Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Vacation Part III

We set out in the foggy morning headed for Florida.  I've never been on a real road trip and being from Texas... everything is "far".  So I was pleased to discover the joys of breezing through several states in one day!  So you CAN get out of Texas in a car...  Interesting...

Next we found ourselves in Mississippi where we took the coast road so that we could enjoy their beaches.  They were white and beautiful with inviting places to stop along the way.

It was still cold and gray, but the wind wasn't blowing like crazy and it was very pleasant exploring their docks. 

We discovered the joys of the Waffle House in Mississippi.  Breakfast time!  We Bellied-Up-To-The-Bar where we were served up quite a show with our food!  The workers here moved in, out and around one another.  There was some unknown choreography guiding their movements as each one was a part of a larger machine that turned out plate after plate of Breakfast!

We had the best omelet we've ever eaten here and the rest was just great too.  I've often wondered what people outside of Texas (Mexico Annex) ate for breakfast and now I know.  But so that we would not feel lost.. there was the "Breakfast Wrap" on the menu, suspiciously similar to a taquito.  This man was a maestro on the grill and we tipped him well.Thanks Mississippi for your Southern Hospitality!

We took a very short stroll across the street on the beach. Beautiful white sand and placid clear water.  It must be nice living here...

And WHY is there nothing on this shore but a Waffle House?  Has Christopher Columbus not BEEN here yet?  The Waffle House became our mantra... we "Waffle Housed" our way to Florida where it seemed as if there was one on every corner. 

We had no destination at this point but "destinations happen"...  I checked on my Facebook on the iPad and there was a post from Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville... Hmmm... I wonder if there's a Margaritaville in Florida?  YES!  We have a destination!  Panama City Beach Florida. 

Hotwire found us a nice La Quinta to settle in for the night so we had a plan.  We were very pleased with our room.  Nicely coordinated and clean...Comfy beds and a great breakfast included.  Thumbs UP!  We booked a second night.

But, the reason we are here awaits... Margaritaville.  I left my camera in the room so we had to take pictures with the iPhone.  The place was jumpin' to the tune of concert clips with movies projected onto a sail stretched across a wall.  I had a delicious Mango Margarita and Mahi Tacos.  Bruce had a burger which wasn't the best he'd ever had...

But we were here for the ambiance and to tick off another box on my T-Shirts-from-Margaritavilles list.  Which I DID!  I love giving money to Jimmy Buffett!  He goes all out to entertain me when I visit his little establishments... complete with upside-down airplanes hanging from the ceiling.

We spent the next day shopping and touring around the Panama City Beach area.  We had finally outrun the rain and the skies were clear and cool.  This town can compare to South Padre...

With a little bit of Kemah thrown in.

We were looking for a marina to walk the docks but every one we found was locked down.  Unfortunate for anyone who might be looking to sell their boat.  We settled for a nice lunch on a dock, delicious black bean soup and a panini with a Watermelon Margarita. 

We found a beach access point that looked inviting...  This is where the South Padre comparison really comes into play. 

The condos line the water with these corridors allowing the rest of us access to the beautiful shore.  I couldn't wait to get out there and put my toes in the sand...  This was not to be.  It was just too ?@$# COLD!

We kept our coats and shoes on and took a little walk.  The sand is so different from ours... it's very fine.  It reminded me a bit of cornstarch or baking soda. 

We messed around on the beach for a while until we remembered that we were walking downwind and that the return trip would not be as pleasant.

We left the beach and continued on checking out the town and what all it had to offer the casual vacationer.  We didn't find any type of Marina to explore.  Panama City Beach looks like it would be a "Spring Break" kind of place, but isn't what we're looking for.  It was at this point that we realized the error in booking our hotel for a second night.  It would have been time for us to drive on to the next destination had we not.  We went back to the room and had a nap, then went back out in search of dinner.

We found the streets mostly deserted, again, it's low season...  This one place looked like it had all the business in town so we stopped in at Sharkey's.

This place had the ambiance we were looking for, fun/casual/beach.  I had every intention of being good, but was lured by the sight of a pile of fried food being delivered to a nearby table.  Oh well... give up and go with it.  We had a delicious dinner of very fresh fried fish and trimmings.

This was the end to our time in Panama City Beach... we had to go out as we came in.  TOURISTS!