After New Orleans, we stopped in Biloxi, MS for a few days. We had been through the area about 15 months ago right after Hurricane Isaac so we were curious to see how it looked after the devastation of that storm. Plus, we needed a few days to relax and recover from our time in New Orleans! We stayed at the Majestic Oaks RV Resort, which was in a great location and had everything we needed. The weather wasn’t great, so we hunkered down most of the time. We did take a walk out on the beach and explored the area a bit and were happy to see that it had been rebuilt nicely from the storm, but there was still evidence of the damage that was done.
After 2 nights here, it was time to head to Florida! Part of our routine when we are getting ready to leave is to check the tires. Turns out they were low (we think due to the below freezing temps) and we couldn’t get them to pump up with our air hose. So, we had a slight detour to find a place to pump them up. A bit of a challenge since it was Christmas Eve, but we found a place and were on the road only about an hour behind schedule. We arrived at the Emerald Coast RV Resort in Panama City Beach, FL in early afternoon. Mike’s friend from high school, Pat Bunker, lives here with his wife Allison and soon to be Baby Bunker, due in Feb. He owns Panama City Beach Maps, so knows many people in the town. He hooked us up with a free 4-night stay at this nice place! Awesome! They invited us over to their home for handmade pizza (BBQ chicken was my fave) to celebrate with a group of their friends. Both of their families live elsewhere, so they do an “orphans” gathering for friends in the area. We felt right at home!
The next day was Christmas and it did feel a bit odd waking up and not have anywhere to be or rush off to. I think it was my first Christmas ever, not seeing family. It was a gorgeous day, so Mike & I grabbed a bottle of champagne and squeezed some OJ from the oranges Craig gave us from his tree in New Orleans, and headed down to the beach. We drank mimosa’s sitting on the beach – perfect! The sand is so white and feels like powder in your toes. We headed back over to Pat & Allison’s for the afternoon and evening. Another group of their friends came over for take out Chinese and homemade lumpias – very tasty. It was so nice to have friends to hang out with!
The rest of our time here was great. PCB is a very cool resort town that apparently gets crazy for Spring Break. It was quieter while we were there, but we prefer it that way! Pat tour guided us around and took us to a few of his favorite local restaurants. Liza’s Café for a delicious lunch and Marina Cantina for tequila and dinner (right up Mike’s alley)! He also had passes for golf at Bay Point Resort. I opted out and let Mike play with Pat and a few of his friends. Our time here was fantastic and we can’t thank the Bunkers enough for hosting us at their home, chauffeuring us around and introducing to their town!
We departed on Saturday morning around 9 as we had one of our longest drives ahead of us to St. Petersburg, FL. We were losing another hour, had to get gas and hit some unexpected traffic, so rolled into the St. Pete KOA in the dark, which is not ideal. (BTW, this was not our favorite park – overpriced, loud and not a great location). We got set up and decided to just eat in and call it a night. The weather had definitely changed – warmer and humid! Family friends/former neighbors of Mike’s, Bill & Emily Lee, live here, so the next morning we met them for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel then headed up to their home in Palm Harbor for the day and night. The rain had arrived so indoor activities were on the agenda. It is different rain than we have at home — constant, loud and a lot of it. Basically coming down in sheets. Wowza! We had a nice night at Bill & Emily’s watching football, drinking wine and eating Bill’s delicious Chicken Cacciatore! We ended up spending the night at their condo instead of making the trek back to the MoHo.
The next morning we were treated to homemade French toast with orange syrup and mimosa’s (a dream meal for me!). It was so nice to spend time at their home and reminisce about Mike’s mom. They were very interested in hearing about our adventure and gave us all of their support which means a lot! We said our goodbye’s, Mike and I ran a few errands then decided to head down to Clearwater Beach where there was a huge beach party going on for the Outback Bowl – LSU and Iowa fans everywhere. A really fun atmosphere. What a difference a day can make weather-wise. The rain was gone and hello sunshine. Tomorrow morning we head south to Ft. Myers Beach for New Year’s Eve!