We might be headed north, but we weren’t quite done with Florida yet. You might say we were dragging our tires all the way. With the sunny weather still holding on, we had a 3-day window before a period of rain was due to come through. We had waited this long already—why not make the most of these glorious days and find a place to camp? So we swung off the interstate and headed towards the water . . . there was a nice little campground that had available sites.
Located on a barrier island, nestled in a tangle of live oaks and tropical shrubs, the campground was private but surprisingly large and spread out. Feeling like we were isolated from civilization, we had the ocean on one end of the campground and the Intracoastal at the other. We were soon setting up our camp, feeling good about the decision that brought us here.
We found ourselves down at the river’s edge later that afternoon. We were very fortunate to have found North Beach Camp Resort. Located where it was, we would see the morning sun rising from the ocean as well as setting over the Intracoastal at night. Here at this peaceful spot along the water, we’d find ourselves returning often over the next two days.
Begun back in 1826, Congress authorized the first survey for an inland canal between the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. During the following decades several segments of the waterway were built. In 1925, Congress authorized construction of the Louisiana and Texas Intracoastal Waterway, as well as surveys to be made from New Orleans to Apalachicola Bay. Today, the Intracoastal Waterway runs for most of the length of the Eastern Seaboard, from New Jersey to Brownsville, Texas. There is a good deal of activity along its route, from commercial barges to recreational boaters. It has even more activity in spring and fall when snowbirds migrate south for the winter months.
We would return to this water’s edge each evening to get our sunset fix.
Over the coming two days we kicked back and enjoyed the benefits that Florida offers. We tried to make each moment count, in a leisurely kind of way. A lot of that seemed to focus on the water . . . and the beaches . . . and just being outdoors.
The activity that surpassed them all—something that happened on a spur of the moment—came about in the last hours of our stay here. We had anticipated taking a Sunset Sail while at Key West (they are very popular down there), but it never did work out. There were other opportunities along our way, but again, for one reason or another, it just didn’t happen. Until now. And that was how we were ending our trip on such a crescendo. It is an experience we would highly recommend.
A double-masted Schooner is really the way to go. Look for a day with moderate wind and you’ll have a wonderful time riding through the waves.
The perspective you get is a rare treat.
Make friends with the captain and get the inside scoops on what it’s really like to make your living doing this!
A sunny afternoon feels great on the water!
Best of all, take the sunset cruise. You’ll see the twilight colors change the sky into a myriad of hues and the water soon reflects those vibrant tones.
Some ships sail west toward the horizon, where the evening sun drops into the golden sea.
We cruised along the Intracoastal and watched a city become backlit by a purple sky.
Yes, we thought we’d made the most of the last days spent in the Florida sun. We didn’t regret our impulsive detour down a lonely road. Nevertheless, we couldn’t fight the inevitable much longer; we were on our way home tomorrow. We packed up in preparation.
And so, the big drive began–this time in earnest!
You have a lot of time for reflection on a solid two days of driving. It was bittersweet, but as we made our way along the busy, frenetic highways filled with speeding cars and careless drivers, it was easy to sit back and reflect on what we were leaving behind . . .
Softly lit mornings . . .
followed by pastel-tinged evenings.
Crystal white dunes, backed by the azure-blue gulf,
and rough ocean waters along rock-strewn beaches.
Quiet landscapes we felt privileged to find;
clear, moon-lit beaches we had to ourselves.
And all of those wonderful, stupendous sunsets.
Two days later we were pulling into the Airstream factory in Jackson Center, Ohio. Tomorrow our well-traveled Airstream would get a thorough check-out along with some minor repairs. Fortunately, the factory wasn’t much of a detour from home. It was a rather cold winter evening with snow piles still dotting the landscape here in Ohio—quite the contrast from what we were accustomed to. But the skies were clear and as the night was coming on . . . unexpectedly, surprisingly . . . wouldn’t you know . . . the skies put on one last unforgettable show.
It seems Florida doesn’t have a monopoly on brilliant sunsets.
Chris and Melinda,