four years ago today [2012.11.15]
i woke up at a rest area in mississippi, less than 15 miles from the alabama border. i headed east and stopped when i got to the florida welcome center. i was going to be meeting a friend who lived in pensacola though was early so i waited a little while at the rest area. a while back, another friend had told me they serve orange juice at the welcome center.. i may have gone in to see if they had any though i don't remember. after meeting my friend for brunch at a local restaurant, i headed over to pensacola beach and the gulf islands national seashore. it was really beautiful to explore the beach on the seashore. after experiencing so much cold weather out west, i really appreciated the warm florida sunshine. the water and bright sand was really nice, though it was a bit loud from the naval planes flying overhead.. they flew in formation like i'd seen them do at air shows.
i headed east from the national seashore to check out a really big monolithic dome home. i had just discovered these domes for the first time a couple days earlier in texas when i spontaneously decided to check them out, and there happened to be one on my way home in florida. this home survived hurricane ivan in 2004 while the adjoining houses on the beach were destroyed. after seeing the dome, i was going to take the road on the island to the next exit or all the way to the next town if possible, though it was closed so i had to head back to the peninsula. i made my way back and then headed east along the coast, taking u.s. highway 98 or the smaller local roads when they existed. i passed through seaside as it was getting dark.. it would've been nice to stay there though there may have been signs with parking rules or i didn't want to draw attention to the camper. i drove for almost two more hours and spent the night in a parking lot near the mouth of st joseph bay. i still had a day's worth of driving ahead of me before i'd get home, though was glad to be back in florida. my truck drank much less gas driving on the flat land compared to the mountainous terrain out west, and i enjoyed the beauty of the warm sun and gulf coast beaches.