Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A beautiful day at the beach

Beautiful day

After the weekend of rain, we were ready for a great beach day, and Monday promised to be beautiful!  It was a holiday for me, so we made plans to meet up with our friends camping on the beach at Perdido Key.

We had met Rick and Karen last winter in Ft. Myers Beach, and have kept in touch via email and Facebook as they travelled the west coast this winter.  When they decided to meet up with their daughter and son-in-law at the beach for Spring Break, they contacted us to see if we’d be in the area.  It sounded like a good idea to us, so we worked a stop in Pensacola into our plans. 

We arrived at their motorhome, and after getting caught up on their winter travels, we packed up the chairs, towels and umbrella and walked across the street to the beach.

We picked our spot on the sand and settled in.

Tom and Rick enjoying the sun

It was the perfect day on the beach – not a cloud in sight, nice breeze off the water, and upper 70s.

There were parasailers out on the Gulf,

Parasailer getting ready to go up

He's in the air!










fishing boats, kids playing in the water and the sand, and at one point  a formation of helicopters flew over the beach.

Helicopters flying over the beach


It was really cool!



Eventually, Tom and Rick decided that they needed some shade so they put up the umbrella,

They decided they needed some shade











and Bryce got warm enough to brave the chilly water!

Bryce decided to try the water

Brr . . . cold!











What a perfect day – we were enjoying it so much, we stayed for about 5 hours!











We thoroughly enjoyed our day on the beach, although a few of us got a little too much sun (not me!), and are paying for it today!

Enjoying the afternoon at the beach

Karen and Rick have some friends from their hometown that live in Orange Beach, and they had made plans to meet up with them at a local Tiki Bar in the evening.  Jen & Ernie were going with them, and they invited us to join them, as well.

We did, and met a great group of people, including a few Spartans who were excited to hear about Bryce’s future plans!

Dinner at the Tiki Bar

What a great day – it doesn’t get much better than this!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Moving west to Pensacola

Leaving Carrabelle on Wednesday, we had an excellent travel day as we followed Highway 98 along the coast through the little towns of Apalachicola, Port St. Joe, and Mexico Beach, and past Tyndale Air Force Base.  In Panama City, we picked up Highway 231 and travelled north to US-10.  After a quick fuel & sandwich stop, we continued west to Pensacola and the Five Flags RV Park.


It’s a quiet little park, right off I-10, not at the beach, but conveniently on the road that goes out to Perdido Key and the Naval Air Station.  In fact, the campground is owned and operated by a Navy Pilot and his family.

The campground host greeted us at the entrance, picked up our paperwork in the office, and escorted us to our site.  We’re in a back-in site at the end of a cul d’ sac, but the roads are really wide making it very easy to maneuver and get backed in.

We were set up in no time!


Site 53










Looking down the road from our site.


The sites are a combination of concrete and gravel, full hook-up including cable – large and level – and at a very reasonable price.  They have about 30 sites, out of the 80, that are rented by the year, some monthly, and then travelers like us.  All of the sites and RVs are very well maintained, and there are a lot of little touches that make this park really special.

The “Etch a Sketch” greets residents and guests as you enter the park.

Also used as a message board

There are two doors that lead outside the park (one to Sonny’s BBQ and one to a convenience store).

Another door to the outside world


Each door is locked and has an entry code from the outside to get back into the park. 


You just have to remember to note the code before you go out . . . or else you’ll have a longer walk to go all the way around to get back in!




This one is right at the end of our road.

Little doors to get out of the park

Also scattered throughout the park are these bike racks (ingeniously built from PVC!),



Courtesy Bikes

complete with courtesy bikes available for us – inside or outside the park.  They even have baskets, and a lock to use if the bike is taken outside the park.  What a cute idea!

Then there’s the Laundry Room . . .


the laundry room is made up of two old trolleys.

Laundry Area

Each trolley car is outfitted 2 washers and 2 dryers,




but other than that, they are pretty much left as they were as trolley cars – even the Driver’s seat is still there!

The machines are not coin operated, but there is an I-pad for reporting how many loads of laundry you were doing, and then it would get added to your account by site #, or you could just drop money off in the office – $1.50 per wash and $1.50 per dry.


Everything about this park is homey and friendly . . . definitely worth a visit is you are looking for a place to stay in Pensacola!

Our first few days here have been on & off rain, so we just took care of some shopping, some baking for Easter, and test drove a Jeep.  With all the rain out of the way, we’re looking forward to getting together with some friends the next few days!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Hanging out in Carrabelle


The rest of our week in Carrabelle was mostly just spent hanging out at the RV Park.  We had a few rain showers, and the no-seeums were brutal in the mornings and evenings, but we managed to get out and about a few times.

We’ve taken walks along the dock in the Carrabelle River,












and walks along the beach.

Walking the beach


During one of our walks on the beach, we met a fisherman . . .

from Iowa.

Fisherman from Iowa

I’ve never really understood surf fishing.  How does the line and hook stay out in the water and not get washed up on shore?  They say it’s just that little weight that they put on the line that keeps it in place . . . I’m not sure how it works!!

Apparently it does, though . . . he was catching fish!

He caught one!

We followed this little guy as he walked along the beach,


if we got too close, he’d run up on the dry sand until we passed, and then would come back down to the water’s edge.













We met some more people on the beach one day, who were from MI.  They had been sailing on their sailboat for the last 10 months, and had just sold it in Carrabelle and were spending a few days on the beach before they went back home.  They lead quite the adventurous life!











Sunset_March 20th


We had some beautiful sunsets in Carrabelle.  The RV Park has a viewing deck at the swimming pool that gives you a view of the surrounding area, and is a great spot for getting sunset pictures.








Sunset reflecting on the wiregrass










We could see all the way out to where the canal reached the bay.

Canal out to the ocean

Not to mention a nice view of the pool!

Overlooking the pool

One evening, we rode our bikes down to the Marina,



where there were boats in various stages of repair,


and some that looked like they had come here to die!














We had a nice visit on this forgotten coast of Florida – there are cute towns, beautiful beaches, and friendly people!

We may come back again someday . . . maybe we’ll do some fishing!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Exploring St. George Island

St. George Island

Sunday promised to be a beautiful day, and although it was only in the upper 60s, we had full sunshine which made it feel much warmer.  We took advantage of our free time to explore St. George Island.

St. George Light House


The island is accessed by a bridge out of Eastpoint, arriving at the center of of the island where the lighthouse is located.

The island is narrow, with just two parallel roads running east and west in the populated area, with most of the beach houses on the gulf side.





We drove to the west first, on the north side, and then back on the south side, where the beach houses lining both sides of the road reminded us a lot of Gulf Shores.

Cute Beach House

More Beach Houses










We stopped at one of the public beach access areas, where a few people were out enjoying the beautiful day.

This was the busy area of the beach!

Surf Fishing











It’s a really pretty beach, and we were surprised that the water wasn’t even too cold.

Houses on the beach


Leaving that end of the beach, we drove back east, through the small commercial area of the island and past the rest of the beach rental homes.

Skinny Rental Houses

The east end of the island is occupied entirely by St. George Island State Park.











On the gulf side of the road is miles and miles of beach.  There are 2 main beach areas with large parking lots, picnic shelters and restrooms, and multiple other small parking areas along the road with small boardwalks to the beach.  Most of the dune areas between the road and the shoreline are roped off for nesting shorebirds.


We parked at one of the main picnic areas and walked along the beach.  There were just a few people there, and with all that space, you felt like you were all alone.

The State Park Beach











Surf Fishing

Bryce found a jellyfish in the sand, and helped it make it’s way back into the water . . . at least I think we were helping it!




We continued to walk, and were amazed by the number of sand dollars we saw – but all of them were broken up – I’ve never seen so many in one place!











Bryce eventually got warm enough to take his shirt off – he wished he had worn a muscle shirt!




Sometimes Bryce insists on getting into every one of my pictures, sometimes he won’t cooperate at all and pose for me, and other times he takes a pretty good picture!







We had him take a new one of us for our work camper resume, too.

Not a formal portrait, but then, there’s really nothing formal about us!  It turned out pretty good, I think!


From the beach, we drove through the campground, which is on the bay side of the island, separated from the road by sand dunes.












The campground was pretty nice, and we were surprised at the number of sites that looked big enough for a big rig.  Water and electric hookups only, though, including on the host sites, so we could only do a short visit here . . . and it is pretty far from everything.  You have to go all the way to Tallahassee or Panama City for a Publix!

We drove back to the center of the island, and stopped for an ice cream cone before we headed back over the bridge.


Yeah, I think he earned those calories!

Enjoying his ice cream

Not a bad way to spend the 1st day of Spring!!