03/21/19. Palatka, FL-Fargo, GA.

DAY #152

Busy day planned ahead.  Not only was it moving day, it was also bring the trailer in to Camping World for service, and the truck to Bozard Ford for an oil change/tire rotation day.  Hopefully, all these things would be accomplished and still have time to get to the next campground before sunset.

Rodman Campground was a nice “pit-stop” on the journey.  While the area didn’t offer a lot in the way of attractions, excursions or activities, and if you’re lazy like me, the options became even more limited, it did offer a quiet, comfortable, picturesque spot to set down stakes and just enjoy life, if even for only a few days. It was a perfect place to complete the transition from the world of ‘New Florida’ to that of ‘Old Florida’.

The day started early, I was up before sunrise, but decided to snooze a while longer (didn’t take much convincing), didn’t feel like hooking the trailer up in the dark.  After my snooze, had the trailer broke down, hooked up, and ready to go by 8:30 am.  The first stop was at Camping World (CW) in St. Augustine, Fl.  It was an hours drive from Rodman and the nice part of it was, I could make the stop and not have to deviate off route.

I was expecting a full day wait (best case scenario) at Camping World to get the trailer serviced.  The hot water heater had stopped working and needed to get fixed.  Thankfully, it was still under warranty but if a part needed to be ordered, or if it turned out to be a major repair, it could mean a wait, something I didn’t look forward to, but resigned to, if that’s the way it went. 

Dropped the trailer off and headed down the block to the Ford dealership to get the truck serviced.

While sitting in the Quick Lane lobby waiting for service to be done on the truck, I got a call from Camping World, it seems they had diagnosed and repaired the hot water heater. The trailer was ready to be picked up, and it wasn’t even 11:00 am.

Wow, here I was concerned that I might be laid up for a couple of days in St. Augustine, that between you and me I wouldn’t have minded, to getting a call an hour and half after dropping the trailer off, telling me it’s good to go. 

OK, the truck was ready, the trailer was ready, and I was ready.  We all got together, hooked up (so to speak), and back on the road we went.  Next stop; Stephen C. Foster State Park located within the boundaries of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

My last miles in Florida would be spent on the interstates.  The route took me from I-95 North (St. Augustine) to I-10 West.  Along the way I went through Jacksonville, FL.  Being on the freeway you can never get much of a feel for an area and that held true here.  From what I could see while trying to navigate the crowded and congested freeways, was a metropolis with interesting and inviting waterways, and a rather unimpressive downtown skyline. It’s a big city, with a big city look and feel.  It took a while to get clear of it and back into the wild.

 Not long after getting out of Jacksonville, google informed me to exit the freeway and begin the last segment for the day.  This final 50 of so miles would be taken along winding tree lined two lane blacktop.

Shortly after getting off the freeway and before getting into Georgia, I stopped at a Walmart to stock up.  In doing my homework I found that it’s about 45 miles from the campground to any place for shopping, etc.  It struck me that I sure seem to be staying at a lot of places that have long drives for shopping, etc.  After Walmart it was back on the road.  Not long after entering Georgia, I began seeing some large fields that appeared to be growing cabbage.  I also noticed a number of buildings along the highway that by their appearance, looked to have been at one time housing for migrant farm workers.  Given the condition they were in, it was apparent they hadn’t been used for quite a while. I found it quite interesting to see.  It gave a glimpse of a bygone time (good or bad).

As I continued along, the fields gave way to trees, lots and lots of trees (mainly pine).  Along with the trees came swaths of land where timber had recently been cut and cleared. 

Timber is big business in Georgia and in this part of the state, timber is king.

Outside of trees, I saw very few pastures and even fewer farms. One thing that caught my attention was the number of trailer homes (manufactured homes), it seemed that at least seventy five percent of the homes were trailers.

Driving into Fargo, GA meant I only had 17 miles left before the State Park.  Fargo is the closet place that has any services.  There are a couple of places for gas, a restaurant and a convenience store.  Nothing to really motivate you to drive to from the park, but if you’re on your way back after a day of activity, it’s a nice option to have.  Fargo is kind of a neat place, there’s a character to it, maybe not as strong as in its heyday but still, you can feel it.

Easy to get to the State Park, and National Wildlife Refuge from Fargo, simply get on #177, and take it until you run out of road.  Before you get into the State Park, you’ll first enter the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

One interesting thing that I found out, the gates to the refuge close at 10:00 pm, and there is no code to open them.  If you’ve been out and about and it becomes after 10:00 pm, you can forget getting back to your campsite for the night.  It’s another seven miles to the State Park.  Once there I found the Admin building and checked in.  Check in went smoothly and soon, I was on my way to campsite #48, my home until the 29th of the month.

Another interesting tidbit; The State Park Gate also closes at 10:00 pm and there is no code to open the gate.  Conceivably, you could get into the Wildlife Refuge before those gates close and still get locked out at the State Park since it’s about seven miles from the Refuge entrance to the Park entrance.

 I guess in short, there’s a curfew and it’s 10:00 pm, the injustice of it!

Found the campsite and backed the trailer in.  It went pretty well, I only had to jockey around a couple of times.  Proceeded to set things up and yea…everything, including the hot water heater was working.  It’s always a good feeling when things go as they should.

The day ended with my reflection how today was a break from being tested.  Yeah, today was a good day.

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