Palatka

Trip Start Nov 09, 2008
1
57
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Trip End Apr 02, 2009


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Flag of United States  , Florida
Saturday, March 14, 2009

Indecision kept hitting us as we travelled from Ozark as we decided to stop then carried on through Tallahassee, Jacksonville, St Augustine and Palm Beach (a very wealthy area) and then finally stopping at Palatka which was a town inland from the beaches but by lakes.  We decided to stay for three days to see the lakes and spend a day at St Augustine which was the place where the Spanish first landed in America and therefore had much history to be explored. 
We spent our first day attempting to find a pleasant spot by the lakes to spend the day, however, unlike Australia and New Zealand where it is easy to access the countryside, the area around the lakes has houses built on it and is therefore mainly private and inaccessible.  We did spend a pleasant morning driving around on our mission which culminated in finding a Super Target store where we picked up some excellent (mainly non-processed of which there are a lot of in the States) food supplies and some Handy Manny toys for Steven.  Sadly Handy Manny, an Hispanic odd job man from the Playhouse Disney channel, has usurped Bob the Builder in Steven's affections and, it has to be said, with D who derives equal enjoyment from acquiring everything you can get in a particular range of toys!
On our second day we went to St Augustine where, unbeknown to us, a Seafood and Music festival organised by the Lions Club was taking place.  We spent the day looking around the old jail and the accompanying museum followed by a trip on a 'tram' (a vehicle with several open carriages on the back) around the town with a commentary about its history.
By the time we had finished the immersion in history, we needed a playground for Steven!  We found one similar to our favourite one in New Zealand and Steven had a riot rampaging around with the other children.  The upshot of this was hysteria when he had to leave, but we bit the bullet and strapped him into his pushchair (or should we say stroller!) and had a quick look around the festival which was almost finished by this time.  It did have a good atmosphere and was everything you would expect of an American festival.  The live music was still playing and was somewhat reminiscent of Fairport Convention until the yodelling started!
As we headed out of town, we passed our favourite attraction - the Showboat Carwash - which, unfortunately, Yvonne failed dismally to get a photo of!  It was a huge blue and white wooden construction which looked like a Mississippi paddle steamer which accommodated a car wash.  You had to drive through the length of the Showboat to get your car washed!
We had heard much mention about Spring Break at this point and were wondering if we were, yet again, arriving in a country during one of their big holiday times!  We also had, for Simpsons' fans amongst us, a vision of Florida Spring Break and D escaping from the motel room attached to a bed in a Homer Simpson style!  After chatting to the receptionist at the motel we established that Spring Break had indeed started but it was not a fixed period of time.  Spring Break is a holiday (or should I say a vacation!) from High Schools and Colleges and the date therefore varies according to which school or college you go to.  The receptionist did say that although Spring Break had started, the really busy time would start at the beginning of April.  We, of course, will back in good old Blighty at that time!
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