Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gainsville to Destin

Gainsville is a beautiful city composed mostly of the campus of the University of Florida. On my trip to Alice Lake to look for alligators, I drove through the campus. The campus is large and well manicured and the city is very much university centered . I didn’t see any alligators but two excited birders pointed out two wood storks, an endangered species.

From Gainsville I headed west to the coast and followed the coast line to Ochlockanee Bay where I found a lovely campground to spend the night. I camped right on the water where a warm wind blew in a rain squall sometime in the night.

Sunday I continued along the Gulf coast taking the slower, scenic route and stopping frequently. I ended up in Panama City where I discovered that there is a very upscale group of RVers who live in the equivalent of gated communities. This resort, Emerald Coast RV Resort, has signs in the registration area stating that if you are driving an older model RV, it could be visually inspected and refused entry if it didn’t meet the park’s standards! They did let me in though - for a fee of $60.00 a night, the most I’ve spent on this trip. However, I was tired and curious about what $60.00 would buy so I paid up and spent the night.

When I registered I was given a remote control device so I could open the gate to come and go. A veritable army of workers kept the grounds and building in pristine condition, the laundry room had brand new front loading washer and dryers and the community clubhouse was elegantly furnished. All the units parked there were large diesel pushers or fifth wheels and one of them had a shiny, red corvette as its tow car. I filled up with propane before I left in the morning as I am running the furnace more often in this “cool” snap. (I don’t sleep with it on.)

The weather continues to be quite chilly with temperatures hovering around zero Celsius overnight. It’s definitely long pants and closed shoe weather – gone for a time are the days of capris and sandals.

Monday I only drove only a couple of hours, I woke Monday morning with a headache and achy all over and it didn’t get better as the day wore on. So I pulled into a lovely state park around 1:30> I went to a nice walk, reorganized and cleaned the van and managed to create enough space to stow my two folding chairs in the trunk instead of inside the van.

I realize that this is going to be a slow trek west. I like to stop frequently to site see, visit an interesting shop or make a cup of tea. But what’s the point of travel if you just get on the interstate and drive from point to point? Today, I’ll continue along the Emerald Coast to Pensacola, then head for I-10 and ithrough Alabama and Missippi to Louisana. I'll be in four states in one day!


Carol said...

Dear Elizabeth;
I have logged on as a member, I hope so I can comment on your blog. So glad that you had a nice Christmas with Td. Happy New Year. We have had lots of snow but also a little reprieve just lately in the form of a chinook. The snow is very deep on most side streets and more warm weather would be welcome. It is snowing right now and if a wind comes up it might be interesting especially, in the country. We had a pastoral care meeting yesterday - all is well. Vic, Cathy and I will be away in Feb. so there will be a 2 week period when Eileen may be on her own - depending when Cathy's new grandchild arrives. Continued enjoyment on your travels. We think of you often. Much Love and many blessings,
Carol and Denis

Heather Grue said...

Remember the book On The Road Again by Jack Kerouac? A guy from West Vancouver is doing the same trip now and blogging about it. Thought you would find it interesting. He's an anglican minister.
Sounds like Florida is cool in mid-winter, warmer down by Sarasota and the Keys. I loved the area of TampaBay/Clearwater/Tarpon Springs. My friend Ilse lived in Destin recently and has a great stories about overdevelopment of recreational areas, etc.
Looking forward to your notes from New Orleans, Texas and more. Wish I was with you...
Continued good luck and good wishes..