Tuesday & Wednesday January 25 & 26: Boondocking in G&C
parking area Shannon Street Melbourne,
We are in Melbourne to visit with Joyce's 91 year-old Dad who is in a nursing home. About all we can do is chauffer him to his favorite restaurant to eat what he calls "good-food". He tires easily so we do not keep him out long. There is not much to share with you about taking Pop's to lunch and spending time with him.
Wednesday night we did go to a movie, something we do about once a year. Friends from Sarasota had suggested we see "Meet the Fockers". It was funny, very funny.
We headed toward home (Pensacola) today which is 500 miles away, on the other side of Florida. We made it to Carrabelle on US-98 in the Big Bend area of Florida where the Florida Peninsula transitions into the Panhandle. Ho Hum RV-Park is a mom & pop campground on the water near the sleepy fishing village of Carrabelle. Ho Hum Campground is a wonderful place for snowbirds to hang out while their home towns are ravaged by winter's chill.
Tuesday & Wednesday February 1 & 2: St. Andrews State Park Panama City Beach, Florida -- N30° 8.145' W85° 44.025' Paved interior streets with dirt wooded sites on the shoreline of beautiful Grand Lagoon. $12 per-night ($24 for non-Florida resident) for 30-amps, water & central dump station.
Panama City Beach is a multiple opportunity stop for us. This is where I grew up and my Mom still lives here so we stop and visit with her when we get a chance. I also have a sister and BIL who live in Panama City. My BIL just happens to be my "enabler" that keeps my computers running. Doesn't everyone with a computer have to have an "enabler" or is it just those of us that have an HP running windows XP?
The weather is cold & dreary, gray skies and drizzling rain ---- you know those type days. It makes us feel like we are in the Pacific North West. In other parts of the country it would look exactly like snow was on the way.
St Andrews State Park is full of wildlife, especially birds. Alligators are dormant on the bottom of park lakes but ducks and wading birds are abundant. Deer & raccoons can be seen at night. Very few campers are in this huge campground only a few miles from the bustling activity on Panama City Beach. It is hard to imagine that in only a few short weeks during "spring-break" in March this park & indeed every place along the coast will be full to overflowing! We continue to be amazed at the number of high-rise condominiums under construction. There are at least 10 giant condominiums under construction along Panama City Beach's sugar white beaches. The waterfront once rife with mom & pop motels is becoming chockablock condo's. Two of the areas premier attractions are disappearing as we speak. The Miracle Strip Amusement Park, once a Panama City Beach staple is being leveled to make room for more Condo's. Then La Vila's the world's largest night club/bar has been sold to developers for -------- you guessed it, more condo's. For those of you familiar with La Vila's it is scheduled to be leveled after this year's Spring Break activities so you have one last time to "party at La Vila's" before it meets the demolition team in less than three months. La Vila's in addition to being a Panama City Beach Icon is also known world wide for hosting VH1's Spring Break activities. The 24-hour TV coverage afforded by VH1 put this place "over the top" with the college age Spring Break crowd. It has been rumored that La Vila's is going to rebuild somewhere in the vicinity ----- just not on the beach.
Friday, February 3 we drove back to Pensacola.
The rain has subsided but the gray sky and stiff wind persists. If we were almost anywhere else I would predict snow, but that is just not going to happen here in the Florida Panhandle, at least not with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees.
We returned to Pensacola to spend time with our son and grandson before heading to California next month where we will spend the summer. Da boss says we can't stay on the road all the time so we are going to "hole-up" in our stick & brick place for a little over one month.
There is a LOT of activity in Pensacola. Hurricane Ivan destroyed so much. Every day we hear the sounds of hammers as another roof is being replaced. The more affluent parts of town are recovering while the less affluent still look like a war zone. The affluent sections have removed 90% of the downed trees and cleared destroyed buildings. In the less affluent areas downed trees and destroyed buildings remain as stark reminders of that devastating day in September of 2004 when hurricane Ivan paid a visit to the Gulf Coast.
Several exceptions remain. Affluent sections on the water at Pensacola Beach, Gulf Breeze and west of town are experiencing woes of their own. A combination of rising water and wind destroyed these homes. Many of these people can not do anything until they settle with insurance companies. These structures remain in their "destroyed" state. These areas while looking much better are still very depressing. Any structure that has more than 50% damage must be built back to today's building codes. As you can imagine there is more than a little controversy over whether a building is or is not more than 50% destroyed. Today's building code will require the structure to be built on pilings 12' to 15' off the ground so that water can flow under the structure. Most of the destroyed/heavily damaged structures were on slabs. That means that the existing structure has to be removed before a new replacement can be constructed.
We stopped at Casino Magic in Bay St Louis, Mississippi for the night. They have free entertainment on the weekends and a large parking lot for RV'ers. They also have a very nice campground with around 100 full hookup sites complete with concrete pads. But during the shoulder months when air conditioning is not needed all we need is the parking lot. Although the RV-Park appeared to be full there were over 20 motorhomes in the parking lot with us.
The entertainment was good, as always. However, there was one hitch. When we pulled in I noticed some oil on the Saturn indicating the MH is dripping some oil that is getting on the Saturn. I am not happy about this since we had paid a mechanic back in Pensacola to fix our oil drip problem. Overnight we decided that we would return to Pensacola and let my mechanic fix the problem that I had already paid to be fixed. We just did not want to be traipsing across the US with an oil problem and having to deal with another mechanic in yet another town.
So we returned to Pensacola and spent Sunday & Monday night in our "stick & brick" home's driveway. My mechanic said he had a full day on Monday but bring it by and he would try to fit us in. We got a call around 5PM saying to come and get it. There was a pinched "O" ring around the dip stick where it enters the oil pan.
We returned to the driveway of our stick & brick place for the night. We will head west for the second time in the morning so instead of getting started on Saturday March 12th we will start this adventure on Tuesday March 15.
Until next time remember how good life is.
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Until next time remember how good life is.