Sunday, March 7
What a wonderful breakfast we had with our cousins! A veritable feast compared to our regular RV travel fare.
As we boarded the RV for a day at a nearby NWR we were approached by two gentlemen. Apparently county ordinances prohibit the parking of vehicles on the side of the road, unless otherwise marked. They were very nice about it, and told us where we could park nearby. We checked out the locations and settled on a nice one near the beginning of the neighborhood.
Later on we had lunch at Sonny’s BBQ, then drove on to Merritt Island NWR where we chatted with a volunteer about hiking opportunities. There was a boardwalk/path combo behind the visitor center we took advantage of before heading out to Blackpoint nature drive. Along the drive we stopped twice to hike some trails.
It was a very windy day with 25 mph sustained winds and gusts up to 35mph. Wildlife was few and far between, with wading birds and teal making up a majority of what we saw. Karen did manage to get some pictures of a belted kingfisher though.
On the way back to the cousin’s house we drove out to a bird sanctuary area but the wind had gotten so bad that we didn’t even get out of the RV.
For dinner Karen and her cousin assembled pizzas on the dough that her cousin’s husband had made.
Monday, March 8
After a hearty breakfast at Cracker Barrel we visited the Kennedy Space Center. This is one of Alan’s bucket list items. Despite Covid restrictions we were able to enjoy the center on self-guided tours of the various complexes. The shuttle launch simulation was a fun experience too.
We paid too much for lunch at the Center’s Orbit Cafe.
Dinner was a delicious chicken dish prepared by the cousin’s husband.
Tuesday, March 9
Our first stop for the day was at Pelican Island NWR. We walked the centennial boardwalk trail which has one board engraved with the names of each NWR and the year it was established laid out in chronological order. VERY cool!
After the boardwalk we hiked a mile out to Joe’s Overlook on the Joe Michael Memorial Trail. There wasn’t a whole lot to see, but we did hear a couple of northern parulas.
For lunch we stopped at Ponce de Leon Landing park to eat some sandwiches on one if the park benches.
We looked for Archie Carr NWR but never found it or the signage for it. Turns out it covers 20 miles of various interconnected parks along the beach.
After not getting enough sleep the night before, our driver (Alan) needed a nap. We stopped at the culdisac we have been overnighting for an hour of rest before joining the cousins for dinner at Grills on the beach. Everybody had the fish tacos.
Wednesday, March 10
Once we’d had showers we bid farewell to the cousins and headed up to Canaveral National Seashore.
The ranger at the visitor center was helpful about the few trails we could hike, and provided us with information on Turtle Mound, an archeological site in the park.
Because of our schedule for the day we didn’t have a lot of time to devote to hiking, so we opted for the 1/2 mile loop hike. We hadn’t gone more than a thousand feet before Karen had been bitten at least five times by mosquitoes. We turned back to the RV and sprayed ourselves down before heading back out on the trail. It was a pretty trail, but the mosquitoes were dogging us most if the way.
Turtle Mound was a little less than we had expected. Although the boardwalk was nice, there were no signs talking about the historical significance of the area.
With lunchtime upon us and stomachs rumbling, we found a nice little park just off the causeway to have a picnic lunch.
In the evening we stopped by to visit an old friend and his family and were fed a grilling bonanza of ribs, wings, and corn on the cob.
Later, we checked into our campsite at 8:15 and bedded down for the night.