You’ll have to read to the end to find out about the disaster; first I had a wonderful few hours kayaking Just north of Green Cove Springs, I found a launch site close to where this creek joins the St John River. Smaller is generally more interesting, so I went upstream – I turned around shortly after this; it was getting too narrow to feel comfortable after something – probably an alligator – grabbed my paddle. It let it go quickly enough; not the right flavor, I guess! I didn’t see a ‘gator, but there was lots of other wildlife.
The foliage is not what I’m used to seeing in New England – and the light shining on and through the palms was beautiful.
And I am used to colorful fall maple trees – but they’ve long since lost their leaves up north, and I don’t generally see them with Spanish moss!
As I was heading back, a train came through: Then I went past the launch, and out to the St Johns River. The longest river in Florida, and very wide here, I paddled only a small piece – time to be moving on. Back on the road, I finished with Florida, and headed into Georgia. It became increasingly obvious that the Roadtrek was not happy – it was OK at highway speeds, and through Georgia and into South Carolina I was on the interstate, but at slower speeds it was overheating. I thought I was heading for one of my tried and true camping spots in the Francis Marion National Forest – but as I had to stop more and more frequently to let the engine cool, it became clear that that was not a prudent course of action. By that time it was well after dark, and I started looking for a likely repair shop, stopping as necessary, topping off the water, sleeping for a few hours in a parking lot, and eventually, pulling in to Andrews, SC (home of Chubby Checker) just after dawn. I found an auto repair shop right next to an auto parts place, but it wasn’t open yet; I went to the auto parts people, who said that garage did reliable work, and should be open by 8. I dozed, ate breakfast, and at 9 gave up and went back to the parts place. They recommended Freeman Tire, just a couple of miles back down the road. They were very helpful – getting me in, and getting the parts, and replacing a water pump with a long crack in a hose and bearings that weren’t really there any more, with a new one. So much for the kayaking I’d planned to do on another stunningly beautiful, warm day, but I did get a bunch of knitting done!
It was about 4PM when I was able to get back on the road, and I made only one stop between Andrews, and Newport, North Carolina where cousins were expecting me. The Roadtrek is much happier now, and much quieter with the water pump bearings working the way they are supposed to, and it is much less stressful knowing the vehicle is not planning to overheat.