Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 56 - St. Andrews State Park

Lest everybody think that I find nothing nice about Florida I will note some things I like about it.

  • Pelicans. They look like the B52's of the bird world to me. How can a creature of that size skim so close to the water without tripping? And I love watching them dive bomb for fish and make that huge splat. Brett says they aren't fishing They are flying distracted and just keep falling into the water.  I could pelican watch all day long. 

 Brett had to do a little trickery to get these guys to come over for a photo.  We are standing at the spot where the fishermen usually clean their catch.  Brett started running the water and the birds came over to see what was for snackies.

  • Soft white beach sand. Love the stuff. Odd because I am not a sun loving beach goer. I'm more of a beach appreciator.

  • Public fishing piers. These are such friendly, industrious places. We usually meet people who are more than happy to talk about their catch of the day. Usually. Maybe the chilly temperatures made people less talkative today. My "watcha fishin for" got only a one word reply. Mullet.

  • Riding a bicycle here or walking (if it isn't too hot). Florida is very flat. Once you get moving it doesn't take much effort to keep moving. 
 The tandem needed some repair work done.  Something about bearings and that Brett didn't have a gear puller so we needed to find a shop that could do it.  They called us a little while ago to say that it is ready and we can pick it up tomorrow.  I expect wheel do our exploring via bicycle tomorrow rather than on foot.

We walked down to one end of the park today and discovered an old, rebuilt turpentine still with interpretive signage.  This isn't even shown on the park maps so I doubt that many people go to explore it.  It was very timely to find this.  The book series that I am reading takes place in part in North Carolina at a plantation that has a turpentine still and a saw mill.  Now I have the scenery firmly fixed in my mind.  This must have been dreadfully uncomfortable work in the hot Florida sun.  It was interesting to learn that the trees could be slashed for about 3 years and still produce the sap for turpentine.  I believe this is why the particular tree is called a slash pine.  After the turpentine was done the trees were cut down to be used for lumber. 

Brett spent some time checking out the old saw mill.

The campground is full of slash pines.  These are definitely not first growth as most of this area was turpentine and lumber producing.

We needed to go out for a drive this afternoon in order to deliver the bicycle to the repair shop.  So we thought we'd take a look at some of the area.  Five miles or so down the Front Beach Road was enough to confirm that Panama City Beach is much like all the other beach towns we have been through.  It doesn't seem to be too crowded and we were trying to figure out when the high season is here.  There were several businesses with signs saying "see you in March".  Brett has just about finished up all his reading material so we needed to find a book store.  We tried to find something locally owned but nothing.  So we ended up driving into Panama City to a Books-A-Million.  We should now have enough books to keep him busy for a while. 

I happened to notice this billboard while we were out and about and I'm going to give it my most amusing sign of the day award. Because the last word is spelled "ME." rather than "me." I read it as something that the Maine tourist board might have erected to get those wayward southerners to come on back home.  We will be returning to ME but not just yet.  There's still a lot of exploring left to do.

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