|Sat, 21 Dec: Welcome to winter, in the south...
Today we finally bade adieu to Florida. We arrived on 16 Oct and stayed two plus months. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and hope to return. Just don't know when.
We departed the Sunset Isle RV Park at 0820 and Bob pointed Carpe's snout west along US 98. Our GPS wanted us to head north to Interstate 10, but we gagged her incessant nudging and stayed on coastal route. Hugging the Gulf shore is forty miles shorter, but that is at the price of many, many built up areas and innumerable stop (notice that nobody ever calls them "go") lites.
We had never driven this route before so we really rubbernecked as we drove near, and sometimes on, barrier islands and crossed inlets on causeways short and long. Towns such as Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Destin, Port St. Joe, and Pensacola drifted by our windows as we motored along.
We broke for lunch at a WalMart in Fort Walton Beach and diesel in Gulf Breeze. That made for a very relaxing day and gave both of us a respite from the beach/holiday traffic.
Once crossing Pensacola's Three Mile Bay Bridge we stayed on US 98 and entered Alabama. We also ticked over 59,000 miles on Carpe's odometer, two major milestones. About twenty miles west of the state line we left 98 for County Road 154 to Alabama 59 north to Summerdale and the Escapees Rainbow Plantation park. We arrived at the SKP park a few minutes before two CST driving a total of 214 miles in 6½ hours (average of 33 mph).
We got checked in and headed for the clubhouse to sign up for the Christmas Day dinner. One of the main reasons we so enjoy the Escapees parks is their friendly attitude toward visiting RVers. We'll be sitting at the same table as several other "transients", including Carl & Carol whom we last saw in Goshen, Indiana in September.
We went out to an early dinner (we changed time zones and our tummy's were still on eastern time) at a nearby fish place, Big Daddy's. We both had the shrimp and oyster combo basket complete with cole slaw, onion rings, and hush puppies. Outstanding grub and we may return before we head out.
We'll be here thru Thursday. Right now (Sunday morning) it is raining sporadically as we get the tail end of a major storm that is really punishing points further north. We'll probably stay put, snug and dry in our home on wheels. Today marks our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary and we can't think of anyone else with whom we'd rather spend a rainy Sunday.
Tue, 24 Dec: Merry Christmas to all...
The weather has definitely turned since our last post. The rain moved thru on Sunday leaving clouds and blustering winds Monday. The temperatures also plummeted from the seventies on Sunday, to the sixties Monday, and even lower yet for today. In fact, our overnite low was a "bracing" 33°F this morning and it is forecast to drop into the high twenties for Christmas morning. We'll be disconnecting and draining our water hose before sundown.
Yesterday, Monday, we returned to Florida, driving the car to the Pensacola Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola Air Station. We must admit that, while not as large as the Air Force Museum in Dayton, this museum is excellent with many one-of-a-kind aircraft on display. We wandered, wandered, and wandered some more snapping hundreds of pix in the process. It was hunger and fatigue that finally got us back to the car in search of a place to eat.
We earlier remarked that we had a wonderful dinner Saturday at Big Daddy's Restaurant. We enjoyed it so much that we elected to return for dinner last evening, only to find out that they were closed all week in observance of the Christmas Holiday. A quick Yelp inquiry led us to Fish River Grill a short distance away. This is a small fish shack (see pix) with quite spartan furnishings but excellent fish. The freshness of the fish along Mobile Bay is astonishing and spoils one forever.
This morning we drove to the closest Piggly Wiggly grocery to buy the "makins" for our contribution to tomorrow's Pot Luck Christmas Dinner. We'll take a Sweet Potato Casserole to share with our table. The dinner is part of the Escapees annual events and there will be a dozen tables of a dozen each. If previous dinners are any guide, it'll be a very special event.
Once back at the park we caught up on our laundry and got some chores out of the way. It is sunny and cool (fifties with a wind chill of 44°F), but the sun is keeping the interior of the coach comfy. Once the sun goes down, however, we'll be turning up the heat (and, just possibly, increasing our blood/alcohol ratio to an appropriate level.)
Wed, 25 Dec: A hearty Christmas Dinner.
We took our time getting up as it was quite cold out and we had no place to go or any specific time to be there. We deliberately had a late breakfast as lunch would be later than our "normal" time.
At 1400 we joined approximately 150 other Escapees for a pot luck Christmas Dinner at the Summerdale SKP park's clubhouse. We signed up for individual tables of a dozen each and signed up for a dish to bring. Meat was provided by the SKP Park at $2/person donation. We brought a sweet potato casserole and stuffed celery sticks. Both were well received.
We enjoyed meeting with the other couples at the table, most all of them transients such as ourselves. One couple, Carl and Carol Lord from Warren, Michigan, we'd met in September in Goshen, Indiana. One of the best perks of RVing is meeting new friends and then re-meeting them "down life's road".
Back at the coach we enjoyed a quiet afternoon. About seven we were a bit hungry so we warmed up some soup which was just perfect. All in all a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday.
Our plans are to depart tomorrow morning and head west toward Fontainbleau State Park on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. We'll spend a few days visiting the "Big Easy" before continuing on our way.