Monday, February 25, 2013

2012 Stats, Putzing Around Florida, Canopener 2013

I keep a travel log of our days in the trailer. 

According to my handy dandy logbook, here are the statistics for 2012:

82 nights

traveled in 23 states
slept in 14 states
2 flat tires
1 night at the side of the road

I thought we were going to end the year with a measly 78 days but we managed to squeeze in the extra 4 days at the last minute.  Although we were looking forward to visiting the Florida panhandle for a long weekend (for the Canopener rally) all of us agree that getting to go for 10 days was even better!

We started our adventure on my birthday!

 A cake baked in the trailer by my family.  A trip to the beach. 
What more could a girl want?

Our first stop was Florida Caverns. These caverns were dug out to make them accessible to the public by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  The CCC boys used their dinner plates as a reflector around the light fixtures.  You can still see them cemented to the ceiling:

From Florida Caverns, we traveled a little farther south to Falling Water State Park.

Florida's tallest waterfall is a whopping 73 feet tall.  It falls into a sink hole.

Another sinkhole at Falling Water State Park.  

How disorienting to see sinkholes and waterfalls in Florida.  It felt more like Tennessee.

There weren't many spots left at state parks by the time I made our reservations.  I was lucky to get one night at Florida Caverns and then two nights at Falling Water on two different sites.

I had to fudge a little to get a site at Falling Water the first night.  The only available site was a 24 foot site. At home, from the comfort of my living room two days earlier, I thought "I bet there's two extra feet there somewhere.  I'll book it."

Our conversation while parking at said 24 foot site:

Me:  Can I back up just a little bit more so I can get the truck out of the road?
Brian:  No.
Me: OK. 
Needless to say, we unhitched the first night. 

The next day we had to move to another site, a pull thru site.
  It was perfect.  No unhitching required.

It's hard to complain about Florida weather in December but it was chilly.  (I think the problem was that we were EXPECTING to bask in the Florida sunshine- which apparently went south for the winter.)  Brian and I were relaxing in the trailer with Samuel and Annabelle who came in to get warm.  Sabrina stayed out to ride her new bike.  Moments later she came knocking on the trailer door with tears in her eyes and blood running down her forehead. While I was stammering over the location of the hospital, Brian calmly remembered to unhitch the trailer.  So much for staying hitched at the second site.

After three stitches and quite possibly the most pleasant ER experience ever, we found something to do in Chipley, Florida:

Our trek south to Grayton Beach State Park for New Years Eve included a side trip to a grocery store.  Pulling the trailer though Seaside, Florida was just too tempting. 

A row of vintage Airstreams are used as food vendors.  It's a cute little place...

...but our anthropomorphic selves think these trailers would really like to see more than just the beach. I stopped for a picture but it was nearly impossible to get a good one.  On New Years Eve, this place was jumping!  I snatched a "deliveries only" spot for the briefest of moments.  See Someday parked across the street?

Many heads turned and fingers pointed as we crept down the street.  We had fun imagining what they might be saying, "Look!  There goes the bakery!"

Finally, on our 4th day in Florida, we made it to the ocean! 

New Years Eve dining at it's finest:
 Grayton Beach State Park, Florida

ringing in the new year with clean dishes

Canopener 2013

Topsail Hill Preserve is just down the beach from Grayton, but a little too far for the kids to ride their bikes.  (Darn. They sure wanted to!)  When we arrived Tuesday our site wasn't ready yet so we set out on a mission to find greens and beans (black eyed peas and collard greens)- a southern new year's day tradition.

Jim and Nick's did not disappoint! The bar-b-q was spectacular, too! 

 By the time dinner rolled around we were still full from lunch.

At Topsail, we kept mostly to ourselves for a couple of days until the rally kicked into full gear.  We crashed a campfire or two but did spend a good deal of time poking around antique shops in Destin.

We did one thing every day: go to the beach.

 You'll probably just have to take my word for it, but there are two deer in the picture.  This was our first time to see deer at the beach.

On two separate days we also saw jumping manta rays.  Wow!
Who said the beach wasn't fun in the winter?

Thursday night's pre-rally "Chili night" drew quite a crowd- I think more than expected.  We shared fires and outdoor heaters as it was a chilly night, too.

Annabelle and Samuel entered Friday's corn-hole tournament.  Our gracious hosts even looked up the regulation line for youth contestants!  Poor Samuel was too old to qualify for the youth line though.  Samuel took note of the rounds of margaritas being handed out and came up with a strategy: Be sober.

But alas, Samuel played the champion in the first round, single elimination.

Thankfully, the consolation prize in our family was going out to lunch.  When we got back, they were still going....

I'm especially bad at remembering to take pictures at rallies!  The only picture I have of any of our group gatherings is this one of the food spread for Friday night's meet and greet:

A visit from one of our favorite pups, Bentley.
We've had the pleasure of camping with Bentley and his people five times this year, more than with anyone else.

The Canopener host had some pretty cool swag to give away on Saturday night. (Courtesy of Colonial Airstream and Airstream Inc.)  We came home with a 1949 Liner ornament.

I already had the perfect flamingo birthday card to go with it!

More beach pictures:
I've nearly given up on getting pictures of all three of my children together on the beach.

 That's just not how we do it here.  Everybody has their own favorite beach activity.



bird chasing and..

swimming even when it's not warm enough:
This girl keeps trying to call my bluff.

No matter the season, if we're going to be near any water, she is indignant when she learns I've left her swimsuit at home.   I tell her the same thing every time:  "If you think it's warm enough to go swimming then you can go in your shorts."   Well, I guess 50 degrees is warm enough for her.  In reality, it wasn't the water that was too cold, it was the air temperature after she got out.  The 1/2 mile bike ride back from the beach was the worst part.

  Her brother was a gentlemen and lent her his fleece.

Ahhh, the beach! It's so hard to say goodbye.  Until next time...

Our family went to the beach and all you got was this lousy picture: