How about a little rain? How about a LOT? It has been quite a stretch of rainy, wet, cloudy weather so far this year in our part of Georgia and we need to find some warm sun! That means it is time to uncover the motorhome and make preparations to head south for a week or so.
Luckily, our winter months have had their share of fun adventures – we even had a day of snow. A new adventure in the kitchen, thanks to Alex, was to learn breadmaking in the Ken Forkish “Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast” method of artisan baking. So many delicious loaves of bread have now been baked and shared – plus homemade pizza dough. And that called for a gathering of the BrewCrew to celebrate a leap-year birthday and make personal pizzas. Such fun. And of course the brewery visits continue.
Once the cover was pulled off the motorhome this month, John helped me change the engine and generator oil and filters. The roof was cleaned and waxed with UV cleaner/protector, tires were inflated, rotated and brakes checked. Hydraulic fluid was added to the slide/jack system, the water tanks sanitized, rinsed and filled and minor repairs made. Bikes got the once-over (and one new seat), chairs and small tables wiped down and we started to fill the pantry and fridge and pack up clothes. Yep, it was going to be an early start to the camping season.
This outing is to Grayton Beach State Park in Florida to camp with our family from Nashville. It is their spring break, so Craig, Judy, Rachel and Colin will be camping in the park with us – well, near us. Hopefully no “oops, left that beef stew in the microwave the last time out” mishaps will occur. You may recall reading the post about our trip to Big Lagoon State Park in Pensacola last year.
We decided to break up the trip to Florida by staying one night outside Eufaula, Alabama at Lakepoint State Park. Then, on our way back from the panhandle, Jackie and I are going to spend a few days in FDR State Park in south Georgia, a visit that should be both hiking and history-filled.
As we prepare to head out, we are learning more about the spread of the coronavirus and the active measures our local and state governments are taking to limit transmission of the virus. All schools in the area are closed, all major sports and public events are cancelled – all of this you know. Although we are well and are taking recommended precautions, we do feel just a bit odd at the start of this adventure. But life in the motorhome will be rather contained anyway, so we press on. Might affect our brewery visits, though.
So off we go to escape the cycle of rain and overcast skies and find the warm Florida sun. The trip through Atlanta and south towards Columbus was smooth until Kodi let us know that there was a brewery nearby in LaGrange … well, actually we saw a billboard for the exit.
We were in no hurry and it was lunchtime, so the brewmobile pulled into a really nice spot at Wild Leap Brewing. We had a beer each and some delicious smoked brisket from a food truck. Kodi had a wonderful time meeting the patrons, being fed dog biscuits and generally just enjoying not being in the motorhome.
Lakepoint State Park
Not too much further along we were in Eufaula and pulled into our site at Lakepoint State Park for the night. What a great spot along the lake! We had a pull-through spot and didn’t have to disconnect the car, so we were all set to leave quite easily the next morning. This might be a regular stop on our future trips to the Florida panhandle.
Grayton Beach State Park
After a nice morning drive through some small Alabama towns and the Florida panhandle we arrived at Grayton Beach State Park. Recent improvements to the park mean that the sites are certainly ample and all have electric, water and sewer. Our spot was an easy back-in and we soon were joined across the way with Judy, Craig, Rachel and Colin. We arrived on Sunday and did a little biking around the campground and up to the beach to see how nice it was.
Monday morning was a sunny start to the week. We spent time at the beach, working on our early sunburn and testing the chilly water. The weather is great so far.
We all decided to ride bikes around the corner for dinner at the Grayton Beer Brewpub and had a delicious dinner. A flight of beer each was accompanied by grouper sandwiches and pork nachos and then a ride back to the campground.
It was almost sunset, so Judy and I grabbed cameras and hustled to the beach to catch the spectacle, which was naturally not as bright as the night before (when we didn’t have cameras).
Tuesday morning (St. Patrick’s Day) was another nice sunny start to the day. We learned, however, that the coronavirus was going to have an effect on our trip. Now this is not news to you, but we haven’t had access to TV and news, with only spotty information on our phones. We know from our teaching friends and family that schools are cancelled for weeks. Slowly the news of cancellations trickles our way and we learn that our campground will close on Friday. That’s not too bad, since we were heading out on Friday, but it does seem weird — like a hurricane evacuation.
I drove to a favorite brewery in the area, Idyll Hounds Brewing, before dinner and learned it was their last night serving from the taps. Starting tomorrow all bars have been ordered closed and restaurants to operate at half capacity. Now I understand the need for social isolation and preventive measures to keep this virus from spreading quickly through the population, but it hit me weird that our camping would be so affected. But by the time you read this on my post, things will certainly have changed again and of course you are all too familiar with the run on groceries, toilet paper, bottled water and the like. Strange times indeed, and we certainly are not as affected as so many others.
But back to our otherwise wonderful time in Florida. We rode bikes around Western Lake today and into Watercolor and Seaside resorts. Wow, that was like major spring break time. Loads of people, but nearly all under 30. None of the “elderly” in sight. We have now realized that we fall into both the Senior Citizen and Elderly categories .. not yet at the “infirm” and frail designation. Anyway, word is that the beaches will “close” on Saturday. How do you close a beach anyway?
We keep hearing of playgrounds, parks and campgrounds closing, but the weather and water are perfect here. We did indeed find the Florida sun — it is out, warm, no rain in sight and we even braved the water, which seems to have warmed from the 65 degrees or so. Such a contrast from what we left at home (and we are wearing shorts! Bathing suits! T-shirts and bare feet!) The rest of the week will probably be beach time, biking, photography, crochet (both Judy and Jackie) and reading. No paddleboards this time, since we figured it would be too cold and windy — heck, what do we know? And I need to find a bar or something that will be open for me to upload pics and this blog story. May have to wait a few days.
One last dinner out was delicious. We all enjoyed our meal at Hurricane Oyster Bar, but I especially enjoyed the oysters on the half-shell. These were monsters, nice and sweet. Yes! I got my seafood fill, and Jackie had some delicious smoked, spicy tuna, declaring it a wonderful meal out.
So I will close this story for now, with an update to follow that will finish the trip back home. This trip was a success in our search for the sun in Florida, but it was weird in so many other ways around us. Hoping all our friends and family stay safe and healthy.
The Adventure continues …