September 26, 2015 - I didn't get to go out and say goodbye to the beach today. :(
We spent most of the morning cleaning and packing things away, just to make sure that we wouldn't get charged for leaving anything behind. Apparently, you get charged, like, $100 for leaving anything in the refrigerator. I don't know. At any rate, we got all of our stuff out and got packed up in short order! I got to sit out on the back porch with Uncle Garry one last time and stare at the water before we had to leave, which was nice. I really am going to miss this place.
After saying our goodbyes and heading on our way, Steve and I decided to drive to Panama City to have a little adventure. We didn't really go anyplace together during the week, so we thought we'd see what there was to see out that way. We saw that we were next to not just one, but two Air Force bases! Two bases, and I never saw one cute soldier! I think someone called ahead and warned them about me.
Once we got past the bases, things got kind of cluttered and seedy. I'm not 100% sure where all we drove through, but we got to Panama City after about an hour or so. I've been to Panama City a few times, but this was the first time that I have noticed how gross and tourist-trappy it really is. The hotels kind of loom over you, and everyone is walking in the street, and there are cheesy shops every three feet or so, it seemed. Don't get me wrong, I remember enjoying my trips to PCB a great deal, but after the week in a fairly quiet and, residential I guess you'd call it, beach town, it was all too much for me. I had the distinct feeling that bad judgement happens there a lot.
I told you I was spoiled now!
We stopped and ate lunch at Sharky's. We'd eaten there before, on a trip we took there in 2002, and have a framed picture of us sitting outside under one of the umbrellas. It would have been nice to have had another picture made to compare it to, but we ate inside. We were the only people sitting inside, actually, but as sunburned as we were, we couldn't stand the thought of eating outdoors. Too much sunshine, thanks!
I managed to send a few emails as we headed out of town, and I got some really weird advice on how to take care of a sunburn. Oh, well, I'm willing to try anything at this point. As we drove out of town, I spotted a World Market, which I made Steve stop at (of course.) We shopped there for a few minutes before heading home.
I was kind of dozing off and on while we headed out of town, so I don't know how we got back into Alabama, exactly. Steve wanted to kind of stair-step our way through the panhandle to get to 65, and so we drove through some really small, and sometimes a little creepy, towns. I did find a place I'd like to see again. It was called Florala, which I'd never heard of before. It was very cute and had the same "stopped in time" vibe about it that Port St. Joe had. I'll go back one of these days and visit the state park there, if I can. If nothing else, I'd like to take pictures!
We finally (seriously, finally) got to 65 and headed north, and I noticed that the closer to home we got, the more stuffy my nose got. If anyone knows what grows north of Birmingham that doesn't grow below Birmingham, I'd love to find out because that has to be whatever I'm allergic to outside. I'm guessing it's some kind of mutant pine trees or something. Oy. We made it home at around 7:00, give or take, and even though I'm going to miss being able to walk on the beach whenever I like, I am glad to be home.
Back to reality.