Friday, 28 February 2014

Westwego LA to Santa Rosa Beach FL (360 Miles)

Late Post from Thursday, Feb 27th

We left Westwego and Bayou Segnette State Park about 9:30 a.m. The morning was nice with blue skies and it was a pleasant but cold change from the rain and wind of the previous few nights.  It is a most unreasonable feeling getting up in the middle of the night to ride your bike to the bathroom in the rain – yuck!!! But, it does add character, I am just not sure if it’s the type of character that I want!! The route to go east out of New Orleans took us , once again, back past downtown. It was funny that even after just a few days of in and out at the state park, we started to recognize things.

Mississippi River, one more time....
Soon, we were headed east bound and on a very long causeway over part of Lake Pontchartrain over to the city of Slidell, on the eastern side of New Orleans. It was quite nice over there. It is away from the hub-bub of the “Big Easy”. We really enjoyed our time in New Orleans and in Louisiana for that matter but it was time to move along. Our route today would take us through Mississippi, Alabama and then finally the “Sunshine State of Florida”
Long causeway over Lake Pontchatrain into Slidell, which
is east of New Orleans.....
It is a bit of a lengthy drive but not too long after Slidell you cross into Mississippi.  We took the I-10 to Hwy 43, which led us down to Hwy 90, going through Waveland and Bay St. Louis. The highway then just travelled all the way along the Gulf of Mexico coastline, through many small towns and big towns like Gulfport and Biloxi. It was just stunningly beautiful.  On one side, you have the Gulf of Mexico and the beautiful white sand beaches and on the other side some really beautiful large and small homes. Many of the large ones looked like rambling, old plantation homes and many of them were meticulously well cared for. I am sure, being across from those beaches, they are very expensive. You could stop just about anywhere along this road too. They had lots of pull-outs and as far as we could see, there was a nice sidewalk that travelled alongside it too. We loved it. If someone had asked me to go to Gulfport or Biloxi MS, I would never have thought it would be so nice. I would jump at the chance to stay there now after seeing this whole area!!
Welcome to Mississippi!! (Our 8th state on this trip)

Sidewalk goes for many miles!!

One of the many  beautiful homes....











We did the obligatory Walmart grocery trip and got stocked up, once again. Then it was back on the road for a while again. We tried to stay off the I-10 as much as possible but ended up having to go back on to it at Pecan, MS. Right after we got on it,  we were in the state of Alabama. Wow!! We were not in this state for very long but check out some of these pictures. The downtown area looks really nice. They have a very long tunnel that runs right by downtown and then you go on another long causeway again. 

...and Alabama, our 9th state, welcomes us now!!!


Up next came the change over into Florida and on to Pensacola. It was here that we took Hwy-110S south, just before Pensacola and headed down towards Gulf Breeze. We wanted to travel, once again, off the interstate and we took Hwy 98, all the way. It was rather strange to see so many big towns, running one right after the other in an area that, for some reason, we had thought would be quite remote and quiet. Not sure where we got that idea from but we both had it. It was a bit disappointing to see hotel after hotel and big shopping plazas everywhere (fancy ones too). It is a very touristy area and somehow, for us, not as nice as Gulfport or Biloxi had been.
10th state for us is Florida...looks a bit like the Alabama flag, doesn't it??



We kept on Hwy 98 until we got to Grayton Beach State Park, in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, which is part of what is known as the South Walton Beaches. We did not arrive here until 5:30 p.m. Normally, we like to arrive and be set up by about 3:00 pm. It allows you time to walk about and get your bearings in a park. Due to all our touring around on the slower roads we were quite a bit later but we sure enjoyed the drive more. We are all set up here.

We have read some very nice things about Grayton Beach State Park. It is located just a short bike ride (on bike paths) to the little hamlet of Grayton Beach. It seems to be filled up some really neat little stores and quirky things. We are pretty excited to do our exploration. Apparently there are 18 miles of bike paths around here!!

Here is the “odd” part of our next week. We are here for Thursday & Friday nights in Site #23.  There are no availabilities in this park for Saturday night (March 1st). We have to move back down to another state park, Henderson Beach, for Saturday night. Then we come back here to this same site #23 for Sunday night. On Monday morning, we must move to Site #17 (just a few yards down the camping road) and we will then be there until Friday morning (March 7th) CRAZY, huh?? But, after what we had heard about it here, we felt that all the juggling around was worth it. There is a teeny, tiny possibility that a spot may come available (due to a reservation change or cancellation) here on Saturday. The nice ranger said to check with her on Friday morning and afternoon and again on Saturday before we leave. Maybe something will come available and we won’t have to move!! Here’s hoping and fingers crossed!!
So, internet and blogging plan for the time here at Grayton is this: We will endeavour to ride our bikes each morning/afternoon into town where we will post from an internet cafĂ© (like today we are at Bad Ass Coffee!!). You will always get the post the day AFTER it has occurred that way I can still write it in the same way I usually do. You will all just have to “pretend” that I am doing it in the evening and you are reading it the same evening!! It seems that this is the way Florida may go. Unless we are at a private park, we do not think that the state parks have internet but they are SO much better than the private parks – and cheaper too!! We can still get phone calls and we can check emails on the cell, plus my kids know that they can text message us too. We feel better not being totally cut-off.
Thought for the Day: Over thinking kills your happiness (so does over planning!!)

1 comment:

  1. We found that Florida has a lot of county parks and state forests that have reasonably priced camping. Been a few years for us, but worth looking into.