"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Time in the Panhandle (of Florida)

Grayton Beach, FL
Grayton Beach State Park

Happy New Year!!
 
The 100 mile or so area of coast from Pensacola to Panama City is known as the Emerald Coast.  The sand is powdery white and the water is a beautiful turquoise blue-green.  The area is known for seafood restaurants, fish markets, deep sea fishing and vacation spots. 

 
 

At Grayton Beach, where we were camped, there were lakes to kayak on, a gorgeous beach and great biking to the nearby community of Seaside.  The campground was great.  There are two loops, an older one with just water & electric which is more set up for tents and small rigs because of low branches and the newer loop that also has sewer hookups.  It's a much better set up for larger RVs.  The sites are small gravel, nicely spaced and good size. There is a laundry room on-site and reliable internet.

  

We arrived on New Years Eve.  Once we were set up, we headed down to the beach with a bottle of bubbly to watch the fireworks over the ocean.  The larger towns on both sides had great firework displays.  It was pretty cold out, but what beautiful fireworks we enjoyed (along with one other brave couple) on the beach.  Our first New Years on the road!

The lakes that surround the campground are only separated from the beach by some dunes.  They are fairly shallow, but are great for kayaking, paddling and rowing.

 
 
 
The tall stand of trees just to the right of center, are a popular medium for painters and artwork in the area.

 
The last hurricane to come through the area was Opal in 1995 which caused Western Lake to overflow and brought 3 feet of water into the towns homes.



The beaches just go on and on and you can find plenty of private sand if you walk far enough.  There were folks out fishing, swimming, flying kites and just hanging out.

 

Another day we took the bikes out on the 33A bike trail.  Right out of the campground we rode past the lakes and towards Seaside.  It's a cute little vacation community with a hub of shopping, restaurants and a weekly Farmers Market. There is the popular Airstream food trucks with lots of great things to eat.  We parked the bikes and walked around looking for a nice place to get some grub. I really wanted a Satay Chicken stick, but by time we wandered back by they were closed :-(



  


I think this is probably the cutest Post Office ever!

 
Fresh oysters and Bloody Mary's it is.  On the beach!

Ok, the above picture is for Diana & Jim of ExploRVistas.  They are wintering in Michigan this year.  They wanted us to think of them when we got to Florida and I promised a nice picture.  I didn't want to rub in all those gorgeous palm trees and 80 degree sunny days in the Keys, so I waited for our last spot in Florida so I wouldn't be rubbing it in so bad.  Guys, it's barely in the low 70s.  Check out their blog to see how to winterize your 5th wheel for really cold, snowy winters!

 
Really cute shops and nice places to walk around.



 


The Red Bar in Grayton is a quirky, funky place with lots of atmosphere, great drinks, entertainment and pretty good food.  The Seafood Gumbo was very tasty.

 

 
 
While we were first investigating this lifestyle, one of the biggest concerns was how Steve was going to do his job on the road.  Reliable, fast internet and cell is very important for him.  It just so happened that one of the blogs I was following was Jason & Nikki Wynn of Gone with the Wynns.  They have been fulltiming for a while and work on the road as well.  They were going to be passing through the Gold Country very near where we lived in CA.  I invited them to come to Placerville so we could pick their brains and we would show them around our great, historic, goldrush town.  They are a wealth of information.  Plus, they make the greatest videos.  When I found out they'd once again be where we were, this time in Florida,  I asked if they would like to get together again for a cocktail.  This time as fellow Full-Timers.  They did.  And, in the same campground as us was Jennifer & Deas, another couple whos blog I follow.  They also have a great blog called NealysOnWheels.  We all went over to their site for cocktails, snacks and a great campfire.  We had a wonderful time with all of them.
This is the best picture I could get in the dark.  L to R: Jennifer, Deas, Nikki & Jason.
During our last night, a cold front moved in and we had our first thunderstorm in about 6 weeks.  Knowing it would be cold and miserable the next day,  we packed up the night before and hitched up.  All we had to do in the morning was drive off without getting soaked!

A little cold weather wasn't stopping these fishermen!
 Off to the Gulf Shores of Alabama and hopefully sunnier weather!
 

10 comments:

  1. This is a really neat area. We spent the month of April in Miramar Beach area two different springs and biked all around your area. That area with the food truck is always packed.

    How nice meet up with Wynns and Deas and Jennifer!

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    1. We enjoyed it as well. Definitely could've stayed longer.

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  2. Seems odd for lakes to be that close to the ocean, but very cool for more play options so close by! Agree that is one cute post office. Love the pic of the lights going straight up. How fun to meet up with the Wynns and Nealys - bet you had lots to talk about :-) Safe travels and hopefully warmer temps.

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    1. Yes, strangely, there have been several inland lakes along the coast. Some brackish, some fresh water. Definitely doubles the fun! There are some really beautiful state parks along this part of Florida and we'll come back again.

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  3. Thanks for the photo, guys! That sand almost looks like snow! We got hit with 8 inches last night, along with 25 mph winds and temps near zero. Fun fun!

    Safe travels and see you down the road!

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    1. You're winterizing is definitely amazing! You should put a you tube video up on it all! We don't plan to be in heavy snow, but I'd love to catch a light, early snow say, up in the Tetons or Glacier just before we head south some day! If you head out west this spring/summer, I'm sure we'll cross somewhere!

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  4. Steve was taking a photo of the oysters at the same time you were... lol
    Our son was stationed at Tyndall AFB just east of Panama City. We enjoyed the two times we visited him there. Next visit will be in our RV and we'll have more time to enjoy the area.
    Glad to know internet isn't a problem most of the time. We'll also need it for work during our RV travels.

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    1. And while you're visiting, you'll be in your own home and you'll be able to stay longer!

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  5. You are in one of my very favorite places in Florida. I love the panhandle and especially Apalachicola. The first 3 great pictures are really making me sad that we will not be going there this year as we usually do. We do it in the later spring though so we can enjoy the sunshine and warm temps when they arrive up there from where we are down here. To respond to you duckie store comment which I loved reading, send me your email address and I'll send you a picture of the biggest Duckie I think you'll have ever seen in your life. www.rvdreamlife@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. We'd love to come back and spend more time. The store had all things Duckie!

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