Wednesday September 28, 2011, 73 miles (117 km) – Total so far: 509 miles (819 km)
We finally left the Port Inn at Port St. Joe after a full breakfast. It was great to be on the road again. We flew through Mexico Beach with its beautifully groomed white sand beach and past Tyndall A.F.B. watching several jets fly over us. The fun ended when the shoulder stopped on the bridge over St. Andrews Bay. We would not see a shoulder again for over 10 miles. So we negotiated the road and sidewalk with the cars and people. The sidewalks all had telephone poles in the middle with an occasional sign mounted on two posts. It was pretty much an obstacle course. We passed by the Springfield Paper Mill where all the logging trucks go.
Continuing through Panama City the weather worsened with lightening and rain. We ducked into protection a few times. Entering Panama City Beach we passed the Lotus Café where we scored a great late lunch. We then rode beachside with all the bikers. It is bike week here (called Thunder Beach) and we are bikers too! It was fun with some really interesting scenery. We continued through a resort area and stopped at two state parks where there is no camping. Fortunately the Grayton Beach State Park had camping. So we grabbed a site as the sun was setting. Another biker from England rode by and saw our bikes. So we invited him to pitch his tent at our site. He is touring the U.S. for three months then moving down to Mexico. He also has the same Surly Long Haul Trucker that Jocelyn has. We enjoyed his company and all of us turned in early. In the middle of the night the raccoons discovered us. It was a raid! There’s something about having critters walk by you when there is nothing between you and them except a screen. We put the rain fly on because it had rained during the day and there were no stars showing. I removed the fly around 0230 to a beautiful starry night and the raccoon party began. It was interesting that one found the banana in my Camelbak water pack and ate just the banana not the peel. It was a good first day back.