Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Total Relaxing Day!

Ken and I had a very uneventful relaxing day that was actually sort of forced on us due to the weather!  It was very warm when we got up, but rain and wind were predicted for later today.  So, Ken spent an hour organizing and putting things away that were outside - grill, chairs, lights, drying rack, etc.

I cooked our breakfast outside since the rain hadn't started and we were able to eat outside too!  Then the light showers began.  They lasted about an hour, so we played cards on the picnic table under the awning!  I moved my jewelry making "stuff" outside so I could be creative outdoors. 

After lunch, the sun came out so Ken decided to ride bike to the beach.  I stayed back to do some jewelry making.  Obviously it was a questionable weather day - when Ken got to the beach he was the only bike in all the racks.  He said it was so windy and rather chilly.  All the breeze was coming off the water and the tall dunes prevented it from getting back to our campsite.  I was very glad I decided not to go to the beach.  Not fond of wind and cool!!

I took a walk around the main loop of the CG, the area with the best secluded campsites.  If we return to this area, I wanted to have a record of which campsites would be my pick!

Ken wasn't at the beach very long.  A few more folks did go on the beach, but the water was extremely rough and choppy today. 

Around 6 it really started to rain, so we cooked supper indoors.  I think it will be a relaxing evening too!  It must have been an uneventful day.  Ken didn't even take any pictures!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Finished the Final Leg of Riding the Route 30A Bike Trail

It was another gorgeous day in Paradise!  We left Willie by 10 to drive to Grayton Beach, unload the bikes, and ride from mile marker 8 to 12 on the Route 30A bike trail.  We wanted to ride the entire 19 miles while we were here, and we accomplished that today.  We actually rode down and back - 38 miles.  It is such a wonderful ride!  We spent some time checking out some of the communities in Watercolor and Seaside - beautiful homes and grounds.  Both of these beach areas were only established around 1980.  Hard to imagine that before that time, that whole area was deserted. 

Another gorgeous beach shot!  This is Seagrove Beach!

The sign says it - only established in 1981!

This shows the roadways in the Seaside Community!

So scenic!

We rode into Grayton State Park to check out their camping area.  Not too impressive compared to Topsail.  Also stopped at a coffee shop to enjoy a cinnamon bun and some chai in the gardens behind a home that was built to be a replica of Monet's home in France.  Brought back good memories of our trip to France about 9 years ago with our card club group and planned by our good friend, Jackie.

This is the coffee shop and the house is the replica
of Monet's home in France!

Took this photo in front of the coffee shop.  Ken was
smiling here, but when he got up the smiling ended.
He stepped on a fire ant hill and was "dancing"
from the burning sensation!!

We were back around 1:30 and on the beach here at the CG by 2:15.  As you can see by the photo, the beach was so crowded we could hardly find a place for our chairs!  Ken went on a cart with one of the park rangers to see the trees they used for turpentine harvesting around 100 years ago.  Ken enjoyed being "educated" by the ranger.  Stopped at a campsite of fellow Open Range owners and met 4 of their friends.  Spent about 45 minutes chatting with them.  Delightful time! 

Only a handful of people on the beach when we
arrived.  We were alone when we left!

There are many trees in the park where they harvested
turpentine and resin from the pine trees and used the
resin to waterproof the shipping boats in the early

A relaxing evening watching the World Series.  It was 80 degrees today and only supposed to get down to 68 tonight.  Tomorrow should be warm with some clouds coming in late afternoon.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Another Perfect Bike Riding Day in the Panhandle!

Ken and I left the CG around 10 this morning with our bikes on the back of Diesel!  We headed to Seacrest Beach, along scenic Route 30A.  The more we are on that route, the more we love it.  Each small beach town has its own special charm and appeal, and the amount of expensive and expensive beach homes is beyond comprehension!  Ken was reading that a 1 BR, 1 Bath home with about 800 SF costs about $800,000.  That is unbelievable!  I think we have found one of the places where so many of the rich and famous build their vacation homes.  We think we saw one of the largest homes we have ever seen today.  It looked like a compound!

This is 1 house - Imagine!!!!

The macadam bike trail goes along Route 30A for 19 miles.  We had ridden from mile marker 1 on Sunday to Marker 9 and back with a few stops along the way.  Today we started at Mile marker 18, to 19 to Rosemary Beach that was only founded in 1995, and turned around and went to #12, where we treated ourselves with a donut.  Then we rode back to the truck at #18.  Around marker 17 we rode through Alys Beach, a relatively new area with the most impressive community.  The pool area had private small building, cabanas I guess, with little curtains to pull for privacy.   We drove to Seaside for lunch where we had pulled pork sandwiches from an Airstream trailer used as an "food serving" place!  There are several Airstreams in a row, each serving different type foods.

Riding to the Rosemary Beach through on of the
many shore communities.  What a scenic
path to the beach!

After riding that path, this is Rosemary Beach!

This is part of the unbelievable gorgeous community
in Alys Beach!  All the buildings are white!
This is the entrance to Alys Beach when driving on
Route 30A.    You drive through the beautiful palm trees.
The bike path is to the right.

One of the single homes in the community!

Horses made from driftwood!

This is the entrance the pool house.  From the road
it looked like a temple!

These are individual cabanas at the pool, complete
with curtains to pull for privacy!

One of the "row homes" in Alys Beach!

Gorgeous bike trail, huh????

The teeny, tiny post office in Seaside!

We got our pulled pork sliders at the Barefoot BBQ!
It's an Airstream!!!!

Back to Willie by 3:45 to sit outside and read.  Looking forward to another relaxing evening!

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Grrgeous Beach Day!

What a fantastic, fun day!  It was 63 when we got up and went to 81.  A totally sunny day with very little breeze - perfect!!

Ken has blisters on both of his heels that are quite painful ever since he went shrimp net fishing.  His water shoes were great at the beginning, but when he was finished his feet were so sore.  Wearing band aids with his shoes hasn't allowed them to get better.  So, we need to do less walking!  We went to buy him some flip flops today and even wore them to do some bike riding.

We went to get gas and a few groceries this morning and then I "whipped" Ken at a game of shuffleboard.  After lunch we rode bike to the huge beach area here in the CG.  So few people on the beach and it was so peaceful, quiet, and beautiful. 

Very nice shuffleboard courts here at the CG!

Nice pool too, but the water is cold!

The water is so gorgeous and the beach so empty!

Back to Willie after about 3 hours on the beach to shower and prep for supper.  Then back on our bikes to ride to Campbell Lake, a fresh water coastal dune lake - an unusual thing! 
Campbell Lake - an unusual site!

This picture of the dunes was taken from
the boardwalk leading out to the CG beach!
Almost looks like mountains!

What a spectacular sunset!

The Panhandle is the only place where there are these kind of lakes in the USA and 1 of only a few in the world.  Then we rode to the beach to watch the magnificent sunset.

This has been quite a special enjoyable day!  Someone has to do it and we are happy to volunteer!!!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Great Bike Riding Day!

What a gorgeous day on the Florida Panhandle!  It was a relaxing Sunday morning as we waited for it to warm up alittle before leaving for a bike ride.  Only 53 degrees when we got up.

After breakfast, Ken emptied our tanks and washed a few windows while I made some jewelry.  We packed a few snacks and left the CG around 11:15 for a bike ride on Route 30A.  It was very sunny and got to 75 degrees, a perfect temperature for riding!  What an interesting ride along this coastline bike trail.  There are 13 beach areas along this famous 30A highway, 8 with public beach access.  The macadam path goes by some large seaside communities, passed a state park, and offers many restaurants and quaint shoppes.  We stopped at Miss Lucille's Gossip Parlour (what a cute name) for a chai and a delicious blueberry scone.  Quite a treat!  We also stopped at 4 of the public beach areas and drove through some of Grayton State Park.  All of the beach areas have large boardwalks to get to the actually beach.  Quite impressive!  Again, you have to see the beautiful color of the water and the whiteness of the sand to really appreciate it!  We rode around 19 miles today and enjoyed every minute! 

Dune Allen Beach

Love the name of this coffee/pastry shoppe!

Gulf Place beach area!

So many beaches in South Walton County
and along Route 30A!

A bridge along the bike trail!

Santa Rosa Beach

I think finding alligators here could be wishful thinking!

A small "covered bridge" on the bike trail!

Really wide, macadam trail!

Could be the Bahamas, Jamaica, etc.!

During our ride we chatted with a gentleman who works at a bike shop at the Blue Mountain Beach area and he told us some interesting things about the area.  We were standing on the highest point above sea level in this area (35' - he hoped we didn't have trouble breathing!), this area has many days in the winter that are colder than Denver CO, and October is the best month to be here, both weather wise and so few people! 

When we got back to Willie, Ken took our bedroom TV outside so we could watch football while playing cards at our picnic table.  I did 3 loads of wash, running back and forth to the laundromat, but it was so handy.  Only 1 site from ours and since no one was in that site, it was as close as it could possibly be.  Ken made us salads and flat bread pizzas for supper.  What a guy!  Enjoyed watching the Broncos beat the Redskins while I beat Ken at 2 games of Pinochle!

Came inside around 7!  What a special day fulled with new adventures!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

he Panhandle of Florida is a Special Place!

Ken and I got up later and had a very relaxing morning!  It was only 51 degrees and windy!  Felt pretty chilly outside!  We took a walk around the CG and discovered another loop that is incredible.  When we went online to make a reservation for this State Park, there was only 1 site remaining for a larger rig.  So, we took it.  The site is great, but there are some unbelievable sites throughout the CG that are so private.  Maybe another time, but we certainly aren't complaining.

This is an actual back in site.  So private!

After the walk, we headed to the Visitors Center and talked with such a helpful lady.  She gave us so much good information about the area.  We left there and drove to Seaside Beach Area for their Saturday's Farmers Market.  What a treat!  Lots of good food and live music.  They sell food daily from 6 Airstream RV's that sit right along the main road - so cute!

Local Farmer's Market at Seaside Beach Area.
Even had live music!

One of the Airstream RV's that are actual food stands!

From there we followed the coastline through 2 more beach towns, Watercolor and Grayton Beach.  Lots of unique shops and gorgeous beach homes.  Then on to the famous Wal-Mart for groceries.  Back to Willie in time for a late lunch. 

We rode our bikes to the beach at the CG with our beach chairs on our backs.  I thought it was abit cool on the beach - required a sweatshirt to keep me warm.   But, it was a very nice day for reading and relaxing.

Ken took this photo right before we left the beach.
We were about the only people on the beach!

We had leftovers from our dinner last evening and watched college football.  Did talk to my mom - the county newpaper is interviewing my father on Tuesday for an article to be published for Veterans Day.  He was in the Marines in WWII.  Also talked to Nancy Savage.  She and Neil are on their way to Myrtle Beach for the week.  They need some rest, vacation, and relaxation!