Sunday, February 10, 2013


Returning to the road after a layoff of several years is like reestablishing intimacy with a wife or lover.  There are a hundred things once known and long forgotten that crowd forward upon the senses, and there is the sharp thrill of recognition in all of them.

                   Wallace Stegner in The Rediscovery of America: 1946    

It was a familiar tow along the Big Bend Scenic Byway (Hwy 98), glimpses of flat grey water through a fringe of Sable Palms. It was drizzly and cold and we were playing  tag with another Airstream also traveling East along the Gulf Coast.  The predicted heavy rain caught us as we turned into the little county park at Newport.


This is new spot for us but SO well located –- across from the St Marks NWR, close by Wakulla Springs and the St Marks bike trail, and right next to the St Marks River.  Oh Yes, Tupelo Honey roadside just  short walk away.  It’s a short four day interlude before proceeding on the the Atlantic coast but we are returning …

IMG_7487 - Copy - Copy

St Marks Bike Trail traces the first Congressionally  authorized Railroad.  Back in 1835 there were no steam engines, so the rails were wooden with iron strips on top.  The carts were pulled by mules.  Cotton bales moved South to the port of St Marks; firebrick, salt and other commodities  went North to the capitol and the plantations. The railroad builders were authorized to cut the big timber for 100 feet either side of the right of way.  Seems congress got a lot more generous with the land grants to build the trans-continental railroads.  Patty and I took our first overnight bike tour here years ago –- “High Adventure.” We have been back several times and it was wonderful to see the surface so smooth and the cyclists having a great time.

Tupelo Honey is in short supply this year –-confused weather last year confused the bees and we were lucky to get our stash of this wonderful product and catch up with all the vagaries of the industry.

al and tupelo honey - Copy PATTY TUPELO

St Marks National Wildlife Refuge feels like home to us.  Its vast panoramas of marsh grass, wide water management dikes, and patches of  pine and palm are hard to capture in a picture and, of course, those  sparkling  close ups of eagles and wading birds require equipment, talent and PATIENCE that I will never acquire. We walked the dikes and lingered near the eagles nests and watched the changing light paint the marsh.


Patty preparing to launch at a photo blind



Wakulla Springs is one of the great places on our planet – deepest single outlet spring in the world pumping  250 million gallons plus into  three miles of  untrammeled river,  home to nearly every tropical species including MANATEES!!  Patty loves Manatees and  we saw a dozen or more on the “Jungle Cruise.”


RETURNING brings the new and the familiar, new friends and well worn paths.  We will leave tomorrow with another layer of memories and some leads on new places to see next time....and predictions of yet another rainy drive.

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