Day 30. Monday, May 14 – Fort Walton Beach to Panama City Beach, Florida

Monday 14 May 2018

Humidity was as thick as the morning traffic, even with our early 7:00 a.m. start.  A short ride over the bridge to Okaloosa Island offered a superb view of the other half of Fort Walton Beach.  Snowdrifts of sand dunes separated Ft. Walton Beach from Destin. The heavy rush hour took most of the enjoyment out of the fancy resorts, interesting restaurants and colorful tourist trappings.  But water on the Emerald Coast, even with the hazy, humid sky, is just spectacular.

Anxious to get away from the constant rush of traffic, after an hour, we finally found a beach road.  We knew we were on a good course, when bikers turned on to the same road.

The contrast in two blocks was staggering.  Row after row of tightly stacked expensive homes, most of them being used as rentals.  Five miles on this stretch, before we saw our first high-rise (a condo and hotel).  The sun burned through the haze well before nine, enhancing the water, but sun and humidity were going to be a hot combination.  Our home tour lasted for about eight miles before our road of luxury homes turned back to a tree lined highway.  Loads of interior design shops and high end furniture stores were on the highway, even Goodwill had a “design” store; definitely an affluent area. Traffic was slightly better, but still took the next opportunity to rejoin the beach road and a nice bike path.  The storm brewing south of us was creating some “interesting” cloud formations; we were just happy for the shade.   This two lane road took a couple miles before more unbelievable tightly packed facades appeared.  This area was a bit more eclectic and there were still a couple of small home holdouts.  Small lots warranted very narrow and tall homes.  We’d venture that this is the next area to see massive (and expensive) development.  A wide multi-use path made travel via bike, almost as fast as the cars, until we hit the rolling roads, picturesque but taxing.  One neighborhood melded into the next, but Seaside was a bit more unique, just not easily photographed.  Duckies took a rest in the shade in this charming town.But we have never seen so much “over the top”, so close together homes, overwhelming but fun.  On the way out of town, we had a delicious early lunch, popcorn shrimp and amazing blackened chicken.  Sometime in the miles of extravagance, we reached the seriously way over the top neighborhood of Alys Beach.  A fairly new development with homes starting in the multi-million dollar range.

Forty six miles from our start this morning, we saw the first normal commercialization, as we turned toward the beaches of Panama City.Emerald water still glistened, beachfront homes were incredible diversified and empty foundations spoke of destructive storms.  Red flags began to appear on the beaches, warning of rough waters.  As we were reaching the end of the day, the southeast wind began to pick up; couldn’t wait to duck behind the hotel doors for relief.  Dinner was just down the street; food as delicious and the decor was fun.

Overloading the pictures, because sadly, today was our last day of the tour.  A tropical depression is heading our way! With the threat of lightening and four days of rain, we are pulling the plug on the trip and heading home.  In actuality, we are only a week short of our intended stop, but better safe than sorry.  As always, thank Everyone for joining us this trip.  We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did, and we sincerely hope we see you sometime in the future.

Stay tuned for the follow-up of this trip.

8 Responses to “Day 30. Monday, May 14 – Fort Walton Beach to Panama City Beach, Florida”

  1. David Says:

    I’m so glad you kids had a safe and adventerous trip. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. Karen Says:

    Thanks for sharing your travels. Have a good trip home.

  3. Dam Vermin Says:

    Shucks! Barb and I were going to surprise you in St Augustine.

  4. Lisa Johnson Says:

    Jerry and Lori,

    Glad you are safe. I have enjoyed your journey. Get some rest. Hopefully we will see you soon. Stella has a graduation party on June 9th here in Newport News.

    Take care

    Love you,


  5. Morgan Says:

    A delightful end to a fabulous trip. I enjoyed following along and living vicariously through your travels. We are looking forward to your triumphant return home.

  6. M.E. Says:

    Wow-wee-wow! What a great trip! Hope to see you soon…. 🙂

  7. Justin Says:

    Some crazy weather. Sorry it cut the trip short. Be safe and safe travels home.

  8. travis Says:

    Mission accomplished! Enjoyed web-biking with you, looking at all the great photos, and reading your commentary. Lots of pix on this last day…appropriately the final pic is a plate of pasta. Well done!

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