Monday, January 24, 2011 (Travel from Crystal River to St. George Island State Park, Florida)

I got up at about 6:00 this morning and went right into the shower. We had a good 4 to 5 hour drive ahead of us today and we wanted to get an early start. As it turned out, it was just before 9:30 by the time we got all packed up and were heading out of the park gates.

It was a beautiful sunny day again today...perfect day for driving. We had an uneventful drive heading north along the coastal highway...that really isn’t all that close to the water. But the coast has a lot of marshy areas along with rivers, canals and small islands so I guess it’s kind of hard to have the highway too close. It was at Perry, Florida when we veered west onto highway 98 when we finally got closer to the water...and about an hour from our destination before we actually had great views of the Gulf of Mexico.

This is a picture of a bridge going over an inlet...

As we were driving along the coast, we noticed a huge billow of smoke rising off what I figured was St. George Island. Here is a picture that shows it in the background...we had stopped for a stretch break at a little town called Carrabelle..
Here is another picture along the coast...
As we turned off the highway onto the bridge that crosses over to the island, we knew for sure that the smoke was coming from the area of the State Park...hmmm...hope a campfire didn’t get out of hand! The bridge across to the island is about 4 miles long and as you enter the island there is a big lighthouse...we’ll have to check that out sometime while we are exploring the island. We continued east along this very narrow island to the entrance to the State Park. While registering, we asked the Ranger what all the smoke was...apparently they were doing a controlled burn. Well okay, then. We continued another 4 miles to the actual campground.

Site 44 was okay but a little narrow...and the fire pit was situated so that if you backed your trailer right into the site, it would be way too close to actually have a fire. Luckily the site is long enough for us to be able to leave space at the back of the 5th wheel and still be able to park the truck sideways in front.

We got all set up and even managed to get a satellite signal...unfortunately, the internet signal using my rocket stick isn`t the best...rather sporadic. So we`ll have to see if I`m able to actually upload pictures and keep our travel blog up to date.

Once all finished, Steve called me to go for a walk to the end of the campground. He had taken pictures of the smoke that was getting awfully close and had actually heard the roar of the burning brush. So we headed off with camera in hand. Well, to our surprise, they had burned right up to the very edge of the campground.  They had gotten this close...on purpose! Quite a few campers had gathered and were taking pictures...too bad we had missed the actual flames!

On the way back to our site, we checked out the bathhouse—there were 2 of them in this 60 site campground but one was closed for renovations. Once back we sat outside for a bit inviting Marilyn from next door over to join us. Her husband, Jim had gone fishing with friend. They are from Illinois and are in their big Class A motorhome on a month’s getaway from the cold northern weather.

After a bit, we retreated was time for a gourmet dinner of KD and wieners! Well, at least I had a salad with mine! After some good Monday night TV shows...Yay, no was bedtime

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