Thursday, December 12
Another beautiful day in Paradise!
With stunning sunny skies and temps in the mid 40’s, Dream Chaser maneuvered for 30 minutes through the back channels leaving Orange Beach Marina.
Our dockage was the covered slip between the two boats.
We worked our way out to the main ICW channel.
With Otto (autopilot) retracing our path from yesterday, we are back on the ICW and headed east.
Our unusual breakfast consisted of greens that we had prepped last night and cooked throughout the night. It was a Kickin’ Butt BBQ inspired recipe from Demopolis, AL. In the big crockpot, Mary combined: collard greens, turnip greens, chopped onions, 1/2 lb. bacon, 3 pork hocks, vegetable broth, and water. Delicious!
From Mobile to Pensacola, the waterway passes behind Gulf coast barriers islands, and the area is very developed with miles and miles of dream homes and some apartment/condo complexes along the shore. We are looking at seven hours of travel to Ft. Walton Beach, our next planned dockage.
We are in FLORIDA!
This is a very common sight
as we make our way along
Pensacola Naval Air Station was off our port side, and as we enter entered and crossed Pensacola Bay, we were rocked around in 3-4 ft. waves. Once we were past the rough stuff and had returned to the more protected channel, our morning consisted of bright sun reflecting off 1-2 ft. waves, a brisk wind, and temps hovering around 50. We still can't believe were here!
After finishing lunch, Steve eyed the pecan pie, enough said! With the autopilot set to eight miles out on the ICW, we sat back to monitor the screen and keep an eye out front.
At 2:30 pm, we arrived at Ft. Walton Beach where we will dock for the night. We tied up to the city dock, called the police that we were docked there (police keep an eye out if notified), and walked a few blocks to town. (Mary wondered why the police need to keep an eye out!!!)
At 4:40 pm, This was our first Florida sunset on this journey! Breathtaking!
While we were reviewing the menu, Mary noticed the tower of onion rings at the table nearby and struck up a conversation with the lady seated there. We were invited to join her, share her onion rings, and her table. Oh, what wonderful conversation ensued!
Marie has been a college professor teaching organizational theory and political science for 45 years at the University of Maryland. Originally from Boston, she had flown in from Alexandria, Virginia to visit her brother and family for the holidays. Staff’s Restaurant is her favorite restaurant in Ft. Walton Beach. Speaking of history…Marie’s father had been Franklin Roosevelt’s body guard with the White House police (now the Secret Service) and worked for the department until one year into Kennedy’s presidency. Marie met President Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor at a party. Clint Hill (the bodyguard who climbed onto the back of the limo when President Kennedy was assassinated) was her father’s coworker.
More stories…Eglin Air Force Base is nearby and evolved from the Valparaiso Airport (1933). Marie told stories about the Doolittle Toyko Raiders who trained at the air base. stayed at the Valpariso Inn, and came to eat at Staff’s Restaurant before the raid on Japan. Marie joined her brother, a well-known historian, when he met with the famous Jimmy Doolittle. Doolittle’s Raiders would fly their B-25’s off ships, attack Tokyo, and then go on to China, if they survived. The surviving raiders reunited in April and met at the Staff’s Restaurant.
Also...Ft. Walton Beach celebrates “Billy Bowlegs” every May/June. William Bowles from Maryland became a pirateer for England in the late 1700’s and, later, broke from England and kept the booty for himself. At the celebration, the dastardly Billy Bowlegs docks his pirate ship where we are presently docked.
You just never know who you might meet, so strike up a conversation!