After spending a day of rest after New Years, we packed up the van and decided to head back down to the French Quarter before we hit the road again, so I could take a few pictures. We didn’t spend to long, just enough for us to snap some pics of seafood, Bourbon street and just the ambiance of the whole area. New Orleans was actually one of my favourite places I have been so far, The architecture was really different, very colourful, lots of green trees, every bar filled with live blues and jazz. There truly was some southern comfort in that place.
Since we are travelling with a friend, we all have to come to agreement of where we want to go, since sunshine makes it all better, and it has been pretty chilly for the last few weeks. We decided to drive through Mississippi and Alabama and into Florida, our final destination for Jordan’s 10 day tour with us was going to be Miami as the weather was about 28 and sunny. Tom and I also knew we had to come back this way when we head back to Edmonton, so backtracking wasn’t a huge deal. We did the five hour drive to Panama city beach and arrived there at about 11 pm. It was raining so we found a nice public parking area to sleep for the night, all pretty excited to see the beach in the morning.
It was a little cloudy in the am but we didn’t care, we had breakfast, grabbed a coffee and drove down to the beach. There was signs that said “no dogs on the beach” but it was early and there was no one around. We did what we always do and brought them with us. The water on the gulf had a tropical color and was our first beach that wasn’t lots of waves and dark waters. I’m not going to lie and say it was a nice day, it was over cast and I was cozy and comfortable in my Autumn jacket. Tom was pretty adamant about jumping in the water, He loves the sea and I love that about him. He put on his newly purchased American swim shorts and headed in for a dip. Of course he had to drag the pups in with him, against their will, but their duty as a dog.
We headed down with intentions of walking down the pier before hittin’ the road again, but when we got there we discovered it was 3 dollars a person just to walk on it and there was no dogs allowed. I have never been charged to walk on a pier, let alone one that I can’t even bring my dog. Back in the van we got, with plans to head to Jacksonville.
After we had all been packed in the van a little too long, we thought it was best to get out and stop by a pub and have a few beers. We got to Jacksonville beach and had a look around, eventually finding a sports pub and a decent parking lot that we could get away with sleeping in, just beside it. I’m pretty sure this sports pub was made out of TVs , everywhere you looked, there was football in every direction. Little did we know it was also Sunday so we got to enjoy ourselves a little Sunday night football!
The beers went down smooth and Tom tried his first bowl of clam chowder, it was good to get out. For anyone who doesn’t know us personally, Tom is from Wales in the UK, we met in Bali, Indonesia, just over two years ago.We lived in Canada for a year with his work visa.We left travelling for 3 months around Europe and central America when his Visa ran out.He got his second visa but when we went to activate it, he was wrongfully accused of working in Canada. They accused him of “taking a job from a Canadian” for patching a couple holes in my apartment before we rented it out. I thought that was called being a good boyfriend but I guess I was wrong. They gave us 10 days to get him packed up and kicked out of Canada. Our worlds were turned upside down and ripped apart. I almost gave up, because when I lost him, I lost a part of myself. But after months apart I realized I knew how to stand alone as well, but remembered how much I loved standing next to him. So I got the chance to love again, with the man I can’t imagine my life without. I also love that he is from somewhere so far away because I get to introduce him to foods like clam chowder and grilled cheese! I mean, who hasn’t had a grilled cheese?
We explored the city a bit, did some training with the pups, working on Rubix’s skateboard chasing obsession, then eventually got on the road when Jordan woke up. We had looked up a place called “Little Talbot Island” It looked beachy and sandy and the weather was pretty decent, so we headed there. The scenery was great, beautiful homes on massive lots, well trimmed trees and manicured lawns. The wrap around porches on the old Historical homes really gave it that southern feel.
We stopped by Jacksonville to take a little walk around the downtown area, and grab a beer, as this was our first time the weather was nice enough to wear a T-shirt outside, which pretty much means patio season. So “Hooters” it was, with the pups, and enjoyed the downtown Quay, and the beautiful bridges across the water. We got to Little Talbot Island, and got to the campsite we had looked up that was $24 a night. We pulled up to the registration office, and a slightly high man walked out, looking a bit dazed. He asked how long we were staying for, we said just the one night. He told us there was only about an hour left till their beach closed, then he informed us that their campsite was located on the river, not the ocean. He then directed us to Durby beach at Amelia State park, It was free, had washrooms, and we also later discovered there were showers with hot water! This was probably one of the best free spots we have parked at yet, it was essentially just a parking lot but with amazing amenities and super private. This park Ranger was fantastic and didn’t even charge us for the last hour, We gave him our thanks and headed there.
The beach was beautiful and empty, a few condo buildings overlooking the beach, but miles of empty sand. The beach said “dogs on leash” but who’s going to complain when you’re all alone?! We all enjoyed a game of catch with the pups with a frisbee we found on the beach, cracked a beer and enjoyed the scenery. I got up in the morning to do a little workout by my lonesome, and It was so peaceful, Rubix joined me. I think he likes to pretend he is my beefy personal trainer, he just sits over me and watched as I do my sit ups. I love our little one on one moments, He is my main man and just love every bit of him. He patiently waited for me to finish and I patiently waited for the boys to wake up.