The Emerald Coast & more....

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End May 16, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yesterday I visited the town of Perry and the nearby coast. The day started with a bike ride from the campground through town and back. The bike ride gave me an idea for a future blog. You'll know it when you see it.
After the bike ride I showered, had lunch, then went for a drive. I took some pictures of the town of Perry then headed to the coast. This was a 20 minute drive to the first location. I'd call it a town but a dozen houses does not make a town. Along the Gulf of Mexico coast there are small enclaves of houses and trailers wherever there is solid ground to build or put a trailer. The first place was called Adams Beach. Swimming was not recommended as per the posted signs so I do not know why they called it Adams BEACH! A quick drive around these house built on stilts and then I drove a few of miles to the next place.
This place was called Dekle Beach (still no beach or swimming) and Jug Island. It looked to me that Jug Island was part of Dekle, but the map shows them as 2 distinct places. Size here really isn't taken into consideration as Jug Island had a grand total of 2 buildings on it....and even one of those had been abandoned. But I will say it definitely was an Island. I did drive over a 20 foot bridge to get to Jug Island (so the water was 5 feet wide). The water surrounding the places wasn't a good enough give-a-way that it was an island. The State of Florida built a bridge and a paved roadway to these 2 houses and even maintains them. There was a Florida State sign on the Island stating the fine for littering on this roadway. It's not like the roadway could have continued on. The Island wasn't big enough for more than 2 houses.
There was a dead end sign on that road so I knew I'd be returning the same way. So I drive on this dead end road and end up guessed it...a dead end! The road branched off towards this one place. The actual road stopped at a gated entrance. The gate looked like it belonged in front of a hotel or resort. The other side of the gate looked like a trail through the brush. I turn the truck around, park and get out. Not far up the "trail"..."driveway"...whatever you want to call it, is this huge 3 story house. The gate to this place is padlocked and there's also a chain across the roadway. It didn't look like anybody had been there in years. Of course I'm curious. Besides, it's a photo op, so I do what I can to get around the gate.
On each side of the gate is a wall down to the water. Luckily the water level is low. I try getting around on one side and I pass through these extremely prickly branches. I'm in shorts and sandals and my feet and legs get all scratched up. My hands are bleeding from moving the branches. Then I realize I can't get back up to the road on that side. Back through the prickly bushes. Check the other side of the gate. No problem. I must mention at this time that there were no No Trespassing signs. I walk up what must have been at one time the driveway. Now it's overrun with shrubs and weeds. I should have brought my Indiana Jones machete. These 3 "vultures" are perched on the upper railing of the house. They take off once I'm close....but stay close by and circle above.
There's a walkway (dock) out into the Gulf that's falling into disrepair with numerous missing planks. I take a few pictures then notice that somebody has removed a few boards from the locked gate that's blocking the stairs going up to the second level balcony. The second level has a few rocking chairs that have been strapped to the railing. I'm assuming so that the wind doesn't blow them away. There's a room there where the door has been kicked in. I see some exercise equipment. I also see a couple dozen 2 litre bottles full of pop. There's a solid door leading to the stairwell that leads up to the main level of the house. The shutters on the house are all closed.
Whoever abandoned this place left thinking they were coming back and for whatever reason never did. I didn't do any more exploring. The place gave me the creeps. My curiosity has been aroused as to who the inhabitants of the house were and the reasons the place has been left the way it is without being sold. One more of life's mysteries.
From there I drove to Keaton Beach, walked along the dock and beach there for a while then drove further to Fish Creek. After visiting Fish Creek I returned to Keaton Beach to wait for the sunset. In Keaton Beach there was a restaurant that is usually open, with the exception of Mondays. Of's Monday!
All the places I visited on this drive looked abandoned. The majority of houses had for sale signs in front of them. I hardly saw anybody around. It must be a resort area that is only busy in the summer. In my research for any information on the abandoned house I found this about the area I was in.
"For views of a rustic part of the Florida Gulf Coast, take County Road 361, which leads northwest from the small town of Steinhatchee. You get there from U.S. 19/98 by taking State Route 51 south for nine miles. This gets you to the coast. Graveled CR 361 leads inland for several miles but moves toward the coast to reach the sea at the tiny village of Fish Creek, near Piney Point. The road then leads to Keaton Beach where you hit pavement. To the north, at one-mile intervals, are more small, rustic villages: Jug Island, Dekle Beach, and Adams Beach. This is a part of Florida seen by few visitors to the state, quite close to the major highway but neglected by most. Even if you don't care to stop, the views of the gulf are worth the short loop from and to U.S. 19/98. CR 361 returns to the main highway, 17 miles past Adams Beach."
Today I packed up and hit the road for the Emerald Coast. My GPS said the fastest way to Pensacola was on the Interstate. My maps showed a nice highway that followed the coast. It would take somewhat longer to drive but the scenery would be worth it. The first part of the drive from Perry to Ochlockonee was through the woods. This part of Florida is considered the tree capital of the south with its 525,000 acres of trees. Then the highway followed the Gulf Coast. For the most part this part of the coast is still undeveloped. Then I hit Panama City and that changed. The landscape became very commercialized and touristy. I had arrived on the Emerald Coast with its pristine white sand beaches and emerald coloured water. Here you find the best beaches in America. Along this drive I passed into the Central time zone. A sign that I am slowly making my way back west.
Over the next week I will be checking out this Emerald Coastline. I will let you know if their slogans are correct. The first sign that they are correct is the picture of the beachfront not far from my trailer. I have beachfront property for the next week. This campground is not a KOA. The KOA was off the Interstate about 20 miles away. I wanted to be close to the Gulf and it's beaches. Unfortunately the majority of the campgrounds along the Gulf charge 50 to 75% more per night for a site then I've been paying. The weekly rate where I'm at is reasonable at what I would normally pay per night. Research does pay off.
I had difficulty choosing pictures to post today. I had taken over 250 shots yesterday. Most of them are at Keaton Beach as the sun was setting so they are all a little different.
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