I’m going to take a brief pause from writing about horse topics to write about something else I enjoy, traveling to new places. I don’t have much time for non-horse activities, but today I had some time to kill before Futuro’s arrival in Jacksonville, so I decided to head toward the ocean. I grew up very close to the ocean in New Jersey. Anytime I get the chance to watch the waves crash on the beach and listen to the sounds of the sea, I make the most of it. It’s funny, since I don’t actually like to swim in the ocean (I like to see my feet, thank you), but I love being close to the water.
I drove through the historic town of St. Augustine and then headed eastward toward St. Augustine Beach. I ducked past the lighthouse, snapped a quick photo and continued driving. Once I found the beach, I looked up places to eat. It was early, but I figured most restaurants would be open already for lunch. I wanted to find a beachfront place, since I wasn’t quite prepared to sit on the beach in my jeans, paddock boots and polo shirt. I was hoping to be able to sit comfortably close to the water, so I could enjoy the sights and sounds without baking in my over-dressed-ness on the sand. I found the Beachcomer. What a great hole-in-the-wall. It seemed to be frequented by locals and I had some great fish tacos. Totally yummy.
When I was done, I got back into the mini-van and drove toward the beach. When I was sitting at the Beachcomer, I saw that people were able to park on the hard-packed sand between the beach and the residences. It looked like a large parking area, so I decided to park there so I could get out and collect some seashells for my daughter, Veronica. My son, Finn, is too young for seashells since everything goes into his mouth.
After standing on the beach for a little bit, I got back into the van, and headed the way the signs pointed, figuring the parking lot would let out the next block down. Well, I was wrong about that. Above you’ll see a screen shot of my map app on my phone. How did I get here? It turns out you can drive on that stretch of beach. You can park your vehicle, go play in the water and in the sand and jump right back in your car and keep driving. I was praying that my van wouldn’t get stuck. My only other experience driving on the beach is at The Outer Banks, where you have to have a four-wheel drive vehicle or you get stuck fast. The driving area on this beach was so firm, I had nothing to worry about. So I rolled down the windows, breathed in the salt-sea air, and enjoyed my mile-long drive alongside the Atlantic. My little jaunt onto the beach turned into a very cool experience.
I got back to the show grounds in time to lay down the shavings we had ordered. After that, Futuro arrived safe and sound. I hand-walked him a bunch, and then took him for a light ride, to make sure he stretched his legs after his long ride on the trailer and to make sure he feels ready for the impending competition. Then he got a nice bath and some more grazing before I gave him some grain and left him with a huge pile of hay to munch on during the night.
I’m excited for the show to get started! I’ll post more updates as we get underway with final preparations for Alyssa’s ride in the championship on Sunday!