Friday, January 10, 2014

San Mateo, FL

When we arrived in San Mateo, FL the pouring rain had finally cleared. Two of the seasonal residents were very nice and helped us back into our site and showed us around the park. We plugged in, pulled our awning out, relaxed!

The next day we got to look at the place and it was fantastic! Lynch's Landing RV park is about a quarter mile down a dirt gravel road. There's about fifty plus sites and the owner and his wife lives in a nice river side house at the end of the road. They were very friendly. At the end of the road is a laundry room and lounge area equipped with a microwave, flat screen TV, freezer, couches, and large bay windows. Next to the building is a dock on the St. John River. The view alone is so breathtakingly beautiful. We felt so blessed to be able to step outside our RV and see this massive river. The park was very boat friendly. They had a field for storage and a boat access ramp. During the spring and summer, manatees will come right onto the boat loading zone and near the docks. Of course they get their regular traffic of alligators, even naming a few of them that keep showing up!

It was here on New Year's Eve I got the devastating news that my grandfather on my Dad's side had passed away. Nana, his wife, had passed a year and half earlier and he just wanted to be with Nana. I thought I had more time with him. Josh and I were planning on coming down to South Florida for a get-together that was planned in mid-January as a surprise. Instead the get-together would be happening at his funeral in Jacksonville, FL. The owner of the RV park understood completely and let us stay the extra week at a discounted rate. I know that Grandpa wouldn't want us to be sad, because he is now in Paradise reunite with Nana. So we got excited for my favorite holiday.

The view from our RV. The owner's house is on the left. The boat loading zone is next to it. The laundry room and lounge area is straight ahead. To the right of that is the dock.

For New Year's the residents of "Broke Ass Ally" (a nickname the permanent residents gave the little lane diverting from the main strip of road that is the park) had a New Year's party. There had to have been about twenty of us there. Everyone brought food and drink and sat by the fire enjoying music and the stars. We enjoyed grilled oysters (not Josh's favorite but certainly mine), pigs in a blanket, deviled eggs, homemade country ham biscuits, sausages, finger sandwiches, and much more! Josh and I gathered around the campfire and immersed ourselves into the conversation. Although everyone there was over the age of forty-five, we found ourselves thoroughly entertained talking about families, RV's, and past trips and experiences. After feeling so welcomed we finally felt (mostly me since I seem to get stage fright more than I like to admit) comfortable enough to bust out the guitars to play for them. Although my song vocabulary isn't large enough to take requests, I still got a round of applause after each song. As the night got later, the group started to dissipate but we were in luck! The owners had just came back from a dinner and joined our circle around the fire. With only six of us left, I still sang songs and talked about my upcoming audition for The Voice. We had a great time. At five minutes to midnight, we headed back to our house on wheels to watch the ball drop and ring in 2014. After hearing several gun shots at the stroke of midnight we decided to each shoot a target shot from our shotgun. We couldn't think of a better way to spend New Year's Eve.

Tight spot!

It poured rain on New Year's Day so we lounged around and watched about 6 Netflix movies. It was fun to marathon movies all day.

January 4th was Josh's birthday. There isn't much to do in San Mateo but they have an awesome saloon called the Cheyenne Saloon. It is the oldest bar in the county being built in the early 1900's. It is a place with "Biker Parking Only", a restaurant, bar, pool tables, and a petition being passed around to Florida residents to legalize marijuana in the state. For the first time we felt right at home when we pulled into the parking lot and followed the signs for the motorcycle parking. It made us feel like true bikers. We enjoyed their hand-breaded freshly caught shrimp. Their ceilings, rafters, walls, and even some spots on the floor were covered with one dollar bills. All of the bills were personalized with jokes, signatures, dates, websites, facts (anything really) from patrons. Some of the signatures dated back to the 1950's. Josh joked with owner about it being a great retirement fund. After some chit chat and grabbing some burgers ATW (all the way), we headed back home.

Great gas prices!
I decided to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and film a YouTube video. Josh said he got nervous while we was filming me because I kept stepping closer and closer to the edge; he thought I was going to fall into the river. What a video that would have been! I couldn't have picked a better time to film because fifteen minutes after we were done, it started raining. And it didn't stop raining for a couple of days.

Soon after that it was time for us to say goodbye to our little community and head to Jacksonville, FL. Everyone waved us goodbye as we drove off to our next adventure. 

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