Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Friday, March 11, 2016

Wednesday/Thursday, March 9-10, 2016 - Pelham, AL to Cottondale, FL

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - Pelham, AL to Cottondale, FL

We both woke up shortly after 4 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep.  We finally got up about 5.  We had our coffee and then walked a little over 2 miles, came back and ate breakfast, packed up and headed south to Florida.

Another shot of the pond/lake here at the campground on our morning walk.
We had hoped to stay at Florida Caverns State Park but when I called them they only had one spot left and it was a first come, first serve.  I started looking for another park and ran across a new park on Passport America's website.  Campgrounds that sign up with Passport America offer their sites for 1/2 price.

The drive down was pretty nice with many of the trees blooming.  Today we saw lots of red bud trees. The grass along the highway was so green and tall enough you could see it swaying with the wind. Many of their trees are leafing out enough you can begin to see a faint green outline on the branches. As we neared southern Alabama we begin to see the palm trees.  It seemed like no time and we were entering Florida.

I love watching our nation's flag flying in the breeze.  

The campground we chose was The Hitchin' Post Corral and RV Campground.  I assumed it must have stables for folks traveling with horses, however we did not see any.  It did have a rustic, farm like style as you entered, so maybe that is the idea behind the name.  The couple purchased the land a few years ago and have been working diligently to build a new facility.  They have 24 spots with 60 amp elec,, water and sewer hook-ups.  There are a few spots up front that are back in near some tall pine trees, with most of the sites are at the back of the property and those are all pull-through.  I-10 is along the backside and for some folks it might be loud.  Since we lived on the highway for many years where the entrance to town was not to far from our home we are pretty used to road noise and it really doesn't bother us much even with the windows open.  It's actually quieter here than it was at the house because semi's are not slowing down as they entered the city limits.

Right now the sites at the campground are sand, but they plan to gravel them and plant vegetation between each site in the future.  While it's apparent they have done a lot of work and it is nice, I think it will be a beautiful place once they can complete their work.  They were very nice people and extremely helpful. They have only been open about a month.  They provide free wi-fi which is a big plus for me.  It helps us save our Verizon hot spot for when we really need it.

We will spend two nights here.  We had no idea we would be so close to Panama City Beach, and so tomorrow we are going to head to the beach for awhile.  We plan to go early in the morning before it gets too hot and then I want to spend sometime cleaning the trailer and maybe doing some laundry before we move to the campground in Tallahassee for the next 9 days.

We finally got around to eating the leftover BBQ from Marlowe's with a loaded baked potato.  It was really good, easy and little clean-up.  My kind of meal, especially on a travel day!

Hopefully we'll have more to share after tomorrow's outing.

Thursday, March 10, 2016 - Cottondale, FL (Side trip to Panama City Beach, FL)

This morning we walked a little over 2 miles before having breakfast and getting ready to head to the beach.  The wind was picking up here before we left.  It's about 50-55 miles to Panama City Beach. We found a large parking area near a pier and parked.  We thought it would be fun to walk out on the pier to watch the waves, which were quite large today as the wind had picked up considerably.  However, we soon found out it cost per person just to walk out on the pier.  We could have paid the fee but we've been on a number of piers so it wasn't that important to us.  Instead we walked down the ramp to the beach and walked along the shore for quite awhile.

Here are several pictures I took while at the beach

For my friend Carolyn, who collects pictures where family and friends write her name in the beach noting where it was taken.

The blurry area on the shore in the distance is the sand blowing from the beach due to the wind conditions.

The pier

Looking back to the east, the sand is blowing even more here.

Taken from the parking lot area.

We wanted to have lunch at a restaurant on the beach.  I googled best beachfront restaurants in Panama City Beach.  After reading through several of them, Hook'd Pier Bar & Grill caught my attention from all of the posts raving about their fish tacos.  I fell in love with fish tacos several years ago when I tried them at Crabby's in Joplin.  Well, the raves about this place were all true.  I wish I would have remembered to take a picture.  I had two tacos, chips and salsa and cole slaw.  Each taco had a huge piece of fried fish in the shell along with an amazing mango salsa topping.  I'm not sure what the breading on the fish was but it was the best I've ever tasted.  Dean had fried fish, fries, cole slaw and hushpuppies.  He was very happy with his meal as well.  The picture below is our view from our table.  The second picture is a plane pulling a sign that says, Strong Rip Currents, Stay on Shore.  The third is a picture of the restaurant.

These are random pictures I snapped with my phone as we drove back.  I thought they came out pretty good since I just pointed and snapped repeatedly.  If any of you are Seinfield fans, you might remember this saying, "The sea was angry that day my friend".  That's what the water reminded me of as we watched it.

Once we left the beach we made a couple of stops - to get a few groceries and Dean wanted to purchase a folding step stool he could stand on to reach into the back of the pickup when unhooking the trailer.
When we got back we rested for a bit, then walked another couple of miles before I made dinner.  We decided to try something different with pizza making.  I made it in the cast iron skillet and Dean cooked it on our grill.  He had to cook it about twice as long, 30 minutes rather than 15, but it was perfectly cooked for us.  A perfect crispy and nicely browned crust, with perfectly cooked cheese on top.  Very delicious!

Tomorrow we move on to Tallahassee.  We'll park with hookups at the North Florida Campgrounds Friday and Saturday.  On Sunday we'll move a short distance to the site of the RV-Dreams boondocking rally.  We are looking forward to the rally but a little apprehensive about how it will go without any electric hookups.

See you soon!

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