Prevost Service Center, Jacksonville, FL.
Prevost Car Inc has a major service and parts facility in Jacksonville, Florida and had the (one way) check valve I needed in stock. Jacksonville is a major metropolitan area in the northeast corner of Florida, about two hours northeast of Williston. We took FL-121 to Gainesville where we picked up FL-24 over to US-301 northbound at Waldo. US-301 runs up to the west edge of Jacksonville, but the Prevost service center is in the southeast part of town, so the GPS routed us onto FL-16 at Starke and then onto FL-21 and up to I-295 eastbound. We found the facility easily and ended up having a nice chat with Dann Wiltgen, the VP of Pre-owned Seated Coach Sales and New Key Accounts, who we bumped into at the coffee station.
At the parts counter Service Advisor Jennifer Beardslee got the check valve and also pulled the new auxiliary air filter assembly for me to see. I decided to buy it, but had to order the mounting bracket from Canada as it was not in stock anywhere in the U. S. This was the first time we had been to any Prevost facility so I took a few pictures of the exterior before we left.
Looking north from North Beach at Little Talbot Island SP (FL).
Our business concluded at Prevost we got back on I-295 headed north. Just after crossing back over the river/bay we headed east on FL-105 (Heckscher Dr.). We crossed Little Marsh Island, Pine Island, and Fanning Island before Ft. George Island and Ft. George Island State Park. Fl-105 joins up with FL-A1A which runs along the coast and includes a ferry to the south side of the inlet. But we were headed north to Little Talbot Island State Park, which occupies the entire Little Talbot Island.
Us on the boardwalk at North Beach, Little Talbot Island SP (FL).
We stopped at the Little Talbot Island ranger station, trailhead, and beach area, parked, and walked out to the shore on a boardwalk across low dunes. The weather was pleasant enough and we had a nice stroll down the beach and took a few photos. We continued on to Big Talbot Island, most of which is Big Talbot Island SP. We parked at the trailhead for the Big Pine Trail and hiked out to the marsh through a beautiful forest. This area had been most for a while and was very green. I took a few photos, but it’s difficult to capture the nature of such a place which is both grand and intimate at the same time. Lenses do not “see” the world the same way our eyes do.
The Big Pine Trail at Big Talbot Island SP (FL).
From Big Talbot Island we crossed to Amelia Island, the southern tip of which was Amelia Island SP and the location of the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier SP. The GCBFPSP is the former bridge connecting the toe Islands. When a new bridge was built the state left the old one, closed it to vehicle traffic, and made it a state park. Thus was another example of why the Florida State Parks system is the only two-time winner of the award for best state park system in the U. S.
The marsh at the end of the Big Pine Trail, BTISP (FL).
As we left Amelia Island SP for the Nassau area we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of a very high-end resort community. FL-A1A eventually joined up with FL-200 headed west towards Yulee and across I-95 to Callahan where it becomes US-301/FL-200 headed SSE through the west edge of Jacksonville and then on to Gainesville and Ocala. Along the way it passes through the little town of Lawtey. About 5 miles north of Lawtey there is a billboard warning drivers of the “Lawtey Speedtrap.” We thought it might be a gimmick ad for a restaurant, but it turned out be an actual warning. As we entered Lawtey there were dings saying “Speed Strictly Enforced” and a Lawtey police car checking vehicle speeds. We don’t speed when. We drive, so we were not at risk of being trapped, but I don’t understand why states permit little towns to do this sort of thing. Law enforcement should not be a major source of revenue for any municipality; it distorts the whole purpose and process of law enforcement.
Fungal growth on a dead tree along the Big Pine Trail at BTISP (FL).
I had received the Feb 2014 issue of Bus Conversions Magazine a couple of days ago with my article on the Arcadia Bus Rally as the cover/centerfold story. Many of my photos were used for the expanded digital edition and I had several e-mails going back and forth with Gary Hall, the owner/publisher, and Mike Sullivan, the editor, as is often the case. Starting with the January 2014 issue they are producing three separate versions of the magazine. The print version is currently 32 full-color glossy pages. Gary would like to up the page count, but needs to build the subscriber/advertiser base to do that. The digital edition now cones in two versions, SD and HD, both of which have expanded content over the print version, especially photographs. The SD (Standard Definition) version is e-mailed to subscribers and can also be downloaded by online subscribers. The HD (High Definition) version has the same content as the SD version, but the photographs are much higher resolution, and can only be downloaded. The SD version for Feb 2014 was ~10 MB while the HD version was ~ 25 MB. They can be viewed online or downloaded as PDF files.
The beach at Amelia Island SP by the George Crady Fishing Bridge SP (FL). (4×4 vehicles permitted.)
I also had some e-mail correspondence with Don and Kim Greene of Harvest Hosts. We received the February newsletter a couple of days ago and read that they were extending subscriptions for subscribers who mentioned the program on their websites or in their blogs. We stayed at four “hosts” in 2013 and blogged about each one of them. We also have Harvest Hosts listed on our website as one of our travel resources. The posts were a bit dated but I sent an e-mail with the direct links and they were kind enough to extend our subscription by four months. They also requested one of the photos from Acres of Land Winery and Restaurant to include on their Facebook and Flickr sites.
It seems that when our days are full they are full right up to the brim, and that’s OK. We’re tired at the end of such days, but it’s a good kind of tired.