Tuesday, October 28, 2003
We are back at Henderson Beach State Park just 50-miles east of our home in Pensacola. Henderson Beach State Park is located in the middle of the World famous Emerald Coast that stretches from Panama City Beach west to the Alabama line. One of Joyces favorite things to do is walk on the blindingly white crystal quartz beaches. Once you have experienced the beaches you will know that others just do not compare. When we set up in places like this we are constantly reminded of how blessed we are to be able to enjoy not only each other but the special geological features that have uniquely coalesced to make the Emerald Coast Beaches so unique.
Henderson Beach State Park is one of Floridas newest parks. The RV-Park, less than 5-years old, was designed to accommodate modern Big Rig RVs. Older State Parks were constructed for tents, popups and small travel trailers. Henderson Beach has 50-amp connections at each site, in addition many sites are pull-thru and able to accommodate the largest RVs on the highway. Streets are paved while sites are gravel. Restrooms are new and air conditioned. All in all Henderson Beach compares favorably with the better Resort RV Parks scattered around the country. While currently charging $18 plus tax they are going up to $21 plus tax in November 2003. That is steep for a State Park but this isnt an ordinary State Park Campground. If you want the same sparkling white beaches in a State Park with dirt campsites try Grayton Beach State Park 20-miles east of Destin. The beaches are identical but the campground is much more rustic and the price will be close to $10.
A cold front was passing thru the Emerald Coast today bringing rain, cloudy skis and temperatures in the 60s.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
The cold front passed thru leaving us with clear sky and temperatures in the 70s. What a beautiful day.
Anytime you are enjoying beaches along the Emerald Coast you will
here the sounds of freedom aka military aircraft flying
overhead. Along Pensacola
beaches training aircraft from the local Naval Air Stations are frequently
seen and heard. From Navarre to Apalachicola
Air Force F-15 Air Superiority Fighters are in vogue. No matter which
Monarch butterflies continue their western migration along the beach. Gulf Fritillaries, while prolific earlier in the month have all but disappeared. Fall is the time for yellow flowers along the coast and this year is no exception.
As 5:00 nears RVers file out of the RV-Park heading to the beach to watch the sunset. It draws RVers like a salt lick draws goats, like a shopping center draws females. Many with cameras and jockey for spots where they can frame sea oats, birds, sailboats, babies and such in the picture of a lifetime. The sun does not disappoint.
Thursday, October 30, 2003
It just doesnt get any better. Temperatures in the 60s, clear blue sky, birds singing, monarchs lazily making their way west and the sounds of freedom streaking across the sky; have melded to form paradise. And to think, all this before we walked to the beach and threw the snow white quarts sand beaches and emerald waters into the equation.
It really was a beautiful day, much too nice to be inside. We took a scenic drive along State Road 30A that departs from US Highway 98 a few miles east of Destin to hug the Gulf all the way to the west end of Panama City Beach. State Road 30A is the quintessential NEW Florida. When I say NEW Florida I mean that stretch of South Walton County along 30A that is burgeoning like no other place in the nation. Do a google search using Beaches of South Walton or just South Walton. That should give you some idea of the gilt-edge communities and homes being constructed. Driving along this stretch of highway would give an otherwise uninformed observer the impression that the U. S. economy was booming. Bottom line; if you are in this part of the Panhandle make sure that you detour along 30A through the posh communities of Blue Mountain Beach, Seagrove Beach, Grayton Beach, Water Colors, Seaside Beach and Rosemarie Beach in addition to multiple new a la mode communities under development. It only takes a little longer to drive this route instead of US-98 and I guarantee you will enjoy.
While over that way we stopped by Topsail Hill State Park/RV-Resort. Topsail Hill isnt your normal State Park (RV Park) by any stretch of the imagination. More appropriately it should be described as the touchstone state run RV-Parks should aspire to. When the State of Florida purchased the Topsail Hill property they also ended up with Topsail Hill RV-Resort. Snowbirds have found out about Topsail Hill and the place is filling with winter residents. Do a google search for Topsail Hill in South Walton County, Florida. That should shortly get some of those mental images flowing. You can also probably look it up at www.floridastateparks.org anyway we stopped by there because we know where the phone jack is located so we could download/upload e-mail. As nice as Henderson Beach State Park is they do not have a place to download e-mail and the Destin C of C does not have a line available like many Chambers around the country do. They may have one but the dolt at the desk has been trained to say library if someone says internet. Where do Chamber of Commerces get these people?
Friday, October 31, 2003
This morning was a carbon copy of yesterday. Carbon Copy: isnt that a dated metaphor? I wonder how many young folks have even seen carbon paper. You reckon the younger ilk would say a Xerox of yesterday? Someone like Andy Rooney or Bob Giddings could launch into an interesting vignette examining that locution.
This trip is turning out to be different than our normal outing as was our recent excursion to Melbourne. We are not running helter-skelter from one museum or place of interest to another. Joyce has revived a domestic bent long dormant. She has resumed cooking on a regular basis. What is the world coming to? I am methodically reading through the scads of books I purchased when in New Mexico this summer. In this accord I am surprising even myself.
While in New Mexico I was interested in any number of historical subjects, cattle ranches, mining, adobe construction, irrigation and farming to name a few. When I endeavored to enter into catechizing with locals I would generally be greeted with that deer in the headlight look. That blank look frustrated me to no end. When Joyce was doing her trumpery shopping I would be inexorably drawn to used book stores where I always purchase books, at considerable discount, that might quince my thirst for otherwise elusive answers.
I was only able to quickly scan those books while we were in New Mexico. Now I am taking time to digest this collection. I am overwhelmed by the moxie of 19th century entrepreneurs and explorers. Read about the life of Kit Carson (1809-1868) and his travels, Jedediah Smith, Zebulon Pike, and John Bradbury, the Louis & Clarke expedition or life on the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails and you will appreciate the courageousness of these individuals. These and many other explorations, expeditions and business ventures were pushing the frontier forward at an alarming rate. These men were imbued with unnatural panache to even attempt some of the things they lived to write about.
Josiah Gregg wrote The Commerce of the Prairies first published in 1844 (dont slide by that date 1844). With this book Gregg provided the world with real life experiences on the American frontier. Beginning in 1831 Gregg and others headed out of Independence, Missouri with wagons of merchandise heading to Santa Fe, New Mexico. They blazed what came to be known as the Santa Fe Trail. There was no road to Santa Fe. In fact there was no road past Independence, Missouri. Independence was the last settlement this caravan of merchants saw until they were within a few miles of Santa Fe, New Mexico. There were only Indians between Missouri and New Mexico yet these merchants headed out with around 100 wagon loads of merchandise toward an unknown market in Santa Fe. Bear in mind that New Mexico did not become a U. S. Territory until the Mexican War of 1846. Over the next 10-years Gregg made 8 trips each time blazing a new trail over a different route. In 1839 Gregg made the trip to Santa Fe then continued south into central Mexico to the towns of Chihuahua and Durango before making the return trip. Gregg wrote about his experiences in more places than those of us with motorhomes could imagine visiting even today. My hat is off to those adventurous souls. They lived life to the fullest.
Like I started to say earlier Joyce and I are slowing down to smell the roses. Joyce is exercising that long dormant domestic gene and I am settled down into reading.
Saturday, November 1, 2003
Jeff, Kathryn & Stephen (Son, DIL & Grandson) drove over from Pensacola to spend the day with us. Can it get any better?
The State Park was hosting a big art festival that we ambled down to. Although none of us are artistically inclined we did enjoy the convivial aspect of our outing.
By mid-afternoon I had settled in to watch the FSU vs Notre Dame football game while the others strolled on the beach. What a game! FSU is looking better with each game. Everything was clicking on the offense something that does not always happen with our quarterback. Thankfully, FSU put the game away early then coasted to a 37-0 final score and Miami LOST. Miami losing puts FSU back in the hunt for the National Championship.
Sunday, November 2, 2003
This was another beautiful day in Paradise. We spent the day reading and enjoying walks on the beach. Life just does not get any better. It is hard to live this dolce far niente life, but someone has to do it. I am glad that someone is me. VBG
Monday, November 3, 2003
Until next time, remember how great life is.
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