Southern Border Adventure 2008 travel blog

A pond of ocean water caught by the sand on shore

Nothing better than a walk on the beach with the sun shining...

Camping on the Gulf RV Resort

Blue Angels from Elgin Air Force Base

and the sun sets...

Available cheeses at Sweet Home Farm

Cheese making cows

Sweet Home Farm

Mr. Turkey was awfully protective of his hens

If it had been a rainy day, the Sea Dragon would not...

Driving in Mississippi

Still in Alabama, but almost to Florida

Florida

Small town Alabama where bowling is 99 cents a game


It's Saturday night in Destin, FL. I'm at the Camping on the Gulf RV Resort for the second night. I had hoped to stay at Henderson Beach State Park just up the road, but I didn't call for reservations, I didn't think I'd need them, and they were full for the weekend. This place is nice though and the sandy white beaches at the edge of their park are the same sandy beaches at Henderson. I slept so well last night - over nine hours and I didn't wake up once and even slept in until after 8:00am. I realized it has been over two weeks since I've slept in the bed of the Sea Dragon. Between the cab, Gruene Inn, the Austin Motel, the floor of Max's condo and Julianna's bed at the Simons, I haven't slept in "my own bed" in quite some time.

Just like when Dad left, I was a bit lonely when Sue left, too. Her flight left early on Friday morning and since the Sea Dragon isn't allowed at airports, she took a cab which came at 5:30am to 370 Park Avenue. I slept for another couple of hours and then got up and caught up a bit more on the trip journal, finishing Del Rio and loading several pictures to entries that are still without any other content. Sue and I had a great time in Austin, a relaxing evening at Sam Houston Jones State Park in Lake Charles and more fun in New Orleans. We had great hosts in Laurie, Corbett, McColl and Julianna Simons as well as in Max Lantz and his sister Joanna. And we did okay entertaining ourselves for a couple of days, too. New Orleans is slowly rebuilding, but it is slow. I would go back for a vacation for sure. They need people to visit, they need the tourism dollars and there are plenty of restaurants, hotels and shops ready and waiting. It reminded me of San Anselmo after their flood at Christmas two years ago. I want there to be big "Shop New Orleans" signs put up around the country.

I had a long drive from New Orleans, through Mississippi and Alabama, to Destin, Florida - all told about 260 miles if I stayed on I-10. But let me tell you, Texas is not the boring state to drive across, Mississippi is. Oh my goodness. The highway has trees right up to the edge on either side, and while they're nice trees, they give you no vista to look at. So, when I stopped at the Alabama Visitor's Center to stretch my legs and call the campground I also looked at the map to see what alternate routes I could take. Once I got through Mobile, I took Hwy 98 South and East to the Emerald Coast. It added at least another hour to my drive and I arrived in the dark at the RV park, but it was much more interesting driving through small towns and I also got to stop at a yummy farm that made it's own cheese in Elberta Alabama. Sweet Home Farm has won awards for their cheeses and by the number of locals that stopped while I was there, I could see it was a favorite of theirs, too. The Sea Dragon got it's first taste of driving along a red clay dirt road with turkeys squawking that wandered in front of us. I sampled five or six cheeses and purchased four kinds, including their Perdido. "Layered with ash from homegrown herbs, it has an herbal, slightly smoky flavor with a carob coated rind. Recognized by SLOW FOOD USA as one of the 10 outstanding US Farmstead Cheeses. Aged four months or longer." Delicious. The woman who seemed to be running the show told me they'd be in San Francisco at Fort Mason for the Slow Food show Labor Day weekend. I've marked it on my calendar.

Driving on from Elberta, I got to the Florida border just after crossing over the Perdido River. I'd encountered Perdido before, back in Texas with another Perdido River and Perdido Ranch. Back then I was wondering which came first the river or the ranch? I don't know why, but it was exciting to enter into Florida. It looked much different than Alabama to me, and for some reason it had the feeling of starting an amusement park ride. Hard to explain. I tried to get a picture, but had to focus on the driving. It was also bittersweet. Florida is the eighth and last state on my trip. Although the drive was a long one, it was the easiest one of the whole trip. I'd driven on I-10 several times through New Orleans in the Simons car by the time I left in the RV and I avoided most of Mobile because I took Hwy 98 instead. The wind was non-existent and it was just a relaxing drive.

Today after sleeping in, I paid $3 for biscuits and gravy, sausage patties and orange juice. Then I walked down to the beach with a cup of tea. I kicked off my flip flops and left them at a picnic table where a couple from Missouri also staying at the park told me they'd watch them for me. They'd paid the extra bucks to have a spot right on the beach. Not a bad way to wake up in the morning. I walked and listened to music. A woman stopped me and asked if I had a henna tattoo on my foot. Why yes, I do. I told her I'd been in New Orleans and gotten it done there in a little voodoo shop. Coool, she said.



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