucas how my dad used to roll up Juicy Fruit gum and call it a “How About That”. We made “How About Thats” and enjoyed them with my dad. (I cannot stand Juicy Fruit gum—but that wasn’t the point)

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Driving through South Georgia…

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..More relatives. This was my GGrandfather , Lucas’s GGGgrandfather, who fought at Chickamauga, where we would stop on the way home

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His wife: Roxann

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One of the first fellows to live in S. Georgia was John Gaskins, son of Fisher, whose grave has never been located in Alachua, FLA

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Views of the church and cemetery. Lucas was fascinated by the gravestones, and the morbid fact there were so many buried children

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Not a whole lot has changed in the part of the country. I explained to Lucas that most people lived like this 100 years ago

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I visited my sister Lynn Gaskins after 35+ years and we went out to lunch before driving on to ATL. It was a wonderful visit and we are so happy she is doing well.

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Afterwards, we visited my sister in ATL, and helped load up a U-HAUL trailer full of stuff to take for safekeeping. We stopped at Chickamauga Battlefield on the way home.

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 As usual, Lucas couldn’t get enough of the cannons

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Driving through the Appalachian Mountains was beautiful, cool and overcast…

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