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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

DAY 185: J. D. STATE PARK - PALM BEACH, FLORIDA

Today has been a tuff one.

Looks as though a fire swept through the area of our Park...this is on the 4.5 miles road from Space 95 to US 1 parking lot.

It started out just fine at Johnathan Dickinson State Park. At daylight, moved SPIA the 4.5 miles from our Campsite # 95 back to US 1 parking lot. The Ranger ladies agreed we could park there all day while we walked to make up the 10 miles we drove last evening, and a second leg South on US 1.

Both walks were pleasant...feet became sore again - from the K-Mart shoes of two days ago - , but I got through it without injury. Walked 12 miles early on and another 14 miles later on.

Then we moved SPIA to the WAL-MART in North PALM BEACH, only to be told that parking was not allowed overnight. A second WAL-MART far to the West of PALM BEACH was recommended as it was open 24 / 7 and would surely allow overnight parking. Drove many miles, finally finding the second WAL-MART. Was told by Customer Service they have a don't ask policy; i.e., just go ahead and park because of you ask they will say NO !

Not my way of doing things. I left the second WAL-MART. I telephoned the next Park with RV provisions. It was in a village south of LAKE WORTH, FLORIDA, another 10 miles south...again NOT on US 1. Finally found John Prince Park, a County Park with many hundred RV spots. We are settled in Spot # 228 as the sun sinks below the gathering storm clouds to the West. Cost was $30.00. I questioned the lady about the high cost of State / County Parks. She replied that if I insist on going to KEY WEST, the prices would be much higher.

Johnathan Dickinson State Park.

Park road leading from the river to the US 1 parking lot.

US 1 outside the Park. Traffic was heavy as I walked North for three hours.

Ground cover lifted along the way, showing the under lying white sand. Florida is nearly ALL sand. SPIA is full of sand at the end of each day.

Vegetation in the nearly treeless State Park land alongside US 1.

From a bridge over the railroad tracks, one gets a good look at "Sandy Florida".

US 1 is undeveloped for a few miles in both directions from the State Park. To the South, it becomes populated again within a couple miles...and remains that way all the way and to the South of PALM BEACH, FLORIDA.

A couple miles North of the State Park is this US National Wildlife Refuge. I stopped in to say Hi, and was treated to a guided tour of the Visitor Center display of live animals.

In addition to viewing a few non-venomous Snakes, I got to handle the above alligator. The Crocodile in the next display I did NOT get to touch. Dale, my guide said when he picked it up yesterday, it took a bite of his hand.

You gotta tickle them between the eyes to get them to open their mouth. The alligator didn't try to bite...but it was annoyed at being handled.

In the parking lot, Dale led me to their bush of wild plums. He offered me one to eat. It was quite pleasant...a bit sweet with a tangy skin. It has a large pit (stone, a.k.a. seed). I could go for more of those plums.

This is Manatee Country.

The Inter Coastal Waterway.

A large yacht anchored in mid-stream.

Many Marinas dot the banks of this portion of the Banana River; a.k.a. Inter Coastal Waterway.

A riverside palatial home...for sale.

A few Condos pop up here and there...nearly all on the banks of the river.

US 1 passes through a number of small villages. TEQUESTA, FLORIDA, is a particularly up scale community...with many Police cars roaming the streets.

Assisted Living at it's best.

Another of the satellite villages...this one named JUPITER, FLORIDA...nice, but not sumptuous.

I include this photograph of the local Catholic Church; not because of its elegance, but because the read-a-board listed activities for EVERY DAY of the week. Of the hundreds of churches I have walked by, nearly all advertised two Services on Sunday and one on Wednesday...the place being empty and locked up the rest of the week.

DAILY UPDATE: Walked two legs today for 26 miles.

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 26 miles @ $0.02 = $0.52 for the day.

NOW FOR THE KICKER:

I have determined that I can NOT walk all the way to KEY WEST. After searching maps and Park lists with the State Park folks, and spending much of the afternoon today studying the options, I have come to the conclusion that there simply are NO places for SPIA to park...without paying incredible $$ to stop in motels. The State of Florida simply does not allow parking on the streets / roadways overnight. There are NO RV Parks, State or Private, within reasonable range of a walker.

So, tomorrow morning, I will drive the many miles from our tonight park back to US 1; find a place for SPIA for a few hours, and walk for 5 or 6 hours.

Then, I will call EVERY RV Park between here and KEY WEST, to make reservations. Available RV Parks are very few and very far between each other. Each afternoon, we will move SPIA to the next RV Park for the night and settle in. The next morning, I will walk in Both Directions from that Park until mid afternoon...then rush SPIA to the next RV Park closer to KEY WEST.

We will miss large sections of the road, but there is no way I can see to walk more ground and reach an overnight RV Park the same evening.

The final RV Park before reaching KEY WEST is "full" for the entire Summer. On the final day, we will drive SPIA as close to KEY WEST as we can get. I will take SAM down, and leaving SPIA for a few hours, SAM & I will Walk & Roll into KEY WEST and back to SPIA, returning to the nearest overnight RV Park before dark.

This will take some considerable planning and phone calls to pull it together. I will do that tomorrow afternoon.

As I have received NO responses regarding support for my desired walk from Europe to BEIJING, CHINA, that option appears to be dead for the moment. Alternatively, I plan to walk our way back North through Florida, continuing on to OKLAHOMA CITY, OK to complete the "Diagonal Crossing" of the USA of last Summer.

After that, we shall see.

I am well aware that many think of my last Summer trek to OKLAHOMA CITY as a "failure"...some even questioning my intentions, if not my actions. Clear the Air: I had then and I have now every intention to walk from the Peace Arch to KEY WEST via OKLAHOMA CITY.

Except for generous and welcomed $$ support from my Nephews Dale and Dan, friend Bob, and the family of Noah and Briana; plus a number of warm beds and even warmer meals from so many along the roads, my efforts have been without support. I have done what I considered to be best in the interest of finding my body & mind limits, neither of which I have yet reached.

I will reach KEY WEST by August 1, 2011. I will continue back to OKLAHOMA CITY. I will then drive back to the Florida Highway 90 and 100, where I turned South, and walk UP the East Coast of the USA to the St. Lawrence River, turn left and walk via Canada & Northern USA to my starting point, the Peace Arch.

Then we shall see about the ALCAN, ASIA, and EUROPE the wrong-way 'round.

I must do better.

I must T R Y H A R D E R .

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