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 > GA-FL-AL during the 2014 holiday - LAST DAY added on PAGE 5!

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GoinThisAway

middle TN

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Posted: 02/12/15 07:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

See Page 5 for Day 6! Cheaha SP to home

See Page 5 for Day 5! Franklin D. Roosevelt SP to Cheaha SP

See Page 4 for Day 4! Florida Caverns SP to FD Roosevelt SP

See Page 3 for Day 3! Topsail Hill Preserve SP to Florida Caverns SP

See Page 2 for Day 2! St George Island SP to Topsail Hill Preserve SP

Day 1 Reed Bingham SP to St George Island SP

Christmas found me and my Dad on the road headed for the Florida panhandle. Several days of rain made the first bit of the trip just plain wet so I’ll pick things up in southwest Georgia. It was getting late and we decided to stop at Reed Bingham State Park near Adel for the night. We pulled up to the gate right at dusk only to find it closed and a sign directing park visitors to use another entrance. It wasn’t too far around but dark was falling and we were even more irritated to see this entrance blocked also. Then a park ranger pulled up and apologized. She said they’d just closed the gate to keep local sightseers out after dark as the park was experiencing some flooding. She told us the campground was open with plenty of space available and let us through. We were both tired from the drive so were happy to take the first two sites available and settle in for the night.

The next morning we awoke to a beautiful blue sky that gave us a chance to see a little of the park before resuming our drive. No problem finding a level site here as the campground is flat as a billiard table. Pines and live oaks, the latter draped with Spanish moss, provide shade at many of the sites.

[image]

The main feature of the park is the Little River and Reed Bingham Lake. At the lake we saw the flooding the ranger had told us about the night before. We were told this flooded building was the boat house with boats still inside.

[image]

The dam that forms the lake runs from the end of the berm at the left across to a berm at the opposite side at the center of this photo. It was so overwhelmed with water on this day that it barely caused a ripple in the flow.

[image]

We read on this sign that then-Governor Jimmy Carter authorized the building of a bridge below the dam to connect the two sides of the park, one side of which is in Cook County and the other in Colquitt County.

[image]

Walking out on the bridge we saw why we’d been rerouted to the other park entrance the night before. Floodwaters were up to the low chord of the bridge and were overflowing the roadway embankment on the far end. Here’s a link to a news story on the flooding.

[image]

[image]

Tread carefully in the area of a flood as critters such as this cottonmouth (edit - oops ... copperhead as I was reminded ... was thinking one thing and typed another) get flushed out and seek high ground wherever they can find it.

[image]

With extensive flooding in the park, exploring any of the land or water trails winding through it was out of the question. So south we went on Hwy 319 and soon crossed into Florida.

[image]

I’d read on www.roadsideamerica.com about a local oddity along the highway between Tallahassee and Carrabelle. Whoops! Just passed it! We found a place to turn around and looped back to a semi-circle of old vehicles. The story went that a farmer who favored Ford trucks had simply parked them in a semicircle when it came time to buy a new one. Dad didn’t buy this since the bed was removed from many of the tucks but it was a good story.

[image]

However they came to be here, they were pretty cool.

[image]

There were a few old cars in a smaller back row.

[image]

My favorite was a flatbed truck which I could picture with a TC on the back. If I was a Photoshop whiz like Whazoo I could make one appear but I’m not so you’ll just have to use your imagination. If you decide to stop by, be aware that the roadside drops off steeply into the site; we opted to find another place to park and walk to the site.

[image]

Further down the road, on a back street in the small town of Carrabelle is another interesting site I’d read about on the www.roadsideamerica.com website … a house built of bottles. And once the artist had practiced on the bottle house he used his new skills to craft a mini-lighthouse made of bottles.

[image]

[image]

There was a sign on the gate asking visitors to close it after entering so evidently you’re welcome to take a closer look but we opted to stay outside the fenced yard. I read that the owner lights the house up from the inside at night, making the bottles glow.

[image]

I also read that the local inmate road crews collected some of the bottles used and that blue bottles are the hardest to come by. I thought the lighthouse was very neat and pretty.

[image]

Sightseeing done, time to find a place to park for the night. We passed by the beautiful harbor at Carrabelle on the way back to the main road. Hmmm … this might be a good place to overnight sometime. But on this day we have another place in mind.

[image]

The sun was getting low in the sky as we drove west on Hwy 98 towards Eastpoint.

[image]

The highway follows the shoreline of Apalachicola Bay. I noticed many “For Sale” signs so break out your wallet and you can watch the sun set from a dock overlooking the shallow bay like this one. Just be ready to run when the next hurricane comes to visit!

[image]

In Eastpoint we turn onto Hwy 300 and are soon crossing the bay on a four mile long concrete viaduct. The 200+ square mile Apalachicola bay was formed by, what else, the Apalachicola River which has its headwaters up in the Atlanta area and delineates much of the border between Alabama and Georgia. Many a lawsuit has been filed in the courts as various entities fight over the water in this river, seeking to slurp it up before it even gets close to the bay.

[image]

Once across the bay, we hit terra firma in the form of St George Island, a 28 mile long barrier island that separates the bay from the Gulf of Mexico. Since the island is only a mile wide, a turn is soon in order and we make a left onto East Gulf Beach Drive. No condos, no theme parks, just a few small local business and a lot of beach houses.

[image]

Suddenly the beach houses end and we see the sign for St George Island State Park. This park occupies nearly 2000 acres on the easternmost 9 miles of the island. Dad and I had a rough idea of our route on this trip but hadn’t made any reservations, not knowing where each evening would find us. So we hopefully approached the ranger in the gatehouse office upon our arrival. She gave us a fat chance sort of look when we asked about the availability of two sites for the night. Then she picked up her radio and asked if sites V2 and V3 were empty. They were so we got the last two open sites in the campground … in the volunteers loop.

[image]

Once past the gatehouse it’s three miles cruising between a row of dunes and the beach to the campground entrance. The campground is located in amongst trees that grow in the shelter of the dunes.

[image]

As quick as we could get parked I grabbed my camera and a flashlight and headed for the beach. My eye was caught by the mirrored surface of a quiet pool behind a high line of dunes.

[image]

Then I hurry on, cross the nearly deserted road, and come to the path to the beach.

[image]

Along the sandy trail, my eye was caught by some sea oats glowing in the setting sun. Stop. Snap a couple pictures. Then hurry on as it’s obvious that the sun isn’t far from setting.
[image]

Looking left the only manmade item I see is a couple of picnic shelters far in the distance.

[image]

Left is east so the glow I see is from the setting sun behind me.

[image]

Turning around I see the sun has already slid behind the dunes but not so far that I can’t still see a beautiful glow on the horizon. I watched as the sliver of molten daylight dimmed then made my way through the dusk back to the campers. Dad and I ate supper and sat by the smaller glow of a fire before turning in for the night.

[image]

[image]

To be continued! Yep, this is a mini-series. So keep an eye out on the title of this thread as I’ll update it as I get each day’s travel posted.

See Page 2 for Day 2! St George Island SP to Topsail Hill Preserve SP

* This post was last edited 04/12/15 10:41am by GoinThisAway *   View edit history


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Victory402

NC

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Posted: 02/12/15 07:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great TR, thanks for sharing.

hl remington

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Posted: 02/12/15 07:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Look like you and your Dad are having a great, trip thanks for the photos

Farmerjon

Niangua, missouri

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Posted: 02/12/15 08:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

terrific TR. Wonderful pictures.Thanks for sharing.
I'll be watching for more.


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exhaustipated

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Posted: 02/12/15 08:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very good trip report and nice photos you took. Thanks for sharing. I'll be looking for more. Looks like you and your Dad were having a wonderful time on this trip.


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Driftwood132

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Posted: 02/12/15 08:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sitting here ,its 22 degrees outside ,wind blowing about 20 mph gusts to 40 .I'm thinking I'd love to be somewhere in Florida looking at the ocean . thanks for sharing .

Jfet

Renton, WA

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Posted: 02/12/15 09:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We went to St. George Island so many times as a kid. Great pics.

bookmaker

Marianna, FL

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Posted: 02/13/15 05:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you get a chance to pull away from the coast, drive up to Marianna and stay at Florida Caverns State park. It has the only public caverns tours in the state.

Dale


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nycsteve

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Posted: 02/13/15 05:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I stayed at St George SP in mid summer. The beach and water were fantastic. The mesquitoes were numerous and ravenous. You were there Xmas? What was the air and water temperature? Thanks for the pics, I look forward to the series. Florida is my favorite state [emoticon]





JumboJet

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Posted: 02/13/15 06:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

GoinThisAway wrote:


My favorite was a flatbed truck which I could picture with a TC on the back. If I was a Photoshop whiz like Whazoo I could make one appear but I’m not so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

[image]


That rusting hulk "flatbed" is a early 1950's Dodge. Stuff a Cummins in that truck and you would be ready to go!

I had an Uncle that always did the same thing when he wore out a truck.

1-1/2 Ton Early Dodge Flatbed

I love old trucks and will try to stop by on my way to Florida this Summer.

* This post was edited 02/13/15 06:57am by JumboJet *

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