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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

In Our Top Five

~Saturday, January 2, 2021~

Day 202 (Travel Day)

Man are we movin’ fast. We just left our nice campsite in Mississippi (just a 1 night teaser of a stopover) and are now finally headed to Florida. We were thrilled that we got to see a glimpse of The South, albeit short. With its unique melting pot of cultures, it truly feels like you’re in a whole new world being in this part of the country. We are definitely taking note of more amazing places to camp and sitesee as we will be back! There was even a fleeting moment that we were welcomed to Sweet Home Alabama (only about 30 minutes worth), on our way to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. As we drove through Pensacola, Florida, we drove on the David Bogan Bridge which crosses over Escambia Bay. This bridge was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 which took out 50 sections of the bridge from storm surges, not so much by the 130 mph winds. At the time, the lowest parts of the bridge were at 12 feet above the water surface. But after chief engineer David Bogan led the reconstruction and design improvements, that section had been revised to 25 feet. The bridge was named and dedicated in his honor after his untimely passing at the age of 43 from brain cancer. Very sad but a wonderful recognition.

The weather for the most part has really cooperated with us on the trip so far, so a little rain on the drive seemed a little strange, driving cautiously slower than our usual 60 mph. At least it wasn’t a tornado. I’ll take rain any day.

We knew Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, in Santa Rosa Beach, FL was going to be a great campground, but not this special. We would put this in our top 5 of all the campgrounds we’ve stayed, and it didn’t take us long to come up with that decision. Love it!!

With all of the amenities the park offers, it’s a steal at $50/night. There are about 150 RV sites, tent sites, cabins, and even bungalows. There are over 1,643 acres consisting of hiking and biking trails, and 3.2 miles of beach along the Gulf Coast surrounded by beautiful sand dunes. What we probably like the most is the lush landscaping and trees (mostly in the Weeping Willow section). Jeff pulled in perfectly (1 try), and it’s a good thing, since our neighbors were right there roasting afternoon s’mores while watching our every move. Lovely! No pressure. We’re at site 34 for 2 nights, then have to move to site 44 for 1 night. That’s just the way it goes when you’re here at this time of year. Places are all booked up. And to top things off, there is an Airstream Festival with nearly every site occupied by a “silver bullet”. Apparently, this is an annual event where they take up the entire park at this time of year, but sadly had several people cancel due to COVID, which is how we were able to get in. Our thoughts and prayers are with those that are dealing with this awful virus. Hope you have a speedy and full recovery.

Before dark, we took a walk around several of the loops. There really isn’t a bad site to be found. We met a couple and their cute Chihuahua from Oregon. They had recently purchased a new Mercedes sprinter van after they made the decision to take advantage of his 2 year leave from the military to hit the road last October for 1 year of full-time travel. Good for them to be doing it so young. The sad thing is they’re already thinking of selling their van after the trip is over, to purchase a travel trailer instead. They find the van too limiting for site seeing since that is their only mode of transportation. There are some great things about the vans though in that you can pretty much park anywhere and move at the drop of a hat. Every RV choice has some form of restrictions. Of course they were looking at Lance’s where we could tell them first hand, that they would not be disappointed with their purchase.

As we finished setting things up, I decided to put away the Christmas decor and bring the trailer back to its normal state. I wasn’t sure if everything would fit in my confinement to one box (my direct order from my husband). But it all fit perfectly, and my space saver bags worked superbly for the 50 or so Holiday pillows I purchased for the trailer (kidding….take the zero off). Now of course, everything looks so bare 😩. It’s always an adjustment when saying goodbye to the Holidays.

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