Before landing at Mom's, I ducked into Publix for a couple of baguettes.
Now ... I never, ever see anyone I know when I go back to my hometown, unless it is planned in advance. That always bugs me, because in my mind, I expect to do so. When I left home, my brain took a snapshot of life the way it was and so when I return, there is a piece of my brain that expects to bump into friends here and there.
That is completely ridiculous (or almost so) because St. Augustine has changed alot since 1978 and my friend have all gotten really old with busy lives.
I did have great luck this time in the produce section of Publix, because as I turned a corner, there was Miss Elaine, the mother of one of my best girl buddies from high school. She was one of those Mom's who always fed ya if you were at the house and was always interested in what you were doing.
Anyway, we had a great little reunion there between the bakery and the produce.
None of that has anything to do with the beach below, except maybe triggering some nostalgia for all the fun we teenagers had surfing, fishing, and hanging out at the beach back then.
So, post chili consumption, when it was time to drive back to PFHQ, I headed east not west.
When I got to the beach, I turned on the first access ramp I found and cruised slowly down a mostly deserted winter beach, enjoying roaring surf, huddled birds, and a beach empty of summertime hordes.
Here we go.
As I said above, the beach was wonderfully empty. Only a few dedicated surfers and bundled beachcombers braved the bracing wind.
A grey mist was flowing in off the ocean and the beach ahead alternately appeared and disappeared in the distance.
The gulls were tucked into large lazy flocks that were conserving all the energy they could by avoiding flight.
This allowed me to walk up pretty close to them and visit awhile. We talked about fish mostly.
Nice wave dudes.
Everybody had something to do in the gull flocks, but nobody was doing anything that required great effort.
I drove for miles on a deserted beach, stopping here and there to hang with the different gull flocks or do a bit of beachcombing.
Every so often the sea and the land seemed to merge in the late day light and the misty sky.
I wasn't ready to go when the last exit ramp at Fort Matanzas came up, but I had miles to go and so I left the beach to the gulls.
NOTE: Tomorrow may be slow to load, I have a few videos of the gulls and the waves I'd like to toss up here.