It’s Spring and that means it’s Beach Time!
We chose a lucky week for Spring Break at Pensacola Beach because most of the college partiers were elsewhere in Florida, leaving the Panhandle empty and quiet. The weather was not so lucky, though. We dodged a tornado outbreak in Alabama getting here, but high winds and chill temps stayed at the beach for a few days.
We stayed at Pensacola Beach RV Resort where campers took refuge from the chill every night at their bayside Tiki Bar.
Across the street was a defunct Florida motel. It was a good place to walk the dog every morning. I started a photo project by including a little red bucket in every shot. That lasted a few days until the dog chewed it up. See if you can spot the red bucket.
A few days later when the wind died down we spent an afternoon hiking the Naval Live Oaks Nature Preserve on the Gulf Breeze Peninsula. Still had the red bucket this day!
This guy was tagging sharks for NOAA. He’d catch them, tag them, and toss ’em back to the sea.
The weather warmed up at last and I took Coco over to the designated dog beach. There were 50 dogs romping in the sand, jellyfish washing up on the shore, and a beach wedding right in the middle of it all!
Pensacola Beach is located on a long thin island, flanked on either side by Gulf Islands National Seashore. The National Park is protected land with an undeveloped and pristine shoreline, and the perfect place for a bicycle ride.
Fort Pickens is at the far end of the island, about 10 miles from Pensacola Beach. From the Civil War up to WWII this military fort once protected Pensacola Bay with batteries of cannon. It’s now empty and open for tourists.
Beneath the cannon stations are a series of brick arches that support the whole structure. We packed a picnic lunch and wandered around the huge property all afternoon.
We had planned to spend a day looking around the city of Pensacola, but Hurricane Sally took out the big bridge to the mainland. The secondary bridge that was still open sported hour-long traffic and made it a 60 mile trek to get over to the mainland. So we wandered around the Gulf Breeze peninsula instead. Met a guy who was birdwatching for a rare sighting of Red Billed Tropicbird, a kind of tern with a long streaming tail.
The day before we left for Pensacola Beach I got a recall notice in the mail for the RV: Something-Something-Wheel Sensor. I didn’t pay much attention. But on the drive down here the cruise control went haywire and the dash lit up with a half-dozen warning lights. Yeah, bad wheel sensor. We decided to get it fixed before our drive home. The RV is on a Mercedes chassis and this was a warranty repair, so we got up at 5:30am to do the hour-plus drive to the dealer on the mainland.
We looked at the weather report for the beach (two more days of rain) and the forecast for our route home (tornados expected) and made an instant decision to hustle home. Wheel fixed and on the road by 9:00am. It was a good choice even though we shorted our vacation by a few days.
Thus ended our Spring Break. How was yours?