Gulf Islands/Fort Pickens

December 29th, 9 PM, 42 degrees with an expected low of 30.....not the way I planned to start the first post from sunny Florida.
But we can't change the weather, so I might as well embrace what we have.

Packing was finally finished and we got on the road heading south by noon on Thursday.  It was cloudy, cold and we were exhausted by the time the bikes, cooler, food box and kayaks were loaded.  By dusk we had found a wonderful COE park, Gunter Hill Campground, just west of Montgomery.  Recently remodeled, it had lovely wooded level sites, very nice, warm bathhouse and a sewer on site....all for $11 with the senior pass.  Sorry that I did not think to take a picture, we were too involved with trying to dewinterize the camper.

Debating back and forth about whether to keep the antifreeze or go ahead and dewinterize, we decided to go ahead because of the convenience of the sewer hookup.  (I was envisioning us trying to do it at a dump station with campers lined up behind us.)

We made it to Fort Pickens by midafternoon, finding lots of little white fiberglass trailers sitting under a gloomy overcast sky.  We headed for the beach, could not remember when I'd seen the ocean, but rain drove us back to camp within minutes of our arrival.

Last night the wind howled all night...I could have been out west with the way it carried on!  Just knew that my little ten dollar TV antenna would be out in the bay; surprised when I found it right where it was left, sitting on the spare.

Today has been one of survival....it may have gotten up to 50 degrees but the wind chill must have been around zero.... I am exaggerating, of course, but that's how it felt!  We drove over to the fort, looked around, and into town to buy canned chili for tonight's chili dump.  I did take a hike while David napped and managed to get a little lost winding up in the wrong campground!  Probably walked twice what I planned but it was good exercise.

It was great to see JerryC and Wanda again!  We both do love to take pictures...after reading his blog tonight, I'm amused that we are drawn to the same subject matter.  I do believe that this must be the same heron.

This is my expensive digital TV antenna....incredible that it stayed put!

It was too cold to stay long and explore the old fort...plan to see more of it on a warmer day.

This is our site and some of our neighbors.

After the sun came out, the water took on a special glow and my spirits lifted.

I have a few more pictures but Blogger will not cooperate and it is getting late, so they will get saved, for now.

Happy New Year to everyone!


  1. Looks like a GREAT place...even with the cold weather....so what kind of antenna is that???.....I've never been to Ft Pickens...I'll put that on my list of places to visit...maybe in the fall...Tell Jerry and Wanda I said hi...you Guys have a great New Year...that pot of Community Chili Jerry shared on his blog sure looked inviting, especially with your weather...Horst

    1. The antenna is a Walmart digital indoor antenna..$9.99 several years ago. Works great when there's a city or tower

      This is an interesting place...way out on the end of a barrier island with great cell and TV reception, the Florida trail and $10 a night fee with the senior pass.

      I'll tell them hi....

    2. This place is sounding better all the time...thanks for the info...Enjoy yourselves.....any day camping in a Casita....is better than any best day not camping...Horst

  2. Just looks BBBBBBRRRRRRRR!

  3. Yes! At least the sun is shining brightly!

  4. Happy New Year! Here's to warmer weather heading your way.

    1. We could use some warm California breezes right now!

      It will be warmer soon as we are going south!

      Happy New Year.

  5. BRRRRRRR!!! So sorry your long awaited trip to Florida turned out to be an arctic adventure! I can imagine how it feels with that whipping wind.

    Sure hope it warms up soon. I looked at the national temperature map a little while ago and it looks like you'll have to go a lot farther south to escape the big chill.

  6. Thankfully the wind has died and the cold temps are quite doable as long as there is good company and a warm fire.

    But a southern relocation is coming sooner rather than later.
    My idea of wintering in FL does not include all these layers of clothing.

  7. Do I see Salt Springs on the radar? :)

  8. Enjoying your website. Your photography is terrific. Picked-up my Casita two years ago February 1st. Yes, drove from Virginia to Rice. First night was about 18 degrees. Fled east trying to get away from the weather. Had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do. Quite by accident I ended up at Fort Pickens. Yep, stayed 18 days. Just a terrific camp ground with awfully nice neighbors.
    Wish you folks well.