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Published: November 20th 2019
After we hiked Providence Canyon we headed south to Florida. We picked a route that again crossed over into Alabama and down into the Florida Panhandle. Alabama is the time zone change too so we gained an hour on Friday and then had to set the clocks back an hour on Saturday night so we gained 2 hours in 2 days. That was freaky!
We crossed the Chattahoochee again into Alabama and followed a route almost due south. The first town after crossing the river we saw 2 HUGE tractors, I don't know if they were Combines or International Harvesters followed by a large farm tractor. I was reminded of one of my favorite songs....Take a Back Road, "if there's gonna be a traffic jam, it better be the tractor man". From there we did see a lot of farm country and cotton farms. We didn't know how far we would get that day so I had researched a few camping options along the route on of which was Todd Farms. We ended up stopping there for a break and some ice cream, YUM! They had a small gift shop and they make many syrup products from Sorghum which is
like sugar cane. This is the crop I mentioned when we visited Mabry Mill along the BRP, they had a grinding tool there powered by mules. It was cool to see cotton here on display too along with the sorghum. We passed through Dotham and saw many signs for the National Peanut Festival. We ended up passing by it. Apparently it is an annual celebration of harvest time and looked like a big fair we would see back home.
It was a bright sunny day and the road was pretty smooth and little traffic so we kept moving along after finding a local WalMart for provisions. We crossed the Florida state line and joked about seeing palm trees in the same day we hiked with hats and gloves on! We got some good information at the rest stop for state parks and camping. We called a few places anxious to get to the beach. We called a state park that had 1 spot left but we had to claim it in person and we were still 3 hours away. I then called a commercial place right on the beach and their fee was $119/night!!! We passed on that, holy
cow!! We ended up staying just a few miles down the road at a nice place in Bonifay. They are fixing it up and it's gonna look good. The spots were close together but a cheap good place for a stop over and she was very flexible with us as we were not sure we would stay one or 2 nights.
Saturday morning was gorgeous so we decided we would not stay and keep moving on. I was able to get us 4 nights at Big Lagoon State Park in Pensacola but starting on Sunday. We decided to just roll on and see what we could see, do and if need be find a WalMart for the night, that is what we did in Santa Rosa Fl. We had a great day. We explored a Camping World in Panama City Beach, experienced a "traffic jam" and although it was NOT the tractor man, it was for a bicycle race(Iron Man we later found out) we didn't mind and while we sat there I was able to check out Pinterest and make my grocery list. This time we shopped at Publix grocery store. I liked that store. We also found
a Goodwill store which was great because Mike is in need of a couple of books and he has been looking for a few more Hawaiian shirts. He found both. We took a route along the beaches seeing lots of funky stores and condos, and the blue emerald water, oh and I can't forget the White Sand. We pulled into Grayton Beach State Park for supper to grill out and be on the beach, their campground was full 😞. I really loved that beach and hope someday we can stay there. The gate keeper didn't want to let us in as there was only 45 minutes to sunset. 'you can't stay in here without a reservation.' We promised to be out before they closed the gate and we were. We should have just sat on the beach for that time and cooked later because Mike didn't really get to enjoy it. The water was not super cold, it was tolerable and the sand was awesome. When driving into Panama City Beach we saw the destruction they experienced last year with Hurricane Michael. It is amazing, they are busy with clean up but so much is left to do. We even
saw a trailer that was still with a huge tree right through the middle of it.
Sunday we made our way to Pensacola again along the beach route. Big Lagoon is on not along the open ocean it is sheltered behind the National seashore. There isn't much of a beach here. There are some trails and lots of picnic shelters near the water to enjoy as well as the lagoon which is a haven for great blue herons, osprey, song birds, and white birds like herons. I can't remember what they are called, Egrets maybe.
I should mention, our 4 nights here cost less than one night at that commercial beach RV park! We were right next to the Naval Air Station(NAS) and it turns out it was the week leading up to the "homecoming' of the Blue Angels. they are based here and were doing a show the following weekend. Our last day we sat on the park beach and got to see some of their practice. We were visited by Great Blue Herons both days we Hung out on the beach. You will see some pictures of them. They also flew so close to me I
could feel the draft of the wing flapping.
We enjoyed sitting on the beach an entire day in the hot sun one of the days we were there. We drove to another state park beach nearby Perdido Beach State Park. This one is on the open ocean and is so white and soft. We saw a gorgeous sunset, saw lots of shells and did enjoy the water. It was a rough surf with undertow. There were very few people there, like maybe 5 throughout the day, no one stayed the entire day like we did.
Our other adventure at this spot was to the NAS to view the aviation museum they have. It was incredible! Free for one thing and there were volunteers everywhere making sure you knew how to get around. We took a tour of the outside area where they have many aircraft in restoration phases. Inside, the museums displays were brought to life with scenes for the period they were in action and were organized by conflict. We spent an entire day there and recommend it to anyone who likes that kind of thing. We have been to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum but
I liked this one much better.
It was really great to stay in one place for 4 nights. We had a good combination of relaxation and exploration. We also got to have some phone conversations with my Mom and Dad, Ben and then Sam. It was great to hear their voices, hear about what's going on with them at home and to share some of our stories so far.
Mike has been looking for a vehicle for us now. He feels ready to pull something if we can find the right vehicle. We have shifted from an old classic car to a jeep probably so that we can flat tow. This lead him to set up a showing for us for a jeep in Alabama on our way through. At this point we had our sights on Houston to see the Space Center.
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