Moving on to Florida

Trip Start Apr 04, 2011
Trip End Jun 14, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Monday, April 25, 2011

After dropping Liz off at the airport in New Orleans on Monday afternoon we had an uneventful but pretty drive across the southernmost portions of Mississippi and Alabama to the panhandle of Florida. We ducked into a Walmart in Tallahassee for a quick nights sleep, we wanted to be back on the road early the next morning to make it all the way to the Atlantic coast. Initially we had planned on stopping for the afternoon in Daytona Beach, but on the recommendation of a visitor center guide I had talked to earlier, we detoured to St. Augustine, which is "the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United States." It was founded by the Spanish in 1565 and features some of the oldest structures still standing, including America's oldest wooden schoolhouse. The exact date of construction is unknown but it is sometime between 1702-1716. We also spent some time in the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, a military fort that was originally built when Florida was a Spanish territory in 1672 but has served the militaries of Spain, England, and the United States at different times over it's nearly three and a half centuries of existence. Most of the fort was open for public viewing, including the barracks where soldiers lived in 24-hour shifts while on duty, the chapel and the powder room which was buried deep within the fort to protect it from enemy fire. Along the top of the fort canons still stand watch over the bay and rangers dressed as 16th century Spanish soldiers give animated talks on the history of the fort and the people who built it. In a weather phenomenon that we've had to deal with on a few occasions, there was a single gray cloud over part of the town and of course it opened up on us with some warm rain as we were leaving the fort. Luckily we only had to walk a couple of blocks to leave it behind and get back to drier ground. 
The humidity and the sun made it clear to us that something cold would be needed to continue our day, and an ice cream shop along the brick walkways in the Spanish Village was there to answer the call. A nice breeze and an ice cream cone made it much easier to finish our walk back to the car.
St. Augustine is also the location of of Ponce de Leon's famed Fountain of Youth, which today has its own park just on the outskirts of town.
We cruised down the coastline and over to Orlando where we'll be staying the next few days. The Florida countryside is beautiful, green and full of cows! Mother nature cooperated for a few hours and we had a great scenic drive to our new temporary home. We'll have more updates from sunny Florida in the coming days!
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liz on

man, just another building older than that lying church!

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