As always welcome back! It’s hard to believe that this is the last post documenting 2018. It was one hell of a year for us and it felt good starting the last month of the year by finding some warmer weather in some familiar places.
Savannah has a very special place in our hearts. Savannah is where we went to college (SCAD) and met on the swim team. We fell in love in this town and we met some of our closest friends that we have to this day here. It had been a long time since we’d been in Savannah, it still feels like home.
We started the day off at Tybee Island walking on the beach. It wasn’t the prettiest day but we made the best of it.
After Tybee Island we went into town to walk around and see some of the classic sites before meeting up with a friend for lunch.
Jekyll Island, Georgia
After lunch we went to Jekyll Island to watch the sunset and explore some of the parts of the island we’d never seen.
We went to Driftwood Beach right as the sun was setting. We wished we’d shown up with a little more day light because it was so cool to see all these washed up tangles of tree roots that cover the beach!
Cumberland Island, Georgia
The next day Owen and I bought tickets to catch the ferry to Cumberland Island, which is one of our favorite places in Georgia to explore! We’ve been a few times and every time there has been some weird series of events that cause our plans to go terribly wrong, so we were excited to give it another go!
The ferry left from the tiny town of St. Mary’s. We caught the first ferry of the morning to get as much time on the island as possible. When we landed on Cumberland we rented bikes and set off towards the northern end of the island.
For those who aren’t familiar Cumberland Island is a barrier island off Georgia’s southeast coast. Most of the island is apart of Cumberland Island National Seashore that protects its beaches and maritime forests. There are also many large mansions that were once owned by the Carnegie family. The single road that runs through the heart of the island is made up of sand that was dredged up from the surrounding water ways which weirdly makes the road a prime place for sharks tooth hunting. On one of our previous visits I found a megalodon tooth that’s the size of my palm. Anyways, all of these things are why we love this place!
On our way north we saw some of the local wild ponies that inhabit the island. We stopped periodically to look for sharks teeth with no real luck.
Our goal was to make it to the northern tip of the island before heading to the southern tip of the island to check out the massive mansion and dredge piles where we hoped to have better luck in our sharks tooth finding quest.
After miles of biking away from the boat landing, tragedy struck which marked a turning point in our day. Owen’s bike chain snapped. He’d been having problems with the chain jumping off after just a few miles of riding. We knew how to fix the issue but they didn’t send us with any tools. When his chain broke we both looked at each other, mouths agape, not sure of how we were going to get back in any reasonable amount of time. Owen tried riding it like a push bike, but the bike was too tall. He tried running and jumping on before gliding to a stop.
We pulled over and tried to come up with a plan. Looking around I saw a palm frond and suggested that we tie it using the bungie cord on my backpack. Owen laughed at me because he didn’t think it would work, but since we were fresh out of options I tied the palm front up and handed him the stick. It took some practice but it actually worked somehow! Once we got into a rhythm we started to make some progress and I dug in for the long ride back.
We finally made it back to the boat dock and swapped out Owen’s bike for a fresh one. In an effort to make it to at least one of our planned spots we hustled to the south end of the island and home of the Dungeness Ruins. This is the largest house on the island and home to the steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie. The house was left unattended for many years before it caught fire. To this day it’s an impressive building to see up close, but this was not our objective. We were on a quest for the dredge piles and sharks teeth.
It had beed a while since we’d been to the island so we had a hard time locating the dredge piles. While we were looking some impressive and threatening storm clouds moved in. We didn’t think much of it and continued on with our day… even though my hair was standing on end at times.
Before long a white van rolls up to us with a park ranger inside saying that a tornado touched down on the northern end of the island, which we later found out was exactly where Owen’s chain broke! The ranger told us that we needed to return to the boat dock to take shelter.
Owen and I biked back as fast as we could and were ushered into the back room of the office where we waited out the storm with 25 of our closest friends. While we were in there we got word that the tornado also touched down on adjacent island that was home to a Navy base where a vehicle was flipped and sailors tossed into the water.
After it was deemed safe to leave the building we were left with only a few minutes before the ferry parted for St. Mary’s. As we started walking towards the boat the sky darkened and a wall of water raced for the boat. Everyone on the gang way raced for the boat.
Once on the boat we found a seat and waited for the boat to depart, but the storm came back in for another round. Hail, crazy wind, torrential rain pounded the boat with all of us on board. The seat we were in was by the door which was latched open. The rain was coming down so hard that rain and hail was coming in the door. Owen braved the intense weather outside to close the door and when he got it closed the whole boat cheered for him! It was equal parts scary/hilarious/cute.
After the storm passed we had an uneventful ferry ride back to St. Mary’s and a beautiful sunset. Once again Cumberland Island chewed us up and spit us out. It felt like we escaped with our lives that day, but for some reason we still can’t get enough of the place!
St. Augustine, Florida
After Cumberland Island Owen and I were excited for some low key historical fun. We’ve both talked about going to St. Augustine for a long time so it was high time we make it happen!
Ou first day in town we went straight to Castillo de San Marcos, which is a Spanish fort that was built in 1672. The fort was built to protect Spain’s territory in what is now the state of Florida. CRAZY! You just don’t think of the fact that countries (other than England) used to own portions of the US! The fort is a beautiful piece of US history that is far older than most! We enjoyed spending the golden hours of the day exploring the rooms and cannons that make up the Castillo.
We ended up staying in a near by state park for a few days at a quiet campsite because we had a busy work week. It was nice to sit still and see some of the less touristy sides to St. Augustine. We were lucky to have shared our campsite with a friend we have not seen since college one night because our cook stove was stolen from our campsite that day. We were so sad but they immediately picked up our slack and made us dinner. It was a nice way to end our last night before returning to family for the holidays.
Ormond Beach, Florida
Ormond Beach was officially our last stop before returning to Orlando for Christmas, but we stayed with my uncle and cousins at their house just a few blocks from the beach. We spent two wonderful days catching waves and enjoying the warm December that only Florida knows how to do!
Luckily, my cousins know me well enough to let me take a ton of photos of them. My grandmother was the Queen of taking everyone’s portrait (in film) anytime we were all together, and I think the torch has officially been passed to me.
The waves were nothing special but the company was wonderful. It’s amazing to spend so much time wandering around the world and be able to return to the same beaches we all surfed growing up and paddle out together. We’ve been surfing together for as long as each of us has been able to swim, and there is a special kind of “at home” feeling I have surfing with them. It puts a smile on my face to have Owen apart of my favorite surf crew.
Just like that we arrived back in Orlando. When we pulled back into the driveway that we spend so much time in during the Amelia build. It felt like a lifetime ago. We can’t help but be proud of what we did with our remaining part of the year.
Owen and I have a small storage unit in Florida that holds all of our family heirlooms and artwork that we couldn’t part with when prepping for the road. It’s nice because it’s close to family and we can access it if need be, but over the last three years it’s steadily crept up in price. As we got closer to being back Owen and I started to talk about downsizing out storage unit so we could bring our monthly payments back down. After finding a good price on one we reserved it and got to work. It was a lot of work but we greatly reduced our belongings and our monthly payment for the unit!
The rest of December was relaxing and spent with our families for the holiday.
We hope you all had a wonderful end to your 2018! Thank you all so much for following along with us, we can’t wait for 2019 and all the great things on the horizon!
See you down the road,