Site manager: bob roach
The trip to Panama City Beach started out as most every trip I have ever taken with my family. We were supposed to leave at seven, yet it was already seven fifteen and obvious that each of us had last minute preparations that would take up much of the morning. We finally left at nine. Normally I would be pacing the floor but on this morning all was wonderful. Let’s think about this. It’s Sunday morning and the horse show does not start until Thursday. I was so laid back that I went to the barn and cleaned my horses stall. I said my last good byes to my lab, feral cats, and of course “Star of Mine.”
The trek from Elizabethtown,Kentucky reminded me of my youth. I was excited about the trip. There was anticipation in the air that was as thick as heavy fog on an early fall morning. The sun was shining brightly however, on this morning all seemed perfect. My wife was anticipating the Blue Angel Air Show,while my daughter,sometimes following and sometimes leading in her own car, was excited about getting back to the ocean. At twenty-six her romanticism for the water and sand is much greater than mine, not that I don’t look forward to walking on the beach and observing a beautiful sunset. I am sure that each of you can relate to my description of the rest of the trip: We had a few bathroom breaks, stopped for a quick lunch at Quizno’s, filled with gas once, fought the traffic in Nashville,got off of I-65 in Montgomery, drove through small towns that appeared to have many abandoned businesses and homes along 331 and then opened up to a beautiful and what appeared to be new civilization called,”Panama City Beach”
Well! My wife and daughter had done a great job choosing a place to stay. While the Condominium was not right on the beach, it was only a short walk away. And the accommodations of this elegant living quarters was way beyond my expectations. You have to remember, my first trip many years ago to Florida with my mom,dad,brothers and sisters was in a 1954 Chevrolet, and we camped in a tent!
Day one started out really blue. Not like you think though I had forgotten just how blue and beautiful the water truly is. We stopped and purchased three cups of coffee at a local novelty shop. I am not sure why people go on vacation and decide that they need these special coffee’s that they have never tried. Well! actually we usually do like to be just a bit more adventurous while on vacation. My wife ordered some kind of blue berry latte and my daughter purchased a cup of cold coffee. Neither one of them got lucky with their, “shot in the dark let me try something new,” approach to the most important decision we make early in the morning. I never wavered, I ordered regular coffee and enjoyed every single drop.
That regular cup of coffee did exactly what I expect a cup of coffee to do. It warmed me up inside and sped me up inside and out. I like to bounce a bit in the morning. Most days I accomplish more between seven a.m. and eleven than I accomplish all day long.
Back to the beach! You should have been there. The water was as blue as a little boy who just found out he did not get a pony for Christmas. While the wind was brisk, the sun made the blue sharper than I had remembered. Two little girls provided the entertainment at the beach. I am sure they were sisters. They were playing with these light weight Styrofoam surf boards. It was obvious that dad had just recently purchased one for each of the sisters just prior to arriving at the beach. The string or rope that was attached to the board made the boards more like kites than anything else. I wish you could have seen the look on the younger of the two girls face when her board went flying up the beach. The big sister wanting to keep her little sister happy went after the board as hard as her very short legs would let her. Dad, becoming aware of the circumstances went after the board,yet naturally was more interested in making sure that neither of the two girls followed the board into the ocean. You see the two girls were only six and four. All is well that ends well I guess because the bigger of the two girls went on to capture the run away board and was greeted by an elated little sister and father. Mom never looked up while soaking up the sun as she read her book of choice, knowing that Dad had everything under control.
Now, keep in mind that any vacation that keeps me away from the Tennessee Walking Horses, is merely a test of patience and civility. Guess what I got to do next? No trip or vacation to Panama City Beach would be complete,according to my wife and daughter, without stopping to shop in “Destin Common” shopping mall. It seemed like the highlight of the day for my wife. I can’t begin to tell you how much she enjoys shopping in the,”Life is Good” store. And while it makes for a long day for me it was certainly a joy to watch the extreme pleasure that the book stores seem to provide during our stay at Destin Common shopping mall.
Just to let you know that it really was an outstanding day for all of us, I must tell you how it ended. We traveled about ten miles west of the shopping mall where we walked along the beach observing the bike shops,para sailing, and rental cruises that could be a part of any of the casual adventure seekers and vacationers agenda. We throughly enjoyed a sea food entree of shrimp wrapped in bacon with a palif of rice and a sweet potato on the side. Of course the meal was started with an appetizer of Gumbo that seems to only be prepared properly in the South. No desert for us on this evening,however a walk on the beach as the lingering sun set over the beautiful blue/green waters was a nice touch to end this delightful day in the Panama City Beach area.