Yesterday’s fabulous view shot was taken from site 38 at Ho Hum RV Park (click here to read our review and see more photos), a few miles east of the small town of Carrabelle, Florida. We owe our thanks for that view to an anonymous reader who left a comment suggesting we stop here while traveling the Florida panhandle. We checked the map and our schedule, and Carrabelle turned out to be just what we were looking for – a taste of Florida’s “Forgotten Coast”.
When we decided to travel east this year, neither Odel nor I had a great interest in exploring Florida’s peninsula, but we did want to see the famous white sugar sand beaches of the panhandle. Time constraints (we will be near DC at the end of May, with a trip to Memphis between now and then) meant we had to decide whether to spend time exploring Florida or exploring Savannah and Charleston – no contest for us.
Consequently, we planned to see what we could in the panhandle as we headed east. Checking the map, it looked like a trip to Carrabelle from Panama City Beach would fit perfectly in our plans. When Odel called Ho Hum to make a reservation, he asked the owner if there was much to do around there. She responded “It’s not called Ho Hum for nothing!” That sounded perfect to us, as we needed some down time to catch up on a few neglected chores: Odel wanted to wax Scoopy, and I needed to work on our taxes for 2009.
Though I was sad to say goodbye to JoAnn and Doug in Panama City Beach, I was happy to see the city itself recede in the rearview mirror. It took awhile to leave the traffic behind, but once past Tyndall Air Force Base everything changed. Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe, Apalachicola, Eastport, Carrabelle… all small towns strung along Hwy 98 on the Forgotten Coast. I-10, well north, is a much more direct route across the panhandle – traveling along the coast is for those of us who have time, a love of nature, and a limited interest in man-made attractions. :)
Along the Forgotten Coast
Lots of water, big sky, little traffic.
Our mail (with the all important tax documents) awaited us at Ho Hum, handed over as we checked in. We unhooked the Jeep, pulled front-first into our waterfront site, and sat in awe for a minute, before beginning our familiar setup procedures. Wow!
We arrived on Thursday, and had two days of mostly sunny, cool weather. We both got to work on our projects on Friday, saving Saturday (forecast: 70 degrees and sunny) for a trip to St. George Island State Park, on a barrier island just off the coast. Odel fired up the grill early Saturday morning to grill chicken thighs to take for a picnic, and we were on our way around 11 am (with the chicken, coleslaw, and corn relish). We had a free state park pass – an internet reward for completing a short survey about our experience on a prior visit to a Florida state park. All set!
Yes, the day was perfect – in every way. When we presented the free pass to the ranger in the kiosk, he rewarded us with a big, excited grin, saying “this is the first one of these we’ve gotten”. We found a parking spot near a shelter with picnic tables, next to the beach, and set out on a long beach walk. Warm! Sunny! Uncrowded! Perfection!
The natural trail at St. George Island State Park
Miles and miles of white sand.
We spent several hours in the park, then stopped at a little trailer in the small resort town of St. George Island to purchase a couple pounds of fresh grouper. Dinner: grilled grouper and Thai Rice Salad, a new favorite of Odel’s.
We awoke during the night to rain, and now our view couldn’t be more different. The little palm tree is whipping in the wind, and white-capped swells are rushing towards the shore, the water a leaden gray, matching the clouds. The sea gulls and pelicans have taken shelter, and there are no dolphins to be seen. Quite exciting.
We’re leaving Ho Hum tomorrow, heading to a state park east of Tallahassee for one more night in Florida, then on to South Carolina – another new state for us! We’re getting that map filled in, and having a great time doing it… :)