It’s the profile of sand dunes that grabs your attention when you enter St. George Island State Park. Our pilgrimage to here has brought us back to this place in Florida’s panhandle where the dunes sit back, at a respectable distance, from the nine miles of road that slips between the Gulf-side dunes and the bay-side dunes. In all their white, sugary, southern finery, they flaunt their accessories – scarves of tall, willowy sea oats; top hats of privet; and occasionally, the showy jewel of a lanky, long-legged iridescent green heron. No matter how many pictures we take, we can’t capture the shear beauty of this wild scenery.
Crossing into the panhandle at this time of year we are experiencing summer. Temperatures are in the low 80s and it is steamy with humidity. The sea breezes invite you to the beautiful beach, which we have had pretty much to ourselves whenever we have ventured there. Two days ago, a couple was standing in the surf, fishing, and caught (and released) a local fish called a redfish. Another morning, we saw a shark circling in waters about 3 feet deep, and right off the beach, looking for breakfast. Multitudes of sand crabs scuttle across the road each morning on our bike rides. Birds are singing all day long and we learned this is prime birding (migratory routes) season. A pair of bald eagles have been spotted on the mainland. The place is teaming with life – squirrels, field mice, insects (yes, even mosquitoes) are everywhere, unlike our first trip here in February when the temps were in the mid-40s and 50s most of the time.
When we pulled into our campsite for the first week here, we discovered that our neighbors were the only other Airstream in the 60-site park. They were from Georgia and North Carolina and so we asked for campground recommendations in those places. We exchanged easy conversations, shared recipes for outdoor cooking, and recycled the books we had just finished reading at the end of our time together in the ‘hood. We’ve already exchanged emails and hopefully, they will continue to follow our blog and stay in touch with us as newest members of our virtual community.
The counterpoint to the constant variation in landscapes, is the comforting familiarity of our living space inside T2. After three months on the road, our essentials are now pretty well organized. We are really pleased with the configuration of our converted shower stall, now a storage closet with a new heavy-duty shower rod for hanging jackets; space for cleaning supplies and dirty clothes; and neat nesting shelves for oversized food, wine, and beverages. We have found the long hot showers at the campsites to be far superior to the ensuite option in T2, so for us, this is a great solution to an essential “full-timing” challenge.
The humorous part of the puzzle is remembering where an item that we seldom use (think table fan) might be stored. The good news is with less than 150 square feet of living space, it takes about 5 minutes to go through all the possible storage options to find anything. Much easier than previous life experiences!
We sometimes get asked what we discovered we needed that we had to go out and buy. There are two things. First, is mosquito repellent. After our Louisiana experience, we got lots of recommendations for products and have now become the happy owners of a couple of Thermacell repellent systems (they work really well when placed right on the steps outside the front door), a citronella candle for our screen house, and a coil. Second, is a generator. We ran our batteries way low during a dry camping experience back in North Dakota and don’t want to find ourselves in a similar situation on our next dry camping stay. So, after doing some research, we are planning on picking up a new Honda generator later this month. Peter already has found space in the re-organized back of the truck.
Our special luxury on the road? Our amazing screen house from L.L.Bean. This is the first campsite where we have needed it because of all the little things that bite during the hot and sunny days when we northerners want to be outside. We have set it up, use it daily, and just love it.
The great surprise? Think about sitting in your favorite chair in a beautiful part of your home, looking outdoors at the glory of nature unfolding before you. Got it?
Now, image what it would be like to have the scene outside your home change every week or so. One time it’s a view of the Tetons in Wyoming. Next, it’s the sprawling beauty of the Little Missouri River of North Dakota, or the experience of the sweet smell of a grove of fragrant pines when you open the door to go outside in Minnesota. It could be the view of the high ceiling of a hardwood forest painted in autumn gold in Texas, or the intensity of sunset on the glowing red sandstone rocks of the desert southwest of Utah, or the golden light of sunrise tinting the dunes of our current campsite along the lovely Gulf coast here in Florida. We had no way of imaging the experience of living so intimately with such a remarkable variety of breathtaking beauty, all just outside the panoramic view from of our comfortable Airstream.
We will continue to attempt to share some of this with each of you along the way so know that there is much more to come…
Peter and Liz are continuing their pilgrimage to here, visiting the sand dunes of Florida’s panhandle, and traveling across the U.S. in their Airstream.