Two Day Road Trip

 Posted by at 1:22 am  Nick's Blog
Oct 212016

We won’t be moving into our new house for a few days yet because the previous owners had a delay in closing on their new home due to Hurricane Matthew. Rather than have them move everything into a storage unit, and then have to move it a second time, we told them we were no big hurry and to just take their time. We’ve lived in our motorhome for well over 17 years, another few days isn’t going to make any difference.

Since we didn’t have anything else to do, we took a two day road trip, driving the pickup to Panama City on Wednesday, where Terry had found a loom that she liked when we were in the area during our Hurricane Matthew evacuation.

We got there Wednesday afternoon, then spent some time taking the loom apart. This thing is huge, 5′ x 5′ x 5′! We took lots of pictures during the disassembly, and between that and the original assembly manual for the loom, Terry says we can put it back together. I’m glad she knows what she’s doing, because to me it’s just a pile of wood and cogs and gears and things.


Once we had the loom apart, we went and found ourselves a room for the night at the La Quinta Inn. I asked the desk clerk for a recommendation on someplace to have dinner and he suggested Granny Cantrell’s, and said we wouldn’t regret trying it. That was the understatement of the year! It’s a small buffet style restaurant with true Southern cooking – fried chicken, pork chops, pot roast, lima beans, chicken and dumplings, greens, you get the idea. True comfort food. If you’re ever anywhere near Panama City, do yourself a favor and check this place out.

We are not big fans of staying in motels and hotels, although I have to say that overall La Quinta was pretty nice. We were tired and in bed early, knowing that the next day would be a long day. And it turned out to be longer than we expected!

By the time we had the major components of the loom wrapped in blankets to protect them, and then everything loaded into the back of the pickup, it was about 12:30 when we left Panama City. Going over, we had taken Interstate 95 north to Interstate 10, then followed it west to about 20 miles past Tallahassee, and then two lane state highways south to Panama City.

But I wanted to take US Highway 98 back. It’s a two lane road that hugs the Gulf of Mexico, passing through interesting little towns like Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe, Apalachicola, and Carabelle.


We stopped for a little while in Apalachicola, a charming little town with a lot of history to it, to check out the John Gorrie Museum State Park. Gorrie was an Apalachicola doctor who is known as the father of refrigeration for his experiments in making artificial ice to cool his fever patients. We will have a story about him in an upcoming issue of the Gypsy Journal.


This part of the state is called the Big Bend or Coastal Bend. It is heavily forested and is home to deer, wild hogs, wild turkeys, black bear, bobcat, otters, and alligators. Yes, we do have bears in Florida!


For much of the route you are just feet from the water. There are a lot of private docks, some small public beaches, and pullouts where you can park and enjoy the view.



They have some major storm surges here, and is not uncommon to see houses built on stilts to protect them from flooding.


For years the small town of Carrabelle did not have a police station, just this phone booth and bench where an officer would wait for someone to call if they needed his services. Geez, you’d think the least they could do is put it in front of a donut shop, wouldn’t you?


When we got to Perry, we turned inland on US Highway 27 and followed it all the way to Interstate 75. This is where the fictional Somerton County is located in my new John Lee Quarrels mystery series, and we spent some time checking out the area and soaking up the local flavor because I like to make the background as authentic as I can in my books.

Unfortunately, from the time we left Panama City until we got to Interstate 75 we seemed to find ourselves behind a long line of cars always doing 10 or 15 miles per hour below the speed limit, or drivers who would come to almost a dead stop before they would turn off the road, and a few one lane road construction zones, just to add to the delays.

We grabbed a quick bite to eat at Burger King in Gainesville, and both remembered why we had not been in a Burger King for at least 20 years. It will probably be another 20 before we ever go back to one.

From Gainesville it was more two lane roads, State Route 20 east to Palatka, then US Highway 17 to US 1, and finally onto Interstate 95 for a few miles back to Port Orange. Unfortunately, we took the wrong exit and instead of having only a couple of miles to go from the interstate to our campground, we found ourselves on Interstate 4 and had to drive 13 miles out of our way before we could get off and get turned around and drove 13 miles back to where we started from. By the time we got home it was almost 10 PM, and we were both worn out from our long two day road trip.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Point Taken, book #10 in my friend Ben Rehder’s popular Blanco County mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.


Thought For The Day – The only person I should try to be better than is the person I was yesterday.

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  7 Responses to “Two Day Road Trip”

  1. The picture is getting clearer! Now, I know why you bought a pickup and a 1600 square foot house, you needed the truck to haul that loom and a house with a big room where the loom will reside!

    I am sure Miss Terry will turn out some beautiful items on the loom and you will enjoy flying your kites on the beach.

    Have you figured out a story where you can include drones and kites, maybe something like Hitchcock’s The Birds?

    Enjoyed hearing about your trip to Panama City, and thanks for the report on Granny Cantrell’s. Based on your review we will definitely eat there next time we are in the area. We have a daughter who lives in Panama City Beach and we expect to be there this winter.

  2. My husband and loved to stay at Ho Hum Campground just a little east of Caravelle. Thanks for the memories.

  3. When you live in an RV 5′ by 5′ by 5′ feels huge.
    In a 1600 sq ft house, not so much.
    Enjoy the living large…..

  4. For Some reason or another I knew you guys were going to go back and get that loom,, it sounded like Miss Terry had her name written all over it
    So now between the truck the loom the house now we got to find YOU A fancy golf cart and a half dozen pink flamingos for the front yard,,or a carved palmtree totem pole or a manatee mailbox

  5. I can’t wait to see what Terry makes on her new loom.

  6. We stayed at a small rv park on the west side of Carrabelle that is on a small island. Had bears that came in at night to check out the dumpster. 🙂

  7. As you have said many times the rving world is amazingly small. We are just off I-10 in Abita Springs, LA, returning to Florida from the Balloon Fiesta in NM. Planning on spending 5 nights at the National Park campground in Pensacola. We will then follow US 98 along the same route you two took with two night stopover at Ho Hum in Carrabelle and then on to US 27 and Bee’s RV resort.
    If you have some time between moving and writing etc, please check out Lowell National Historic site, In Massachusetts. They have 100’s of mechanized looms, canal pontoon boat rides and a trolley system. I know you are not a fan of New England, but there are several Elks lodges in the area. We found the NHS amazing.

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