to Panama City Beachto Panama City Beach
Another beautiful day! I woke around dawn and took my time getting ready. I made another trip down to the beach to look for my camera, but someone had already brought it to the park office, where I was able to reclaim it.
I guess I succeeded in getting well clear of New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras. Although I was still seeing beads along the highway shoulders as far east as Pensacola, today came and went without a single sign that it was Fat Tuesday.
I followed the shore most of the day, but there was less bike path and more shoulder and sidewalk through a nearly continuous row of condos. They're building lots of new high-rises ... at least, I assume they're new and didn't just get blown down by the hurricanes!
The day's destination was Panama City Beach, which I actually saw abbreviated PCB. Yummy! St. Andrews State Park is just east of town, on a point of land where a lagoon meets the gulf. The campground is on the lagoon side, but it's a sandy Florida lagoon with little gurgling waves rather than a swampy Louisiana one with duckweed, and the sound of the breakers carries nicely from the other side of the park. I went for a long walk on the beach before sunset and got too close -- my shoes got soaked through! Fortunately they're not my walking shoes, though those may get wet tomorrow.
En route to the beach, I stopped at an alligator-viewing dock, and there was a small alligator waiting there to view the people. Then while I ate dinner at my picnic table after dark, a blue heron stalked over and began fishing for its dinner about 30 feet from me. The deer are even more tame -- good thing I don't have any fresh vegetables in my tent!