|St. George Lighthouse|
Thursday, 25 February
We dump the tanks and say goodbye to St. George. Next stop is Grayton Beach State Park. The distance is only about 120 miles, so it is an easy day, with stops for lunch, fuel, and some groceries. We get to Grayton about 3:30.
I had made a reservation on Monday at Camping World in Panama City to have the rig winterized for the trip back to Virginia. Our reservation had us leaving the state park on Sunday. So when we checked in I inquired about extending our stay one more night. As luck would have it, the site was still available for another night, so I paid the difference (you have to pay for your campsite when you reserve it, eleven months in advance) and we were set. The site we have is tricky to get in to, with little maneuvering room. However, it is on the inside of the loop, and since the bathrooms are in the middle of the loop, we had a path through the tree from our site to the nearby bathroom. In this state park, the bathrooms also include a washer and dryer --- a dollar cheaper than the commercial Laundromat we used at St. George.
The sites are all cut into heavy woods, Maritime scrub oaks that have a lot of twists. They sort of look like Dr. Seuss trees.
We are now on Central time. I made chili for supper and we turned in early.
We drove down to the beach; in this park it is too far to walk. The beach here is very long and wide. The sand is the same white color as at St. George. Today there was almost no one on the beach, and only one passing pelican. We walked a ways and Jean picked up some very small shells, but there were only broken sand dollars. Except for some sand on the boardwalk, the beach is very firm. I read somewhere that this fine, white sand is quartz, washed down from the Blue Ridge. If so, it has come a long way.
The dunes behind the beach look like large, frozen versions of the waves and surf coming in to the beach.
After a snack and a short nap, we decided to drive in to Destin to beat the weekend crowds. I wanted to get some sand to top off my bottle at home. It was the first I collected and I only got about half a bottle. Perhaps the weekend had already started because we shortly ran into lots of traffic. When we got down to Destin’s beach road there was less traffic but wall-to-wall condos and hotels. Why Mike Wendland thought Destin was so great eludes us.
We found some beach parking and I got my sand (much like St. George and Grayton). We stopped just before we got back to the park and had a good dinner.
Backing in to the site is tricky any time, but more so after dark. I backed into the power pedestal and knocked a piece off the cover. Now I have another dent in my collection on the back of the Roadtrek. Sigh.
Another sunny day. We drove to the beach and sat on a bench for a while. Still quite cool and windy. There were more birds today, and we saw a pelican flying low over the water get tangled in a fishing line. After some struggle, he freed himself while the fisherman was trying to bring him in to help.
When we had enough beach we drove to a Publix for some lunch (nothing to brag about) and a few groceries. After that we checked out a Mexican store, which turned out to sell mostly groceries. However, there were some wild baseball caps.
We stopped at some shops on the way back to the park, but nothing appealed to Jean. Back at the site (which we backed in to neatly --- as opposed to last night) I hooked up the water because we were low. That was frustrating to say the least. Hose connections don’t go together easily when you are in a stressed position. I finally managed to add a little water to the tank, keeping in mind that we will be winterizing on Monday.
Spent the day quietly. Took a short walk around the campground, then Jean napped while I wrote up this blog. Tomorrow we go in to Panama City to get winterized. I can de-winterize easily in a campground on the way down, but winterizing requires dumping the water tanks which I can’t do in a site. Then we may do a little shopping and head for home. If we keep somewhat to the east we may be able to miss the worst of the next round of approaching storms. Here’s hoping.