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April 2014 / May 2014 Newsletter

A condensed events and activities list can be found on our Calendar page.
Membership information can be found on our Membership page.

General Participation Guidelines
Always sign up ("pre-register") for an event by using our Meetup.com site or by contacting the leader so you can be reached if there is a change or an event cancellation.  Trip leaders generally make all reservations and arrangements and may set group size limits on some trips and activities.  If you are not pre-registered you may be turned away at some events.

Additional information about these activities and events may be announced at monthly meetings, on our Meetup.com site, and by Meetup.com messaging.  If you did not sign up for an event or activity at the last club meeting and would like to do so, you may add your name to the list at our Meetup.com site.  If you have additional questions, please contact the trip or activity leader directly.


Sat 4/5, 10:00am, Otttis Castle Tour in Vilano Beach: MEMBERS ONLY. Come join us for a day of fun exploring the Otttis Castle. Castle Otttis is an impression of an Irish castle of 1,000 years ago. The interior was created under guidance of historians from the Catholic Diocese of Northeast Florida.  Enjoy the view of the Atlantic Ocean, Vilano Beach and St Augustine from the roof top of its towers. There is a free tour, however, donations are appreciated. The Castle is located 103 3rd St, St Augustine, FL 32084 on highway A1A three miles north of St. Augustine, Florida. For those who want to car pool, meet at 9:00 am at the Jacksonville Southeast Regional Library at 10599 Deerwood Park Boulevard near JTB and Gate Parkway. Map & Driving Directions.  For additional information:  http://www.castleotttis.com/ 

After the tour some of the members will be going to Caps Restaurant on the intercostals waterway. You are welcome to join us. Sidetrackers Members Only – Limit 20 guests. Hosted by Vicki A. 904.923.2335.

Wed 4/9, 6:15pm, Bridges Walk, Downtown, Jacksonville:  Come out and join an energetic and challenging walk.  We will meet in the MOSH EAST parking (blue bridge side)  lot and walk the Main Street Bridge and the Acosta Bridge.  The hike will be approximately 3-4 miles.  Please wear good walking shoes, bright colors and bring plenty of water.   If it is not too late, we will get a bite to eat near or at the Landing.  Please contact group leader Julie H at: 904-424-1548.

Wed 4/16, 6:15pm, Theodore Roosevelt Park Evening Hike:  Enjoy an evening hike at Theodore Roosevelt Park (Timucuan Preserve), Mt. Pleasant Road, Jacksonville, Florida.  Be sure to park in the first parking lot (Timucuan Preserve).  There is no address available, but the park entrance is approximately 1 mile off  Ft. Caroline Road. Come out and join an energetic, challenging and extremely scenic hike at the Theodore Roosevelt Park in the Ft. Caroline area in Jacksonville.  The hike will be approximately 3-4 miles with some steep hills, views of the salt marshes, wildlife, and some of the most beautifully manicured wooded trails in Florida.   This is an expansion of the Timucuan Preserve.  The park is located in the Ft. Caroline area close to the Wonderwood Bridges.  There is NO fee to get inParking is limited, but you can park in the grass, per the Park Ranger. Please wear proper clothing, bring bug spray and plenty of water. For more information, please see the website: http://www.nps.gov/timu/index.htm. Call Leader Vic:  904-517-2321.

Sat 4/19, 9:30am, Palm Coast Bike Ride: We will meet at McDonalds on Old St. Augustine Road (by I-95 in Bartram Park area) at 9:15 am and leave promtly at 9:30am. Arrive early if you plan on having breakfast. Carpooling is available, but you may want to arrange it ahead of time as there is planning involved when transporting bikes. We will be parking at 5875 Colbert Lane in Palm Coast, Florida to begin the ride. We will bike the paved trails of Lehigh Trail and bike approximately 16 miles (round trip) of abandoned railroad corridor, comprising of 195 acres. Any type of bike is welcome. The trail parallels the Lehigh Canal for much of its length and extends from U.S. 1 North of Bunnell through the town center of Palm Coast and through Graham Swamp. This is a very scenic trip with water views, wildlife, swamps, and paved trails as well as some wooded boardwalks. There is a limit of 30 people, so please sign-up ONLY if you are planning on attending. And update your RSVP if your plans change. Please bring plenty of water, sunscreen, bug spray and a light snack if you desire. Afterwards we will get a bite to eat. Location to be announced. Co-Leaders Julie H. cell 904-424-1548 and Paula S. 904-588-2707. As a courtesy, please call Julie or Paula  if your plans change and you are unable to attend or you will be marked as a no show.

Fri-Sun, 4/25-27th, Cayo Costa State Park (Naples, Fl): SIDETRACKERS MEMBERS ONLY.  We will meet at 5:30 am, Friday, 4/25th at McDonalds on Old St. Augustine Road, 13939 Old St. Augustine Rd., off I-95, exit 335.  This is approximately a 6.5 hour drive.  Cayo Costa Island has 8 miles of beautiful beaches off the Gulf Coast.  Swimming, snorkeling, fishing, hiking, kayaking, bird watching and sea shell collecting are all part of this tropical paradise. Access to the Island is by boat shuttle only.  You will be responsible for your reservations to transport you round trip on and off the Island.  Call Tropic Star, Pine Island at (239)283-0015. 

Let them know you are with the Jacksonville Sidetrackers Group.  We will take the 1:00pm boat shuttle on Friday.  You must be there by 12:30pm.  We will leave the Island at 10:00am on Sunday.  Personal gear is limited to 50 pounds (tent, food, etc.).  In addition you are allowed 1 back pack. The boat fee is $42.00 and includes park access fee.  There is a $15.00 transport fee if you bring your own kayak.  There is a $10 transport fee to bring your bike.  Parking at the Marina is $18 for 2 days.  On the Island there is a complimentary tram that will shuttle your camping equipment to camp site.  Rentals for kayaks and bikes are available on the Island. Everyone is responsible for reserving and paying for their own campsite.    Call (941)964-0375 to reserve your campsite.  Each campsite can accommodate (2) tents and (8) people.   There is water and firewood available on the Island for purchase.  You must have an animal proof food container. We will be kayaking and hiking.  Organized trips will be announced once we arrive on the Island.  Bring sunscreen, plenty of water, food for grilling/cooking, snacks, camera /binoculars.  Leader Victor, (cell) 904-517-2321. Food arrangements will be coordinated closer to trip departure. For additional information, please check the website: http://www.floridastateparks.org/cayocosta/  

Sat 5/3, 10:00am, Living History Day & Cannon Day Fort Matanzas: Take a ferry ride over to Fort Matanzas and feel like you stepped back in time to the mid-1700s. Soldiers will display their daily activities. There will be cannon firings presented on each tour of the day. There are no fees. We will meet at the Visitor Center where you should also pick up a free boarding passes for the 10:30am trip. At 36 people the ferry will max, but you can get the 11:30am boarding pass and the first group will wait to have lunch together. Bring a picnic lunch and join others on nearby 20 minute hike. http://www.nps.gov/foma/planyourvisit/event-details.htm?eventID=359681-245777

Carpool: 9:00 am at the McDonalds at 14151 St. Augustine Road, Jacksonville, FL near I 95. If you plan on getting coffee or eating breakfast, please arrive at 8:30am. Fort Matanzas National Monument is located about 15 miles south of the historic district of St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine is located on Florida's Northeastern Atlantic coast about midway between Jacksonville and Daytona Beach. They physical address is 8635 A1A South, St. Augustine, FL 32080. 

Car Directions:  From I-95: Take exit 305 (Route 206). Follow Route 206 east about 6 miles to Highway A1A. Turn right and follow A1A south for 4 miles to the park entrance on the right side of the road.  Hosted by Vicki A. 904.923.2335.

Wed 5/7, 6:30pm, Monthly Members Meeting: Regency Square Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

Sat 5/10, 10:00am, Photo Scavenger Hunt at Jacksonville Arboretum: We will meet at the Jacksonville Arboretum parking lot at 10:00am. (1445 Millcoe Road, Jacksonville, just off Monument Rd.) This is the second and LAST roll-out of this very well-received event which should accommodate all those from the wait list from the one in March. There will be a limit of 31 people. This event is a competition among teams. The group will be divided into 5 teams of 6. The event leader has taken photos of objects (natural and man-made) along the lovely, winding trails of the arboretum. Each team will have a leader/navigator who has walked the arboretum before (a route map will be issued) and one photographer (cell phones are fine) to match each of the photos the event leader has taken. Each team will be provided sheets of these photos. All the members of the team will be the spotters. The team which collects/matches the most photos correctly and arrives back at the parking lot first will win the team prize which is being donated by the event leader. (In the case of a tie at the finish, the team with the most correct matches wins.) We can decide where we might like to go to lunch after the hunt. Because of the use of cameras, this event will not be held in the rain – Rain date will be Sun., 5/11/14 at 10:00am. NOTE: This is a popular event which is limited to 31 people, and we want to have the same number of people on each team. Last time 11 out of 30 people were no-shows which was not well-received. The leader will take names of no-shows for future board discussions. Please give several days’ notice on Meetup.com so that people who are on the wait list can join. Leader: Tim S., cell # 904-705-3335.

Fri-Sun 5/16–18, Skidaway Island Camping (Savannah, GA): SIDETRACKERS MEMBERS ONLY.  We will meet at 5:00 pm, Friday, May 16th at McDonalds at Airport Center Road, exit 363A.  This is approximately a 2 hour drive.  This is a State Park South of Savannah, GA. Kayaking, biking, hiking and site seeing of Historic Savannah is on the agenda.  Two cabins and 1 campsite have been reserved.  Cabins sleep 5 people.  Cabins are approximately $55 per person for 2 nights.  Campsites are $35 per campsite for 2 nights, with up to 8 people per site.  Cabins and Campsites are close in proximity.  Leader, Vic will coordinate cabin and campsite arrangements.  Please state your preference when signing-up for trip.  Activities planned are: Friday night Ghost tour, biking and hiking at Tybee Island and kayaking at the State Park on Sunday.  You can bring your own kayak and bike or rent on site from the State Park.  You cannot reserve kayaks ahead of time.  Reservations are first come, however, there are plenty available.

Bring sunscreen, plenty of water, food for grilling/cooking, snacks, camera /binoculars.  Leader Victor, (cell) 904-517-2321.  Food arrangements will be coordinated closer to trip departure.

For additional information, please check the website:  http://gastateparks.org/SkidawayIsland

Sun 5/25, 8:00am, Florida Folk Festival - Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs, FL:  We will meet at McDonalds on Chaffee Road off I-10 and leave shortly thereafter to head for Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park.  We will carpool, but be sure that you are riding with someone who does not have a time schedule other than yours; ex:  I will be staying late to hear the last performer at 10:00 p.m.  You may want to bring a chair and/or a blanket, hat, rain gear, suntan lotion, and a cooler for food and drink (no alcohol) if you want your own instead of the great food offered by vendors.  There is a beer garden.  I usually take a cooler to save money. Now, what is the festival about?  "Somewhere between the Seminole fry bread, African crafts, Appalachian folk music and Cuban dance, you'll discover that the state of Florida enjoys one of America's most diverse cultural landscapes.  And the Florida Folk Festival celebrates it all.  Over 400 singers, dancers and storytellers will entertain on 15 stages, and numerous artists, crafters and cooks will share their talents.  Plus, statewide fiddle and banjo contests and a wide array of hands-on activities..."  It is a three-day festival, but Sunday is when the featured performer sings.  You can choose the amount of exercise you get.  You can sit for hours listening to music at one stage or you may wonder back and forth across the park listening to performers at various stages (in doing that you will not lack for exercise.)

Usually the day is hot and you will be tempted to buy some of the best homemade ice cream you have ever tasted. The festival is $25 in advance and $30 at the gate.  If you would like, contact me via Meetup.com or bring your money/check to the May 7th meeting of Sidetrackers, and I will order our tickets.  You may also order your own ticket by calling:  1-877-635-3655.  For further information, check-out www.floridafolkfestival.com.  Leader: Marta W. cell 904-635-7170.  If you are not at McDonalds by 8:00 a.m., please notify the leader by phone so we will know you are on your way.  White Springs where the Festival is located is 59 miles from McDonalds and about an hour's drive.

Additional information about these activities and events may be announced at monthly meetings and on our Meetup.com/Sidetrackers trip reservation pages.

2014 Monthly Meeting Schedule.  Locations Will Be Announced.
MONTHLY MEETINGS are always on the first non-holiday Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m.
and the location may vary.  Subscribers to our Meetup.com group receive an automatic reminder message in their email two days before the meeting.

WEDNESDAY, May 7, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, June 4, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, July 2, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, August 6, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, September 3, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, October 1, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, November 5, 2014 – 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, December 3, 2014 – 6:30 PM

The Sidetrackers Newsletter
Our newsletter is maintained by Chris who can be reached by email at newsletter 'at' sidetrackers.com.
If you have any comments about the newsletter, or if you have material to submit for inclusion in the
next monthly newsletter, please send email to newsletter 'at' sidetrackers.com.

To Become a Sidetrackers Member
Members pay a small annual fee to help share the annual cost of maintaining this web site and the small costs of running the club.  Members are not required to submit a Guest Waiver Form at each Sidetrackers trip, activity or event.  Membership applications are accepted throughout the year.  Please visit our Membership page, or send questions and comments to membership 'at' sidetrackers.com.

The Sidetrackers Web Site

Our web site is maintained by Frank who can be reached by email at webmaster 'at' sidetrackers.com.  Please contact Frank if you have any corrections, photos, or other items of interest from any current activities. We will be pleased to consider your suggestions concerning the web site content.

In Case You Were Wondering...
Email addresses are slightly obscured with 'at' instead of '@' in an attempt to foil automated spam robots.

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