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Monday, May 14, 2018

Night 17 - Seaside - Grayton Beach - Panama City Beach

Airstream food court at Seaside

Lulu loves shopping in beachside kitsch

Sunset on Topsail Beach

We spent night 17 in our Roadtrek at Topsail State Park. But we enjoyed visiting other towns and parks on the visit.

TopSail State Park and Beach are beautiful places. The beach is very private - there are no parking places by it. You can walk - bike - or take the tram on the 3/4 mile path to it. The sand is so white and clean - the surf is blue and clear.

Grayton Beach State Park is similar - except you can drive your car or camper to the beach. There is a big parking lot - beach houses - showers - toilets. The beach is wide - white - and the surf awesome. We paid $5 to drive to the beach there. We looked at campsites - they were not as nice as TopSail - but were good - more open.

Next we went to Seaside. Seaside a a designed town with expensive craftsmen styled homes that create an ideal "turn of the 19th century look and feel." The streets are made more for walking than driving. There are beautiful town squares. It is like Disney's Celebration - but right on the beach.

I loved the Food Court made of Airstream Trailers. There are pretty permanent - but they provide a variety of comfort food. There are second floor restaurants and pubs where you can eat - drink - and view the surf. The "cottages" are available for rent - some of them look like giant mansions. They are all placed around the narrow bricked streets. We found a free spot on the town square - parked the camper there - and had lunch. There are some really cool stores there - throwbacks to the country store time.

We visited Seaside 30 years ago - when it first opened. It has matured nicely. I think most of the homes are vacation homes - the homes has signs with the owners' names and city/state. Of course Lulu said that we could live there and drive the 130 miles to FSU every day. When we lived in PA and she worked in NYC - she drove the distance once a week. I had to remind her - that she is 63 - and someday she would retire.

After Seaside - we went to Pier Park in Panama City Beach. It is a very nice mall/shopping center right on the beach by the pier. It is my favorite beach because it has the whitest sand - the warmest clearest water - and great places to eat - drink - and park your camper right by the beach. We ate and drank at the Hofbrau House - great German food and drink at reasonable prices. If you get lucky you can see a Bavarian band - or European Football.

Then we changed in the camper - crossed the street with our chairs and umbrella and enjoyed a couple hours of sun and surf. On the west side of the pier was a beach with lots of dog owners. It was fun seeing the dogs enjoy the water too. There was a helicopter port right by us that was giving short rides along the beach. The concrete pier sticks at least a 1/4 mile out into the water.

After the beach - we showered in the camper - and put on our riding clothes. As we pulled out - Lulu settled into the bed making phone calls. Pretty soon she was zonked out - and I did not see her until we pulled into our driveway. She slept the 2 hours - and was very fresh as she did most of the unloading.

We put about 300 miles total on the camper - mostly at 60 MPH. We spent two nights at TopSail for $20 a night. I keep a running tally of the camper use and cost. We paid $32,000 for it. This was night number 17. So it is down to $1882 a night. I hope I live to see it down to $100 a night. Someone said I should just sleep in it in the driveway.

All pictures taken with an iPhone 7s - unretouched - and free for anyone to use as they see fit.


This Grayson Beach pavilion would be a great camper carport

Grayson Beach bath house


Seaside foot court Airstreams


Cold drinks and ice cream

Seaside post office

We had barbecue here

Seaside band stand

Seaside bandstand

Country store in Seaside

Seaside store

Seaside New Orleans style street

Seaside wedding chapel was busy

Home of Seaside 

All windows were doors - beautiful home

Sunset at TopSail


Sunset Panorama

Berach walkway over dunes


My favorite beach spot - second to Waikiki

 Our camper stayed there at Panama City Beach

I liked this garnet Harley for under $8000

Our Hofbrau House

Lulu loves shopping - she does not buy a lot

Latitude 29 - just 6 degrees north of the Tropic of Cancer

Why is he leaning?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Night 16 - TopSail Preserve State Park - Near Seaside Florida

The whitest cleanest sand

Yellow surf flag

Night 16 in our camper

We are going to Europe next Sunday for 10 weeks - so Lulu wanted to vagabond west to some of the best beaches in the world. She reserved 2 nights in TopSail state Park at $20 a night. We drove the 130 miles over in our camper yesterday. What a nice quiet drive on Route 20 - west from Tallahassee.  We did not see many cars - maybe because they were all lines up behind me. I kept the camper at 60 MPH. 

Men lie about hand size and gas mileage. But Lulu figured our gas out - and she got 21.8 MPG. 

TopSail is beautiful. The camps sites are very nice. Electric - water - sewer - cable. The bath houses are clean and have lots of hot water and pressure. They are better than our little shower - so we used them. 

The tram takes you the 1/2 mile to a wonderful beach. You walk out on boardwalks over the high dunes. The boardwalks are made of plastic and easy on the feet. The beach has the whitest cleanest sand I have seen. No debris anywhere. Lulu enjoyed the medium surf - clean water. The yellow surf flag was up. There is a bath house and showers at the beach. We did not bring the bikes but should have. There are tons of nice flat paths to bike. At the beach they have racks for bikes. 

The campground was quiet at night. It cooled off - and we slept with the windows open - screens on. The AC was off. We slept right through the night - 10 PM to 7 AM. 

Last night - we shopped in the famous Destin Outlets. They are 5 miles west of us. We shopped from 7PM to 9PM. There were very few shoppers and it was a pleasant night. 

We ate supper and breakfast in the camper. If I would just eat only what Lulu serves me - I would lose weight. 

The tram is nice - pulled by a truck. It goes to the beach every hour - with a final one at 7:30 PM. Of course you could walk to the beach all night. 

There are lots of really big campers in here - some 45 feet long. Some look pretty permanent. We have one of the smallest. Look how tiny it looks in this picture. 

Our site
Our camper has 18,000 miles on it. We bought it with 12,000 miles on it. We bought it August 11 - 2017. It will sit now until its birthday. So far - we used out 6000 miles and slept in it 16 nights.

We bought our camper for $32,000. We stayed in it - 16 nights. The math is easy - it is a $2000 a night hotel!

Beach tram 1/2 mile

Boardwalks over dunes

Plastic boardwalk


No bikes allowed on boardwalk