The Real Florida

Thunderstorms were forecast. To beat them, we hit the road before dawn. (The storms never materialized.)

Amelia Island has manicured “plantations” and estates. Like the Grand Canyon, they don’t photograph well. You had to be there.

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The estuaries are easier to photograph.

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A quiet state park where we pulled off for a snack.

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An historic house.

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Awaiting the ferry across the St. Johns River, Jeffrey met Jim Rogers, a local man who ran a surf shop, had a kayaking business, and was postmaster.

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Jim talked about the politics, ecology and economy of the area. He said crossing the St. Johns would bring us to what people consider the Real Florida; the area we were leaving, he said, is more like southern Georgia. Jim waxed philosophic about what makes a good life in this part of Florida and in the Caribbean, and shared some ideas from a book he is reading about how America’s First Nations were mistreated by Europeans.

These pelicans hung out near the ferry but didn’t make the trip.

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People on board asked a little about HRF, a lot about the trike! Note the sports car. We saw a lot of convertibles once we were off the ferry.

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Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach have magnificent houses, at least one golf course, and fancy shops, all by the sea.

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These pretty flowers grow wild.

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We passed the site corresponding to the spot offshore where Ponce de Leon first saw the coast of Florida.

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Magnolia Street, St. Augustine. The trees form a canopy over the street.

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St. Augustine is the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in the continental U.S. It was founded in 1565, over 250 years before Florida became part of the United States. If an American asks, “Why don’t They [whoever They are] speak English?”, a Floridian might reply, “Why don’t you speak a First Nations language – or Spanish? Those languages were here earlier and longer!”

Today it’s a pretty town with charming old buildings and a fort that dates from 1672.

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Jeffrey enjoyed a city tour and a delicious Greek dinner, courtesy of his friends Roxana and George, who by coincidence were visiting from New York. Roxana, a linguist, long ago was granted asylum from an Iron Curtain country. George, a published author and engineer, earned his status through work and family ties. They feel comfortable in this cosmopolitan part of Florida, where the buildings we see and the languages we hear show that America is not only the product of English influence.

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5 thoughts on “The Real Florida

  1. Nice to read about your incredible journey. The photos are really nice. Stay safe. Shabbat shalom.

  2. Jeffrey – I must say, you look in very good shape – thinking you just might want to eat a bit more on the road. Love the ‘real’ Florida. You may want to stop but not I. You have provided a wonderful armchair vacation with substance, lessons learned and no sweat (at least on my part) Keep on bikin’ kathy

  3. Jeff, you are a great photographer. Did you know that about yourself? Keep riding safely. Love, Z

    • You’re too kind to fish-eye Jeffrey! There’s so much beauty at trike level, so much to see, that he could take presentable pics at random. Maybe that’s how he does it! But glad you like them. –Joey

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