Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

It’s a real life even at the beach

Wednesday April 24 and Thursday April 25, 2013
Site 8 St. Andrews State Park
Panama City Beach, Florida



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I am late for sunrise this morning due to our time zone fall back.  Here’s what I see out the front of the coach.  Clearly I won’t have to go very far to see the sun rise IF I can get used to it being an hour earlier again.  Somewhere between St. Joseph and St. Andrews we’ve moved into Central time.  I won’t even go into how silly it seems to me for a state to have parts in one time zone and parts in another.


Today I alternate between enjoying the pelicans on the rocks and taking care of business deferred due to the difficulty of having no internet at St. Joseph.   Part of the business is getting my residency changed to Florida.  I’m making all the phone calls, getting all the papers and my ducks in a row to the DMV in Crestview next week.  Thanks to those who have gone this way before for all the helpful advice and information.


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As you can see from this picture, St. Andrews is a very urban park.  The 8 or so pelicans are sitting on the break water in front of our site and on the other side of the lagoon are high rise condos.  Not the view I normally like but I sure enjoy the pelicans.   There have been as many as 17 out there especially during the afternoon.  It is great to be able to sit at the picnic table and watch their antics and get a really close up view of their coloring.  They apparently feel safe enough that even if I get up and walk around, they pay me no mind at all.

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I’m having an easier time with this fall back than I did with the spring forward so I am up for the sunrise in plenty of time this morning but this is what I see.  The sun doesn’t break through the clouds until early afternoon.




But in the grass I see these shining faces fresh with dew.  They give a sunny start to my day.

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Perhaps you might like some pictures of the campground road to get an idea of how close the sites are together.  First picture shows Winnona on the right.


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This is taken further down the road.  There are 179 sites and 3 bathrooms each of which has one washer and dryer.  The bath houses are extremely nice, clean with terrific showers, hot water and plenty of pressure even with the washing machines running outside.


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Since it is overcast and windy, David decides this is a great excuse to eat out for breakfast.  He has researched the local spots and chooses The Egg and I about 3.5 miles from the campground.  We get there and the exciting thing for me is that right next door is Bruster’s.


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As I have done often in the past, I forget to take a picture of the food until he has cleaned his plate.  Think how proud his mother would be.  Not that I forgot to take the picture but that he cleaned his plate.


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After breakfast we go in search of a CVS so he can get a medicine refill.  Of course we have to wait 20 minutes while they do it.  I stand around the magazine rack and marvel at the number of “beauty” magazines for men and women.  David shops and comes back with 2 other things he “needs”.   Aren’t women the “shoppers” in most cases??

Now I’m ready to make my purchase.  I am sad to say that this Bruster’s is not up to snuff.  As those of you who read often know, I have been to nearly every Bruster’s in Florida and some in other states including Pennsylvania and South Carolina.  They are always more than willing, with a few days’ notice, to make up a half gallon of Jamaican me Crazy.  But not here.  Nope.  No can do.  They don’t even have a coconut flavor on the menu.  So I settle for chocolate peanut butter buckeye which is good but this Brusters gets a D for customer friendliness.  Meaning rather than my coming here 2 or 3 times during my stay in the area, this will be my one and only visit.


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We return to Winnona.  With a big breakfast and Bruster’s dessert eaten, it’s now time for the beach.  I strap on my back pack chair, put my essentials (towel, camera, binnocs, books, sunscreen….) in the baskets and pedal off.  David has some things to do and says he’ll join me later.  He’s not the beach’o’holic that I am.  How’s that for a new word??  What do current and former English teachers think of my spelling??


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I get settled in.   Look at the color of that water and those skies.


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I go in the water before David arrives.  When he does come, I get some pictures of him, a less common sight than those of me in the water.


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This is a much busier beach and water area than the two previous parks.  I assume that’s because it is close to a fairly large urban area, Panama City.  Even on a week day in April there are lots of folks on the beach and all kinds of boats everywhere in the water and zipping back and forth.


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Here’s one of my ‘after the fact’ dolphin shots.  They were there in large numbers as were the pelicans.  Apparently all after a school of fish.  The boats were gathered around them and some were driving right through them.  It felt like harassment to me.  But all of my attempts to photograph them came up empty, my shutter is just too slow.  I click and they are gone by the time the camera does its thing.  I need a different camera.   Anyway….imagine the dolphins right under those pelicans that the folks on the boat are looking at.  They were there, I swear it.


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I watch this boat for quite some time hoping for a glimpse of Johnny Depp but no luck.

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In between watching for dolphins and Depp, I continued reading about the art of Walter Ingles Anderson.  David decides to go for a walk.

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He comes back with a ton of pictures of his walk down past the jetty to see the beach on the Lagoon side and is particularly struck by the beauty of the algae growing on the rocks above and below the water line.  He picked these pictures to tell this story.

Above the water line is the brilliant spring green while below it is a darker green but flowing with the water which is absolutely clear.


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He says he would not have noticed the raccoon if not for a little girl who is trying to reach out and pet him while her father stands by seemingly not alarmed.  Fortunately the raccoon runs away.


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All great beach days come to an end around dinner time for me. 

When I get back to Winnona I turn to hang my towel on the outside line and JUST before I grab hold of it I see this marvelous creature just sitting there.  Nature is amazing no matter how large or small.  No matter whether in a big park or your own backyard.


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After dinner we head back over to the gulf to catch the sunset.


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Today is the official full moon and it is showing itself beautifully at our site when we return.  As we stand and watch it rise higher in the sky, it sends its golden path right up to the breakwater and then jumps over the rocks to reflect itself in the still water between there and the shore of our site.




Neither words nor pictures do such an experience justice.  What a planet, what a universe!
And we are all here to experience it.


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  1. I expect that if Johnny Depp were to be seen on a pirate ship, it would be a much BIGGER one. Great to dream though. That's how we got here.

  2. The beach looks like such a nice place to hang out, although I feel like I have sand in my pants just looking at it!

  3. From herons to pelicans. Probably stand a better chance at photographing Depp than the dolphins. Even with a fast shutter I found it difficult in South Africa. Looks like a tight park. Good luck becoming a Floridian.

  4. I really like these state parks near the beach that you are staying in. You said it is difficult to get a reservation. Do they have a 14 day limit like other state parks? Will you get a discount when you become a Florida resident? Amazing how clear the water is in the pictures that David took.

  5. So you finally decided to break down and become a Florida resident! Just you and not David? Take some pictures of Crestview and MYRVMAIL, since I've never been there, I'd like to see where "home" is.

    The water is pretty there, much better than the brown water at the other panhandle cg's. I also love the rocks on the algae, especially with the pretty clear water. Beautiful photos David.

    The campground looks perfectly fine to me. The sites didn't look that close together, especially considering they are waterfront sites.

    Can't wait to see where you end up next.

  6. One trick to photographing Dolphin is to guess where they will come up next and prefocus on the spot. The second they brake the water...SNAP...you may get them that way;o))

    You sure got that full moon...BEAUTIFUL!!!!

  7. Dolphins are SO elusive! glad you got to see them even if you didn't catch them on camera. Every once in awhile, we think about Florida residency as it seems we will be spending more time in FL in the winter than other places and don't really want to head back to South Dakota when it's time to renew...but that's a while yet. Wondered how complicated it is to apply? will send you an email....

  8. Lovely beach ... love the photos of the algae that David took.

  9. Really like the Gulf beaches. Most of the water is so pretty!

  10. I enjoyed this blog - made me feel like I'm there :) Great pelican pictures - just them doing their thing. Dad looks thrilled at the Egg & I (no surprise there - haha). And, very nice picture of him in the ocean - so terrific that he can enjoy those things again after such a year. What a funny story about the raccoon - what father would not be concerned about an attempt to pet a raccoon in broad daylight? Something seems a bit ignorant about that. Clear water - how often do we see that these days? Sorry that Brusters wasn't as stellar an experience as it normally is - maybe those Brusters' people were having bad days. I remember calling when I was with you guys once and they were more than enthusiastic about your enthusiasm about Jamaca-Me-Crazy (sp?) and were ready to make that half a gallon happen. That's good business. Sorry too that you missed Johnny Depp - it's the thought that counts, right ;) Great dragonfly picture - I bet that could win a prize if submitted to a nature photo competition!

  11. Who will you use as a Fl resident mail service in Fl ? An address for Fl ?
    Thank you

  12. Bet you're going to miss paying that VA vehicle tax now that you're a Florida resident... ;c)

    Sorry you missed out on the J-M-C. I'll look at our local Brusters and mail you some.

  13. I thought you would get an extra hour sleep when you crossed into Central. Beach is beautiful. Sorry about Brusters--I always wonder why people who can't be nice to the people who support them choose retail businesses. David looks happy as a clam after his breakfast. I know what you mean about trying to catch dolphins, I'm just not fast enough. Glad you're enjoying. How far will you travel along the coast?


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