Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life-and travel-leaves marks on you.
----Anthony Bourdain

Monday, January 8, 2018

Panama City Beach Camping

Well, this is embarrassing! I looked at the last post and realized it's from last year!  Due to some family issues over the past year, I (Mary) didn't go camping at all. Last summer, Robert went out to Colorado with some of his Overland buddies, so he camped. Now...if I could just get him to write some posts! 😁
We revisited St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach, Fl.  between Christmas & New Year's Day. Things were very much the same as last year, except the weather. This year was cold, rainy, and windy, but we made the best of it. We had 2 days of warmer weather, and we didn't let the bad weather deter us. We brought bikes with us this year and we rode almost every day.
We thought way ahead this year (as in we made our reservation in Feb.) and ended up with this site: (I took this picture last year as an example of the water-side sites.)
I actually thought I had reserved the next site over, but this turned out to be a pretty good one. Since there was some foliage along the water, it did block some of the wind.
This was our setup this year. We took the camping kitchen but didn't set it up because of the weather.
We used the windscreens on our canopy the whole time except for part of 1 day.
Last year we discovered the Farmer's Market that is next to Captain Andersons. We were pleasantly surprised to find that it was open on Saturday. There were a few more vendors than last year.
We discovered Lumpia made by an extremely nice military family. They had samples; we tried them and then bought lunch. If you're in the PCB area, check to see where I Roll Lumpia can be found. Well worth the search!
We didn't see any deer around the campsites this year, but we did see them out and about in the park. Our first night there, the people next to us had to shoo away a raccoon, but we never saw any.
We didn't cook as much as we normally do. Robert fixed a couple of breakfasts and dinners. We have a 2-burner stove in the camper, but we don't use it. We do all of our cooking outside.
Robert saw this log in the store and wanted to try cooking on it. He made some shrimp that had been marinated in Italian Dressing. We have a little basket that Robert put the shrimp in & then put over the fire.
Robert gave it a thumbs up. I could taste gas (from the wick maybe?) and wasn't a fan.
Even with the rotten weather, there was plenty for us to do around the area. Our first stop was Thomas Donuts in Laguna Beach.
Last year we found another excellent place to eat, drink some beer, and watch some football: Dat Cajun Place. We ate here a couple of times and stuffed ourselves each time. This definitely isn't a fast food place! Go, enjoy the atmosphere, and have a good time!
We enjoy the beach in the winter. As Robert said, "the solitude feeling of strength".
During a bike ride, we discovered this old still in the park. As many times as Robert has been to St. Andrews, he had no idea this was there.
The birdwatching. Need I say more? (These were all taken from the edge of the water at our campsite.)

This is the edge of our campsite. I had to walk on the boards to get the pictures.
This heron was at the water across from Gator Lake.
Scenes from our campsite at night:

We had 1 day when it was warm enough to get rid of our sweatshirts:
I don't think I've ever seen the water so clear there.
The 1 decent sunset we saw. This was also from our campsite.
This was the most time we've spent in our camper. Even though it's small, it was very cozy. We have gas heat but, since there is electricity at the sites we used a small electric heater. We stayed warm, relaxed, watched movies, and read books. I can't think of a better way to spend a vacation!
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