In the morning we drove from into Jacksonville. We were early so we went to the Jax Beach Skatepark to hang out for the day. We did some homeschooling then Olivia got to do some skating before we went to meet our friends for dinner.
We had met our friends Uriel, Michelle and Matthew in China 18 years ago when we were living in China. After we all left China, we went our separate ways. They were all from Jacksonville and we had not seen them since. It was really nice catching up with them and Uriel and Michelle now had a 14 year old daughter.
The next day Matthew had to work while Uriel and Michelle had the day off so we hung out at their apartment for the entire day. It was nice just hanging out and chatting with old friends.
The problem with retiring early is that your friends need to go to work. As Uriel and Michelle returned to work the next day we drove down to St. Augustine. Founded in 1565, 42 years before Jamestown, it is actually the oldest city in the United States but it did not count in our founding of America tour because it was settled by the Spanish and it did not become part of the United States until 1845.
It is still a very cute and scenic little city with a cool tourist walking street in the old town. Even better they had a free dedicated oversized vehicle/RV parking lot near the center of town.
We wandered the tourist area, had some artisan popsicles and visited the Castillo de San Marcos which is a fort built by the Spanish to protect the town against pirates and British. St Augustine has a rich pirate history having been attacked, looted and burned down by pirates and privateers many times. The fort is not huge but was built in a very classic star shape and had a number of original Spanish cannons still in place. One very interesting fact about the fort is that it is made of a stone called coquina which is a sedimentary rock composed of seashells. We could see the seashells still embedded in the walls.
By the time we finished exploring the fort it was getting dark and we headed back to Rover to drive to the nearest Walmart for the night since the oversized vehicle parking charged $35 for overnight parking.