Thursday, March 8, 2012

FMF Tour Day 1 - Destin, Florida

When I was a kid, our family vacations were always around Florida. My dad l-o-v-e-d Florida so we explored every part of it. Or so I thought. Today I took US98 along the Gulf - one of Reader's Digest's Most Scenic Drives in the U.S.  O.M.G. What a SPECTACULAR drive! The going was slow - definitely the scenic route - but ever so worth it! I WILL revisit this stretch of the state again soon. There are so many intriguing places to shop! I'll do that when go back. Gosh the yards were full of "junk" and I just wanted to dive in!

Here's my route:
Day 1 route - Jacksonville to Destin

I have a mini-recorder with me this time and make comments as I drive along so I can remember what to say about the day. Here are todays thoughts:

I passed the Stephen Foster memorial - a lovely place - and crossed the historic Suwanee River. (Visit Manatee Springs sometime and see if it's not the coldest water you've ever experienced.)

59 South, just east of Tallahassee, is slow going but has gorgeous rolling hills. Pretty nice for flat Florida! There are lilies blooming - massive quantities of lilies - along the sides of the road. I remember these from childhood, but hadn't seen them in years. This stretch of road is quite soggy! Huge "puddles" (more like ponds, actually) everywhere. There was a hawk stalking something in one of the ponds - awesome!

3 hours into my drive, the car decided that the passenger (Leroy) needed to buckle the seatbelt. That cracked me up! I'm driving down the road and all of a sudden beep-beep-beep. Now, Leroy doesn't weigh very much, but that box of books he's sittin' on sure does! I just found it amusing that the car didn't care till 3 hours later. Something must've shifted.

The route I took is known as the Big Bend Scenic Highway. It crosses the Ochlockonee Bay - gorgeous views. I highly recommend this drive and totally agree it's one of the most scenic in the country. I was driving along the water's edge (Gulf of Mexico) at many points. It was kinda like PCH training wheels: if you fall off, you don't have far to fall and there's no giant mountains right next you waiting to toss rocks on your head.

The city of Carrabelle ... wow ... I could live here. I couldn't afford it - but I could live here!

I used the word "spectacular" a LOT in today's recordings. Yea. It's spectacular. At one point I was behind a sports car with the top down. What a perfect way to make that drive!

You know how some people name their beach houses? Seaweed. The Retreat. etc. I passed one today called Pearl's Harbor. I thought that was cute!

I went through Apalachicola where the azaleas were MONSTROUS and in full bloom. They are specta.... uh ... I mean .... breathtaking. I wonder if Apalachicola is still known for oysters? Used to be. I don't know after the hurricanes and the oil spill and the pollution. Used to be "Apalachicola = oysters"   you could use the words interchangeably. (Teachers: put those red pens away! I know that's only a vague resemblance of a sentence. :)

Mexico Beach is also a cool little town. It reminds me of St. Augustine, only cuter.

And then I got to the last few miles of 98, which was as ugly as the rest of the drive was beautiful!

353 miles today. It took a long time because the speed limit was 35mph during a lot of the drive. Definitely not the interstate!

I did find a place to pull off and take a few pics. I could've stopped a zillion places! Gorgeous scenery! Here's today's bunch.

<--- Here's where I stopped (yep, that's the 2-lane US 98 you see). This place looks innocent enough, right?
Tough to see, but there's a cute mural of a guy fishing on the back of the building.

Talk about "launching"! I admire the folks that have enough guts to launch a boat! That's a fear I will NOT be facing!!

But here's what's behind that little nothing a building ....... pure gorge-osity!

Here are a few extra pics to show you how my day started:

All packed & ready to go!

Leroy, as he looks from the road. Doesn't it look like I have a napping passenger?

Leroy, minus his incognito-ness

Her Royal Pinkness has come along for the ride this year. Where will she be next?

And that was my day! I'm now in the Central time zone. I'll be totally confused by the time I see the Pacific. But for now - off to do nighttime stuff.

Thanks for stopping by!!!


  1. I am so jealous!!!!

  2. I'm with ya Marilyn, I'm terribly jealous too!!!

  3. and by the way Megale, I know what you mean about the scenic views around the Ochlockonee Bay and 59 South...Russ and I have been doing short day trips and that was one we did recently...Fun....Happy driving for you tomorrow safe. Prayers for a cloak of safety around ya.

  4. That is a great idea taking the recorder along to remember what you saw. I can remember being so tired at the end of a day of travel that I couldn't recall much. We vacationed at Destin one year. I remember it as a very nice place.

  5. Looks like the begining of another fun adventure.


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