Wingzofsteel Adventures and Reviews

Epic Motorcycle Camping Adventures

Washington Oaks; In Search for Timucua

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Last June I took a trip to Cresant Beach, Fl. While traveling south on A1A I came upon an area that spoke to my curiosity. A little garden maintained by the State of Florida called Washington Oaks. How odd and seemingly misplaced was this strip of land between the Atlantic and the inter-coastal waterway approximately 3 miles south of Marineland.


After entering the obscure entrance and a small parking fee later ($4.00) I was standing in the midst of an enchanted forest wondering if I had somehow gone back in time to when the Timucuans inhabited these lands.


As I meandered through paths and natural trails of garden, Palm and Palmetto, I was occasionally surprised by local wildlife in their natural habitat doing the things they do in the privacy of their beautiful surroundings. I am unclear of the species of predatory birds of that area of Florida, but either an Eagle or Owl was not overly happy of my presence. It swooshed past me and quickly disappeared into the thick and abundant boughs of stately oaks trees and Spanish moss. Although I travel as stealthily as possible, trying not to disrupt and place undue stress on the wild creatures, just perhaps I err on the side of being too quiet. The ones not so bothered by my curiosity were the Tortoise and Armadillo. They were scurrying about going from one place to another and would look up once in awhile then carry on.


The park is meticulously maintained and cared for with what can be only described as passion. In speaking with a Park employee, it became evident that they share a true love for their work at Washington Oaks. I found it both honorable and refreshing.

Throughout the gardens you find plants indigenous to the State of Florida. To take all the guess work away, the Park has provided each species of plant with signage identifying them by their scientific name as well as their more common name.


One the east side of AIA, Washington Oaks extends to the Atlantic Ocean. The curvy road to the boardwalk is cascaded on each side with sand dunes and protected grasses and vegetation; a safe house for wild life.  Standing on the board walk overlooks a vast open area protected in perpetuity from development. I might mention here that the entrance fee for the garden side of the road also covers the beach area. Just be sure to have the receipt on your dashboard.


The boardwalk extends out to the beach and is a nice private area to sunbath or swim in the beautiful waters of the Atlantic. For the swimmers a word of caution; the Cochina rock is ever present so one must be careful when swimming at high tide or risk injury from the hidden rock formations. Fishermen may also wish to scout out the area at low tide or risk parting with expensive lures.

As I wander around places like Washington Oaks, tripod and camera in tow, I imagine each scene the way I would like for it to be shared with you. Sometimes I get lucky and other times not so much. However, the balance of light and shadow with subtle details of the natural world illustrated in only black white and grays is what I strive to show. As I develop new ideas and techniques, just maybe my vision will begin to reflect in how you see the world as well. Hopefully you will see through my lens how much beauty is all around us only if we take the time to explore it.

As for Washington Oaks, what a treasure found with one of Florida’s best kept secrets. I will be coming back again to pick up where I left off. Oh, there is so much more to explore.


Written by wingzofsteel

August 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm

A Simple Christmas Story (intro)

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Sometimes there is a special story wrapped tightly (and sometimes well hidden) around the core layers of your remembered experiences. Just recently I discovered something new in a common house hold staple of my growing up years in Blackshear, GA.

You may read the story here.

Written by wingzofsteel

December 21, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Recollections from Cousin Sandra (intro)

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During the last year or so I have become re-acquainted with my cousin Sandra Tuten Pearce.  Her mother, Aunt Waunell was the eldest daughter to my Granny and Grandpa, Nichols Lawton and Osie Ella Riggins.  Her father, Bill Tuten was indeed one of my favorite uncles, and, as far as I can see, the greatest of human beings.  He taught me lessons in life without ever knowing it, especially on the topic of a fathers love for his children.

As many of you know, My brother Mitch has been battling cancer for 4 years now, and so it is no surprise that his illness has brought us closer as a family.  It has made us think about the truly important things in life, far and above the mundane and selfish thoughts of ourselves. We think about our complete family, Uncles, Aunts and Cousins, and how important we are to one another.  How the value of our lives would be completely altered and indeed lessened if not for each special placeholder of our family tree.

Sandra has, during the course of the past few years, reemerged into our lives as the beautiful, caring, lovable, happy and positive soul I always remembered; and, a great source for inspiration to my brother. What I didn’t know about her was she has an incredible gift for writing. I have personally enjoyed reading every word of hers which has trickled down the back roads of my mind and caused me to remember………and smile.

Sandra has allowed me to included her work here with hopes that  it will be an inspiration to all  to write your own memories.

You may read them by clicking here.

Written by wingzofsteel

December 11, 2009 at 3:28 pm

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Once Upon a Morning Chilly, Part One

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Often in the lives of young boys and girls,  a healthy imagination is often much broader, more interesting and more far reaching than the calming voices of reason. In this account I have tried to address them all in this simple story that takes place in Blackshear, Ga. The year was 1958. Or, if you are following my outline, winter count 9.

Click here  to read “Once Upon a Morning Chilly, Part One”.

Written by wingzofsteel

December 3, 2009 at 4:03 pm

A Hitchhike Across the Extragalatic Nebula

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Picture 18For those of us who live in a metropolitan environment, our access to the natural world is somewhat limited and detached. It is when we face our furry brethren in close proximity is when our aire of sophistication leaves us stranded and looking, well … foolish.

Check out my  story here!

I hope you enjoy it.


Written by wingzofsteel

November 5, 2009 at 10:39 am

The Lord of the Clover Field

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Picture 18Want to see what it is like growing up on a farm in rural Georgia? This is one of my families many stories. “The Lord of the Clover Field“.

I hope you enjoy it.

Written by wingzofsteel

October 3, 2009 at 1:40 am

Old Rivers

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Picture 18When I listen to this song, it takes me back to a time standing in the kitchen in front of the old wood heater getting  warm. The smell of sausage and eggs and Mama’s sweet voice calling us to breakfast. Daddy would have the radio playing; filling the small farmhouse with sounds to suggest another day has started; another adventure was there before us to share.

There is something haunting in Walter Brennan’s voice that will forever remind me of those days so long ago.

Written by wingzofsteel

August 10, 2009 at 2:02 pm