Gulf beaches, dead bodies and snow!

Hello again from our last day in Florida,

So let’s get the disturbing stuff out-of-the-way.

First of all, we are still in Florida, in the panhandle just north of Pensacola.  We are unhappy to report that we were caught in the cold snap that seemed to engulf the United States.   We woke up one morning with a light dusting of snow on the picnic table and our truck windows were frozen shut from sleet.  Not what we were expecting when in Florida but I suppose it could be worse.  We muddled through a couple of cool days and downright cold nights.  Luckily, we have a trailer with heat so don’t feel too bad for us.  There were campers who were in tents that I really felt bad for.  Each day is continually warming up. Today we are looking at highs in the upper 60’s with sun.

Prior to our arrival at Blackwater River State Park we were at Grayton State Park in Santa Rosa Beach.  It was a beautiful park, just a short walk to the Gulf.  Regarding the dead body mentioned in the subject line, well that happened at Grayton.  We were tucked in our site and one morning Jeff mentioned that an ambulance and fire truck had driven through the site but they didn’t have their sirens or lights going.  We didn’t think much about it and went off to do our errands.  Upon our return there were two police cars parked two sites down from us.  As I looked into the campsite from the truck window there was what looked to be a body laying in the middle of the site with an arm sticking straight up.  I decided that it couldn’t be a dead body because at the very least they would have a sheet over him and they certainly wouldn’t leave him just laying there.   My curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to take Ola out for a walk.  Yep, sure enough a large white van pulled up when I walked by and someone put a sheet over the body. There was another camper standing around and I asked him if he knew what happened.  All he knew was, yes, someone did die and he didn’t know much more.  He assumed it was a drug overdose.  The coroner put the body on a stretcher, slid him into the van and drove off.  The following day, I asked the park ranger what had happened and they confirmed that a 29-year-old man had died.  Although they couldn’t confirm this they said they thought it was indeed a drug overdose.  It was sad to think that a life had ended that day.  

We did enjoy the rest of our time in Grayton.  The beach was never crowded and we walked miles along the shore.  On one of my walks I could see someone shore fishing quite a ways from where I was.  As I got closer, I could see that they had a fish on.  I continued to walk towards them and as I got closer they were getting close to landing it on the shore.  Just as I arrived, the fish was landed.  The fisherman was actually a fisherwoman, a  14-year-old girl, who I believe, just caught the fish of her life,  a 30# ish Redfish.  She expertly took the hook out and said that it was illegal to keep a fish of that size.  We were the only two in the area, and I quickly took pictures with both our phones.  She was more than excited and I think I was just about as excited as she was.  What a day for her!   Seeing her catch that fish and watching dolphins jump out of the water in the Gulf were two highlights of my trip while in Florida.  



Today we spent the afternoon canoeing on the Blackwater River.  Below are a few photo from the trip as well as a few photos from our afternoon in Pensacola yesterday.  Airstream food trucks are pretty popular in Florida.  The taco’s were delicious!

Tomorrow we will be departing Florida and the rural camping we’ve been doing for the last few weeks.  Over the next month our feet will be on the pavement in Mobile AL, Biloxi MS, New Orleans LA and then onto Texas where we will see friends in Houston, listen to music in Austin and visit our grandson and kids in San Antonio.  We are excited for the next month of visiting with family and friends and being urban campers.

We are both doing well  and Ola is keeping up with us while getting a lot of swimming and hiking in.  

We hope that you are all doing well, and that you are staying warm.

Loving our life living in Valhalla and still chasing 70 degrees!

Erin and Jeff…..and Ola


5 thoughts on “Gulf beaches, dead bodies and snow!

  1. Jeff & Erin,
    W2hat a wonderful experience for you…
    You’re living one of the items on my bucket list……
    One day soon………


  2. This leg of your trip brought back memories of our own adventure in the Ft. Walton Beach area from two years ago. I remember Grayton (the most authentic town in the area with the only nightlife around for miles!) and riding our bikes from town to town when we weren’t walking the beach. Exploring is so much fun! Looking forward to your next post 🙂


    1. Hey Celine,
      Yep, the Grayton beach area was really great for bike riding, walking the beach and even some hiking. We really liked the small towns and how easily accessible they were to each other. Did you happen to go to the Black Bear Cafe in Grayton? It is a cute little coffee shop.
      While we were there, there was quite a singer songwriter music festival going on. They had over 140 artist at 40 different venues along 30A. The tickets were sold for the weekend and they were really pricey. (starting at $350.00 each) If we end up in Florida next winter, we will volunteer. They need over 700 volunteers and when volunteering, you get a free pass to all venues. Maybe you should meet us down there!!


  3. Oh MY! what a way to leave Florida…. dead body and SNOW!…. But seeing a Red Drum caught is pretty amazing…. The little lady is so right… by law you need to return the big ones to the sea. On to Alabama, have a loads of fun and be safe!


  4. Life goes on in A2 on Jolly Pumpkin Day. I attempted to attach a photo, but could not figure out how to do it. Maybe next time. Enjoy!


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