May 16 - 22, 2016:
This Jacksonville stop was not planned from the start when we started planning last fall. This stop came about from Patty's need to see a “special” Gastroenterologist Doctor.
Patty has been having issues with her stomach/intestines for a few years now and we have had not much luck in getting it diagnosed correctly. The issue that pushed us to the Mayo Clinic and this Doctor was the fact the Patty has had conflicting diagnoses of Pancreatitis and Diabetic Gastroparesis. This has resulted in us now not knowing who to trust in treating her. Patty’s Gastroenterologist in Texas that sent her to the Mayo Clinic is actually her second one in Texas. After getting the conflicting diagnosis of pancreatitis her primary care doctor as well as the second Gastro believed she had Diabetic Gastroparesis. Tests were done in Texas that showed her to be negative for the paresis, now everybody was stumped. So here we are.
We saw Doctor Wallace on Monday morning the 16th. We arrived the 2 hours early for the 10am visit and were seen right on time. Dr. Wallace asked a lot of questions and made arrangements to get some specific past test results as well as setting up tests for the upcoming week. We thought this was great and that all of the work would be done this week as that is the amount of time we scheduled here. We could spend up to a month here without too much trouble.
The first tests were scheduled for same day as our visit so we were there most of the day. Then the next sets of tests were not scheduled until Wednesday and Thursday. On Tuesday Patty got a call from the Mayo scheduling office and she was asked to come in this afternoon so she could be in line for an MRI as a stand by.
Ok, so we arrived there ready to wait for the MRI that we believed she would get squeezed in for. Not happening! Seems that the scheduler messed up and thought she could just get squeezed in and all would be fine. We were informed that to be on stand by for an MRI you need to sign up for a minimum of a 2 Day wait with days starting at 7am and ending at 9pm. Also, we had 10 people ahead of us in this wait. The next available appointment for an MRI is the 14th of June at 5:30pm! By the way, she needs to fast all day before the MRI too!
And now for the really bad news, none of the tests she has scheduled this week can be done until she has this MRI done! So now we are done here in Jacksonville until the 14th of June. Now it’s back to the drawing board to work on our schedule for the next month. The good thing is that we really do not have any hard dates we need to meet until the 25th of June. The 25th we need to be in New Jersey, 950 miles north, to attend Patty’s own 60th Birthday Party.
Our new travel plan has us doing most of the same things we were going to do except visiting Kitty Hawk North Carolina. Also, we are going to add about 500 miles to our travel that we were not doing before. Accentually, we will travel as far north as Ocean Isles Beach North Carolina and in Myrtle Beach to see friends, stopping in Jekyll Island and Savannah Georgia on the way. Then we will visit Charleston South Carolina on the return trip back to Jacksonville.
All of the tests are scheduled to be complete on the 16th so we will head North to New Jersey on the 17th. Our trip north to New Jersey will be quick not allowing for any sightseeing. We hope to arrive in New Jersey on the 22nd of June.
Now that we have the medical stuff out of the way we are free to tour the Jacksonville area. First, we had not originally planned to visit here and for good reason, just not much interesting here to see.
|Cool sign for the campground|
|Our site in Jacksonville FL|
After doing some research online, we found that going north and south of the city there were things of interest to us. We took two days to visit St. Augustine and then one to visit Amelia Island. We also decided to visit the large flea market next to the RV Park. Now we have a plan!
We have Thursday through Saturday to accomplish our plan. The flea market is only open on Saturday and Sunday and, since we leave on Sunday, we will visit the flea market on Saturday morning.
Thursday it rained cats and dogs so we just hunkered down and used that day to come up with this plan. So that left all day Friday and Saturday afternoon left for touring. So Friday we are visiting St. Augustine as it is the farthest away at 45 miles south. Amelia Island is just 20 miles north so we can do that in the afternoon after the flea market on Saturday.
On Thursday we headed out to St. Augustine around 11am so we could get lunch there and then tour around the city. We set the GPS for a random restaurant in the old part of the city just to get us there. Once we got into the old city we turned off the GPS navigation and started to look for a place to park. There were a few places on the street but the streets were very narrow and our truck is not, so we opted for a pay parking lot. The pay parking lot wasn’t bad at just $6 for the day.
We parked just behind the Lighter Museum which had a city tour bus stop. Across the street we saw a store front advertising that they sold tickets to the tour city tram as well as other tour stuff. So off we went to get tickets for a city tour.
|Lightner Museum grounds|
|Old hotel in St Augustine|
The city tour trams are long rubber tired trains that you can hop off and then get back on a programmed route around the city. The cost for the tour tram was $29 a person so we bought 2 tickets and we were on our way.
When we got to the waterfront on the Atlantic Ocean we hopped off so we could get some lunch. Patty had done some research and found a restaurant that she thought we would like. O.C. White's was across the street from the ocean and had outside seating so that made it a good one for us.
|Time for lunch!|
|This may be OC White!|
As we were waiting for our food I checked the weather on my phone and saw that a large storm was barreling into us. This storm was so close that it looked like it would be on us before the food got to us. We were sitting under a trellis with loads of plants that would not hold back very much rain so we moved to a table with an umbrella. I didn’t think that this would be very much protection from a thunderstorm but it would be better than the trellis.
|Calm before the storm|
The storm finally arrived until we were in the middle of the meal and it came down fast and very hard. We put up our umbrellas along with the large one from the restaurant to no avail, we were still getting very wet! We made a run for it to the indoor part of the restaurant and finished the meal there. As with most Florida thunderstorms it only lasted 30 minutes or so and then the sun came out and also raised the humidity.
|Horse water fountain|
|Oldest house in St Augustine|
|Oldest tree in St Augustine, over 200 years old!|
|Fort Castillo De San Marcos|
|This is where the fountain of Youth is. |
We didn't go in as they wanted around $20 each to see it!
|Ponce De Leon waving to us|
After lunch we did a little shopping at the little shops in the old town and had some gelato for dessert. We got back on the tour tram and finished the tour of the city. The tour, lunch, and the shopping took us about 5 hours. We could easily have spent twice that amount of time there as we only saw the outside of the attractions from the tram. The 5 hours we spent was all we needed for this city though. It’s a pretty city with a lot of history but it just wasn’t on our top list of places to see so the tour was enough for us.
|Cool advertisement for a shirt!|
Saturday, we walked over to the flea market which is attached to our RV Park. We went just after the market opened (9am) so we would have enough time to finish and then drive north to Amelia Island for dinner. The flea market wasn’t the largest we have been to but it did have a lot of stuff we liked. That meant that we ended up purchasing a lot also!
Flea markets are weird that way, you buy stuff for just a few dollars here and there, and before you know it, you have spent all of the money in your wallet. Anyway, that is what happen to us on this shopping trip. The last purchase, flip flops, Patty had to claim poverty and she got a $3 discount because that was all of the cash we had. OK, time to reload the wallet and head north to Amelia Island.
|The opening from our RV park to the flea market|
|Good sized enclosed flea market|
We had never heard of Amelia Island before and really didn’t have any expectations either good or bad about it. What we found is that this area is mainly a tourist vacation area. The history didn’t seem all that unique; settled first by Indians and then by Europeans, not that special. Interesting to me was that Henry Flagler lived here. Flagler was the founder of Standard oil but he also did a lot of railroad building. He is famous for having built the railroad to Key West which opened that up to tourists back in the 1800’s. He also built the first Trans Florida railroad from Amelia Island to the Tampa area. Since I am a career railroader, that was of some interest to me.
|Live entertainment inside the Palace tavern|
|Murals inside the Palace|
|Looks like the restrooms were phone booths at one time|
|Stank Sauce, really!!|
The main part of town is chock full of small way upscale shops. For example, I found a great pair of flip flops for sale at the measly sum of $120! I still can’t get over how a salesperson can keep a straight face and ring up a $120 flip flop sale to a customer; “sir, would you like the matching plaid $150 shirt to go along with your new flip flops?” How can a pair of flip flops even cost that much, really!
So we “shopped” a little, very little, and then stopped in for a drink at what is billed as the oldest bar in Florida, the Palace. The Palace is really pretty cool and anyone in the area should check it out. The saloon was started around 1900 with Adolphus Bush (founder of Anheuser-Bush) overseeing the design of the place. We had just one drink and then found a place for dinner. Surprisingly the dinner was great and was reasonably priced! We are at the Marina Seafood restaurant that was at the end of the main shopping street in town close to the water.
|Time for dinner!|
All in all we had a nice time here on Amelia Island. I wouldn’t go out of my way to come here but if I was close by I would come here for a drink and dinner for sure!
So that ends our round one adventure in the Jacksonville Florida area. We will be back here on the 13th of June for Patty’s 3 days of Mayo Clinic tests/procedures for Jacksonville round 2.
We are now on our way to Jekyll Island Georgia for 5 days.