Wednesday, February 15th we drive from Brunswick, Georgia to the Naval Air Station at Jacksonville, Florida where we stayed for five days. We started the drive by leaving the Coastal Georgia RV Resort and pulling out onto the main road. As soon as we began the turn, the trailer brakes locked up and force the truck to make a complete stop. It turned out that the emergency brake control pin had pulled out when the lanyard was caught on the hitch as we made our sharp right turn. I jumped out of the truck that was blocking the street and re-inserted the emergency brake pin. We were able to make the turn ant=d then continued up to the next turn where the pin pulled out again. This time, I left the pin out as I knew that I was heading for the large Travel America Truck Plaza to weight the rig. I figured I would fix it there. I bought a heavy tie-strap and was able to make a better place to attach the lanyard and did not have any problems after that.
I weighed the truck and trailer combination on the scale at the truck stop. It weighs the front axle (steering), the back axle (drive), and the trailer all at the same time. The total weight of the truck and trailer is circa 31,000 pounds. My maximum weight for this combination is 34,000 pounds, so we are under weight by 3000 pounds. We are about 200 pounds over on our "tongue weight" on the hitch. The truck is exactly 10,000 pounds with both passengers weighed too. The total truck weight can be 14,000 pounds, so we are well under our weight there buy 4,000 pounds. It is when we attach the trailer to the truck that we are pushing our limits. The tongue weight of the trailer is 5,280 pounds. With the trailer connected to the truck, the drive axle weight is 9860 pounds with a maximum allowable rating of 9650 pounds, we are 210 pounds over our limit. For this reason, I will have to move some with from the front of the trailer to the rear or add more weight to the garage area so as to take some weight off of the front of the trailer. I am working on it to get it settled out.
Note: Anyone can stop at a CAT Scale (Certified Automated Truck Scale or CAT) at any of the major Pilot, Travel America, Loves, type of truck stops. You just pull up onto the front of the scale and put your front tires on the farthest scale forward and the rear tires on the next scale back. If you have a trailer, make sure the trailer tires are on the third scale back. Then push the button on the pole at the front of the scale to talk to the the person inside the building. He will ask for a truck number. Give him any four-digit number that you want, and then he will ask if this is the first or a "re-weigh." Tell him that it is the first weight. The first weight cost is $13. If you have to re-weigh within a day or two, you can say that it is a re-weigh and the cost is just $3. The person will tell you to come into the store to pay for the charge and to get your certified weight paperwork. It is very easy.
The people at the Naval Air Station RV Park are outstanding. They gave us everything we needed to get settled and help to guide us into the parking place. We arrived, got settled in and then just relaxed while making plans for the next day.
Thursday, February 16, 2023 - We decided to go ride our bikes at Amelia Island. We started at a beach access parking lot about four miles from the bottom of Amelia Island. We then went south to both Upper and Lower Talbot Islands. It was a pretty ride. The trail was paved and the there were virtually no other riders on the trail. We also crossed a large bridge that had an abandoned causeway paralleling it and there were many fishermen on the causeway. We talked to them and they were very nice. Nearly all were African American. When we got back to our truck, we talked to a couple who mentioned riding into the town of Fernandina Beach where we could dine at several nice restaurants. We chose "The Salty Pelican." It was a very nice place to eat. We then rode our bikes to the north to Fort Clinch. Fort Clinch was named after the commanding officer and it was built during the Civil War to stop Confederate blockage runners on the Saint Marys River. We then rode back to our truck and accumulated 48 total miles of bike riding. The miles really add up if you just keep on going all day. We then drove back to the RV to relax and to plan for the next day.
Friday, February 17, 2023 - We then drove north to visit the Kingsley Plantation. Kingsley, a white man, married four black women and had numerous children with them. He married Anna when she was 18 and had already produced three children for him. He married Anna and allowed her to run the plantation. Kingsley actually treated his 60 slaves pretty well and worked to make sure that they were well-cared for. He even eventually move to Haiti and bought a plantation there to protect his slaves. This was an eye-opening exposure to the life on a plantation and the differences between plantations in Florida under Spanish control as compared to the plantations under English control from Georgia north.
After the visit to the Kingsley plantation, we dropped off Lisa's new purse to have the strap shortened. Finding a cobbler now-a-days is a challenge. We found a good one.
The next thing that we did was stop at a used book store in Jacksonville called Chamblin Bookmine. This is, without doubt, the largest and most heavily stocked, book store that I have ever visited. The rows and rows of books was mind-boggling. you have to take a look at the video of the stop at the book store to really appreciated it. Lisa bought about seven books and was really in her form of nirvana.
We then rented a U-Haul cargo trailer so that we could pick up two model aircraft that my son, William, had purchased from a person who lives near Jacksonville. We met the person selling the aircraft and he help us transfer the planes to our U-Haul trailer. We planned to take the planes to my daughter Mandy's home in Brunswick the next morning.
Saturday, February 18, 2023 - We start the day with a drive to Brunswick to deliver William's model aircraft to Mandy's home so that she could store them. While there, we got to visit with Shaun Alley, who had just arrived from California to see Ella, Ty, and Eva. We all got to visit with him. We had to leave before noon so that we could pick up Lisa's purse and then return the trailer to U-Haul. We did both of these actions and then headed back to the RV. We rested before making a trip to The Catty Shack.
What is The Catty Shack? It is a wild animal refuge where they take care of large cats. They have a couple tigers and about 12 Bengal tigers. They also have many other leopards, panthers, cougars, linx, serval, and many others. They feed the cats in the evening, since they are nocturnal and this when the normally feed. We got to watch them feed and this is a time when the cats tend to roar quite a bit. We got lots of photos and it was great fun even though one of the Bengal tigers got off a perfect shot and sprayed me pretty squarely. My clothes went to the laundry in the morning.
Sunday, February 19, 2023 - We start the day with a load of laundry. We then went to the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail for a 31 mile bike ride. We rode 15 miles one-way and then rode back to our truck. We also rode around the town of Baldwin that just took about ten minutes. The bike path was all paved and very smooth. Lots of forest along the way. A very fun ride. After this ride, we returned to the RV to prepare it for our departure to the Kennedy Space Center on Monday.
Monday, February 20, 2023 - We depart for KARS (Kennedy Athletics, Recreation, and Social Park. They have many RV parking spots right along the Indian River with excellent views of the launches at the Kennedy Space Center.