Saturday, January 31, 2009

Farewell, Carrabelle! January 27-February 1, 2009

We have enjoyed the past five days in Carrabelle, Florida, located on the panhandle along

Two of those days we spent on St. George Island,

which is about a 2o minute drive from Carrabelle. This area is famous for fresh oysters. We saw oyster boats

working out in the bay along the bridge to the island

both mornings.

Look, Al, people can rent Gem Cars on the island!

The state park on the island, where we spent our time, has five miles of beach.

We had the area to ourselves

both days we were there.

This area is a popular summer destination for southerners to come to the beach and so in January it is pretty quiet.

We found great sea shells and had fun observing what washed up on the beach.

I don't think either one of us will get tired of walking along a shoreline.

This seascape was absolutely beautiful.

We also spent a day in Apalachicola,

a quaint little town west of Carrabelle with great little shops and lots of shrimp boats.

We explored a dwarf cypress swamp

in the state forest surrounding this area.

How strange to see full grown cypress trees in a natural bonsai state.

Naturalists are not exactly certain why they have grown that way, but are working to protect the area so the trees will survive.
Before we came to this locale, we set a goal to eat fresh seafood every day. We were able to stick to that plan as we found ample places to buy excellent seafood.

We ate a seafood lunch in a little spot on St. George Island,

but other than that we bought fresh fish at local markets down by the water

and came back to our camper each evening and grilled. We had shrimp (a few every day),


red snapper, scamp (twice)

and even fresh oysters. I fried them as an appetizer

and Paul actually liked them!

We spent Saturday kayaking

on the Crooked River
in Tate's Hell State Forest. (Check out the link- the story behind the name is pretty interesting).

The cypress trees are full grown along this river!

Other than that, we enjoyed looking around the small town of Carrabelle,

and the sunrises
and sunsets
at Ho Hum Resort,
which is located right on the bay.
We leave early in the morning for Biloxi, Mississippi and then will turn the camper north for Minnesota.

We will miss Florida's sandy shores.

What will we find in Biloxi?

We will keep you posted!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

From Venice to Carrabelle, January 27, 2009

We find ourselves in transition once more.
On Monday, we made one last stop at Kent and Margie's

before we walked across the street to have dinner at Jim and Ellen's beautiful home.

Beth and Gary joined us,

as well as a very dear couple, Harold and Jeanne, to celebrate

Margie's birthday. It also was our 29th anniversary! These people are such fun. We had a wonderful time.

The next morning found us up at sunrise, ready to leave Venice Camp Retreat and travel seven hours up the coast from
Venice to
Carabelle, located on the panhandle of Florida, on "The Forgotten Coast."

Our drive was pretty uneventful, but we were able to amuse ourselves along the way.

Driving north on Highway 19 that afternoon, we stopped for gas in a small town. For the prior 25 miles we had noticed first a haze in the distance, then a road sign stating "Caution: Fog or smoke in area." By the time we arrived in this small town, it was definitely smoke. We could smell wood burning and our eyes burned. Paul inquired in the gas station as to what the cause of the smoke was and the young lady working there replied, "What smoke?"

As we laughed about that, we were reminded of our friend Nancy, who, teaching an introductory summer band lesson to an "incoming" sixth grade boy, noticed he was wearing a cape. Adolescence is an awkward stage of life and anyone who works with that age children knows they find extreme comfort in conformity and will go to great lengths to fit in with their peer group. Wearing a cape is a bold statement of individuality, especially at the first lesson of one's middle school career. Really, picture him:

So, at the end of the lesson, Nancy inquired about the cape. And the boy answered, "What cape?" Any person who thinks a school psychologist is a wasted educational expense has never worked in a school environment. We laughed for a long time driving up that highway remembering that story!!! Miss you, Nancy!!!

We arrived in the late afternoon at our next temporary home base, "Ho Hum RV Resort."

Our campsite is small, but the location couldn't be better.

The gulf is 50 feet from our camper door.

It is our goal to eat fresh seafood every day while we are here. So far, we have had great luck.
We will keep you posted!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Good bye, Venice!

Good bye Beth and Gary!

Good bye Kent and Margie!

Good bye Camp Venice Retreat!

Good bye new friends!

Goodbye great meals shared with those new friends!

Goodbye favorite food stands.

Goodbye Casperson Beach.

Goodbye Snook Haven.

Goodbye shark teeth!

Goodbye great outdoor kitchen (and great meals!)

Good bye great times with family.

Good bye birds on the pier.

Good bye relaxing at Sharky's.

Good bye fishing pier.

We will miss you!!!
See you next year!!!