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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Hugging the Gulf


I left my daughter’s house at 9. My GPS told me I’d arrive at 1:30 CST. This is determined if I drove straight through and at the speed limit. I take rests. I stop to make lunch and eat it calmly and stretch. I take bathroom breaks. I take scenic stop breaks. If a brewery is on the way and off the main course, I take it and skew everything for GPS. I am constantly advised to make a U-Turn or to take the next right, then right, then left. Sometimes I am told aggressively to get to the route. I arrived at 3:30. It was an interesting drive along 85 South to 65 South to 113 to 31 to Gulf Coast Hwy. Kia, Hyundai manufacturing, past a car fire, vastness followed by a small abandoned village, then a prosperous stretch of nationally branded restaurants, stores, and shops in a long line, not in a mall. I set camp and then went to get wood. I was all set and had dinner: snapper, mushroom/reunion/spinach sautéed, and succotash. I chose to stay home and to listen to the Super Bowl on the radio. I brought my Bose system with three additional CD’s. I made a place for it above the foot of the bed. I am suspended the system on two gold chains holding a birch platform. It is very elegant. I decided to bring it since I was going to be in sites with electricity for six weeks. I also brought the hot air popcorn maker and the toaster. I enjoyed the radio. It was the best Super Bowl experience I have had. I have watched all other Super Bowls on TV. Okay, yes the commercials are important, but I don’t miss it since I can see them even before the Super Bowl on the Internet. Music is to be heard so the radio is ideal. The show itself, the visual, not necessary, since I’ve seen their acts. Once the game was over, mid fourth quarter, I switched to the Big Broadcast and heard the last hour and half. I was happy for Manning and Denver. They took care of business. They stopped the best offense and the MVP. The mantra, “This is for Peyton” worked.
I woke to the sun coming through the window. I rose slowly, south slow. Making breakfast took the chill off and the activity got me going. I opened the door and left it open. The bird sounds were everywhere. Some birds were coming in to eat the seed I sprinkled around. As I ate inside the Scamp I watched the ground birds feast. I had to do some chores: Valentine cards, water, propane for stove, beach towel, sleeping shirt. I should have brought my cashmere-sleeping sweater and I forgot the beach towels. When I got home, I prepared for a bike ride. I wore the fluorescent orange windbreaker for warmth as well as safety. I took a 14-mile ride along the Gulf past the entrance to Pensacola Naval Air Base. After my shower I had lunch and drove to the Gulf Islands National Seashore to walk on the Gulf in this very strong wind. The sand was blowing hard, almost in a sand blasting force. Very Assateague, very familiar. When I got home, I read some more of Mrs. Dalloway. I am loving the read. The style; the length of sentences; the detailing a reference; the illusions to Keats and Shakespeare, the style are entertaining me. I love her feminism and wish more young women in this country would read more Woolf. Young girls aren’t giving respect to their own. That’s too bad. But that’s an antediluvian scenario. I grilled a salmon steak and asparagus and steamed some potatoes for dinner. The wind has picked up and it looks like an indoor night, book and beer. The temperature also dropped and my furnace kicked in a couple of times throughout the night. While eating my breakfast, I watched a young cardinal play with the mirror on the passenger side of my car. He would land on the door handle and stare at himself in the mirror and window. He would peck at his image. Was he being narcissistic or hostile? He has done this for half an hour this and yesterday morning. Is this a pattern? I shall see. It is fascinating. This morning he seems more obsessive and intent with his image. I can hear his beak pounding against the mirror, which alerts me to his presence when I’m looking at the spectacle. I hope he doesn’t hurt himself. It is another windy but very sunny day. Those NW winds are causing the cold and the wind. Oh yeah, lots of Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota license plates on the camper’s vehicles. They know these winds, especially those near the Lakes, especially Lake Superior. The winds died down and I was outside all night, cooking, eating, and had a fire. There was a clear sky and the stars were out and the moon set early. The young cardinal is back with his lady friend, both ground feeding between his antics.
The next day was cool and windy. No bike ride. I couldn’t get warm. Made it a health day and went down early, no fire.
When I went outside the next morning, finally, the day was glorious. I woke early and read, the heater had come on. I had breakfast and then went outside. Glorious. I prepared for a bike ride. Today I was going to go left out of the park and ride down Innerarity Point Rd to the end. It was five and change so I knew I’d need to go past the Park and return. I set out into the wind, but was protect by the houses until I got to an open stretch the wind was steady, but not like the last few days. I was nicely warmed up by the time I hit the ten-mile mark by the Park and I then kicked it up many notches and rode like a mad man for two miles. I returned into a gentle wind and had a very good ride, finally. After my shower I prepared for the beach by packing lunch, beer, book, and other necessities. I arrived at the Gulf Islands National Seashore at 11:30 and go set up by noon. I set the SportBrella to shield the wind. I was set for the day. I left at 4. I got color and I got what I came for a day on this great beach. I prepared dinner of rockfish, carrots and peas, baked beans from last night, and zucchini. After dinner I had a grand fire and ended the beautiful day wonderfully. The wind kicked up again, but the day was warm as I woke early. I took an early morning bike ride after breakfast and then came back to finish Mrs. Dalloway, while sitting in the sun and protected from the wind by the shrubbery around my campsite, 68. When finished, I made lunch Grabbed To The Lighthouse and headed to the beach. Again windy, I used the umbrella and spent the afternoon reading and napping on the beach. It was as bright night the moon was finally making an impact as it lit the site. It is first quarter now. I had a great dinner and then made a blazing fire, being sure to leave enough wood for tomorrow night’s fire. I woke to a cool brisk day and the heater went on. Brrrr. It is colder up north. I heard it was going to be 24 degrees below zero in NYC. That was the wind chill prediction. COLD!!! I stayed in bed after breakfast reading and then finally got up to take a bike ride. It wasn’t as bad as earlier in the week. After the ride and a shower, I made an omelet and then crawled under the covers to read as the sun came in through the windows to warm the cabin and me.  I went to the beach for the afternoon. No wind and it was beautiful I stayed there for a few hours reading and napping. I had a good meal and listened to Prairie Home and then Jazz from WAMU online and had a wonderful fire. Early to bed and early to rise. I went shopping, washed the car, broke camp, took a shower, collected pinecones, and headed for the laundromat, where I watched the Spurs beat Man City and stay in second place, before moving on to a couple of breweries, Pensacola Brewing and Props, on my way to St Andrews SP. 

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