St. Augustine, Florida, November 20-27, 2004 -- Digging In at the Beach, Tuesday, November 23

Tuesday I was feeling too tired to walk around the city, so my parents suggested that we take advantage of the absolutely beautiful day by driving down to Washington Oaks State Park, maybe 45 minutes south of St. Augustine. We packed a picnic lunch and departed mid-morning.

My father decided to show Laura and me one of the neat treats about Florida by taking us for a drive on the beach. The only place I know of in New Jersey where you can drive on the beach is Island Beach State Park just south of Seaside Heights, and you have to get a extra-cost permit when you enter the park, plus you're supposed to partially deflate your tires before driving onto the beach. None of that applies in St. Johns County, Florida, where several streets open up onto the beach.

Driving along the beach was pretty cool. Unfortunately, Dad picked the wrong street to try to exit back onto the surface streets, and the car wound up with its front transaxle buried in the sand. No way were we getting this thing out short of a winch and a long steel cable. Whoops. Time to call Triple-A and wait for the tow truck.

One of the nice things about getting stuck at the beach was how so many people offered to help get us out. It wasn't really possible, because nobody had the required equipment to get us out of the hole we dug ourselves into, but it was still nice. Here Dad returns from consulting with one friendly Floridian.

Dad surveys the situation from near the speed limit sign

At least we were well prepared. Laura and Mom are shown here sitting in a couple of the collapsable chairs Mom and Dad keep in the trunk. Very handy for a situation like this.

Laura and Mom catch some rays

I found the sight of the speed limit signs and the extensive street sign on the beach kind of surreal. Laura poses with the sign.

Laura and the sign

The other surprising and surreal thing about the beach was all the offices there. Plenty of Florida businessmen cut their overhead in this economy by taking advantage of the great year-round weather and setting up shop on the beach. No buildings required, just a desk and a cell phone. And they get great overhead lighting, much better than fluorescents. When they need office furniture, this truck is right there to serve them.

Truck on the beach

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