We completed the Florida-Charleston Loop on Thursday, March 10th.
Jacksonville Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
Better known as Hanna Park, it is a large park on the Atlantic about 15 miles from downtown Jacksonville. The park is in a Florida jungle. The 300 campsites are large and an easy walk to the 1.5 mile long public beach. I spent the day planning the final days of our trip and walking to and on the beach. I discovered a there was a ferry crossing of the St Johns River very close to Hanna Park. Never turning down a chance to ride on a boat we arrived the next morning only to discover the ferry wasn't running. The website said the ferry would be closed for 2 months from the January 1 which I interpreted that it would be running starting March 1. They need to keep their website up to date. Now I find you have to download an app to get the latest information but the app won't download.
Our next stop was Red Gate Farms close to Savannah. This is a small park with 30 good level full service sites. There is a large horse farm with one horse and a pony outside. There may have been more animals inside the barn. I took a trail that wrapped around a small lake and then headed down a long driveway to the gate for the Mackey House. Later I learned this is a facility for weddings. The park had two of the largest Live Oak trees I have ever seen. The photo only shows half of the tree. We had a very pleasant and quiet stay. In the morning we planned to tour Savannah a city we had not been to for 10 years or so. Unfortunately we got lost trying to find the city and wound up on the interstate. We decided to skip Savannah and spend more time in Charleston. That worked out really well. I called a Great Loop boating friend, Jerry, and he said he would be free for lunch. He chose the Fleet Landing because although the food was just OK there would be restaurant parking in downtown Charleston and a great view of the harbor. We had a decent lunch and got caught up with Jerry's boating adventures. Rather than do the loop again he took the reverse direction up the Tenn-Tom waterway and left his boat for the winter at Joe Wheeler State Park Marina on the Tennessee River. I am hoping we can get together on our boats this summer.
Our primary reason to go home to Nashville this way was to visit friends that recently moved to Isle of Palms and we hadn't seen since the 80s. Brian worked at Apple Computer back then and we became good friends. We attended his wedding to Susan in Marion SC and have swapped Christmas cards ever since. The home on Isle of Palms was spectacular with 5 stories. The view from the top floor looked out over the Atlantic on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other. They have views of the sunrise and sunset every day (see photo). The house had been a rental and had electronic door locks on entry doors and even some inside doors. The locks all have batteries which have to be changed. Susan found instructions on YouTube and we changed out the batteries in one very important lock that was constantly letting us know with annoying beeps that they needed changing. We had dinner that night at a Mexican restaurant on Sullivan Island called Taco Mamacita. Dinner was very good and it turns out there is a Taco Mamacita in Nashville we will have to visit. Next morning we walked a couple of blocks to the beach and headed for Nashville, with stops at Piedmont and Chattanooga. We stayed at Ivy Acres RV Park in Piedmont which was very good with a large field, fish pond and woods for walking around. At some point the hills had been terraced like a vineyard but there was nothing but grass when we were there. Our last stop was McDonald TN at a KOA. We needed an oil change so I decided to stop at a Dodge dealer in Antioch which was on our way home. I went their "Express Lane Oil Change" for a "fast oil changes & more" only to be advised there would be a 2.5 hour wait. Not exactly according to their website claim "We know your time is important and we've set up our facilities to provide quick convenient service for changing your oil â€¦" I was also unimpressed with the enormous number of trucks and cars parked chaotically everywhere around the dealership with only narrow lanes to get to the service entrance. We skipped the 10,000 mile oil change and arrived at the house at 1:00PM. I will look for another Dodge dealer.
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