Sunday, December 3, 2017

Forgotten Coast

Nov 18-21, 2017      
      A short hop down the canals and connected lakes and sounds to Panama City.  I went for a bike ride when we got there and checked out places to visit the next few days. 
       Sunday I went to church at St Dominic’s  very modest church but they had a great music/choir ensemble.  Unfortunately they were away in NYC that Sunday.  The priest was of the Catholic Charismatic persuasion and gave a really nice homily.  I felt more like I was back at St Mary’s than I had for a long time.
        John’s cousin Terri Leonhardt Floor and her husband Tom came down to the boat in the afternoon and then we went back to their house before heading out to dinner.  They live in an older part of Panama City and have a veritable jungle in their back yard which they work hard to keep under control.  Fun evening with them and got John thinking about birding which they are really avid about.

Insert pix
Can't believe I didn't get a picture of the cousins.

    Monday I helped John change the oil because I can get back into the spot where the switch for the pump is a lot easier than he can.  Then I checked out shops in the old downtown of Panama City.  Some really interesting ones.  I don’t do into too many antique stores but there are a lot along the trip and the most interesting ones have old childrens’ toys which I would love to bring home, but no space, thank goodness.
      Another small world story when a small ranger tug pulled in front of us on the dock.  The gentleman aboard said he had a niece who lived in Rifle with her anesthetist husband.  Of course it was Janet Kirkpatrick from PEO.
     On Tuesday John wanted to go back to the golf course he had played on Sunday for a men’s group.  Unfortunately he played really badly.  He blamed it on sore muscles from crawling around the engine room the day before.   I went for a  walk along the beach and then we went to a nice Italian restaurant for dinner.

Nov 22, 2017
     We then headed across Florida’s “Forgotten Coast”.   A lot of small old Florida fishing towns that are difficult to access because of the shallow waters.  I read a historical novel about the four surviving members of a Spanish expedition in the early 1500’s who ended up traversing this area and after 8 years had made it across the continent to the Bay of California.  John is reading the real history of the journey.   You can still get an idea of how rough it would be to walk along the coast here, even without native tribes who weren’t too happy about their presence.
       We stopped at Port St Joe on Wednesday night since it was too far to get to Apalachicola.  Nice little beach town trying to attract the tourists to the Forgotten Coast, but there was a good Publix two blocks from the marina and we had been getting low on supplies.  John went on a long bike ride and after the grocery store I did happy hour at the restaurant at the marina with some other Loopers.  Margaritas and oysters and sunset over the Gulf!  We were now meeting up with other Loopers gathering for the jump across the Gulf from Apalacicola or Carrabelle. 
          Thanksgiving morning we got moving slowly since we only had 30 miles to go and in looking for a coffee and pastry for breakfast I happened upon Thanksgiving dinner at the Deli in the grocery store.  Bought two and after a short cruise we had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and collard greens with the pumpkin pie I had managed to bake in our countertop convection oven.    I rode into town and check out some of the Old Florida town.  Nice old houses and downtown area.

Thanksgiving dinner

             In order to cross the Gulf instead of going around some really skinny water without and marinas for three days we had to wait for a “weather window” when the winds are negligent and the seas calm.  The Trip is about 170 miles and requires cruising overnight.  The forecast was for perfect  conditions on Saturday/ Sunday and we had found another cruiser that wanted to go at the same time and traveled our speed.  So I got to spend all day in a wonderful downtown area, old buildings repurposed for shopping and restaurants.
Start of Christmas season in Apalachicola 
Santa comes to the Forgotten Coast on a shimp boat

  The couple on Agape our “buddy boat” for the crossing seemed nice so we invited them to join us for dinner at a really nice restaurant in an old hotel in town.  Good chef likes the small town life variety of restaurant.  Very good and interesting.

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