David: We scheduled our biking day for a Sunday. We wanted to get on the road fairly early in the morning so, Jodi’s husband, Jeff, and I loaded the bikes in my vehicle Saturday night. As I suspected, there were three bicycles and no lounge chair as was called for in the original, i.e. Jodi’s plan. This trip was going to be interesting!
Jodi: The plans were made and the day had come to bike and tan at Canaveral National Seashore (CNS). The guys were going off on their bicycles and I was going to soak up some rays. I wanted to finish up that John Grisham novel I’d started. Yeah! Dave’s SUV was loaded and ready to go. I called ‘shotgun’ and climbed in the front passenger seat. I looked back to see Hubby and three bicycles. Three? Is my chair back there? Nope!
I gave him that wife to husband ‘you’ve got to be kidding me?!’ look. He just laughed and said you’re going with us. Great I thought. The last time I was on a bicycle, I was nearly hit by a car. It was completely my fault. I’m not exactly known for my gracefulness. But that’s what this blog is about…getting up and out and doing new things. Ok, I’m a good sport, I’ll roll with it. (Pun definitely intended.) As it turned out, Hubby who is a Florida native didn’t know there were North and South Districts of CNS either.
Note from David: Jodi and I were so fascinated by the features of the Canaveral National Seashore that we made three visits to try to experience all that it had to offer. From eyebrow-raising moments to local history to natural beauty, this place had it all.
We will have a total of three separate posts about Canaveral National Seashore, each one coinciding with a visit.
David: It’s great sometimes what we re-discover by accident. I guess I was feeling a little restless one day and just needed to get out…maybe do some exploring. I decided to do some much-needed shopping along with my exploring. The required items were soon secured and I headed toward New Smyrna Beach on SR 44. My plan wasn’t so much to go to the beach, but to, I guess, fill in some gaps in my knowledge of the coast line from New Smyrna Beach and south. Continuing on SR 44 across the causeway, I made the big right “bend” onto A1A or S. Atlantic Avenue and headed south. I had a vague idea or, maybe, a “recollection” of where I would end up, but wasn’t positive. A small road sign informed me that the road would end in a few miles at the Canaveral National Seashore. HUH? Didn’t one get to the National Seashore through the Cape Canaveral area? Totally intrigued, I continued south and soon found myself at the attended entrance to the Seashore. The entrance fee of five dollars per car seemed reasonable and I asked the attendant if there was a map to be had. He handed me a printed map along with my receipt or “pass” which was good for an entire day. Pass and map in hand, I drove onto the property which, according to the map, was the “Northern District” of the Canaveral National Seashore.
I pulled into one of the parking areas which promised beach access to take a closer look at the map and to take, at least, a peek at the beach and ocean. Well, I’ll be, I thought as I looked closer at the map reciting to myself, of course, the somewhat familiar place names: “Castle Windy”, “Eldora”, and “Turtle Mound”. Now, I can be a little slow on the uptake as they say from time to time and it took me a couple of minutes to realize that I had been here before. That time was almost 20 years ago when I was a graduate student at UCF. My herpetology class came here to look for salt marsh snakes and we were based in a house that the university owned on this property. A very adult and educated, “freakin’ cool”, went through my head as these memories and realizations came together.
It was getting a little late, but I wanted to do two things before I headed home: walk the beach and see if the “UCF house” was still here. Crossing the dune on the elevated crossover, I stopped to look north and south along the beach. There were, maybe, five other souls as far as my eyes could see in both directions. I am not a crowd person and liked this beach quite a bit. I limited my time and distance walked knowing at this point that I would be back and probably soon. Noting the marked sea turtle nests at points along the beach, I hoped that there were… “enough”. Back to the car and, sure enough, there it was, the sign marking the UCF laboratory property. Wow, how cool!
Hey Jodi, I’ve got a place for us to check out!