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My Travel Log

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91. My Last RV Trip
So, it's really February 2014 when I'm writing this, but I decided to "wrap-up" the Travel Log with this chapter. We traded the Damon Challenger in for a 2012 Chevrolet Captiva SUV in December 2013, so that trip I took back in July will most likely turn out to be my last RV trip.

Sometime early in the summer of 2013, I was sitting around Mentone, Alabama, thinking how nice it would be to see the beach. I started thinking about taking the RV down to Panama City Beach (or somewhere in that area), where we'd spent many happy weekends during my teenage years in Tallahassee. I mentioned it to a friend here and he said he'd never been to Panama City Beach. Since it's undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Florida, I felt it my "duty" to take him (Tim) along. A week or so later, Tim and I were talking about the trip plans and were overheard by another friend, Evan. As it turns out, Evan also hadn't been to that particular beach, so we invited him also. Since Evan was 20, Tim was around 50, and I'm 72, we would obviously have to try to plan things to interest all of us. As it turns out, eating burgers, laying on the beach, and drinking some beers appears to appeal to all ages.

I checked out the campgrounds in the area and found a nice one, two blocks from the beach, in Destin, Florida (right up the coast from Panama City, but pretty much the same kind of beach). We drove down in the RV, towing the Suzuki, on Monday, July 15. Started the trip off by cooking out some great hamburgers. Since they had no picnic tables, we cooked on the hood of the Suzuki (see 1st photo below).
Cooking on the Suzuki3 guys on Destin beachSame, but closerTim talked a guy from Brooklyn out of his hat
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Tuesday morning, I contacted a friend of mine in Destin and he took us to a nice on-the-beach seafood restaurant call Pompano Joe's. Great food and the expected beach atmosphere. We spent Tuesday afternoon on the beach, burning and drinking some beer. Met several people, including a bunch from Brooklyn - Tim told the guy that he liked his hat and the guy gave it to him. Later, Tim gave him a Tiger's Eye stone in return. We ended up mostly tanned, but somewhat burned, then went back to the campground. All-in-all, a pretty great day.

Wednesday, we decided to head toward Biloxi, MS, to see if Evan (age 20) could get into the casinos there. On the way, Evan mentioned that he'd always wanted to see the battleship U.S.S. Alabama, so we stopped in Mobile to see it. Quite a tour! Lots of walking all over the ship, plus wandered through the submarine that is also moored there. After several hours there, we drove on to Biloxi and settled in at Southern Comfort RV Park on the beach, where I've camped several times before. Photos below have captions explaining them.
Although I pretty much stayed on the lower decks, Tim and Evan climbed to the very top. This photo shows them at the top of the "turret?" Check the zoom-in on the next photo.I zoomed in on them, so you could actually see where they were. That looks like a looong climb.That's me and Evan.Just a distant view showing the battleship from the parking lot.We toured this submarine, walking end-to-end below decks.I wouldn't have done well in a submarine. Bumped my head several times, climbing through those little doors.This is one of the few Biloxi photos that we got. This is as far into the casino as Evan could go - outside the gambling floor in a hallway decorated with Rock and Roll memorabilia.
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Thursday, I spent most of the day in the Hard Rock casino, giving money away at the Texas Hold'Em tables. I gave Evan and Tim the car, and I think they spent much of the day on the beach and in the pool at the campground. When I got back to the campground in the afternoon, we played some pool and hung around the swimming pool. Since Evan couldn't get in the casino and Tim couldn't quite afford to play as much as he'd have liked to, they were looking pretty boored. At about 4:00, I looked on the internet and figured out that New Orleans was less than 90 miles away. How about taking a run over there for dinner? Yay! So we did. That turned out to be a great idea! We found the French Quarter, squeezed the Suzuki into a parking spot, and wandered around taking in all the sights and sounds. Really an active place, even on a Thursday night in July! See photo captions below for a few details of our Nawlins party! We left there about 11:00 and were back in the campground thoroughly worn on by midnight.
Parking was real scarce and I amazed even myself at this extremely tight parallel park.We passed several art galleries, making me feel a little guilty that Joyce wasn't here to see them. She and I visited N.O. several years ago and never got to even see the French Quarter - but that's another story.Peeked inside a couple of the galleries.We stopped to listen to several bands, including a fantastic Zydeco band in a bar and then this weird band playing outside of the Royal House Restaurant, where we enjoyed a great meal.View from the Royal House window.Evan eating a Gator-tail Po-Boy.These bikes are all over the Quarter, but we decided to walk.Enjoying the pool at the campground in Biloxi.
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I spent much of Friday in the casino, where I again didn't do very well, while Evan and Tim wandered around Biloxi. In the afternoon, I went down to the beach for a while with Evan, but Biloxi beaches are really not very exciting compared to Destin. The water is about a foot deep for about a mile out and the beaches aren't kept very clean in general. We hung around there a while, then back to the campground for swimming, shooting pool, and getting ready to check out Saturday.

On Saturday, we drove on over to Tallahassee to visit my sister, Marylin, for a couple of days. Went to a great antique car museum there (see http://www.tacm.com/), where a private collector has hundreds of cars, motorcycles, and a bunch of other things that he's collected - simply amazing! Sunday, we went down and connected with my other sister and her husband, Belinda and Phillip, and went down to eat at Angelo's Seafood Restaurant in Panacea, FL. Another great meal and a time enjoyed with the family. The only photos we got were of the cars in the museum - no family shots .. sorry about that.
Tim, standing in front of a Tucker.Enjoyed seeing the Batman cars from the movies.Many, many classic cars, and this is only about 1/10 of them.
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By Monday, we were all about ready to head back to Mentone. Tim missed his dogs, Evan missed the mountains, and I missed the peace and quiet of our gallery/home. We all agreed this was one of the best trips any of us had been on and that we ought to do it again sometime. Since I traded the RV for an SUV in December 2013, I guess there won't be any more Florida trips in the RV. In fact, unless something mighty unexpected happens, that is probably my last RV trip ever. So, with that, I'm going to assume this Travel Log is complete. To see pictures of the new SUV, as well as my 29 other vehicles, visit the Hoffman Cars section of my America Views.