Sunday, October 19, 2014

Panama City Beach

On Sunday, I woke up at 7 am and the sky looked stormy to the south and west of Atlanta.  The guys wanted to go out for breakfast but I had a little over 300 miles to ride and wanted to get going.  By 9 am I was on the road leaving my friends apartment and heading towards I-85 south.  I hadn't put on rain gear and within 5 minutes of entering the highway the sky opens up, light rain at first but I could see black sky ahead and knew worse was coming up.  I quickly pull off the highway and head to the first McDonald's I see for breakfast.  Soon there was torrential rain but 15 minutes later it had stopped.  I get back on the road and take I-185 towards Columbus.   The road was pretty much empty and I had the chance to take a few pictures of my new helmet.  I love taking these shots.

After Columbus I took route 431 south towards Eufaula and enter Alabama, another state scratched off my list of ridden states.  The road was good but a bit monotonous, not much to see on either side until I get to Eufaula.  As I approach Eufaula I see a VFW and a memorial with a Bell UH-1 Iroquois (Huey).  I love military equipment and had to stop to get a photo of my Super Tenere next to the Huey.

Next I enter Eufaula and start seeing some beautiful old homes.   I stop a few times to take photos and then stop for a quick lunch.  The bike needed gas too, a quick stop for gas and I was on my way south again.

A few miles down the road I start seeing lots of white, many white fields.  I had never seen cotton fields, pretty amazing to see white fields.

The next town I pass through, Dothan, seems to be struggling a bit, lots of boarded up homes, old cars and run down gas stations.  I stop at a Kangaroo Express for a bottle of water and an old guy pulls in on a beat up Kawasaki cruiser. We start chatting and he tells me he's down on luck, bike has problems and he has no money for food. I gave him a few bucks for food, he thanked me a lot and then went inside and I saw him buy food. We chatted on the way out and then parted ways. Made me sad.  Paying forward I guess.

Soon I was leaving Alabama and entering Florida but as I'm about to enter Florida I see the visitor center for Alabama on the north going side of the road and another Huey.  I quickly turn around and snap a few more photos of the bike and the Huey.

I turn around again and head south entering Florida and take a photo of the sign even though the sign said "Emergency Stopping Only", I'm a rebel.

I arrive in Panama City Beach and start looking for a campsite.  Lots of motels but soon I find Campers Inn, a nice little campsite on the opposite side of the main road that runs along the beach, perfect location.  I quickly setup my tent, put on a bathing suit and head to the beach with my camera.  The temperature was in the low 90's and the sun was about to set.  The beach is stunning, beautiful white sand and the water of the gulf always warm.  

I can't take sunset over water pictures in New Jersey so whenever I visit Florida I try to take as many photos as I can.  I was lucky on this day, stunning sky and sunset.

Took a few photos of the stunning sunset and then noticed people pointing at the water.   I get closer to the water and then realize what the commotion is all about.  There are stingrays swimming around close to shore.  I chat with a few people and I'm told the stingrays love to feed late in the afternoon.

I get back in the water and try to take a few more photos but it was getting dark fast.  I tried using the flash to see if it would cut through the water and managed to get a few more photos.  It was an amazing feeling knowing the stingrays were swimming all around me but don't come close to me.

I head back to the campsite, take a quick shower and then head out for dinner at a nearby place.  Two fish tacos and a beer later and I was heading back to the campsite.  Didn't even bother getting the sleeping bag out, put the self inflating mat inside the tent and laid on it.  I was quickly asleep like a baby.  
Tomorrow I will ride along the coast past Pensacola and eventually Mobile, Alabama.


  1. A beautiful sunset after a great day of riding... what's not to love. Save travels, George.

    1. Thanks Sonja. Nothing better than a good riding day

  2. Gorgeous sunset pictures.

    I am glad you are enjoying your trip and have lots of photo opps.

  3. A nice scenic ride with a very nice sunset to finish. Looks like a really nice trip. Except the 90s. That's a little too warm for me!

    1. I was born in Africa, the heat doesn't bother me so much, it's the humidity that's a killer specially when you ride with full gear. I had the option of bringing my summer riding mesh jacket but it's not waterproof and I also knew I would run into cold days. I have my heavy mesh jacket that has an outer layer that can be zipped up to make it waterproof and is also good for very cold days.

  4. George,

    I'll have to say I'm really jealous. What a great trip and you're only getting started! I'm enjoy looking at your photos, the sunset was especially amazing. Ride safe and keep sending updates.


    Live Free. Ride Hard. Be Happy.

    1. I really wish I had the time to do Big Bend and San Antonio, it will have to be on another trip. Wait until you see the pictures of Mobile, Biloxi, New Orleans :-)

  5. Florida seems like a dream to me now ... I am totally envious of the warm temps and the riding weather. Enjoy your ride.

    1. I have been to Florida multiple times, I was in the Clearwater/Tampa area with my family just last month, loved it. We drove down in my comfy SUV :-)
      A dream trip is the ride to Key West, I did it on my Kawasaki Mean Streak a few years ago. Watched the sunset in Key West and then saw the sunrise along the keys on the way up, that's a dream to see.