From Venice to Jacksonville, via Little Talbot River State Park

February 3, 2014 21:34 – 21:34

I’m in Jacksonville, Florida, near the airport, at the Airport Road Springhill Suites. The room is decent, but the internets are pretty slow—only about 2 Mbps up and down. I’m using Marriott Rewards Points to pay for the room, so it’s “free”.

I decided that I wanted to visit Little Talbot Island State Park, where Georgia & Eric Pourchot saw the snowy owl. I didn’t see a snowy owl, but I did manage to see a few interesting birds. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even find out what they’re called.

At the end of the park is a parking area that’s about a half mile from the water (depending on whether it’s high tide or low tide—I got there at low tide). I thought it might be a lovely beach for swimming, until I saw these signs.

Okay… good thing I hadn’t planned on swimming. The water was a bit on the cool side, in any case—50s. The weather was perfect, though—upper 70s with a wonderful breeze blowing. Inland a little, it was in the 80s and not breezy, so a bit hot.

During low tide, water settles into a make-shift lake. I found a duck, a great egret, and a long-billed wading bird there.

I also saw what I think might’ve been an osprey, although it seemed a bit smaller than other ospreys I’ve seen.

There’s a quarter mile boardwalk that goes from the parking lot down to the beach. Small birds, such as this one, like to perch on it.

Meanwhile, the clouds and the sand were busy making amazing patterns and art.

There was also a large-ish piece of shell that looked like it’d been carved by a scrimshaw artist.

After leaving the park, I headed west to the Springhill Suites to check in. After checking in, I decided to go for a walk from the hotel. Along the way, I checked out the possibilities for dinner. I’ve been seeing the Longhorn Steakhouse chain for a long time, and finally decided to go to one for dinner. It was between that one and Millhouse, but Longhorn won because it meant I wouldn’t have to cross (on foot) the confusing highway between me and Millhouse. Millhouse is also a chain, so perhaps I’ll have an opportunity to try them some other time.

For dinner, I had a Sam Adams on draft (decent) and the 12 ounce prime rib. The flavor and tenderness were good, but the meat was a bit saltier than I would’ve chosen. Why do cooks over-salt everything? But, it wasn’t inedible. The only thing that was inedible is this horrible spread that they use instead of butter. Honestly. Mother Nature achieved perfection with butter. Why do restaurants insist on substituting this horrible margarine?

Next on the agenda is deciding what to do tomorrow, since I’ve decide not to go all the way home tomorrow. Tentatively, I’m planning on stopping in the Myrtle Beach area so I can re-visit Drunken Jack’s—the best seafood restaurant in the world. But, I might let my mind be changed if it’s yucky and raining.

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