Monday, November 26, 2012

Winging It To Biloxi

24 NOVEMBER 2012

We've wanted to get away for a ride in November but one thing after another has kept us off the Wing.  We've had one short ride since coming home from Southern Indiana/Culpeper, VA in October.
     It's Saturday Morning and a cold front has come through and dropped the overnight temperature into the upper 40's.  We are still digesting our Thanksgiving feast so no one around here is anxious to get up and get going.
     Marguerite finally says, "Do you want to hear my plan for the next few days?"
     This doesn't happen very often so I answered, "Of course I do."
     "I think we should take our time getting up and let the temperatures rise a few degrees.  While that's happening we could pack, then have some coffee and a light breakfast and then drag out the Wing and head for Biloxi.  We have a couple free days at the Island View and the Beau Rivage.  We had to cancel in August because of Hurricane Isaac, so let's go now.  I'd like to go the long way around and take the scenic route up Highway 98 and we can stop tonight in Panama City Beach.  That's my plan, what do you think?"
     " I think the last one packed buys the beer at Donovan's Reef tonight."
     We left at 11 AM heading up the Florida Turnpike to I-75.  Trying to leave Florida on a Holiday Weekend is not the best idea and from the traffic on the roads it was obvious that we needed to get off the major motorways and onto the country roads just to be safe.  We had to stick with the Interstate long enough to get up to Ocala, and then turn west on Highway 27. 

I-75 was bumper to bumper and it was a very loooong hour getting up to Ocala and the relative safety of Highway 27.  A short run to Williston and then it was Alternate 27 to Perry.  Great route, four lanes, not much traffic, just kick back and ride.  At Perry, it was left onto Highway 98 and due west until we got to Apalachicola, the oyster capital of Florida.  Highway 98 passes through a lot of nice Gulf Beach communities and is a great ride.

At Apalachicola we stopped for a late lunch and got a seat on the pier of this oyster bar, right on the Apalachicola, River.  We were joined for lunch by a pelican.

The run along the Gulf was devoid of traffic and had some beautiful views but we were racing the sunset.  We forgot about the days being so much shorter and don't normally like to ride at night.
We didn't make it but the sunset was worth it.
We finished the ride well after dark, not arriving in Panama City Beach and the Flamingo Motel until well after dark.  It was a long 360 mile ride but mighty pretty.  After checking in to our room we made the short walk to Donovan's Reef Lounge and Marguerite picked up the tab for some post ride adult beverages.  It was a great way to end the day.  Tomorrow it's on to Biloxi.

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