Saturday, January 28, 2012

Truly Paradise Found

We had yet another perfect day on the north coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Today we drove the 20 miles or so to Bald Point State Park. Truthfully, we never even "officially" entered the park. Before even getting to the Ranger Station entrance, we stopped at the first beach we came to and walked a good mile down (and back!).

From there, we walked across the street and did a hike into a heavily forested area looking for Florida's Black Bear and other elusive creatures.
On the return trip home we stopped at Crooked Creek Golf Course for a bite and also got to drive through Carrabelle...
Carrabelle Marina
All very lovely! This afternoon the beach, once again, beckoned me to cross the road while Jeff toiled away on the computer. It was sunny, warm, and smelled so good of ocean air and fish (love that combo).

I stopped to talk to some fellow RVers who were fishing (and getting their supper for the night too...ocean trout) and who should show up again...the dolphins. Large group this time, probably 8-10 and they were frolicking and having a good time fishing as well.

Personally, I have had a very reflective day today. It started with the realization that for about the last month or so I have woken up every night so disoriented...."Where am I?"...and it takes me a good long while to figure out where I am exactly, what city, what park, etc. Having worked nights for many years I am use to not always knowing what day it is, but not knowing WHERE I am has been weird, sometimes even scary. This adventure has been awesome but I can not see doing this indefinitely. I would probably go insane. On the other side of my reflection, I have figured out this much about our future home. We were grown and born in water. I NEED water like I need air. I have to live by water. Like, a lot of water. As much as I loved the Palm Desert, Arizona, Louisiana....The places were I felt I could actually breath has been San Luis Obispo, Aransas Pass and here. Common thread....on the water. Water=Happy. Nothing wrong with knowing what makes you happy (other than my husband, of course). Now we just have to figure out a way to make that happiness full time!
Tomorrow we leave for Port Richey. It will be a long drive day, probably 5+ hours. But we get to be there for a week. Port Richey is just north enough of Tampa/St. Pete to be out of the city. Might be very nice....I would just love to stay right were I am.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tates Hell and Our Heaven

Lazy day today...kind of. Last nights storm made everything crystal clear and sparkling blue today. We could see the islands off our coast so clearly today that you could even make out the buildings and trees from 3 miles away. I had to get out on the beach this morning for a 2 mile beach hike. The tide was low, there were no "dangerous marine animals" to be seen and the sun was shining. We were in no rush this morning and didn't head out until 11 a.m. We went to Tate's Hell State Forest just down the road and did a four-mile trek through the "palms and pines". Very pretty...if not for the palms we would have thought we were in Northern Minnesota.
After our hike we drove into the actual town of Carrabelle to get some groceries. I had read about a bar called "Harrys" that sounded very cool, very "local" so we stopped in for a beer. The crusty, and 70 year old, bartender wasn't exactly the warmest person in the world but the environment was all small town Florida.

And the best part...they even had a "Rusty Shit" wall. Just like at home!

We got our groceries and went back to the BP. Jeff wanted to take the truck to get a wash so I took a book and a beach towel and went back to, you know....the beach! It was cooler today but still a pleasant 70 degrees and the sun felt wonderful. I was not the only one with that idea as I think half the RV park was at the beach.


I couldn't sit long so I took another walk along the shore. Barefooted this time (no Jellyfish!) and saw what I had been hoping for....Dolphins. Feeding on the Mullet but quite a ways out in the bay. Still, a pod of about 6 that surfaced and dove as they swam along.

Hard to get a picture, but there they are! When Jeff got home he said he had seen them down the road on his way home. So we both got to experience that treat. What is it about these creatures that are so endearing and awesome? Beautiful evening at home with steaks on the grill and plans for tomorrow.

The BP in the center.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Apalachicola and St. George Island

Today dawned bright and blue so we were off to St. George Island as planned for beach combing at the St. George State Park beaches. I was informed by a fellow resident last night that the shells on one particular beach was "unbelievable". Well, the island, the park and the beaches were entirely unbelievable but the shelling...not so much. No matter, we had a great walk on the beach and spent alittle bit of time in the shops of St. George.

These beaches go on for the entire length of the island which is about 6 miles long. Gulf beaches on one side and bay beaches on the other. Two "flags" up today...yellow (caution) and purple (dangerous marine life)...

Portuguese Man O' War and Jellyfish

After St. George we drove to Apalachicola, which is a small town on the west side of a very large bridge. Over water. Fun. Well, the town was fun, adorable, and had some pretty good bargains to boot. We scored a few apparel items for our upcoming St. Maarten trip and one plaque for the BP that states "Tiki Bar"...hells yeah!

Crab Cakes for lunch

Shrimp Boats on the waterfront pier
The best shop was full of genuine boat related items...buoys, flags, floats, nets, bobbers, etc... If I had a gulf house I would totally decorate with this stuff. So colorful and...nautical! Oddly enough, the other day when Jeff and I were at the beach on Gulf Shores I found a float and took it home with me. I told Jeff it was worth something but he didn't believe me. I'm kind of in love with my find and will be putting it out with my palms at each stop!

We repeatedly heard, as we walked through town, that there was a forecast of severe weather. It was getting grey  and windy so we headed back to the BP and were greeted by a "neighbor" who was just about to take OUR awning down for fear of it getting ripped off. We put the awning down and Jeff checked his phone for a weather update. Sure as heck, there was actually a Tornado Watch for Carrabelle. As we waited on the weather to get progressively worse, I had time for one more walk on the beach and we fired up the grill for our chicken dinner. Then it came....and is still coming. Thunder, lightening and torrential down pours! We are safe and sound in our little tin can of a home. Wined and dined and connected to cable TV. What more could you ask for...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blue Angels and Blue Skies

Yesterday Jeff and I drove to Pensacola to go to the Naval Air Museum on the Pensacola Naval Air Station (NAS). This was an incredible treat. Not only did we get to see about 100 authentic service airplanes (and learn even more military history) but it was FREE! We did fork over the $8.50 pp to see the IMAX movie about the Blue Angels (who are stationed at NAS). Well worth it. We had been fortunate enough to see the Blue Angels in San Fransisco during Fleet Week a year ago and once you see them, you are forever awed by their skill and bravery. These guys go through intense, almost inhumane, training and devote their lives to flying as a Blue Angel (no smoking, no liquor, no life).

As we left we asked a volunteer guide were to get a little lunch and he suggested we go to the "old" Pensacola downtown and marina. Good idea...the little downtown was reminiscent of the French Quarter with ornate balcony iron work. We had an awesome salad and a beer (from a list of about 150 tap and 200 bottled beers).

Jeff's eyes popping out at the beer list!

After lunch we walked the 6 blocks to the marina. It had turned out to be a very warm day, though overcast, and we enjoyed the walk and Pelican watching!

We also met this guy, who proudly informed us that this particular Pelican, Bucky, was his buddy and that the bird was indebted to him because a few weeks ago he had saved the birds life after finding him wrapped up and tangled in fishing line and hooks. He even had been featured on "Channel 3" news the night before. Bucky did seem quite taken with this gut and even allowed him to hold and pet him.

In accordance with my sign fascination I have two from Pensacola to share. Kind of two from opposite spectrum's, but fun anyway!

This morning we were on the road by 9 a.m. heading to Carrabelle, Florida on the Emerald Coast but not part of the touristy part like Destin or Panama Beach. This is a quiet, little coastal town more known for fishing than beach babies. We had planned on going to a Passport America park in a town west of here (PA parks are 50% off) but in a completely out of character move, I found this lovely, beachside RV park and decided we should treat ourselves to 4 days of sand,sun and surf! It was the right thing to do. The park is gorgeous, the pool clean and warm and the beach is directly across the street and has a good mile of walkable sand.

Today's temp topped off at...

so I wasted no time getting set up and then sprinting over to the beach for some sand time (Jeff opted to play on the computer). The beach is actually on St. George Sound since several islands (St. George being one of them) form a barrier from the Gulf of Mexico. The water isn't that beautiful "emerald" I expected but tomorrow we will get out to the island and maybe the hue will be different from there. Very pretty none the less and I am sure not complaining about being on ANY beach in January.

Along the way, I did see what seemed like an excessive number of what I think are beached Jelly Fish. Most the size of a salad plate but several that were easily ten inches across. Disgusting things.

Also saw this odd thing. Gelatinous with a blue bag on the top that was "breathing". Can anyone tell me what this is???

Thankfully there were more interesting creatures along the shore. Birds of all kinds. And two fisherman who told me that dolphins frequent the area and get so close to shore that they reel their lines in for fear of snagging them. Also told me another guy caught a sand shark from shore yesterday. Cool. Not going swimming, by the way! I went back to the BP and convinced Jeff to talk a sunset walk on the beach with me. He gladly obliged...