October 2015 Texas, Mississippi, Florida

16 October 2015

I left Albuquerque in a rain storm! The rain was much needed for the area and I was OK with leaving Albuquerque for Dallas where I had some work done on the RV. There was a protective rubber flap just in front of the rear dual tires that had come loose and was all chewed up by the tires – that was replaced and the door latching posts were ‘swelling’ in the heat to the point where the door would not open. That was also fixed. While at the MHSRV dealership I also looked at the ACE and AXIS RV models but I wasn’t sufficiently impressed enough to upgrade my unit.  I’m a happy camper with what I have! I have since purchased a front windshield cover that allows me to open up during the day but still has a sunscreen that allows in light!

After Dallas I drove toward Gulfport, MS where I met Vickie. Vickie and I are to travel the next week to the Panhandle of Florida and she was kind enough to let me stay in her yard with water and electricity. While in the Gulfport/Biloxi area we went to a couple of eateries featured on one of the cooking shows: Darwells and The Shed.

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The owner of Darwell’s came out and talked to the patrons. It seems he used to be a prize fighter and has recently been drawn back into that fray. Meanwhile the ‘Cruisin the Coast’ event is gearing up and the auto below will be in the ‘Cruise’.

Florida here I come!

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The skies were cloudy, overcast for the first few days.

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This didn’t stop people from visiting the beaches though! As you can notice this girl is in it up to her chin!

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Tom and I walked the sandy beaches of Santa Rosa Island for exercise before venturing off to the zoo with Vickie where she fed every animal there!

A visit to Florida isn’t complete without seeing a pink flamingo!

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We reported this guy as an escapee!

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And then it was time for another Florida sunset!

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And for the life of me I can’t understand why my travel-mates were upset when I sent this photo of the sunrise to them?! I was still lying in bed, looked out my back window, snapped the photo and went back to sleep. I can’t help it that they couldn’t go back to sleep!

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The next day we loaded the bicycles into Tom’s van went to Fort Pickens on the Gulf Islands National Seashore.  This facility was constructed by slave labor from 1829 – 1834 to provide Homeland Defense using 21.5 million bricks. 15 inch cannons were used in addition to 12 inch guns that would elevate over the wall for firing.

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And then it was time for refreshments:

We met another RV’er at the Margaritaville before going to dinner.

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An evening out in the kayaks provided an amazing way to experience the sunset.

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Vickie had to return to Mississippi for an appointment and we left Navarre Beach for Carrabelle, FL. On the way we stopped beside the Mexico Beach where I made a sandwich and walked on the beach.

Carrabelle, FL is home to ‘Ho Hum’ RV resort. Here is where I’ve learned to appreciate Kayaking in the intercoastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. I found my inflatable kayak to be TOTALLY unacceptable and so we went on a search for a better kayak that would satisfy my desire to kayak on the Gulf, in rivers, on lakes and also allow me to fish. I guess I made a good choice as I was able to catch this small hammerhead shark, a sun perch and a catfish on my second day of owning the kayak.

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On the pillars holding up the dock at the Ho Hum RV Park are some of my favorite treats – blue crab!

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Some of these guys are at least 8”! Around the dock are also many hermit crabs with some very nice shells. I don’t want to kill the hermit crabs so I’m not collecting these shells but they are very tempting.

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On the first day I had the opportunity to use the kayak Tom and I paddled to a small island nearby that is only occupied by birds.  I did find a star fish on the beach though.

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What a wonderful way to get exercise.

I just had to exercise the Jeep too. Tom and I went to Tates Hell Florida State Park where we were able to put the Jeep in 4 wheel drive to traverse a sandy back road before visiting the Dwarf Cypress Tree forest.

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The Cypress tree loses its needles in the fall. Some of these tree trunks are really twisted.

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To celebrate catching the Shark and going Off Roading in the forest I prepared the Elk steaks that Joe had given me in Washington State. Yummy is an understatement! I had enough to share with a fellow RV’er who had shared her crab dip with me. Her husband was ecstatic as it had been decades since they had had Elk steak. Just another Ho Hum day in Paradise!

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I left Ho Hum RV park in Carrabelle, FL after fishing with the Dolphins, catching 6 fish and enjoying a catfish dinner cooked by Tom and shared with Tina.  Yes, I knew these were Dolphins when they showed their rear flippers as they played in the Gulf! As is the case with every RV park I’ve been in the people were exceptionally friendly and I make new friends. The manager of the Ho Hum loaned me their kayak the first time I went out on the Gulf as I was already convinced that my inflatable one was not acceptable for my intentions.  Maybe on a river but definitely not in the Gulf!

The trip to Homosassa River RV Park was uneventful as Tom and I caravanned on Route 98 enjoying views of the Gulf along the way. I had no way to transport my new kayak so Tom volunteered to carry it in his 15 passenger van. Thank goodness for friends.

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I picked up a roof rack for my Jeep that will allow me to carry my own Kayak; that is all good! Today Tom and I will complete the installation then put my Kayak carrier on and then the Kayak. I’ll keep it to one side so that I can also carry a second one in case a friend needs to transport their kayak!

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kayak rack

After getting the kayak squared away I ordered a bicycle rack that attaches to the spare tire of the Jeep so that I can transport the bike on a rack rather than folding it up and having it inside the Jeep.

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While I was at it I have now placed an extension cable on my CB antennae that allows me raise the antennae above the roof of the RV. On the trip from the Florida panhandle to Homosassa I wasn’t able to keep in contact with Tom and I hope this extension will allow me to communicate with fellow travelers. I also changed out the water filter and bought a folding step for the front entry way to alleviate that ‘first big step’ when getting in and out of the motorhome.

I have been riding the bike each morning and hopefully with the rain moving out we can re-energize kayaking in the afternoon.

I was also finally able to find a seafood shop that had blue crab. Too bad they are so small but oh so good though.

Friday night crabs

I’ve now picked up Stone Crab claws that I’ll enjoy when Patti arrives. Patti is another Hoosier that is driving down from Indiana to enjoy some time in balmy Florida.