Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Little Talbot Island State Park, FL & Leonid Meteor Shower

Less than 10 miles out of Crooked River, we crossed the border into Florida and it seemed like it was worth at least ten degrees. Morty meandered the short distance through Amelia Island and became breathless at all the fancy real estate.

We shopped Target for a new SD card reader with great success. Likewise Walmart for hose hardware and appetizers. McDonalds provided the $5 lunch for the travel party thereby proving that retirement can be cheaper than working.

Finding Little Talbot Island State Park was easy once we were under way but identifying it as meeting our modest criteria was hugely frustrating -- thanks to what may be one of the worst designed websites I have ever encountered. It is all but impossible for someone to use this site to identify a park with camping and beach access within a certain driving range -- too much info presented, too little organization. And when you try to make an online reservation with the ReserveAmerica site, the tunes just keep on comin'. The only positive thing I can say is that mercifully, there is no separate on-line reservation fee.

The friendly park ranger told us about two big events: the shuttle launch in less than an hour, and the early morning Leonid meteor shower. I asked her if she was collecting comments about the magicical website, and she knowingly rolled her eyes, and told us submitting them online was the only option. There's a key causal factor right there. How much gullibility is required to believe that the web guys will be eager to read and pass on all the negativity they're generating?

We got to the beach just in time to get some photos of the shuttle blasting off to the space station. The meteor shower did provide a couple of great streaks of light, but capturing them with the camera was a big bust. The first meteor was just after dark, and I was on a trip to the restroom when a huge fireball with streaming red tail blasted right overhead. Set the camera up and take several hundred pics in the same area and we see only two or three more little ones, all out of camera frame. Getting a good meteor picture is proving to be a lot more difficult than I ever imagined. We were out on the campground road from about 9 until 2 AM, sitting in our camp chairs. A couple of times we thought we heard wild boars grunting near us. When we woke up around 9 in the morning we were surprised to find that area under water from the high tide.




At low tide this beach is perfect for riding bikes. Five miles of park beach. Hundreds of feet of wet sand. No construction in sight.

The campground is carved out around the marsh with no paved roads. The sites are modest, but so thick with vegetation that nowhere in the park can you see more than two sites at once. The capacity of the camp is only 40 sites so it does provide a very cozy atmosphere.
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