Jupiter is the northernmost town in Palm Beach County and has a population of 61,000. The beach town is rated one of the top and happiest in the USA. Its barrier island is ranked as having the highest per capita income of any place in the country. It is home to the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Celine Dion. While I did drive down the street of mansions blocked by high bushes, naturally I didn’t boondock nearby!
Instead, I stayed at the Hope Second Chance (Church of God), a Harvest Hosts location in Hobe Sound. I left my previous Harvest Hosts stay at OrganicaWorld just southeast of Mount Dora and arrived at the Penecostal Church just after their service finished.
I met Pastor Bradley and a few members of the congregation, made a donation, and finally posed in front of VANgo for a photo. The church has a small field behind it which was great for Annie to explore. It was not, however, the best place for me to park!!
Just as I stopped in the corner, I felt VANgo sink. I learned there was a lot more sand than grass and promptly got stuck! I dug out the sand, put down my levelers for lack of anything else and tried again. No luck.
Pastor Bradley had told me to call if I needed anything, so I did. Tracy, a member of the congregation was there in minutes. She had George and Tristan there a few minutes later. With some wood boards down and soft tug, I gave VANgo some gas and we were out in a jiffy. What friendly people to help a complete stranger!!
Jupiter Lighthouse Inlet and Museum
Since I had been driving and digging out of the sand most of the day, I took a break to see the Jupiter Lighthouse Inlet and Museum. The $12 admission got me a trip up the 105 stairs in the lighthouse. Since the spiral stairs are narrow, they control traffic flow. Once the last group came down, about seven of us went up for a 360 degree view.
It didn’t take long, and we joked it was $2/minute, but the fee supports the Loxahatchee River Historical Society which operates the site. They kept the grounds very nice and were very proud of the lighthouse. The main museum was closed because work on the nearby bridge was causing the exhibits to shake, but there was a smaller museum which featured the history of the area.
Jupiter Off-Leash Dog Beach
At a different entrance, there are some trails on which I had hoped to take Annie, but dogs weren’t allowed. As a result, we drove to Jupiter Off-Leash Dog Beach. This is a dog’s paradise with miles of sandy beach to romp on.
Of course, Annie wanted to run up to every dog, and that is against the rules. For the most part, people throw balls for their mutts to chase or let their dogs splash into the crashing waves. Since Annie won’t do either, I had to walk back and forth along the soft sand to get her to run around and distract her from the dogs near the water.
Seeing as how it was a Sunday, it was rather crowded, so I thought I might go back Monday morning for a little more freedom. But my plans changed!
I had a problem with my grey water tank of dishwater that overflowed. I messed with that until dark, when at least 30 mosquitos joined me as I didn’t get my netting closed well. When I was done swatting mosquitoes and cleaning the van, I turned in for an early night and hoped all the inconveniences of van life were behind me.
Wishful thinking! I woke up and my inverter would not turn on. Grand…so much for cooking breakfast! I thought the problem might be due to all the rain, so I wiped down the solar panels and waited a while as Annie ran circles around the field behind the church.
Blowing Rocks Preserve
Things seemed improved, so we drove to Blowing Rocks Preserve operated by the Nature Conservancy. Annie wasn’t allowed on this beach, so I parked VANgo under the trees and set up some fans for her while I went for a walk.
I started out in tennis shoes and socks, but after a while I just wanted to go barefoot in the sand. I reached the lava rocks which are supposed to spray in high tide, thus the name Blowing Rocks. Despite the rough seas, I wasn’t there at high tide so there wasn’t much blowing.
At any rate, I stopped at the rocks and took off my shoes with my first thought being, “be very careful because the sand covers some of the rocks.” I only took two steps before I broke my second toe and nearly ripped the nail off from the cuticle. I can’t begin to say how much it hurt, but I kept walking because I needed to do something relaxing.
There is an outdoor shower at the entrance (note to self for the future when boondocking). I rinsed my foot, slipped on my shoes and explored the short trails on the other side of the street before I returned to VANgo.
Now my inverter was alarming and my battery was flashing 7%. Ok, in 24 hours I got towed, my grey water tank overflowed, countless mosquitoes attacked, I broke my toe, and my battery and inverter failed. It was so comical that I couldn’t get upset. When I told my mom the story, which even includes a few more things that went wrong, she started laughing! I mean it is really all I could do.
Jupiter Island Mansions
That said, it was enough for me to call my friend Page in Wellington and say, “I coming early!” Fortunately, she is the most laid back, generous person around and was happy to have me. On the way, I passed by all the hidden mansions on Jupiter Island. All I could think of was why have such an amazing house just to block your own view and breeze of the ocean with tall shrubs. I guess I’ll never understand that much wealth!
Continuing south, I made a brief stop at DuBois Park as I had read it is a good place to snorkel and wanted to see it. The lagoon was very quiet, but given I would have to stuff my broken toe with a shredded nail in a fin, I passed on the activity and don’t know if the snorkeling was any good.
The surrounding park and nearby beach were also nice. Additionally, there was the historic DuBois Pioneer Home that is easily missed as it sits on the back side of the parking lot.
While the house, which is one of the oldest surviving homes in Palm Beach County, didn’t knock my socks off, I thought it was cool that it was standing atop ancient shell mound built by the Jaega Indians. It is remarkable that the shingled house as withstood years of hurricanes.
Also interesting, is the mound is the site of the Village of Hobe where the Jaega Indians held captive the victims of the Dickinson shipwreck.
At least I got to cap off my short visit to Jupiter with something positive, and I have been lucky to stay at Page’s for now four days while waiting on a solution for VANgo. While I’m hopeful (and her cats even more hopeful since Annie is obsessed with them) that I can get back on the road, I get the feeling I’ll be likely be watching the Super Bowl in Wellington. Perhaps I will return to Jupiter when I’m up and running. ETB