2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip-Part 17 A

19 Jan

A Slice of LIfe

Bill Lites

Day 17 – 7/28/2021

After breakfast this morning, I headed south, out of Jacksonville, 20 miles on I-295 & US-17 to visit the Military Museum of North Florida located in the Reynolds Industrial Park, adjacent to the former US Naval Air Station, in Green Cove Springs, FL.  This museum has a large collection of military jeeps, trucks, and amphibious landing craft, as well as military artifacts, weapons, and equipment honoring all U.S Military personnel from WWI to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

To my surprise, the North Florida Railway Museum is also located in the Reynolds Industrial Park, there in Green Cove Springs, so I just checked out that museum while I was there.  The museum displays railroad exhibits, artifacts and memorabilia telling the history of the railroad’s influence on northern Florida dating from the mid-1800s.  They have several pieces of rolling stock which they are restoring, including a GE 44 Tonner locomotive.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Continuing south 25 miles on US-17, I was absently heading for the David Browning Railroad Museum in Palatka, FL when suddenly Greta (My Garmin) said, “In ¼-mile turn right.”  I said out loud, “What?”  

Now let me tell you how it is with Greta.  She normally takes me on the shortest route to my destination.  Sometimes that is not always the best route.  More than once, she has taken me thru back streets or thru residential neighborhoods, finally delivering me to my destination.  Well, this time it was onto a dirt road.  “Why?”  Was my question, but I kept on going.  Then she had me turn onto a well-rutted dirt road.  The next turn was onto a barely visible rutted muddy dirt road.  I said, “Come on Greta, where are you taking me?”  There was nothing around me but a deep pine forest and a muddy dirt track with potholes.  It had been raining and the potholes were full of water.  I was afraid I was going to get stuck!  The next time she said, “Turn left.”   I said, “NO!”  And kept going straight.  I finally came out of that mess onto US-17 (the hiway I had been on before turning off onto the first dirt road) and eventually made it to the museum there in Palatka.  Whooo!  That was not a fun experience.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

At the museum I discovered that it was situated in the old 1908 Florida Coast Line (FCL) Union Depot and displays antique railroad exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia about the history of the railroad in Palatka and the surrounding Putnum county area dating from the early 1800s to the present.  The museum also houses a large model railroad layout depicting the city of Palatka in its early railroad days.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was only a few blocks to where I checked out the Mariner’s Museum located on the banks of the St. Johns River there in Palatka.  This large museum was closed, so I took a stroll over to the Riverfront Park to take a short break and watch the river traffic.   The center piece of the park is an impressive 40-foot-high Millennium Clock Tower.  What a relaxing few minute that was. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After my short rest, I continued south, across the St. Johns River, 10 miles on US-17 to check out the Georgia Boys Fish Camp located on the banks of Dunns Creek in Satsuma, FL.  I discovered the camp was off US-17 (their sign didn’t say how many miles), so I decided since I didn’t have time to do any fishing, I’d just be on my way.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I went 15-miles out of my way to visit the Welaka Maritime Museum located in Welaka, FL.  Greta (my Garmin) took me to the correct internet address, but either the museum was in a boat repair shop at that address (that was closed), or it no longer existed, as there was nothing there but the boat shop.  That turned out to be a big waste of time and gas!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

So, I found my way back to US-17 and headed another 25 miles south to visit the Barberville Pioneer Settlement.  A few miles down the road the internet had told me there was a Biker Bar in Crescent City, and I had planned to stop for a photo.  When I got to the address, I found that the business had changed hands, and was now The Farmhouse Bar & Grill.  Good thing I wasn’t hungry, as the place was closed.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

One Response to “2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip-Part 17 A”

  1. divoran09 January 19, 2022 at 7:48 am #

    You didn’t tell me about the ride through the forest. I’m glad you got out. What have you been feeding Greta? (your Garmin).

    Love you,


    Liked by 1 person

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