|The Chronicles of
© 2008 Gail Hunter
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|Next: Getting settled in for the winter. Greeting old friends & meeting new.
We make a Rescue!
If you care to read about our 2006 auto trip from Burlington, VT to visit
New Orleans and return via Florida's Big Bend and Venice, click here.
Rustic Sands RV Park in Mexico Beach, FL. Pensacola and Destin are on the Emerald Coast of Florida's
Panhandle. A few miles further east along the Gulf, you come to The Forgotten Coast; and I hope for their
sake, they stay that way. The openness is refreshing after the string of high rises, shopping malls, and lines
of traffic. Rustic Sands is only a few miles from Port St. Joe, so conveniences are nearby, but once in the
campground, the world is woodsy, quiet, and delightful. A few scenes: the entry; Cor examining the martin
house; some of the rental cabins; the wide, angled sites; the Tituses in their cycle+side car (dog included)
Neighbors, the Conleys & dog, Camden (behind tree) chatting with new-found friends from Georgia (sorry, I
don't remember names, but tey sent us off with lots of tomatoes (including green ones for frying.) I
exclaimed, "Oh! with brown sugar?" She said, "No that's not the southern way. We dust them with cornmeal
and fry them." Well, I'll try her way, I'm sure it's better for us...have to control those tryglicerides.
The last photo is of the fire
ring in the rec hall. You can
get a glimpse of the wonderful
3-part mural that surrounds
the room. Full kitchen, and
pool table...plus a beautiful
outdoor swimming pool.
We went to The Boss Oyster House on the harbor and had a feast: Cor had a dozen broiled with butter,
and I had six Oysters Rockefeller. The Apalachacola River Inn has been totally redone - check its website
for an idea of what goes on in the Big Bend. (http://www.apalachicolariverinn.com/.)
After four delightful days at Rustic Sands (across the road from a beach comparable
to Siesta Key's finest) we set out again, this time for two nights at Keaton Beach, on
the eastern shore of the Big Bend - slowly working our way to Venice.
We passed through Apalachacola en route - one of my favorite towns. When I first
went there, it was a sleepy oyster town. Not much going on. In the ensuing ten
years, it has been discovered, and gentrified - many boutiques, cafés, etc. I'm not
thrilled, but it could not have survived in its original state.
A typical view of the Gulf of Mexico as
seen from the highway between Mexico
Beach and the Gulf Coast Intracoastal
Waterway 65' bridge leading to Port St.
Joe; and Piggly Wiggly supermarket.
Keaton Beach was a disappointment for us. The RV
park, Old Pavilion is basically a place for fishing
weekends for residents of Gainesville, home of the
University of Florida. As you can see, the view from
our bedroom window was ideal, but in the morning, the
tide had receded and the flats stretched as far as the
eye could see.
Directly across the road from the
campground is a full-service
marina with launching ramp and
dock space. This is a great
place for fishermen, but the only
reason we have shrimp is to eat.
|AND NOW, ON TO OUR HOME FOR THE WINTER OF 2008
Oscar Scherer State Park is in Osprey, FL. Daughter Caroline and her husband Tom live in Osprey so we
thought that would be a logical spot for the ten days before we were due to arrive at Camp Venice. Last
year, it was hard to find space in the State parks. This year is different, undoubtedly because of the gas
prices. The park is a great spot for tent camping; especially with youth groups. Beside the palmetto-grove
tent sites, a short walk will lead them to the nature center, rec area and natural swimming pond.
Above: the Oscar Scherer State Park entrance is trimmed beautifully - not revealing the rustic nature of the
interior. We would have loved it if only we had TV reception. In the second photo, you can get a glimpse of
the river we thought we were on (blue spot - middle left.) The third photo shows the view from the bathroom,
and the last shows our nearest neighbor (see white spot on right side of photo.) We had been "getting away"
for the whole trip; now we were ready for some conviviality, but not with palmetto.
For us, it was not ideal, sadly. We were without a car and I was unable to walk the distance to the nature
center. The canopy was so dense we could not get TV reception. If you are camping with a bunch of kids
that's O.K. - if you are sitting among the Spanish moss with no sun, no transportation, and a desire to get
settled in your permanent spot, ten days is interminable. They have a liberal cancellation policy, so we were
able to leave after 48 hours with minor penalty.
We weren't to be at Camp Venice until Dec. 1st, but we were able to adjust our 5 months to a Nov. 16 to April
16 term. So over we moved and nestled into a site, also among the spanish moss, but lots of sunlight.
We took Moby to RV World of Nokomis for a post-trip inspection and oil/filter change. Our
friend and service manager, Lou Brigham took care of us, and incidentally told us of his
role as the leader of a motorcycle parade on Sunday morning. ??? It's an annual ride to
raise money for kids with cancer - a last wish event. Called "Kids to the Beach," it is
named for a young mid-west girl who's greatest wish was to walk the beach on Siesta Key.
Her parents brought her here; she got her wish, and died the following morning.
The motorcycle escort: Both the Sarasota Police Department and the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department
|There were tyrkes, side- cars, choppers, all covered with teddy bears and other stuffed animals
to be given to children in the local hospitals.
A tear or two was shed.
leads the Parade down Honore
Avenue on their way to Fruitville,
where they turn west and end up
at the Sarasota Fairgrounds.
Bikers and onlookers alike wave
and cheer to the cacophony of
horns as the ranks swell.
|From the Wilds to the Wild Side - all within 24 hours!
This parade was so exciting. We both wish we could ride. We eye the trykes, especially with side car, but they
cost almost as much as a car, so we just drool and figure it wouldn't work anyway because we both want to drive.